BCCI forced star batsman Sachin Tendulkar to withdraw from an exhibition match on Friday because one of the participants, New Zealander Hamish Marshall, had links to the rebel Indian Cricket League.
Tendulkar and teammate Dinesh Karthik had been given permission by officials to play in a lighthearted match between former Australian and New Zealand internationals before Friday’s second Twenty20 match against New Zealand in Wellington.
Tendulkar’s presence was to be a major drawcard for the exhibition but the Board of Control for Cricket in India intervened Friday, ordering Tendulkar and Karthik to withdraw because of Marshall’s ICL background.
The BCCI, which backs the lucrative Indian Premier League, forbids its players from competing against players involved with the ICL.
Marshall played for the Royal Bengal Tigers in the ICL last year but has since ended his involvement with the unsanctioned league. The BCCI said its rule still applied.
New Zealand Players Association chief executive Heath Mills, who was instrumental in organizing the masters match involving players such as Stephen Fleming for New Zealand and Greg Matthews for Australia, said the BCCI directive was regrettable.
“They’ve known the teams for a while and Hamish is no longer a contracted ICL player,” Mills said. “There’s no issue with him playing in this game from anyone else’s perspective.”
Mills said the alternative of barring Marshall from the game was not seriously considered.
“It’s not appropriate to go down that road,” Mills said. Hamish is a New Zealander, a member of the association and has every right to play a game of cricket in this country.
“The whole business is a bit silly.”