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TalkPoint: Is the BCCI right in excluding Mohammad Shami over marital discord?

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The BCCI has dropped bowler Mohammad Shami from its list of centrally contracted players. This decision came after his wife accused him of infidelity and domestic abuse.The board has also has not given any official statement on the exclusion.

ThePrint asks: Is the BCCI right in excluding Mohammad Shami over marital discord?

Will the board act similarly if a player is involved in a property dispute?

Ayaz Memon
Senior sports journalist, columnist and commentator

Mohammad Shami is obviously involved in bitter marital discord that does not do his reputation any good. But is it the BCCI’s job to intervene in players’ personal matters?

There are several sportspersons, including cricketers, who have had rocky – or failed – marriages, but unless it directly impinges upon the functioning of a team or the sport, they are left to fight their own battles.

For example, tennis star Leander Paes has been locked in a protracted divorce case, but that has not been used as grounds to deny him a place in the Davis Cup squad, or participation in international tournaments.

To hold back Shami’s contract on ‘ethical grounds’ is presumptive (about his guilt), and ambiguous in scope. Marital strife makes for a juicy story, but will the board act similarly if a player is involved in, say, a property dispute?

The BCCI has reportedly said it will take a call on Shami’s contract in a few days, after an investigation, when, in fact, it should have been the other way around: give him the contract and pull the plug if the investigation so necessitates.

The board’s decision is driven by allegations and perception, not legal position. The charges against Shami are very serious, of course, but await legal inquiry.

If he were arrested for violence against his wife, for instance, the BCCI’s decision would be absolutely justified.

Excluding Shami is a feudal reaction from the board

Pradeep Magazine
Senior sports journalist and columnist

The BCCI’s announcement of its central contracts and Mohammad Shami’s wife’s allegations against him surfaced on the same day. Even if the board didn’t want to be seen condoning domestic violence, where was the need to take such drastic action without establishing facts first?

The board should officially explain the reason for withholding his contract, as whatever has appeared in the media is source-based. Done without knowing the real facts, this appears more like moral policing.

Nobody condones cricketers or sportsmen mistreating their wives, but we need to hear from both sides first. All we know is that she is accusing him of infidelity and torture, which the player has denied.

It is a domestic issue they may sort out later. For the BCCI, especially cricket administrators who have not been able to force the board to implement the Lodha reforms for more than a year, to show such swiftness in punishing the player is quite strange.

They should have let the law take its own course and the police decide the veracity of these allegations. We are selecting players and grading them for the central contract — unless Shami has done something wrong in the field of play or as part of the team, he should not have been penalised on the basis of a complaint.

The English cricket board also took action against Ben Stokes, but only after a video appeared in which he was seen beating up a couple of guys in a late-night roadside brawl.

This is a feudal reaction from a board that otherwise takes so much time to decide on other important issues like administrative or policy matters.

BCCI’s action against Shami is prudent & gives women strength to rise against powerful men

Harnidh Kaur
Poet and feminist

It’s very easy to claim that Mohammad Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan’s allegations of adultery against him are matters of private nature, and hence shouldn’t dragged into his contract with BCCI. It’s easier still to claim that ‘all men’ do this. The matter at hand gets more complex when you realise Jahan has also alleged domestic violence by Shami – an accusation which, if proven right, should lead to strict legal action.

The BCCI has simply stayed his contract pending investigation, a wise decision on its part. It’s prudent, and abides by its ethics policy. If the man isn’t guilty, he has nothing to fear in the investigation.

I’m glad what has happened has happened, because it sets an excellent precedent for men who think their talent and clout can absolve them of violence against women. For once, the due process is aiding a woman instead of hampering her, and social media quips aside, I hope more women find the strength to rise up against powerful men through this action.

BCCI must not punish Shami, who is presumed innocent until proven guilty

Maneesh ChhibberManeesh Chhibber
Editor, Investigation and Special Reports, ThePrint

Within hours of Mohammad Shami’s wife accusing him of having extra-marital affairs and indulging in domestic violence, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators running the BCCI decided to put on hold offering a new central contract to Shami.

The CoA, it appears, has decided to “verify facts” before taking a final call on whether to offer a new contract to the cricketer.

Headed by former CAG Vinod Rai, CoA will have to tread very carefully on the issue, because if it, or any other such committee, decides to ignore the rightful claims of a professional to a post – or a contract in Shami’s case – only because there’s an allegation against him (Shami’s wife hasn’t even filed a police complaint against him), it must remember the rule that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Incidentally, such is the universal acknowledgment of this principle that even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN general assembly way back in 1948 refers to it.

Article 11 of the declaration reads: Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Shami has been accused and only time and a fair trail – if the matter reaches that stage – will show if Shami is actually guilty of domestic violence or not.

If the CoA decides to ignore Shami without waiting for the case to be decided by a court, it will be doing the sport a great disservice.

Fair play, BCCI. Domestic abuse cannot and should not be condoned

Talha Ashraf
Journalist, ThePrint

Mohammad Shami being excluded from the list of central contracts is fact; wife Hasin Jahan’s allegations being the reason for it could be mere speculation. After all, the BCCI hasn’t given an official explanation for the exclusion.

But the reasons certainly don’t seem to be cricket-related – after all, Shami was the highest wicket taker for India in the recent Test series in South Africa, with his five-wicket haul in the final Test at Johannesburg being a decisive spell. In Test matches at home too, he has been an able foil for spinners R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Contracts are supposed to be performance-based, and Shami is part of the core bowling unit in Tests for India. At best, he could have been demoted a grade because he is largely a one-format player now, like batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who still finds himself in the Grade A contracts list. Even that is difficult to fathom because the likes of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, and Jayant Yadav have been awarded central contracts. Jayant Yadav has not played a single match since the Australia Test series at home.

So, it all comes back to Jahan’s allegations of infidelity and domestic abuse. The administrators’ decision to drop Shami from the list could possibly raise questions whether they have any right to take decisions based on the personal matters of any sportsperson.

But consider the international movement against sexual harassment and crimes against women. In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Hollywood has gone to town ostracising prominent actors and other professionals who have been accused of sexual harassment.

The BCCI has always been mired in controversies but their stand on domestic abuse should be seen in a positive light.

Compiled by Talha Ashraf, Journalist at ThePrint.

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  1. Adultery and infidelity should not be used as a reason. Most people who do it are not caught and does that make them not guilty. It’s a personal matter and no one has the right to interfere how many partners a man or woman has. If someone is cheating it’s their life they are not breaking any law. How can someone say it’s right or wrong about Shami’s personal choices.

    Domestic abuse and violence if true however are valid reasons to exclude him.

  2. It is a hatred politics of BCCI against shami infuture please don’t take muslim players in your squad why are you interested in his wife do you have guts to point over captain azharuddin who was two times divorcee if you want to take shami or not he is been tortured because he is a Muslim.Do you think captain virat Kohli is a true indian who has done his marriage in Italy why has he done marriage outside the country and why his wife Anushka is doing films after marriage does virat also needs a place in your squad….so think before you speak so there are many players in sports who has done many things it’s there personal matter shame on the members and selectors of BCCI for checking shamis infedility.

    • Idiot it’s not cheating his wife, for which his contract is on hold, it’s domestic violence, mental & physical torture of his wife. These are serious charges.
      Wtf wrong with anushka doing movies after marriage u backward Muslim? Virat can be married anywhere even in mars, nobody can interfere in that shit.
      Bcci has every right to do that with that serious charges against shami.

  3. Marital Discord ?

    Shocking to hear reputed sports journalist term a clear and shut case of domestic violence, adultery, low standards practised by a national figure …….term it as a private matter which must be ignored for national duties…..when we clearly accept they are role models of young and impressionable.

    ECB banned a super cricketer for just a brawl, the CCTV evidence was inconclusive at best, self defence or assault.

    Elite hypocrisy at its best in the name of personal freedom in 21st century ?????

    • I haven’t read about any adultery here. Adultery only when caught red handed sleeping around ? Shami may have been flirting. I know lot of stars whether film or sports are involved in adultery. Unfortunately he is caught only with flirting with someone. So lets not come to conclusion give the man a chance.

  4. What a wonderful thing to read on Women’s Day. Two of the most respected men in cricket saying ignore the allegations of his wife, because cricket must go on.

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