Diana Edulji, who was part of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, has criticised Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli for complaining about the team’s scheduling of their ongoing New Zealand tour.
The Indian captain had told reporters in response to a question on the itinerary: “It’s getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium straight (from the airport). Hopefully, this will be taken into consideration in the future.”
Edulji suggested that Kohli had little room to moan about the congested fixtures as he was part of the group that approved the Future Tour Programme of the team till 2023 that contained this itinerary. Former captain MS Dhoni and coach Ravi Shastri were the other members of that group.
“Virat complaining now is definitely strange,” Edulji told The Indian Express.
Edulji added: “I feel that he is playing so much cricket that he forgot that he has given OK for such a schedule. We didn’t force this on the players. They knew that they would be landing in New Zealand three days before. It’s written in the minutes. Only after they (players) gave their consent was it approved.”
Edulji referred to the meeting with cricket officials at the Taj Mansingh Hotel in Delhi on November 30, 2017, where Kohli, Dhoni and Shastri gave green light to the FTP.
The minutes of the meeting, signed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai who headed the CoA at the time, state: “FTP (2019-2023). Mr Rahul Johri presented the proposal for International FTP. The Team Representatives [Kohli, Dhoni, and Shastri] appreciated the efforts of the BCCI team in addressing their concerns on the high number of playing days per season, long overseas tours and preparation time before a marquee series/event and gave their consent to the proposed FTP.”
Former IPL chairman, Rajeev Shukla had blamed the CoA for the cramped schedule but Edulji revealed that it was drafted by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and cricket administration head Gaurav Saxena, and not by the CoA.
“We had asked if the players wanted to change anything. We passed the FTP only after the players and the coach okayed it,” Edulji said.
Edulji further added: “We discussed how many T20s they are going to play, how many ODIs, how many home matches, the gaps between tournaments… We have always made sure that players got what they wanted, their comfort was a top priority.”
India are currently playing five T20 games in 10 days, followed by 3 ODIs in seven days before the Test matches begin on their New Zealand tour that began just two days after their ODI series against Australia at home.