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Batting legend Rahul Dravid named coach of India A and Under-19 team by BCCI

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Batting legend Rahul Dravid has been named the coach of the India ‘A’ and Under-19 teams by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The development was confirmed by BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur at a press conference after a board meeting here on Saturday.

Thakur also said that Karnataka’s right-handed batsman Lokesh Rahul won’t be travelling with the Indian team to Bangladesh for its upcoming tour against the neighbouring country due to an injury. An immediate replacement was not named by the BCCI.

The appointment of India’s senior coach still remains a mystery.

“The current set-up of Team Director Ravi Shastri and assistant coaches Sanjay Bangar, R Sreedhar and B Arun will continue”, said Thakur.

When asked if Ganguly was being considered for the position, Thakur boldly said, “Let’s not speculate. We have not short-listed any names but in some time we will have a few names.”

Another major development announced by the BCCI was that a team of retired legends comprising Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly would spend time with Team India whenever required.

A pool of bowlers who can be groomed by specialized coaches would be selected by the cricketing majors.

“One important recommendation was to select a pool of 15 fast bowlers and 15 spinners and have specialist coaches for them,” the board secretary said.

To improve India’s performance more A tours will be conducted, especially before an important assignment of the senior team.

India is scheduled to play a Test match and three One-Day Internationals (ODIs), starting with the five-day match on June 10.

(Inputs from IANS)

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India and West Indies to face-off on the shores of the United States this month

This venture is set to tap into the massive Indian Diaspora in the US and the unexplored cricket market of America

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The Twenty20 All-Star matches concocted by Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne Image Source: espncricinfo.com
  • International cricket is now making its maiden entry into the United States of America, on the 27th  and 28th of August in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • The two matches will be held at Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, which was the same location where the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches had been held
  • This venture is set to tap into the massive Indian Diaspora in the US and the unexplored cricket market of America

August 15, 2016: International cricket is now making its maiden entry into the United States of America, on the 27th  and 28th of August in Fort Lauderdale, a city on Florida’s south-eastern coast.  The die-hard cricket fans living on the other side of the globe will now get to see their favorite stars in flesh and blood in a two-match Twenty20 International series match between India and the reigning World Twenty20 champions, West Indies.

The two matches will be held at Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, which was the same location where the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches had been held, mentioned a news portal.

After the American cricket governing body USACA’s was suspended from membership of the ICC, the task to determine whether cricket matches would be staged in the USA fell to ICC. After a meeting during the ongoing Test series, both the cricket bodies, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), the decided to take cricket to the United States and make it popular. With an aim to develop cricket in the USA and unify the USA cricket community, the ICC sanctioned the two T20 matches between India and the West Indies to be held in Florida on the 27th and 28th of August.

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ICC CEO Dave Richardson Image Source: The Hindu
ICC CEO Dave Richardson Image Source: The Hindu

According to The Perspective, David Richardson, the chief executive of ICC, says, “The ICC has approved these matches because we believe they can play a significant role in the long-term development of cricket in the USA and our ongoing efforts to unify the USA cricket community. Having the ICC World T20 Champions playing India in Florida will undoubtedly inspire both existing and new fans and players, but perhaps more importantly, the sanction fees will be invested into the ICC’s ongoing work to lay a sustainable foundation for the development of cricket in America.”

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This venture is set to tap into the massive Indian Diaspora in the US and the unexplored cricket market of America and promote this wonderful sport in new countries, thus contributing to its growth. Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president, tells the TOI that, “America has round about 3.8 million Indians and a huge number of Asians. Everyone there is passionate about cricket and they travel across the world to support and watch ‘Team India’.”

Ajay Shirke who is the secretary of BCCI added that “This initiative is path breaking in terms of the expansion of our great sport. It is our endeavour to make every possible effort to connect with fans in different parts of the world.”

The matches will start at 7:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) to keep the Indian TV audience in tune. With all the players of the Indian and West Indies team ready to face off in the new battlefield, the series is expected to draw the big Indian and Asian Diaspora to the ground.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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BCCI may appeal to Supreme court over Lodha panel recommendations

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BCCI

By Veturi Srivatsa

At the Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to find a via media to implement the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee to streamline its administration when most affiliates have serious reservations about them.

In the light of the Supreme Court’s clear warning that the board should fall in line as there is no second innings for it, there is little scope for any large-scale changes in what the Lodha panel has recommended.

There could be some minor tinkering here and there when the board goes in appeal to the Supreme Court with its objections. Don’t forget, the panel has finalized the recommendations after talking to all stakeholders.

The affiliated units are finding it difficult because quite a few of them are family concerns, sons and sons-in law in line of succession.

If the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, rejected half the steps suggest by the committee, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) predictably is seeing them through the prism of its own dysfunctionality.

Then, the state associations in the West Zone have their fears about losing their voting rights and with it their cumulative strength and their individual identity.

The idea of recommending a uniform constitution is to avoid the anomalies, but the DDCA wants to protect its turf by continuing under the Company law Board while most others, including the board, come under the Registrar of Societies Act.

The officials are also displeased with limiting the tenure of the board’s office-bearers, fixing a 70-year age-limit, one state-one vote and bar on ministers and government officials from becoming key officials.

The board might use the plea that it is difficult to govern a vast country like India with a truncated working committee and also with a three-man selection committee.

The board should not have any objection to the office-bearers each serving a maximum of three terms of nine years, though they may have reservations about the cooling off period between the stints.

President Shashank Manohar may not have qualms about shedding an additional vote and also a say in the team selection since it is not going to seriously affect his functioning, though there have been instances when the president’s casting vote tilted the balance and also saved captains.

There will now be only five elected office-bearers: president, vice president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer but this will be contested by the associations.

The board should have no objection to the inclusion of players’ representatives, including a woman, and a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the refurbished working committee, henceforth to be called the Apex Council.

For all practical purposes the panel has thrown the zonal system, with one vice-president from each zone, out of the window.

The board has already appointed Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as ombudsman and likewise should have no objection in appointing an ethics officer and an election officer.

The ombudsman is already flooded with bagful of complaints about conflict of interest and in one case involving former India captain Sourav Ganguly the board pleaded ignorance of his dealings.

The conflict of interest clause should be very clear and it should eliminate or minimize the conflict between duty and self-interest just as in the case of parliamentarians. Officials and players should be protected from extraneous influences or executive patronage so that they can function without fear or favour.

Two former Test stars, Dilip Vengsarkar and Chetan Chauhan, have already objected to the clause as they are running private cricket academies are in conflict with their positions in the board and the state associations.

The board seems to be backing its secretary, Anurag Thakur, against whom the complaint is that his own relation and a business partner in a family concern is not seen as a conflict of interest. The ombudsman has asked the complainant to state which law can be applied in Thakur’s case.

The ombudsman has spelt out the areas that constitute conflict of interest – players and officials running academies, sports management companies and apparel manufacturing units.

As a test case, he has asked India player Harbhajan Singh to either terminate his association with a company, which the off-spinner says is headed by his mother, or his position in Indian cricket.

The one-state-one-vote will hit two states – Maharashtra and Gujarat – which have three associations and field three teams each in the Ranji Trophy. Some of them will have to be stripped of their voting rights.

Maharashtra, Mumbai, Vidarbha, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra will make a case on the strength of their long standing in Indian cricket and so will the Cricket Club of India, (CCI) which will be without a vote going by the panel’s recommendation.

The panel has gone a lot further by recommending that Bihar and the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim be made members of the board with voting rights. (Assam and Tripura are already BCCI members.)

The new arrangement will reduce the bargaining strength of the West Zone, which will be reduced drastically, while the voting strength of the East will go up to a dozen – the most from any region. In the recommended states, barring Bihar, there is little cricket activity and board has a system of affiliation.

The SGM will have a long day, with state associations coming armed with legal opinion on contentious issues. Eventually, they will have to accept most of the recommendations, though the Supreme Court will take the final call if they insist on knocking on its door again. (IANS)

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Good week for Indian sports, bad news for cricket board officials

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BCCI

By Veturi Srivatsa

Good news for Indian sports in the last one week. The men’s and women’s teams have won the Twenty20 cricket series in Australia even as tennis star Sania Mirza claimed her first women’s doubles title at the Australian Open, and Pusarla Venkata Sindu clinched the Malaysian Badminton Masters. A rare coincidence!

The focus is back on the sports, coming out of courtrooms and board rooms, or so it appeared. But the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee recommendations to cleanse Indian cricket and its administration continue to be a subject matter of intense discussion among the state associations and officials, each one trying to read and interpret the fine print to suit his personal interests.

Even before the detailed Lodha Committee report is fully studied by state associations, as instructed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the appointment of Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as the board’s ombudsman, as suspected, is getting flooded with complaints, the initial ones on the alleged conflict of interest involving some top guns.

Smartly, Justice Shah lobbed the ball back into the court of the complainant, asking for the specific rules under which the allegations can be taken up for examination!

The complaint is against three high-profile administrators, two of these former India cricketers, Sourav Ganguly and Vikram Rathour. The third person dragged into the conflict is board secretary Anurag Thakur. A free-lance journalist from Mumbai found a serious conflict of interest with the functioning of all three.

It was pointed out that Ganguly has business contacts with owners of the new franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and Thakur and Rathour are said to be cousins and have business connections. The issue has apparently been raised because Thakur is the board secretary, and during his tenure as one of the principal office-bearers Rathour was appointed as a national selector.

Justice Shah has taken up the issue with Ganguly and the board for clarification, and even said that he had not heard from Ganguly, though the former India captain insists he had sent in his reply.

Thakur was quick to refute the allegations, stating his business relations with Rathour has nothing to do with cricket and that their families have known each other for four decades.

For good measure, Thakur points to a sinister motive behind the complaints as he sees names of only a particular section of the board officials are being dragged. He also defended the board’s media manager, saying he has no stake in the media company he has been linked to. What Thakur doesn’t say is that the media manager was involved with a couple of former Test stars as their agent.

Whatever Ganguly and Thakur might say, prima facie they cannot deny their personal relations with the people they are involved with and they have to come clean. The complainant has done extensive research before filing his complaints and it is up to the ombudsman to take the call.

Ganguly, who is a member of the IPL Governing Council, is a co-owner of Indian Super League football club Atletico de Kolkata along with well-known businessmen. Nothing wrong with the arrangement till one of the tycoons bought IPL’s new Pune-based franchise. It would be interesting to see how Ganguly explains it away logically with legalese thrown in.

In Thakur’s case it is more personal. He was joint secretary when Rathour was appointed as a national selector and he was secretary when the former India opening batsman got the extension, though Rathour qualifies by virtue of being a former Test player.

The crux of the matter is not whether Rathour deserves to be a selector, the complainant brought into focus Rathour citizenship, pointing out that he is a British and carries that country’s passport.

In the case of the BCCI’s media manager, the allegation is that a family member of his is taking care of his business interests. Here it must be mentioned that he also fits in with the media job as he had worked with electronic media for a few years before getting into event management. His proximity to some top players is all too well known. In the past, there were disparaging whispers about a board’s media adviser being a columnist.

Thakur has also obliquely stated that the appointment of the ombudsman has given rise to some people to make false allegations. Eventually, he has to explain his position and it is for the ombudsman to decide whether there is any conflict of interest in Ganguly and Thakur-Rathour business dealings.

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), of which Ganguly is president, is the first state unit to officially come out with objections to 10 of the 21 recommendations of the Lodha Committee!

Good week for sport, bad news of board officials. (IANS)(Photo: www.holdingwilley.com)

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist. The views expressed are personal)