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Time for BCCI's ethics officer to throw frivolous complaints out of the park

It has become fashionable to complain about cricketers’ harbouring a possible conflict of interest, and for them to then receive a notice seeking a clarification. The latest on this list is Rahul Dravid.

, ET CONTRIBUTORS|
Aug 07, 2019, 11.19 PM IST
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Dravid is now expected to respond to the notice and then, if required, appear in person for a hearing.

Conflict of interest. These may be the three most dreaded — and laughed about — words in Indian cricket at the moment. It has become fashionable to complain about cricketers’ harbouring a possible conflict of interest, and for them to then receive a notice seeking a clarification. The latest on this list is Rahul Dravid.

It seems that there are now a set of professional ‘conflict of interest’ complainants who love being in the news by writing letters complaining to the ethics officer and then sending them across to the media for publication. In fact, the letters reach the media even before they reach the ethics officer.

But the question is really simple: Is Rahul Dravid good for Indian cricket and the National Cricket Academy (NCA), of which Dravid is director? And the answer is not just ‘yes’, but that there is arguably no one better than Dravid for the job. And here’s the irony: Dravid is not even an India Cements Group employee any more, let alone a director and vice president ‘doling out favours to Chennai Super Kings players’, as charged by the complainants. He put that job ‘in abeyance’ when he joined BCCI.

People who are sending these complaints every week with amazing regularity need to be asked a straight question: Do they have the interests of Indian cricket at heart? Or are they rabble-rousers trying to destabilise the game, taking advantage of a grey area in the sport’s constitution?

During the World Cup, Harbhajan Singh was another name that cropped up as having a conflict of interest as a player as well as a commentator. Tendulkar was ‘conflicted’ in his role as a member of BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and Mumbai Indians’ mentor. These complaints have little or no reasoning behind them, but are made to garner cheap publicity.

Prepare the team for the three World Cups scheduled in the next four years and make the NCA a cradle of excellence as it should be. To say that Dravid’s ‘interests are conflicted’ and putting a question mark against his credibility will only end up in forcing him to deviate from the task at hand: help improve Indian cricket.

Dravid is now expected to respond to the notice and then, if required, appear in person for a hearing. He will have to drop everything else and focus on clearing his name. This is a ridiculous waste of time and energy. One can only hope the ethics officer sees through the motives behind some of these complaints and, in future, bar return complainants from filing frivolous and unfair rants against credible people. Dravid deserves better and so does Indian cricket.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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