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August 20, 2002 | 2100 IST

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Big 3 likely to be left out
for Champions Trophy

Faisal Shariff

Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer and working committee member Kishore Rungta says the board has gone out of its way to accommodate the players' interests in the contract row with the International Cricket Council.

"But with the players refusing to sign the contracts, the board has decided to go ahead with the selection of the 20 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy, leaving out the players who refuse to sign the contract," he told on Tuesday evening.

That, in effect, means the Indian team for the tournament in Sri Lanka will be sans skipper Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag.

"We have made several offers to the players. We offered them protection against financial liabilities. The board even offered to compensate against any financial losses. We said we would talk to the sponsors and pursue them to bear with the ICC diktat for the Champions' Trophy.

“We said we would do all that it takes to break the stalemate and field the best possible side for the tournament; but the players have decided to turn down all the proposals," said Rungta.

He added: "Only four boys -- Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Virendra Sehwag.-- are affected by the contract for this tournament. We have allowed them the option to drop out."

But the ICC has asked all the boards to send in their best possible teams. So with the star players from India not participating, would it mean breach of the contract?

"Best possible team cannot be quantified," said Rungta. "The team we will select is the best team subject to those players who agree to sign the contract. The ICC has to be concurrent with the boards on this matter," he added.

Meanwhile, another BCCI working committee member expressed surprise over the selection of Ravi Shastri as the Indian team’s spokesperson.

"He [Shastri] is an interested, vested party. He is part of WorldTel and that itself disqualifies him from the position," the member said.

"Anyway, what has Shastri done till now? He is busy issuing statements to the press. We do not recognise him as the spokesperson and will not talk to him about the issue."

Addressing the media after the working committee meeting, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya had said, "The players were very cordial in their discussions with the board and everything seemed to be going fine, but a self-styled organization or an individual ensured that the agreement did not come through."

The board member's statement about Shastri makes it evident who Dalmiya was referring to.

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