Former India coach Gary Kirsten joined the beleaguered and faction-ridden Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for a 10-day pre-season camp on Tuesday.
The former South Africa opener, who helped India reach the pinnacle in Test rankings and topped his coaching stint with a World Cup win and then followed up on this success by helping South Africa reach the top of Test rankings, has been roped in to help the Rajasthan players prepare for the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.
As of now, Kirsten will just be with the team for the 10 days but there are talks that he might be roped in for the entire season. That is subject to the financial health of the association and whether the RCA, which hasn’t received BCCI subvention for the past four years, can spare money from its depleting reserves to hire the coach.
A source within the RCA said that Kirsten has been hired for around $20,000-30,000 (Rs 13 to 20 lakh) for this short camp. This is just a rough estimate doing the rounds.
It should be noted that in the last RCA elections, held over two years ago, Lalit Modi and his faction came out triumphant following which the BCCI suspended the association. The tussle between the Modi faction and the BCCI as well its band of supporters has dragged on in the court of law. The court had appointed Amrit Mathur as the mediator between the RCA and BCCI.
However, the matter came to a boil when the RCA this week realised that the team staff and support staff over the past season was changed, allegedly at the behest of the mediator, without the knowledge of this RCA faction.
A source close to the association told HT, “The BCCI has been throttling the freedom of the elected body. The RCA hasn’t been paid subvention due to them for the past four years. When this faction came to power, it had Rs 25-27 crore in reserves and it has been using money out of that to meet expenses to run state level tournaments and pay for the camps.”
Another source adds that the decision to extend Kirsten’s contract for the whole length of the season can’t be done without BCCI’s permission as all decisions pertaining to the Ranji and the national level has to be done by the BCCI.
“The BCCI has been bearing the expenses for the Ranji games that Rajasthan plays—as Team Rajasthan—the squad selected under its supervision. However, the Board has been neglectful. It is supposed to pay RCA Rs 1 lakh per day for the matches held at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium that it uses. It hasn’t paid anything to date.”
The RCA has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rajasthan government under which the ground has been given to them for use. The RCA maintains it and spends on the maintenance out of the money it has got in the reserves.
When approached, the BCCI Game Development Officer, Ratnakar Shetty refused to comment.