Gavaskar's media outburst prompts ICC to ask for explanation

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council has summoned Sunil Gavaskar to explain an apparent conflict of interest between his roles as a cricket committee head and a media pundit.

The 58-year-old former India captain, who was the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs, has been called to meet the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, at the governing body's Dubai headquarters to account for his controversial media columns.

"The ICC board discussed the matter last week and Sunil Gavaskar will be meeting with Malcolm Speed in due course to discuss the matter further," said an ICC spokesman, adding that no date had yet been fixed for the meeting.

Gavaskar, a popular television commentator, described England and Australia as "dinosaurs, still trying to voice their prejudiced opinions in the media, and may not open their eyes and see the reality" in a syndicated column at the weekend.

He attracted controversy most recently when he criticised the match referee Mike Procter, who had ruled against India's Harbhajan Singh for alleged racial abuse of Andrew Symonds in January's Sydney Test. Gavaskar had reportedly claimed that Procter, a white South African, was biased against Indian players because of their colour. Procter's ruling was subsequently overruled by the appeals commissioner.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board disciplinary committee has fined Mohammad Ashraful 25 per cent of his monthly fee for slapping a spectator.

The 23-year-old Bangladesh captain hit a spectator during a practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium before the start of the one-day series against Ireland last week. Reports have suggested that the spectator involved in the incident was booing Ashraful for his poor showing in the series against South Africa.

Ashraful had already apologised for his behaviour, but the BCB decided to forward the case to the disciplinary committee since it constituted a breach of the code of conduct.

The Bangladesh vice-captain Mashrafe Mortaza, the left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak and left-arm paceman Syed Rasel have also been fined 20 per cent of their monthly fees for their unauthorised absence before the series against Ireland.