Cape Town, March 13 (IANS) The Over-50’s cricket World Cup is on in South Africa and in a surprising move, India captain Shailendra Singh has stepped down ahead of the clash against Pakistan citing external pressure to include certain players in the playing XI.

Commenting on the term of events, Shailendra said: “I have backed out because my team from India was being compromised due to the actions of a senior member of the Over 50’s World Cup committee, in the presence of the Veterans Cricket Association of South Africa. I was asked that I must include and play two specific players in two out of the next four round-robin matches, which India is scheduled to play against Pakistan, South Africa, Wales and Namibia; and further instructed that India has to drop the President and head coach of IVCCI, from the selection committee.

“The said person on record decided the selection panel of the cricket team from India. This is beyond all tenets of integrity and amounts to sports manipulation which I will, shall and can never accept nor indulge in. I cannot, with my integrity intact, continue to captain and play for the team from India in this tournament.

“In my thirty five years of impeccable record related to Indian cricket, I have never seen such attempted manipulation and blatant compromise of the integrity of cricket.”

Ajoy Roy, President and head coach of IVCCI, also stepped down. Roy said: “The present situation is unacceptable to me. I am immensely disturbed and do not endorse the team from India playing against Pakistan today. Therefore, I have withdrawn IVCCI and myself from participating any further in the 2020 Over-50’s World Cup.”

–IANS

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