Anurag Thakur, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), referred to Jagmohan Dalmiya, LK Advani and President Pranab Mukherjee while explaining why Board members think certain recommendations of the Lodha Committee are, well, not cricket.
Speaking to reporters at the Eden Gardens media box on Monday, Thakur said BCCI members have, following long discussions, decided to explain why the Lodha Committee report can’t be accepted in toto. The BCCI will do that by October 6 (Thursday), when the matter will also be heard at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has given the BCCI until Thursday to respond to a status report submitted by the Lodha Committee. The committee sought removal of top BCCI office-bearers so that its recommendations could be implemented.
The ‘cooling off’ period, for instance, would affect continuity, said Thakur. He was referring to the recommendation of a three-year layoff for an administrator after holding any post for nine consecutive years.
Stating that the BCCI has the highest regard for the Supreme Court, Thakur explained why he thought it shouldn’t be a ‘no country for old men’.
“Should the Parliament have had such a rule, how would I, as a young MP, have heard and learnt from senior leaders like Pranab ji (President Pranab Mukherjee) and (LK) Advani ji? Would Dalmiya ji have achieved such a standing in world cricket had he been given limited time frame as administrator who are anyway elected? It would seriously affect continuity in your work is what the BCCI members felt (at the BCCI SGM in Mumbai on Saturday),” said Thakur.
That’s not the only roadblock to accepting the reforms in letter and spirit, said Thakur.
“Going forward, the BCCI will have to choose between playing the Champions Trophy and the IPL,” he said. “Now, should we do something that affects the fastest growing domestic league, one that has led to forming such leagues in football and hockey? That is a call we will have to take.”
The BCCI has always been open to reforms, said Thakur before dwelling at length on the work done over the past 18 months as proof. Among the things Thakur referred to were the process of appointing a cricket advisory committee (comprising Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly) and selecting Anil Kumble as coach.
When the conversation shifted to the Decision Review System (DRS) and India skipper Virat Kohli’s recent comment that he was open to reconsidering at the idea, Thakur said that it is the BCCI’s position too and that a fresh look would be taken at a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Cape Town between October 9-13.
“If the DRS is 95% correct and so are the umpires, what is the point of implementing it? Also, if it is to be implemented, it has to be done for all series during a stipulated period. It can’t be done for one series and not for another,” said Thakur.
The Board president also felt that though there is no rule, being a former international cricketer, Sandip Patil should have known that what happens at selection committee meetings needs to be kept confidential. That is how it should be even after their term ends, he said.
Asked if, going by Patil’s experience, it would be decided beforehand that former selectors won’t be allowed to share their experiences, Thakur said the BCCI would take a call on that when ‘such a situation happens.’
Thakur also defended MSK Prasad being the chairman of selectors, saying sometimes numbers don’t tell the tale.
“Do you know the kind of work MSK has done in developing cricket in Andhra Pradesh? Then, there is also the thing about his military school background that instills discipline. We can’t get former internationals from their homes and make them selectors. We got 94 applications and chose from it,” he said.