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ICA condemns threatening messages to Saha

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The Indian Cricketers' Association has 'strongly condemned' the threatening message sent to Wriddhiman Saha by a journalist and has welcomed BCCI's decision to probe the issue.

Wriddhiman SahaWriddhiman Saha
@WriddhipopsFollowAfter all of my contributions to Indian cricket..this is what I face from a so called “Respected” journalist! This is where the journalism has gone.
19 Feb 2022
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Saha, 37, tweeted out a screenshot of messages from a supposed journalist on Saturday (February 19), a little after the keeper-batter was left out of India's Test squad for the forthcoming series against Sri Lanka. The issue escalated after former players like Ravi Shastri, Parthiv Patel and Virender Sehwag, among others, joined in the criticism of the said journalist. The BCCI subsequently decided to get to the bottom of the issue with treasurer Arun Dhumal already stating on record that secretary Jay Shah will speak to the veteran wicketkeeper.

"We acknowledge the fact that the media plays a very important role both in the growth of our game and the players but there's always a line that must never be crossed. What has happened in Saha's case is totally unacceptable and we call for the respective press organisations to take up the matter and ensure such things are not repeated," said ICA President Ashok Malhotra.

"At the ICA our foremost concern is the welfare of cricketers, past and present, and we cannot accept such behaviour from anyone let alone a journalist. We are fully with Saha and request him to reveal the journalist's name. Should the BCCI feel the need to cancel the erring journalist's accreditation and access to any BCCI event, we will fully support the move," he added.

"We would offer our full support to Saha at this juncture. No player should be subjected to such 'threats' from anyone in the media or elsewhere. We urge the media also to come out in support of Saha and ensure that these sorts of issues don't crop up again," said Hitesh Majumdar, the ICA Secretary. "Any interaction between a player and the media has always to be voluntary."

The fact that Saha is a centrally-contracted player changes the dynamics of the controversy. The BCCI may be compelled to act on this and Saha may also be compelled to reveal the name.

The Saha storm, however, has multiple facets and the threat from the journalist is only one aspect of the whole controversy. The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly's alleged assurance to his statemate that his selection will be taken care of as long as he is in power is equally baffling, if not Rahul Dravid's advice to the wicketkeeper to consider retirement.

That his future with the Indian team is not bright has been conveyed to him, something Saha himself has admitted. "The team management had told me that I would not be considered henceforth. I could not tell this so long as I was part of the India team setup. Even coach Rahul Dravid suggested that I think about taking retirement," Saha told PTI recently. Dravid has since clarified why he has advised so.

Saha's more startling disclosure was Ganguly's supposed assurance of selection to him. "When I hit an unbeaten 61 taking a pain-killer in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur last November, Dadi (Ganguly) congratulated me over Whatsapp. He even mentioned that I should not worry about anything so long as he is at the helm of the BCCI. Such a message from the board president really boosted my confidence. But I failed to understand why everything changed so fast," Saha said, putting the board president in a spot.

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