Mumbai: The tension between the Indian cricket board and Lodha panel has now reached its peak and the drama of the tussle is now unfolding in press conferences.
BCCI’s reluctance to implement the Lodha committee recommendations is the worst kept secret in India.
The Lodha panel was formed by the apex court in 2015 after the Justice Mudgal committee recommended reforms in BCCI. The Mudgal committee was asked to look into the affairs of the cricket board after 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting charges.
The three-member Lodha panel recommended sweeping changes in BCCI aimed at bringing transparency in the board. Few of the recommendations include, ‘one man, one post’ policy to counter conflict of interests and that no minister or government servant can be elected to BCCI.
Now you know why the politicians cum BCCI officials are so strongly opposing these recommendations. After all, BCCI is the only organisation that can bring political enemies like Sharad Pawar and Arun Jaitley on the same pitch.
The recent events indicate that the BCCI has now resorted to arm-twisting methods to tackle the Lodha panel.
The drama started on Monday, when BCCI president Anurag Thakur said India may have to pull out of next year’s Champions Trophy, blaming it on the Lodha panel. The panel recommended that there has to be a 15-day window before and after the IPL.
The 2017 IPL is likely to end in the last week of May while the Champions Trophy is scheduled from June 1-18.
The theatrics continued on Tuesday, a national daily broke the news that the BCCI is mulling to call off the ongoing India-New Zealand home series. Thakur blasted the Lodha panel for asking banks to freeze BCCI’s accounts.
"Cricket cannot go ahead without money. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doesn't take money from the Indian Government. It is very disappointing that the bank accounts of the BCCI have been frozen. The banks were asked not to allot us money," Thakur told the media.
Now it was Lodha panel’s turn. Justice RM Lodha, the former Chief Justice of India called BCCI’s bluff and cleared the confusion. Lodha clarified that the recommendations won’t affect India’s participation in the Champions Trophy as the calendar has already been prepared a year back.
On the bank accounts issue, the panel said they have not asked the banks to freeze the accounts of the board. Instead, they have asked the board to not disburse large funds to the state associations.
"We have not frozen the accounts of BCCI, we have directed the BCCI to not disburse funds to the state association. Day to day affairs, routine expenditure, matches, games, that should go on. There is absolutely no prohibition," Lodha told the media.
Some former players have opined that few recommendations like ‘one state, one vote’ and a ‘70-year age’ limit are too harsh.
The Lodha panel had recommended a three-member selection committee, with each member having Test experience. The recently appointed selection committee has been in clear defiance of the Supreme Court’s directives. The five-member panel has a combined experience of 13 Tests and two of its member doesn’t have any Test experience.
The cricket board has hardly done anything to implement the ‘one man, one position’ and ‘70-year age’ limit policy.
Is the BCCI trying to create a negative image of the Lodha panel in the eyes of cricket fans?
Once we were the world leaders in hockey, negligence has pushed us back for ages. The situation got so bad that India did not even qualify for the 2012 Olympics. As a fan, I hope the future doesn’t hold the same for cricket.
Indian cricket has hit a new ‘low’ if BCCI actually did think about calling off the ongoing series with New Zealand on the basis of baseless accusations. The saddest part is that the biggest loser in all of this is the cricket fan....