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Diana Edulji, Farokh Engineer indulge in war of words

Former India women’s team captain and member of the erstwhile Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), Diana Edulji reminded former India wicketkeeper-batsman Farokh Engineer that she has represented the country in 30 Tests and that’s not a small number. In reply, Engineer said he had nothing personal against Edulji.

The exchange of words between the two former India cricketers happened during a question and answer session after Engineer delivered the 10th Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture at the Cricket Club of India on Wednesday.

“I just heard Farokh saying that Parsees don’t have a dirty bone in their body. But you recently spoke a lot about the current [national] selectors. In that statement, you even passed a snide remark about me. You said ‘she has hardly played any cricket.’ I would like to tell you that I have played 30 Test matches and that’s not little,” Edulji, 63, a former left-arm spinner, who claimed 63 Tests wickets and 46 ODI scalps [from 34 ODIs] told Engineer.

While speaking at an event in Pune last month, Engineer had ridiculed the credentials of the MSK Prasad-led five-member Indian selection committee. He had also called the CoA’s 33-month tenure a waste of time and said that the three-member panel had no idea about the game though Edulji had played a little cricket.”

In response to Edulji’s outburst, Engineer, who represented India in 46 Tests and five ODIs between 1961 to 1975, said: “I speak my mind. When I said that the CoA were a waste of time, I meant it. I don’t think much came out of it [CoA] really and the money that was paid—crores—could have been better utilised for cricket at the grassroot level for young, poor people.

There was nothing personal against you. About the selectors, there was a reason for that comment.”

Later, Edulji told reporters that the CoA had helped improve the standard of the game in the country. “The CoA was brought in with a purpose. We covered a lot of ground, we tried to improve the standard of cricket, the infrastructure. The players have benefited a lot and that’s why the performance of the teams—both men and women—have been outstanding. On the whole, our main purpose was to hold the elections and move on. It couldn’t have gone on for ages. I am glad that the term is over and the BCCI is back to its normal ways,” she said.

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