Controversy over “fake” Cricket World Cup refuses to die down

The controversy over the trophy presented to the World Cup winning Indian cricket team by the ICC refused to die down Monday because the “perpetual” trophy that is handed over to the victorious squad was lying in a Customs warehouse in western city Mumbai and it was given only a replica.

Captains of the previous winning teams such as Ricky Ponting of Australia have all been given the perpetual trophy on winning the final. The names of previous winners are engraved at the base.

Subsequently, the perpetual trophy is taken back by the International Cricket Council and the replica is given to the winning team for keeps.

As reports surfaced that the ICC had left the perpetual trophy with Mumbai Customs as they were asked to pay a customs duty of Rs 22 lakhs, the cricket’s Governing body ICC said that the trophy that was handed to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team was a “real one” and not a “replica”.

It was obvious that the replica which would have been given to the team later was handed over at the presentation ceremony on Saturday night in Wankhede stadium in Mumbai after India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets.

International Cricket Council CEO Haroon Lorgat said “It is very disappointing that media reports do not represent the fact…. India got the trophy which was intended to be delivered to them.”

“We had the real trophy on the field of play on Saturday and that is the trophy that was given to the Indian team,” he told a media conference in Mumbai.

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani said the Indian team should have got the perpetual trophy on Saturday night with the name of the winning country engraved. ICC and BCCI should have taken the responsibility to ensure this, he said.

“Every team member whould have liked to have been there in front of the original trophy,” he added.

A livid former Indian wicket-keeper batsman Farookh Engineer asked,” Is it some kind of an April fool joke…?

Players like Gautam Gambhir voiced their disappointment at what former captain Bishen Singh Bedi called a “goof up”.

“When you have worked so hard then one should get the original trophy because it is the World Cup. It is not a bilateral series or a small tournament. It is the biggest tournament, so one will be happy if we get the original trophy,” Gambhir said.

The Customs said that the ICC Trophy in the custody of Mumbai Airport Customs is a promotional cup which will be taken to the ICC Headquarters in Dubai and has nothing to do with the World Cup given to the winning Indian cricket team.

Dismissing reports that the Cup given to the Indian team was a fake, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) issued a statement in the Indian capital New Delhi to say that Board of Control for Cricket in India had asked the customs to keep the “ICC Perpetual Trophy” in its custody since there was no clearance from the government for its import into the country.

Mani also said if there has been a “goof up it’s been inefficiencies of someone at the ICC or the BCCI and they should have been honest enough to say so.”

“Every cricketer, every captain, every team member would have liked to have been there is front of the original trophy,” he added.

Media reports had it that the Cup handed to Team India by ICC chief Sharad Pawar was a fake and that the original one was lying with the customs in Mumbai over non-payment of duties, but Lorgat dismissed them as “disappointing” and untrue.

“You can draw your own conclusions why such things are coming out on the back of a very successful World Cup,” he added.

The CBEC statement while denying that the “original ICC Cricket World Cup 2011” was lying in the Airport Customs Warehouse in Mumbai, said, “It is clear that the trophy meant for the winning side has been given to the winning side and an avoidable controversy appears to have arisen in the matter.”

Source: GNA

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