According to a latest report by ESPNcricinfo, Indian legends Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are among some of the former players who support the COA’s decision and want India to play the Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom next month and defend the trophy they won in the summer of 2013. According to the report, “All the players ESPNcricinfo contacted – Tendulkar, Dravid, Zaheer Khan, Gundappa Vishwanath, Sandeep Patil, Sanjay Manjrekar, Aakash Chopra, Ajit Agarkar, Venkatesh Prasad, Saba Karim, Murali Kartik and Deep Dasgupta – were unanimous in their opinion that India should attempt to defend the Champions Trophy title that they won in 2013.” Clearly our former stalwarts want India to defend its Champions Trophy.
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Away from the cricketing frenzy of the IPL, the BCCI has been trying to deal with the financial tussle against the International Cricket Council (ICC). Ever since the proposal of the controversial ‘Big Three’ financial model being scrapped for a more balanced structure of revenue distribution, the BCCI has been at loggerheads with the ICC demanding the model be reinstated as BCCI’s contribution to ICC’s revenue is the most. To protest against the new structure, the BCCI is considering boycotting the Champions Trophy next month. This would seriously affect the revenue of the ICC.
The BCCI missed the April 25 deadline of submitting the names of the players for the tournament and has cited operational issues as the reason for the same. However, in reality, the BCCI is seriously considering pulling out of the 8 team tournament. The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) made it abundantly clear that withdrawing from the Champions Trophy is not a decision that the BCCI can take and has urged the Indian Board to announce the team as soon as possible so that they can start preparing for their Champions Trophy defence.
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The BCCI is itself divided over revoking the Members Participation Agreement with the ICC which would make India ineligible of participating and hosting any ICC tournaments until the end of 2023. With the COA’s dictat to the BCCI to announce the team, it seems that the BCCI would decide to participate in the tournament at its special general body meeting on May 7 in Delhi. Whatever the decision is, it must be ensured that the players’ interest is kept paramount under all circumstances.