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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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2019 is One of India’s Best Years in Cricket: Virat Kohli

Indian cricket in 2019 - A moment to remember

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Virat Kohli Cricket
Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli feels that 2019 was the best year for Indian cricket. Wikimedia Commons

BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH

Captain Virat Kohli’s final statement on Indian cricket at the end of the year was so true. He said, “2019 is one of India’s best years in cricket barring those 30 minutes at the World Cup.” If one reflects on the performance of Indian cricket in 2019 which started with a bang by beating Australia in a Test match series, for the first time, in Australia. This truly remarkable achievement by the Indian side not only gave it that much needed boost to their morale and confidence but also established them as the best Test side in the world.

There were a few defeats during the year but most of them were account of experimenting, resting senior players and giving opportunities to Indian players sitting on the bench.

The most significant moment that humbled the strong Indian cricket side and the year’s performances was their semi-final defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup. The Indian team had played extraordinarily well to head their group in the preliminary stage, losing only to the ultimate winners, England. Chasing a moderate total of 239 runs for victory, India’s formidable top order collapsed in just 30 minutes and were tottering at 24 for 4 even before the first 10 overs were bowled. India never recovered from that blow and their dream of winning another World Cup faded in the horizon.

India Cricket
The most significant moment that humbled the strong Indian cricket side and the year’s performances was their semi-final defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup. Wikimedia Commons

Looking back at the curtains now drawn for the year, this was perhaps the only blemish that tarnished the significant performances of the India side. The great West Indian side had a similar moment in the 1983 final when they lost to India in the World Cup. To them then, it looked like a total that they would normally chase without blinking an eyelid, but, it turned out to be their nemesis.

Cricket has these uncertain moments and the song, “one moment in time” sung by the wonderful singer Whitney Huston for the summer Olympics in 1988 held in Seoul, is so appropriate, not only for an individual but also for a team. These precious moments are all that one hopes and prays for, in the life of a sportsman. This is what finally establishes them and the team of being a winner or an also ran.

The South African cricket side is a good example of how mental pressure of failure could even affect future teams. They have on many occasions looked like a winning side in an ICC tournament and have failed to deliver due to several different reasons. The side is now branded in world cricket as “chokers” and this tag, unfortunately, has remained every time their side plays in another ICC World Cup tournament. They have in the last two decades produced some outstanding cricketers, but somehow lady-luck has never blessed them when they most need it to break out of the barriers of the past.

The year 2020 has the World T20 later in the year in Australia. India will be one of the likely tournament favourites, especially as they have two of the best T20 batsmen in Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as well as three of the top pace bowlers in Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. At present, the likely Indian T20 team will comprise of a majority of the players who were part of their World Cup 2019 side.

Indian cricket team
The skills, confidence and capability of the Indian cricket team are well known. Wikimedia Commons

This is a major factor that concerns one. For India to be successful, they will need to forget those disastrous 30 minutes of their moment in time of the year 2019. The skills, confidence and capability of the Indian side are well known to one and all, but the team will be tested more on their mental rather than on their cricketing capabilities.

This is where the BCCI will need to play a significant part in ensuring that a mental coaching and strengthening is also an important part in the preparation of the side for the World Cup T20.

International cricket is played more in the mind than on the field. For them to be at the world stage, already makes them players who have the potential and skill to be there. With less than a dozen T20I games left in the Indian calendar before their first World T20 match on October 24, 2020, they not only require to fill the million dollar question that still prevails about the middle order batters, but also, about their mental preparation for the task ahead.

The IPL (Indian Premier League) will play an important part in the final composition of the Indian T20 side, but playing for a franchise is completely different from when one wears the Indian colours.

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With more than a billion people following every step of the teams’ progress and the added responsibility of playing for the nation, the pressures are as different as chalk and cheese.

One wishes the Indian team a super 2020, with victory over New Zealand and Australia in order to qualify for the final of the ongoing World Test Championship, as well as for them to bring the World T20 trophy home — a cup that they won in the inaugural year of 2007. (IANS)