No better person than Ganguly to lead BCCI: Rai

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-10-24 10:35:00

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New Delhi, October 23

After an eventful 33-month tenure, Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai is happy that someone of Sourav Ganguly’s stature is taking over the reins of Indian cricket. After his tenure ended, the former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) spoke to PTI on a range of issues. Excerpts:

How do you look at Ganguly’s ascension to the BCCI president’s post?

I have great respect for Sourav... My respect for him grew even more watching him efficiently manage the Cricket Association of Bengal ... the fact that cricketer of that capability and distinction will be running the BCCI. I don’t think there is anyone better than Sourav to take over the reins of the BCCI.

How do you look at your tenure?

It has been a very satisfying experience because there are four former players in major administration now. There is Sourav (Ganguly), IPL chairman is Brijesh Patel, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy are in the Apex Council. We have been able to create a Players’ Association, which wasn’t initially being accepted. We have been totally transparent. The minutes of 100-plus CoA meetings (status reports) are available on the board’s website. There has been no dilution of Lodha recommendations.

You called yourself a ‘nightwatchman’ but there are allegations that CoA overstayed its invitation?

I will tell you what went wrong. There were 92 Interim Applications (IA) filed (in the Supreme Court). Then appointment of new Amicus Curiae (PS Narsimha), who was asked to mediate and it ended only in August, 2019. About allegations that we got into administration but what is the order of the SC judgement on August 9, 2018? That we will implement the reforms and run administration of the BCCI till the general body takes over.

What was more difficult — handling political might as CAG or handling the BCCI ‘old guard’ as CoA chief?

This (CoA) was no challenge at all. I had no interaction with them (the disqualified 70-plus people). They had interaction only in the court.

Doesn’t conflict of interest rule, as per Lodha reforms, seem draconian?

The end result, by which I mean the Apex Court verdict combined with our recommendations, is the most ideal solution. The cricketers have a very short playing life. They have gathered experience in the sport and why should they be denied entry as commentator, mentor or coaches of IPL teams.

There is a perception that you gave Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri free hand.

If the head coach and the captain are given free hand, in cricketing matters, what’s wrong with that? I was very clear that we won’t interfere in the selection process and the cricketing matters.

Couldn’t the Anil Kumble episode (his stepping down as India coach after a falling-out with Kohli) have been handled better by the CoA?

No, but I don’t want to comment on that issue. I respect Anil Kumble too much, both as coach and cricketer, to get into what happened then.

In the case of sexual harassment allegation against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, it is believed that the process of enquiry wasn’t correct.

I had the satisfaction of allowing principles of natural justice to apply to him (Johri) and also at the same time permitted an independent enquiry. The first complainant disappeared and we didn’t even know the details of what happened. The enquiry committee permitted two other complainants to depose their versions. Not only that, two office-bearers also deposed.

Your differences with fellow CoA member Diana Edulji are well documented.

We had two major disagreements — the Johri sexual harassment case and the issue of women’s head coach along with the Mithali Raj-Ramesh Powar fall-out. I believe professional disagreements can always occur and it’s ok to have an opinion. I respect her views. I cut my umbilical cord on 23rd evening. It’s my principle that whenever I have left, I have left without carrying any baggages. — PTI

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