BCCI committee to probe journalist’s threat to Wriddhiman Saha

The BCCI has formed a three-member committee to probe into the allegation of Wriddhiman Saha receiving threats from a journalist, who purportedly sent him a string of WhatsApp messages, demanding an interview. The cricket board’s vice-president Rajiv Shukla, treasurer Arun Dhumal and the BCCI Apex Council member Prabhtej Singh Bhatia constitute the committee that will start the inquiry proceedings early next week.

This comes on a day when Saha dropped a hint that he might be open to revealing the name of the journalist, although for the “time being” he is maintaining secrecy. This paper had earlier reported that the BCCI would ask Saha to reveal the identity of the journalist.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has today constituted a three-member committee to look into the matter of Wriddhiman Saha receiving threats and intimidation from a senior journalist. The three member committee comprises BCCI Vice-President Mr Rajiv Shukla, BCCI Treasurer Mr Arun Singh Dhumal and BCCI Apex Council Member Mr Prabhtej Singh Bhatia. The committee will start the proceedings as early as next week,” said the cricket board release.

Saha, the wicketkeeper-batsman, who has been dropped from the Test team for the upcoming two matches against Sri Lanka, posted a tweet on February 19, capturing a screenshot of the messages like: “After 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.” Another message from the unnamed journalist had said: “You did not call. Never again will I interview you. I don’t take insults kindly. And I will remember this.”

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Accordingly, the BCCI press release stated: “Saha, a centrally contracted cricketer was allegedly threatened by a senior journalist for not responding to his messages asking for an interview. Taking cognizance of the matter the BCCI got in touch with Saha and decided to constitute a three-member committee to investigate the matter.”

On Friday, during a conversation with The Indian Express, the 37-year-old said, “I maintain the stand of not revealing the identity of the journalist for the time being. I said this in my other tweets as well. I can’t tell you what will happen in the future.” The conversation took place before the BCCI issued the press release.

Saha had earlier told this paper that he wouldn’t disclose the identity of the unnamed person. “If they ask me to reveal the name (of the journalist), I would tell them it was never my intention to harm somebody’s career, to pull a person down. That’s why I didn’t reveal the name in my tweet. That’s not the teaching of my parents. The main purpose of my tweet was to expose the fact that there’s someone in the media who does such things, disrespecting a player’s wish,” he had said.

Later, posting a series of tweets on February 22, he reiterated it, while using the word “bullying”. “I was hurt and offended. I thought not to tolerate such kind of behaviour and didn’t want anyone to go through these kind of bullying.

I decided I will go out and expose the chat in public eye, but not his/her name”, said the tweets, which also added, “My nature isn’t such that I will harm anyone to the extent of ending someone’s career. So on grounds of humanity looking at his/her family, I am not exposing the name for the time being. But if any such repetition happens, I will not hold back.”

Saha, who has played 40 Tests and nine ODIs, is a Grade B central contractee, with an annual retainer fee of Rs 3 crore.

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