Zeenews Sports Bureau
London: It was an ironical twist to the tale with the Indian team giving a miss to the ICC Awards ceremony even as skipper MS Dhoni was given the Spirit of Cricket award with the bone of contention lying in the sending and receiving of the invites to the event.
The team missed the awards ceremony even when Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir had been shortlisted for individual awards in four categories.
Shivlal Yadav, Team India’s manager, put the blame for the Indians’ non-appearance on the ICC, saying that the team hadn’t been informed about the event in advance. “The team was informed about the event only in the afternoon and it wasn’t possible to make it to the function at such short notice,” said Yadav.
According to the official itinerary, the Indian team was scheduled to travel to Cardiff for the fifth ODI, but the trip was put off due to last-minute changes in the travel plan and the team stayed back in London.
The ICC has refuted the charges of the Indian team manager saying that the Indian team were told about the event two months in advance. “There was no delay in sending invites, we were surprised (at the Indian team’s absence), said an ICC spokesperson.
The ICC sources said they have evidence by mail which confirms that the BCCI was aware of the function and had also agreed that the Indian team would attend it.
"If it wasn't so, the Indian team ought to have left for Cardiff (the venue of the final one-dayer) today itself and not stayed back in London on Monday," said an ICC spokesman.
"The fact that their schedule included a stay in London on Monday confirms they were in know of it. I don't know whether the team was advised to attend it. They had been invited some weeks ago, end of August. The whole team was invited on August 26," he added.
Rajiv Shukla, a senior functionary of the BCCI who attended the function, wasn't aware that the Indian team wouldn't be turning up for the function.
"I thought those who have been nominated would be attending the function," said Shukla.
Interestingly, ICC president Sharad Pawar was present at the event to give away the awards.