Mumbai: The Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) has appointed Jacob Martin as their head coach at a time when the Supreme Court has decided to clean up the Indian Cricket Associations. Martin has a criminal record and has spent time in jail.
The former India player has recently come out on bail. Some senior Baroda players and BCA officials said appointment of Jacob Martin as an opposition to Lodha panel’s recommendations. They also pointed BCCI’s criterion which bars anybody with a criminal record from applying for the job.
Martin has represented India in 10 ODIs in which he has scored 158 runs to his name with the highest score of 39 against Pakistan.
A senior player in the Baroda team quoted, “How can someone who has spent time in Tihar Jail and whose case for which he was convicted, still pending be appointed as the Ranji Trophy coach? BCCI’s ‘no criminal record’ rule should also hold true for coaches and other office bearers,”
“This is completely unethical,” said another official, adding, “He may have been a very good cricketer, but he hasn’t been a law-abiding citizen. BCA has set a bad example by appointing him as coach. There are so many senior cricketers in Baroda who could easily have occupied the post.”
Martin was arrested in Delhi in 2009 for a connection with human-trafficking case that was registered at Indira Gandhi International Airport in 2003. It was reported that a youngster with a fake passport accompanied Martin to UK to play cricket in exchange for money.
The youngster later identified as Nitesh Kumar also revealed that Martin made arrangements for the team and other associates for sum of seven lakhs.
RA Sanjeev, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, was quoted in PTI as saying, “Martin formed a bogus team — Ajwa Sports Club — and identified himself as a playing member.”
It was also reported that Martin’s non-cooperation in the investigative process resulted of his anticipatory bail plea by the Supreme Court and he was asked to surrender. The Delhi police also announced prize of Rs. 25,000 for anyone who would provide information about Martin.
The BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke said, “The matter pertains to a state association and BCCI doesn’t influence decisions of its members, especially relating to cricket.”
Advocate Subhash and Sushma Gulati who are dealing with the Martin’s case in Delhi high court and in message from them read, “Yes, the Delhi Police arrested Martin for something which he didn’t commit.
He was however sent to judicial custody but there was no concrete evidence to press charge against him and he is now out on bail. No charge sheet has been filed in this case too. We filed a revised petition against the charges and now the discharge application is pending in Delhi High Court. This will come up for hearing very soon.”
Martin responded, “I have full faith in the law and I am sure that I will come out clean. I just want dedicate the rest of my life to the game and nothing else.”
A former Indian cricketer, who served as an official in the BCCI at a high rank also spoke on this incident and chose not to reveal his identity. He said, “People with criminal history are MPs and ministers. What is the harm if he becomes a coach? Mind you, he hasn’t been proved guilty yet. He is a cricketer so let him do what he does best.”