As it is, Indian cricket is a minefield. The team’s best batsmen (Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar) are reluctant to be captain. South Africans (Graham Ford) and Australians (Geoff Lawson) don’t want to be coach. The chief selector (Dilip Vengsarkar) wants to quit because he is not allowed to write his newspaper column. The cricket board won’t allow a top movie star (Shah Rukh Khan) to talk about his movie in a cricket stadium.
Somewhere, a journalist had to get into the act and Ajay Naidu has obliged. The freelance cricket journalist has been banned from entering the press box or press conferences at all units of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Reason: Naidu, while covering the third Test between India and Pakistan at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore, asked the official scorer in the press box to make an announcement allegedly on the basis of a note signed by Russell Radhakrishnan, travel assistant of the Indian team, on Sunday.
The announcement made was, “Rahul Dravid has called for a press conference to announce his retirement from Test cricket.” In actual fact, the announcement went thus, “There will be no press briefing by the Pakistan team, and from the Indian side, Rahul Dravid wants to talk to the media.”
A cricket board press release said: “On enquiry, it was found that Naidu had forged the signature of Russell. The BCCI condemns this act of Ajay Naidu aimed at causing embarrassment to Rahul in the midst of the Test match, and in order that such irresponsible incidents do not occur in the future, it is decided to ban the entry of Ajay Naidu in to the press box or press conference at any of the affiliated units of the Board. We are also advising immediate withdrawal of his accreditation card for all the international matches.”
Naidu sprang into the headlines earlier this year when he “scooped” an interview with Sachin Tendulkar, following India’s early World Cup exit, in which the master batsman lashed out at his commitment being questioned by the former coach, Greg Chappell. That interview appeared in The Times of India.