South Africa seek immunity for Gibbs and Boje
The South African board has sought an assurance from the Indian sports ministry regarding immunity for Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, two cricketers named in the match-fixing scandal, and asked that they not be questioned or arrested when South Africa tours India for a one-day series in November.
The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) sent a letter to this effect to the Indian sports ministry through the South African high commission in Delhi, and sought a quick resolution of the issue, according to Indo Asian News Service. Both Gibbs and Boje were among several cricketers whose names were embroiled in the match-fixing crisis that shook the cricketing world in 2000.
Both players had pulled out of the last year's Test tour to India after the Delhi Police, which was responsible for cracking the case in 2000, did not give an assurance they would not be questioned or arrested. Although both denied that they accepted money to underperform in ODIs on South Africa's tour of India in 2000-01, they are still listed as "wanted" on the Delhi Police's books.
"It is a hypothetical question what will happen when they come (to India)," KK Paul, the Delhi Police Commissioner, told IANS when asked if the two players would be questioned. "When they come, we will examine the matter," he added, saying that he had not received the UCBSA letter.
The Indian board said it was not authorised to give any assurances on behalf of the police. However, SK Nair, the board secretary, disclosed that he had spoken about the issue with Gerald Majola, the CEO of the South African board, in London a few days ago.
"We cannot give an open assurance to them," said Nair, "we have certain limitations so far as these issues are involved. BCCI can only put up their case before the government." He also suggested that the South African board could "apply to the Indian government through diplomatic channels" - the route that the board has eventually chosen.
In a statement released by the UCB this afternoon, CEO Gerald Majola said "The police refused to give these guarantees when senior representatives of the SA High Commission presented the request on behalf of the two players last year. This followed both players filling out a questionnaire from the Indian police going back to the tour of India in 2000."
However, the decision to tour might be taken by the players themselves, Majola said. "Once we have an answer, it will up to the players again to decide for themselves whether they are available for selection."