Tambe unlikely to face sanction for playing with banned Ashraful
Rajasthan Royals legspinner Pravin Tambe, and a host of players from various other countries, who participated in a private T20 tournament in New Jersey that also featured banned Bangladesh player Mohammad Ashraful, could avoid penalties because of the nebulous state of affairs at the USA Cricket Association (USACA).
A day after ESPNcricinfo revealed that Tambe, who has also represented Mumbai in the Ranji trophy, had played with Ashraful in the Laurel Hill Cricket Twenty20 tournament in the last week of July, officials familiar with the code of conduct set up by the ICC watchdog ACSU said Tambe had not breached any regulations. Both the Mumbai Cricket Association and the BCCI have not yet given a formal reaction though.
"He has not violated any code of conduct," a BCCI official well versed with the anti-corruption code said. Though the ICC did not want to comment on the matter, a source revealed the prevailing view was that Tambe had not broken any code by playing alongside Ashraful.
The BCCI official said that normally the blame for Ashraful's participation would lie with the host country, but because the USACA had been suspended by the ICC in June, the case was not so straightforward. "Normally it is the responsibility of the host association to ensure that no banned player participates in any match organised by them. In this case it is not known if this match was played under the aegis of USACA."
According to him the BCCI or ICC communicates information on bans imposed to the affiliated associations only. "Hence there may be occasions when players are actually not aware of every player they are playing with or against."
He said Tambe could not be blamed directly. "If it was local club cricket and Tambe claims he did not know that Ashraful was participating, then we have to take Tambe's word for it unless proved otherwise."
When asked if Tambe was at fault for not seeking a no-objection certificate from the MCA, the official said that it would not have been aware of Ashraful's presence in any case. "Even if MCA had given him a NOC, MCA themselves would not verify the players playing. It is the duty of the host association to see no banned players are participating in the tournament."
On June 26, at the end of its annual conference in Barbados, the ICC announced it was suspending the Associate membership of USACA. The ICC thus became the adjudicator for sanctioning official tournaments in the USA. Other than the overseas players, when asked whether any of the USA or Canada players picked for an ICC Americas tryout scheduled for September in Indianapolis could face local sanctions for playing in the same tournaments as Ashraful, an ICC spokesperson replied in the negative.
"The ICC is aware of the issue you have raised and will be reminding its members and other relevant parties of the regulations regarding players who have been banned by other boards," an ICC spokesperson said in an email. "This matter will not affect players selected in the [Indianapolis] Combine."
Additional reporting by Peter Della Penna
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo