Poll buzz takes pole seat ahead of Proteas series
Indian cricket runs on autopilot! It has a 50-year-old template for domestic cricket which has undergone modifications in tune with the times. These days there is little scope for maneuverability for individual boards when it comes to international cricket, it is run by the ICC. The South Africans are here. They have already played three T20Is and are getting ready for the Test series. Whatever the Lodha Committee has said about Indian cricket and the way it was run till it sat to redraft the board’s constitution, no one would have imagined a visiting team playing a warm-up game at Vizianagaram, driving an hour from Vizag, the venue for the first Test.That’s what the money in the game has done, creating infrastructure in remote areas.
The buzz is on the upcoming cricket board elections, the first under the Supreme Court appointed Lodha Committee recommendations. Though the Lodha Committee submitted its report in 2015, it took four years to implement it. Still there are state associations which have not adopted the new constitution in toto and are interpreting some of the clauses to suit their mindset.
Some units are adamant they could be represented at the board’s annual general meeting by anyone, irrespective of their age, as long as they are not office-bearers or aspiring to run for any position in the board. Their contention is the court’s ruling of September 20 is silent. The CoA is clear that no member above 70 will be allowed to attend either the affiliated units or the BCCI’s AGM.
Some state associations, with the backing of powerful men, are trying to stonewall the implementation of the new constitution on the plea that some of the clauses need clarification from the court. They say the age-bar clause applies only to office-bearers whereas CoA clarified that it applies to everyone attending the board/state meetings. The CoA is clear that all state associations must fall in line and hold AGMs by October 4 if it has to be represented at the board AGM.
At least two prominent khalifas, N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah, are keen on attending the board AGM as representatives of Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra. Tamil Nadu has elected Sriniasan’s daughter Rupa Gurunath as president and Saurashtra Shah’s son Jaydev as president. In Delhi, the late Arun Jaitley installed his friend and media man Rajat Sharma as president and the DDCA “kingpin,” a word made famous by the enforcement agencies, is planning to get a family member to take over. Taking the cue from the czars of Indian cricket, the lesser known officials in other state associations are also planning similar appointments.
The board has come a long way from the days of valets, drivers, butlers, cooks being elected as voting members of the state associations. But the stranglehold of the rich and powerful continues.
The Baroda Cricket Association proudly stated that for the first time there is no office-bearer from the royal family. Samarjitsinh Gaekwad could not continue under the Lodha tenure rule.
The CoA has sent to various associations on their failure to comply with the new constitution on different counts. In the case of Tamil Nadu it has pointed out that it is non-compliant on 21 counts. The Cricket Association of Bengal has obviously has no constitutional issues to answer and its office-bearers, with Sourav Ganguly as president, as well as its apex council members have been re-elected unopposed.
The new-look BCCI set-up will be known when the list of contestants is out on October 16 and the electoral rolls will be released on October 10.
(The writer is a veteran commentator. Views expressed are personal. He can be reached at email@example.com)