Sports Cricket 02 Feb 2017 Best possible step t ...

Best possible step to clean up cricket admin

Published Feb 2, 2017, 12:49 am IST
Updated Feb 2, 2017, 12:53 am IST
Two top administrators with a sound financial background on the committee are the best things that could have happened to cricket.
Vinod Rai
 Vinod Rai

The top court may have taken the best possible step to bring some order to the BCCI. The board’s bigwigs needed this treatment with the big stick to make them see sense as otherwise they would have happily enjoyed the interregnum. They needed to be sent packing and finally the court decided to implement the much needed reform in the form of an administrative panel as suggested by the Lodha panel.

Two top administrators with a sound financial background on the committee are the best things that could have happened to cricket. They are the ones who will bring the much needed financial probity while putting a stop to all the machinations that are known to go on in the world of television royalties, with the percentages possibly fuelling the favour system that used to keep the top honchos of BCCI in power forever.

 

With Mr Vinod Rai in control and Mr Vikram Limaye around with his expertise in big ticket deals that should help him tackle the TV royalties, Indian cricket is bound to stay rich — and honest besides. Whether we agree with the other two choices of a retired woman cricketer and a historian or not, the fact remains this panel will do far better than the honchos who used to claim great professional sagacity in administration even as they admitted to an ‘honorary’, amateur status.

A ‘night watchman’ Mr Rai may have termed his role, but he has the ability to straighten out the processes of BCCI admin to ensure they become standard operating procedures. What the board needs is a corporate approach to handling the issues in the office while the game’s requirements are looked after by people with expertise, who naturally enough are the retired players.  It might have come as a surprise to the former president, who wished the Supreme Court judges good luck, that cricket is going on very well in his absence.

 

When a qualified CEO is capable of coordinating with the secretaries of member associations to make a success of the ongoing international tour by team England, what is it that makes these ‘honorary’ officials feel so superior that the game cannot go on without them? And yet, it is only democratic that an elected body retake the reins of administration provided they have seen the light of the reforms recommended by three legal luminaries who served on the Lodha panel and are willing to abide by them. If they feel only the old honchos can lead them, then they would have to take a longer enforced holiday from their spots in the associations.

 

There is no question of defying the court now that it has firmly decided to go the Lodha way by appointing the panel of administrators. If associations remain delinquent in not carrying out the reforms, they face the threat of not being recognised by the BCCI, which means the fund flow can be cut off and international matches not allotted. The panel may never penalise players for the intransigence of their associations. Even so, it is the duty of the associations to put the welfare of the game and players first before that of the great past honchos and ensure that their associations are reforms-compliant so that the fgame can go on smoothly.

 

There was cricket before these honchos arrived on the admin scene and there will be cricket after they disappear. Cricket has often enough proved that no one is indispensable. This is a lesson the administrators refuse to learn. Even those reluctant to retire as Team India captains see the writing on the wall and call it a day at some time. The longest serving cricketers also choose a time to hang up their boots. But the admin man, who gets accustomed to the super stars paying obeisance because they are in positions of power, usually wishes to stay on forever, towards which he is ready to manipulate his vote bank every which way to stay ensconced.

 

Some confusion regarding the rights and roles of the old admin men still left in the mix was bound to arise. But now that we know Vinod Rai is in charge, the command centre is defined. The question of an administrator sitting in selection committee meetings may be necessary to pass on any disciplinary issues etc. But by allowing this, dominating honchos became free to hijack the whole selection process.

The presence of the CEO could serve the purpose equally well as he is unlikely to take ‘control’ as certain so-called strong men of Indian cricket were known to.

 

The selectors, who are obviously picking a team that is functional and winning its fair share of matches, should be allowed the freedom to make their choices. Let the players and the former players look after that part and let’s just get on with the game.

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