Lorgat’s ‘suspension’ paves for India-South Africa series

South Africa’s cricket board suspended new chief executive Haroon Lorgat on Tuesday pending an ICC inquiry into his conduct, and agreed to a shortened home series against India, with the decisions both taken under pressure from Indian cricket bosses.

The two boards announced that Lorgat, a former International Cricket Council chief executive, would be investigated over his ”role” in recent comments made by a former legal adviser to the world body that was critical of the BCCI and its leadership.

In a joint BCCI-CSA statement, the boards said Lorgat, who was appointed by CSA in July despite heavy Indian opposition, had been withdrawn from any business related to the ICC and also ”from having involvement in any aspect of CSA’s relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour.”

Despite an ICC inquiry being announced, the world body has so far made no public comment and left the two boards, led by India, to release details.

The joint statement also suggested India agreed to tour South Africa, an important financial windfall for the host country, only after Lorgat was dealt with. CSA’s new chief executive has a long history of bitter disagreements with the BCCI stretching back to his time at the ICC.

South Africa initially announced a tour consisting of three Tests, seven ODIs and two Twenty20 games over two months from November through to January, but India immediately expressed its unhappiness with that schedule. CSA has agreed to only two Tests and three ODIs, while Lorgat was sidelined from having any involvement in the tour.

”The agreement to tour was concluded by the two boards after various concerns were raised around the recent ICC board meeting in London about the alleged conduct of CSA’s chief executive, Mr. Haroon Lorgat, and recent comments made about the ICC board by a former legal adviser to CSA, Mr. David Becker,” the statement said.

The ICC will investigate Lorgat’s role in former legal adviser Becker’s recent public statement criticizing India and BCCI President Narainswamy Srinivasan. In a statement released to the media, Becker said India was flouting ICC guidelines by, among other things, ignoring the Future Tours Program and deciding unilaterally how many games and where it wanted to play.

”When the ICC allows one of its directors to blatantly disregard an ICC board resolution, it becomes more than questionable governance _ it becomes improper,” Becker was quoted as saying in his statement.

It was not made clear by the BCCI or CSA what involvement Lorgat may have had in Becker’s public criticism of India. The boards said the investigation ”will be carried out in private.”

”The ICC and CSA have already refuted the comments made by Mr. Becker, and the ICC is now considering its legal options in respect of the same,” the BCCI and CSA said.

”In addition, the ICC will convene an investigation by an independent third party (to be appointed by the ICC) into the content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Mr. Lorgat in relation to these matters.”

The two boards also said the exact dates of the shortened Test and one-day series in South Africa, likely at the end of the year, would be announced later.