The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Monday directed its ethics committee to conduct an inquiry into the alleged detection of undeclared liquor bottles and beer tins in kit bags of five of its players at Chandigarh airport last week indicating that the apex council would take a call on disciplinary action if the cricketers are found to have violated its code of conduct.
“There has been an alleged incident at Chandigarh that is brought to the notice of Saurashtra Cricket Association. The alleged incident is unfortunate and intolerable.
Ethics/Disciplinary Committee & Apex Council of Saurashtra Cricket Association to make in-depth examine of the incident and shall take proper disciplinary action,” a release from SCA said.
The move comes four days after 27 liquor bottles and two crates of beer cans were allegedly found in kit bags of five members of SCA’s Colonel CK Nayudu Under 23 trophy team during luggage scanning at Chandigarh airport. The liquor bottles and beer cans were undeclared items in the bags, sources said.
The alleged incident happened when the SCA team, who defeated hosts Chandigarh in the four-day match on January 24, handed their kit bags to the airline for transporting them to Rajkot. The team flew to Rajkot the next day.
SCA secretary Himanshu Shah said the ethics committee will ascertain facts of the alleged incident. “We don’t have any official or authentic information as to what happened at the Chandigarh airport. Therefore, for SCA, what is being discussed in the media is like hearsay. But because the alleged incident involves our players, we have asked the committee to ascertain facts of it and report to the apex council,” the secretary told The Indian Express, adding, “If players are found to have violated any code of conduct, appropriate action will be taken against them.”
Chandigarh Union Territory Cricket Association secretary Devinder Sharma said the SCA team took a flight from Delhi while their kit bags were flown from Chandigarh airport. “Flights scheduled in the morning from Chandigarh are delayed due to fog. Therefore, the Saurashtra team booked a bus from Chandigarh to Delhi and took a flight from Delhi. However, their kit bags were flown from Chandigarh airport,” Sharma told The Indian Express, adding, “We are reading media reports about the incident. Chandigarh is not a dry state and therefore, no criminal offence has been registered. But neither BCCI nor any cricket association can tolerate such indiscipline.”
While the cricketers could not be reached for a comment, father of one of the players said his son did what he was asked to do by a senior cricketer who plays Ranji Trophy on behalf of SCA. “A cricketer who plays in the senior team of SCA asked my son if he would do him a favour by transporting a box on his behalf. My son, who is a teenager, obliged, not knowing what will be its consequences,” said the father, requesting anonymity.
“The way the incident is being projected in the media makes me suspect that it was a conspiracy to ease my son and other four out of the team so that some other cricketers could take their place,” he added.
Meanwhile, the SCA secretary said the association will give sufficient time to the players. “The players whose names are being associated with the incident are promising players. They were doing exceptionally well in the Col CK Nayudu trophy this season. Because there is no criminal offence against them, they were allowed to play in SCA’s next match which began on Sunday. Therefore, SCA will give them sufficient time to get their statements recorded,” said Shah.
Sources said the players had not disclosed to the airline that their kit bags contained alcohol bottles.