Tuesday, 29 November, 2022
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Has Indian cricket administration become messier after Supreme Court involvement in 2015?

Former cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir has said that Indian cricket should be run by administrators and not the Supreme Court, days before BCCI is scheduled to hold elections for the first time since January 2017.

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Former cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir has said that Indian cricket should be run by administrators and not the Supreme Court, days before BCCI is scheduled to hold elections for the first time since January 2017. Last week, former captain Kapil Dev resigned as BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee chief after Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association member Sanjeev Gupta filed a complaint of conflict of interest, citing SC-appointed Lodha Committee’s July 2015 reform recommendations. CoA has also barred cricket associations of Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Maharashtra from BCCI elections for not amending their Constitutions according to an order by the SC.

ThePrint asks: Has Indian cricket administration become messier after Supreme Court involvement in 2015? 

BCCI was always run by members even during major problems, far serious in magnitude than when SC intervened

Lokendra Pratap Sahi
Senior journalist

Former Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur had presided over a bench that passed a game-changing order on 18 July 2016, asking the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to enact the recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha Committee. However, three years on, the suggestions are yet to be implemented by all affiliates or members. The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has been calling the shots since January 2017 even though there are still some appeals and interventions pending before the Supreme Court. So, what does this say about the current situation?

More importantly, this period has also seen a decline in the BCCI’s clout in the International Cricket Council and the authoring of faux pas such as wanting the world cricket body to act against Pakistan for acts of terrorism.

No one is debating the fact that the BCCI needed reforms in some areas, but such drastic changes were definitely not required. We must understand that the BCCI was always run by its affiliates or members even when there were major problems, far bigger in magnitude than when the Supreme Court intervened.

We must question what the CoA has done, except humiliate the last set of office-bearers. It does not escape anybody’s notice that CoA chief Vinod Rai went out of his way to protect CEO Rahul Johri, who faced allegations of grave misconduct.

One can only hope that the coming BCCI elections, on 23 October, will help it get back on track in terms of administration.

Also read: Another BCCI farce: All CAC members resign over ‘conflict’, but decisions not under review

SC-appointed CoA ensured matters that were cribbed about earlier are no longer an issue

Kirti Azad
Former Indian cricketer

The Indian cricket administration has improved significantly since the Supreme Court got involved in 2015. It’s because of the Supreme Court that an apex council (Committee of Administrators) now looks after all cricket-related affairs.

This body handles negotiations for the welfare of the cricketers along with the BCCI spokesperson. It mainly seeks to uphold the preamble of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Cricketers’ Association (ICA), which promises to improve the quality and standards of cricket in India, work on the development and promotion of the sport, eliminate unethical practices, and address the interest and welfare of cricketers. It is because of the apex council that things that were earlier cribbed about are no longer an issue.

I am extremely pleased with the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed-Lodha Committee. I think it is a beautifully drafted document. I deposed before the committee thrice and I am satisfied that all the things I pointed out were included in the recommendations. There will always be some or the other loopholes that people will find, but on the whole, the recommendations have been executed fairly well.

Indian cricket team & BCCI are perceived as insular and arrogant. This needs to be addressed

Jaideep Verma
Writer-director and founder of Impact Index

Indian cricket has been on an upward swing for a while, primarily due to the improvement in the skill levels of bowlers. But it is still suffering from an age-old problem — the deification of players. Despite having its best bowling side in years, India lost a great opportunity in the World Cup because the team management could not force Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bat higher up in the order, which disoriented the entire middle-order.

However, not all is well with the cricket fraternity as a whole. The World Cup final in July showed that four elite umpires could not even interpret the laws of the game properly. The terribly conceived World Test Championship, embarrassing for the way it does not prioritise the sanctity of the series or even competition for all sides, is another example.

And now politics has caught hold of the sport, as is evident from utterances (with Twitter being the microphone) and actions of some current cricketers (Dhoni’s army insignia, for example) and the blatantly political tweets by former cricketers (like the identically-worded posts by Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan on Imran Khan’s speech, which is so obviously “paid content”).

This tolerance of mainstream politics creeping into Indian cricket in this unprecedented way could be the beginning of the decline of a team that is easily the most unpopular in the world, at least among non-Indians, thanks to their perceived insularity and arrogance — especially of the BCCI’s. Hopefully, some course correction can happen soon, like urgently addressing how Indian cricketers are perceived today.

Also read: It’s time Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji stepped away for the good of Indian cricket

SC’s involvement brought a check on arbitrary expenditure. All travel plans need to be cleared by CoA

Neeraj Kumar
Former Chief Advisor to BCCI

It is difficult to answer whether Indian cricket administration has improved after the Supreme Court’s involvement in 2015. But it certainly wasn’t better before.

The one thing that has changed is that there is now a check on arbitrary or needless expenditure. Whoever associated with Indian cricket or BCCI wishes to travel needs permission from the Committee of Administrators (CoA) now. One cannot plan trips at the cost of the authorities. So, the fact that expenditure has become more streamlined and strategic is a good thing.

Having said that, there is a very evident arbitrariness in the handling of certain matters with very little transparency. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri who was accused of sexual misconduct last year is a case in point. The BCCI did not want to hear the complaint initially, and did so only after coming under immense pressure.

When it finally did, it formed a committee with its own people and provided no reasoning or explanation for the clean chit to Johri. I would say the entire process was extremely brazen and audacious.

Moreover, after the Supreme Court’s involvement, nepotism has increased within the administration. Old cricketers are allowed to keep playing, and younger cricketers lose out on a chance. The BCCI is bending the rules and shifting the goalposts according to its own will.

Lodha Committee recommendations for BCCI were not executed properly which made Indian cricket messier

Kanthi D Suresh
Editor-in-chief, Power Sportz

When the Supreme Court first got involved in the BCCI’s operations in 2015, the main intent was to clean up the body and make it more efficient. However, what ended up happening was that the entire process became messier because the SC-appointed Lodha Committee’s recommendations for the BCCI were not executed in the way they were envisioned.

Currently, there is a complete lack of clarity on what needs to be done. The incidents in the last four years have turned the tables on the BCCI, which was once considered the power centre when all state cricket associations were dependent on it.

The BCCI now has been reduced to the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that spends all its time in legal processes and modalities, while the state associations have taken control of the decision-making process.

The entire legal process has become so complicated that each process is subject to multifarious legal interpretations, where no order is properly executed. The entire system has totally collapsed. The BCCI election is scheduled for 23 October and I am not sure if it will even be held. If it does, then the outcome will take us back to square one.

It’s unclear what was achieved in the last three years, apart from making wealthy law firms wealthier

Anand Vasu
Cricket writer

The more things change with Indian cricket administration, the more they stay the same. The court-appointed Committee of Administrators had one principal task, which was to implement the reforms set out by the Justice Lodha Commission. After nearly three years in office, these recommendations, first watered down by the courts themselves, have been implemented in letter, but in spirit nothing has changed.

After all, those who were accused of clinging on to posts at any costs now have their proxies in place. It is unclear what was achieved in the last three years, apart from making some already wealthy law firms wealthier. If anything, there are fewer genuine parties interested in contributing to the game, what with a liberal stretching of conflict of interest guidelines that rule out almost anyone and everyone.

Aside from giving the appointed and not elected Committee of Administrators a feel of what it’s like to be in charge of running cricket, it is unclear what has been achieved in their tenure. The structure of the organisation has not been significantly altered and enough loopholes have been left in place for those who want to run the game without having official positions to still do so.

By Revathi Krishnan, journalist at ThePrint

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  1. I think so. The CoA has overstayed its welcome. Some specific reforms could have been mandated by the apex court. The RTI Act being made applicable to the BCCI for its administrative and commercial affairs. All important contracts – broadcast rights, for example – being negotiated with higher transparency, a lot of financial information displayed on its website.

    • It seems odd to say this, with Shri Vinod Rai in charge, but the accounts of the BCCI should be audited by the CAG. In some ways, it is part of the Indian state.

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