Not many would shed a tear at the demise of the present opaque administrative structure of the BCCI. The Supreme Court, after much delay and remarkable patience, despite being mocked by a defiant Board, have finally delivered the knock-out punch.
The three-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, finally did what it could have done any day after it accepted Lodha panel’s recommendations that incorporated path-breaking reforms in the cricket administration of the country.
Though one could argue some of the clauses in the recommendations were too sweeping and drastic, there was no denying the well-meaning intentions behind them. No matter what the cricketing establishment said and felt about the virtual purge that the court ordered, no well-wisher of the sport in the country was in disagreement with the order.
Good governance means putting in place systems that don’t rely on individuals and their coterie to run amok and do what they like. Be it tenure recommendations, age cap, political interference, wider representation and financial probity, the panel in its lengthy and cogent recommendations took care of almost every minute detail and have more or less made a new constitution for the cricket board to follow.
In fact, the clamour that these recommendations should be implemented by all other sports bodies will grow now. It is possible and certainly desirable, especially after two tainted officials, Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala were made life presidents of the Indian Olympic Committee, that the courts could intervene and force all sports bodies in the country to come under the ambit of the Lodha recommendations.
The sports ministry, that took strong umbrage to the IOA’ s obnoxious step to reward these two officials, and forced a rethink, should now go a step ahead and make the administrative set-up of the Olympics sports in the country to fall in line.
As for as the cricket administration is concerned, it will be very interesting to see, whether those, and that includes most, will cooperate with the new observers to be appointed on January 19 or will continue to be defiant. It is not going to be that easy for the observers, not well-versed with the intricate and stealthy manner in which the Baord functions, to usher in a smooth transfer from the old to the new.
The old order, powerless but not helpless, could resort to sabotage, creating major obstacles in the running of the day to day affairs of the Board. The major test would be the one-day series that is going to be played this month against England. Nothing would please them more than to see the series being marred by organizational lapses just to prove that the change is not going to do any good to the game.
That is where the new observers have to be careful and we should not reach a stage where the court has to keep on intervening and passing orders to punish the guilty.
That Anurag Thakur had to invite censure and a show-cause notice why perjury and contempt proceeding should not be initiated against him is a sad reflection on how the Board treated the Court order. This is, perhaps, a warning to all other officials to fall in line, or face the music.