Venkatesh Prasad red-faced after social media about turn

The former India paceman, who has been critical of BCCI functioning in recent times, has modified his X post in an apparent damage control move

Venkatesh Prasad at a meeting with PM Narendra Modi in Bengaluru in February 2023 (photo: @venkateshprasad/ X)
Venkatesh Prasad at a meeting with PM Narendra Modi in Bengaluru in February 2023 (photo: @venkateshprasad/ X)

NH Sports Bureau

Venkatesh Prasad, the canny Indian seam bowler who used to hunt in a pair with Javagal Srinath, has been quite vocal on social media of late, right from India’s team selection to the conduct of the ongoing Asia Cup. However, his volte face on a tweet this weekend — which was ostensibly critical of the BCCI and its head honcho Jay Shah without naming anybody — has left him red faced.       

The Bengaluru-based former cricketer posted on X last week: ‘’It takes one corrupt, arrogant guy to take away the hard work of an organisation that is generally non-corrupt and get a stamp of corruption on the whole leadership, not just on a micro level but at a large level.’’ 

His post caused a sensation, with commenters asking him if Prasad was pointing a finger at Jay Shah, the secretary of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and also the all-powerful president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). Prasad quickly swung into damage control mode by deleting the post, which did not go unnoticed, with fact-checker Mohammed Zubair pointing it out on the thread. 

Prasad then went on to re-upload the deleted post, but with an update: ‘’This is true in every field, be it politics, sports, journalism, corporate.’’  

Trying to justify his decision to delete the post, Prasad posted on Sunday, 10 September: ‘’That was a general tweet where I spoke about how one person who is corrupt can undo a lot of good work of his organisation  and it can have large scale implication on a macro level as well in any field. Since I was also speaking about the inefficiency of the BCCI around tickets in other tweets, it led to confusion and looked out of context. Hence deleted, varna naam lekar khulkar bolne mein Rambhakt kisiko chhodte nahin, Jai Shree Ram’’ (as a Rambhakt, I wouldn’t have spared anyone if I wished to speak openly). 

He also clarified to the media that while his attack was not directed at any individual, he felt it was in line to criticise the BCCI for their dithering with the release of the World Cup schedule as well as the controversy over ticket sales. 

The damage seems to have been done, though. Only on 9 September, Prasad had taken on the ACC decision to set aside a reserve day for just one Asia Cup Super Four match — India vs Pakistan — in view of the looming threat of rain.

‘’If true, this is absolute shamelessness. The organisers have made a mockery and it is unethical to have a tournament with rules being different for the other two teams. In the name of justice, will only be fair if it is abandoned the first day, may it rain harder on the second day and these malicious plans not succeed,’’ Prasad posted on X. 

Strong words, which turned prophetic as the first day was lost to rain while Monday's action was also delayed. 

Meanwhile, there are no prizes for guessing that the Asian cricket body has now been reduced to a rubber stamp, with the BCCI calling the shots. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was been not amused by Shah’s statement last week that the participating teams in the Asia Cup did not want Pakistan to host the full tournament owing to security concerns and the country's economic problems, but the matter seems to have died a quiet death.

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