ICC’s claims on WC trophy belie facts

ICC’s claims on WC trophy belie facts

first_imgThe International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday tried to manufacture an elaborate defence of its World Cup trophy goof-up, claiming that the original trophy was intended for only promotional purposes.ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat asserted that the original trophy was presented to India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “It is very disappointing that media reports do not represent the fact. India got the trophy which was intended to be delivered to them,” Lorgat said at a press conference in Mumbai.The trophy presented to Australia, the World Cup winners in 1999, 2003 and 2007, was the original one with the names of all the winning nations embossed on the base. By contrast, the replica handed to Dhoni’s conquering team, had a blank base. Lorgat did not explain this difference.File photo of Sachin Tendulkar walking by at the presentation ceremony of the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa. Highlighted area shows the distinguishing feature of the 2003 trophy.Far from owning up to the hoax that had been played on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s world-beating team and the millions of Indian fans – they got only a replica of the World Cup trophy – the ICC claimed that the original trophy, stuck with the Mumbai customs after no one came forward to pay the duty for its release, would have been used for promotional work in Mumbai.However, a senior customs official contradicted Lorgat, saying that ICC officials had haggled over the payment of duty till Friday evening – a day before the India-Sri Lanka final.advertisement”The ICC officials initially did not want to pay up the duty. They claimed that the trophy would be presented at the World Cup ceremony and then taken back. It should not attract any duty, as it had no commercial value. However, when we did not relent they agreed to pay up the duty and were haggling on the amount to be paid. The discussions were on till Friday afternoon. On Friday evening, they suddenly told us that we could keep the cup as they were not going to pay,” said a customs official.The customs team, led by additional commissioner K Premchand had evaluated the trophy at Rs 60 lakh and fixed the duty at Rs15 lakh.Non payment of duty led to the trophy being detained by the customs. By all accounts it seems the ICC decided to present the replica only after the “haggling” over the customs duty failed to resolve the issue.Lorgat’s claim that India got the trophy intended for the winners was challenged by former ICC president Ehsan Mani. Nailing Lorgat’s lie, Mani said the convention was to present the original trophy.”It (the original trophy) should have been in Mumbai and the Indian players should have been given the privilege to pose with the real trophy,” he said, adding that the least the ICC could do was to apologise for the goof-up.Rajeev Shukla, vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), explained that the perpetual trophy which should have been at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night was not there as it was with the customs. “It would have been better had they got their hands on the real trophy,” he told reporters.Bishan Singh Bedi, former India skipper, told a television channel, “The original trophy has to be with the boys.”Colin Gibson, ICC’s head of media and communications, had an interesting explanation for letting the trophy remain in the customs warehouse. “It was only to ensure its safe keeping,” he said.Established conventions also contradict Lorgat. Original trophies are always presented to the winners at award ceremonies.For instance, this is also done by FIFA, the world governing body of football, and FIH, the world body governing hockey.Cricket too had a running – or perpetual – trophy between 1975 and 1983 when the World Cup was called the Prudential Cup before the insurance company’s sponsorship agreement ended.The World Cup was then organised by the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), as the English Cricket Board was earlier known as.In 1987 when the World Cup was held in India and Pakistan, the Reliance Cup was presented to Australia. A replica was given later, according to the then Indian team manager PR Man Singh.In fact, Singh was allowed to take the original trophy to India after furnishing a bond of 60,000 on TCCB’s insistence.In 1992, the Waterford Crystal Trophy was presented to Pakistan and in 1996 the Wills Trophy to Sri Lanka. It was only during Jagmohan Dalmiya’s tenure as ICC president that a permanent, perpetual trophy was instituted.advertisementDalmiya presented the new World Cup trophy, with provision to engrave winners’ names on its round base, for the first time to Aussie captain Steve Waugh in 1999. His successor Ricky Ponting won the cup in 2003 and 2007.In 2007, a trophy with a different base and a solitary round golden tablet, was presented to Ponting.This was given to them along with the perpetual trophy. The Cup that was presented to Dhoni didn’t seem to have even a single golden tablet – as visible from photographs.The ICC has not clarified the kind of promotional work it had planned in Mumbai with less than 24 hours for the India-Sri Lanka final.According to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) spokesman Samanjasa Das, the trophy arrived in Mumbai only a day before the final.”The CBEC would like to clarify that two passengers by the name of Mrs Emma Waite and Mr Rixon Heyder arrived by flight 9W 255 on April 1, 2011, at Mumbai airport from Colombo. They were carrying a trophy in their personal baggage which was claimed to be ‘ICC perpetual trophy’,” said Das.According to CBEC, World Cup tournament director Ratnakar Shetty, had written to commissioner of customs, requesting that the trophy may be held in the customs warehouse till it was collected by the same passengers on their return.The customs department has also to share some of the blame.It is silent on why no duty was levied on the trophy when it was brought to Mumbai exactly a month before the first World Cup match was played on February 19 and was taken to the Bombay Stock Exchange by ICC president Sharad Pawar and Lorgat.There is a consensus among former cricket administrators and sporting legends that ICC had not done enough to get the original trophy to the Wankhede.”I would have my tried my best to make sure that the trophy was there on the ground. And if due to some reasons I couldn’t have succeeded, then I would be upfront and say that I made a mistake and I apologise. They should have ensured that the trophy was there,” Ehsan Mani told a TV channel.Former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and Bedi lambasted those responsible for the fiasco. “They should own it up. They should apologise. Are they so arrogant that they can’t say we are sorry or we made a mistake?” said Ferreira.last_img

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