A step in the right direction. That’s how one would like to describe the revoking of the suspension of Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul on Thursday. Following a lot of confusion during which the cricketers were left in limbo at least the right decision has been taken and it is good to know that Pandya is already on his way to join the Indian team in New Zealand while Rahul can play domestic cricket or represent India A against England Lions.

Both the BCCI and the CoA have come out with little credit from the episode. Conflicting reports from the officials made for an unclear scenario and left them red faced. Now that the decision has been taken to lift the suspension imposed about two weeks ago things can start falling into place.

Certainly the two deserve to be handed out some sort of punishment for their crass and sexist comments on the Karan Johar show but the punishment should always fit the crime. Even though both players have apologized some action should be taken against them and now that will depend on the adjudication of the Supreme Court appointed ombudsman

Once the ban was lifted the cricketers were free to play representative cricket. As one official put it “If Ben Stokes could continue playing while the court case was on why can’t that be applicable for Pandya and Rahul.’’

The conusion prevailed because CoA chairman Vinod Rai was in favour of placing a two-match suspension and allowing the players to return pending an inquiry by an ad-hoc ombudsman. However, former India woman’s captain Diana Edulji, the other half of the CoA, disagreed, saying either the office-bearers and the COA carry out the inquiry or it be done by an ombudsman. Two of the three BCCI office-bearers then pointed out that the ombudsman could only be appointed by the BCCI.

It was then decided that the CoA would wait for the Supreme Court to take a call on the appointment of the ombudsman, considering the BCCI had failed to fill the position lying vacant since late 2016. At a hearing last week, the court deferred its decision saying it would have a say only after amicus curiae PS Narasimha took charge.

Edulji remained stubborn in her stance but Narasimha is learned to have intervened and said the interim suspensions over the players be lifted subject to the ombudsman’s adjudication, once appointed.

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