With the Supreme Court accepting most of the recommendations made the Justice RM Lodha committee, the cricket board is braced for a root-and-branch change in its functioning.
Among the most prominent recommendations of the panel report was to bar ministers and bureaucrats from holding office, at the state or national level.
It also disqualifies those over 70 from holding office, allows only one post per person and restricts each state to one voting member, among other decisions.
Some of the recommendations made by the Lodha panel in its report released on January 4 have already been implemented.
It anticipated the Supreme Court to pretty much go by the report of the committee it appointed in January, 2015 as a follow-up to its probe panel on the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Among them are the appointment of a CEO and Chief Operating Officer as well as providing information on its website.
The Lodha panel’s recommendations is aimed at loosening the grip of individuals with influence and certain pockets that effectively control the administration of cricket in India.
Still, cricket administration is way ahead of other sports federations and politicians alone can’t be blamed for the BCCI’s dent in image.
A quick glance at what triggered the chain reaction that led to Monday’s firm stand by the Supreme Court shows that tweaking the BCCI constitution in the first place, ahead of the 2008 launch of the Indian Premier League, to let a senior office-bearer own a team paved the way for conflict of interest.
N Srinivasan, who was allowed to own Chennai Super Kings while holding a senior post while the then BCCI president was Shashank Manohar.
Although the Lodha committee has laid out a lot in black and white, real transformation will come only when senior BCCI members decide to usher in change for the better.
A mere review of the developments starting with the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and leading to the conflict of interest case against N Srinivasan as BCCI president will encourage them to do it.
BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke, had told HT in an interview during the Supreme Court hearings on the Lodha panel report that the time has come to make BCCI a ‘process driven organisation than a person driven one’.
He could not have put it better. Cricket, by far the most popular sport in India, has provided tremendous goodwill and influence for its officials and hence has attracted powerful figures down the year. But politics has trumped professional administration, especially in certain state associations.
“It definitely has tremendous room for improvement… My goal now is to make the Board more of a process-driven organisation than a person driven one,” Shirke had said.
The Pune businessman has said he will quit as Maharashtra Cricket Association president to retain his BCCI position.
Shirke acknowledged the past failings. “Certain decisions were taken that have affected BCCI’s image. These decisions were taken because the structure at the time permitted it.
“So, I feel a system-driven protocol needs to be implemented. The focus will be to help restore BCCI’s image.”
Restricting individuals to one post, for instance will be a step forward. But it will be vital the BCCI gets proactive to usher in transparency.
“BCCI is financially self-reliant… We have delivered good cricket and all that is needed now is course correction. There is no need to reinvent, but just fine-tuning the way the Board management is handled should do,” Shirke said.
Fine-tuning, as Shirke said, alone may not be enough. In Australia, administrative reforms were ushered in by a panel tasked by Cricket Australia (CA). And its recommendations were promptly implemented. Same was the case with the England board (ECB).
In India, the Lodha panel had to pore through those reports and include the salient points. That shows there is much gap to bridge between recommendation and implementation.