Politics, ego and chaos are back at Rajasthan Cricket Association says former IPL Chairman and president Nagaur Cricket Association, Lalit Modi in an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times from London. Taking side of his one time friend-turned-foe Sanjay Dixit, who is back on friendly terms with, he took a shot at RCA President CP Joshi, saying that the minister brings days of British anarchy back and calls him egoist. Excerpts from Lalit Modi’s exclusive interview with Sachin Saini.
Is removal of Sanjay Dixit from RCA justified?
No way. Not only it is not justified, it is patently illegal. He has done tremendous work in building up a talent pool and having been a cricket player himself, he is aware of all the finer points of the game. He streamlined the selection process, put everything on the web and made sure that selectors and academy officials sweated it out in the best interest of the game. It was the team that he built that won two Ranji titles back to back. To mete out such a treatment is not just petty, but shows scant respect for the game of cricket.
Do you think Dixit is a victim of political conspiracy?
Let's not bring politics into it. He is the victim of ministerial ego. He has become a hurdle given his insistence on transparent financial systems and his opposition to the plan of building a big stadium in Udaipur when there was not enough money in the kitty for even the new stadium in Jaipur.
Your Tweeter timeline shows RCA is back in your scheme of things? Are you eyeing a comeback?
RCA never went out of my scheme of things. Things may not be so favourable at this moment, but times can change very quickly. All I will say is wait and watch this space.
How do you see the situation of RCA at present?
It is in a sorry mess. I built world class infrastructure during my time and Dixit put it to the best possible use. He brought in cricket and management reform. The present dispensation is in the hands of people who neither understand management nor cricket. It has become a den of corruption, with CP Joshi having abdicated all responsibility and being interested only in the glamour, visibility and vain glory that the position of President of RCA brings. He has no influence in BCCI and has completely failed on all fronts as far as cricket is concerned.
What made you resolve issues with Dixit?
We were together for a long time. We fought Rungta regime together. We fell apart because of issues which, on hindsight, were not in the nature of real issues. Our fight engendered a parasitical class which thrived on this duel. Even CP Joshi is there because of this. Over time, I realized that this was harming cricket and benefiting those who least cared for cricket. Even Dixit was of the same view. We do learn from the passage of time, don't we?
Looking to the past, do you think that your friendship with Dixit will last long? Is this an opportunistic friendship?
We have decided that we are looking for a long term relationship. With Dixit helping me, I can make RCA the best cricket institution in the world. We are now one of only six states to have won back to back Ranji titles and we need to take this momentum forward. He and I have no personal agenda apart from ensuring Cricket is the winner.
Do you think the faction war in RCA will ever come to end?
I am ever the optimist.
Is cricket suffering in Rajasthan? Who is to be blamed?
Cricket had been doing well till recently when Joshi suddenly decided that Dixit was not good for RCA. Dixit is a senior IAS officer who has played the game for 30 years. He is also a cricket writer and understands the nuances. Joshi used his political muscle to sideline Dixit using wholly illegal methods. These people are so petty and vicious that they humiliated even the professionals who were brought in by Dixit. I am told that they are now contemplating leaving Rajasthan because of the present management. This will take Rajasthan back many many Years.
Do you think government is involved in this whole fuss in RCA?
No, I don't think the present Government is at all involved.
How do you see CP Joshi as RCA president?
I had hoped he will be good for the game but unfortunately as a Cricket Administrator he is a disaster. It is back to the old days of British rule in the late 18th century. All power and no responsibility. He has not signed a single paper in RCA in the last 2 and a half years. He is now forced to sign cheques because of a stay order. Even in the meeting in which he is supposed have removed Dixit, he did not preside it in spite of being present there. Unfortunately he is allowing people to steer him in that direction.
Recently the chief minister’s son had been included in RCA executive committee. What have you got to say to this?
I am told he has only been made a special invitee. Not much needs to be read into this. Media speculation into this is misleading.
Though Rajasthan team won two tournaments in a row there’s no player in the national team. How do you see it?
Ans : This is unfortunate and this shows the way BCCI is working these days. The selection panel is hand picked to favour the privileged states. Pankaj Singh's case is a real eye-opener. The boy has taken more than 150 wkts. over the last 4 domestic seasons. He is an ideal bowler with the Kookaburra on hard surfaces, yet he never gets picked, not even for the 'A' tours! When India was struggling so badly, the selectors thought of everyone, even brought out an RP Singh back from the cellar, but not Pankaj Singh. Shows the way the system of BCCI is working. Domestic Cricket is completely ignored by the selectors.