The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) better clean up its act fast. As one of the three government nominees appointed by the Sports Ministry to overlook the working of the DDCA, Vibhakar Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Congress aspirant from Uttar Pradesh, is concerned by the association's staggering ability to make one negative headline after another, and warns of playing 'a more aggressive role' unless the DDCA improves.
Shastri, along with fellow nominees Sachin Pilot and Jitender Hooda, has been keeping a keen eye on the recent developments in the DDCA, with charges of nepotism, selection inadequacies, hooliganism and corruption flying thick and fast, and is in his second term as the observer, meaning that he is well-aware of the modus operandi of the notorious association and even more determined to make the association more transparent.
You have been a govt nominee since 2004, yet the working of the DDCA remains unprofessional.
This is my second term with the DDCA and I think we have tried to bring a change in the culture, atmosphere and working of the association. I have personally spoken to president Arun Jaitley about this and Sachin and Jitender and I are in constant touch. As nominees, we must ensure that meritorious players get their right and are not ignored for any other reasons. If we feel that this is not happening, we can play a very aggressive role.
I was a part of the selection committee during my first tenure but have not been able to devote as much time as possible in the past year. However, after the executive committee elections of the DDCA in March, we will play a more hands-on role and take care of these problems.
What exactly do you have in mind?
The most unfortunate thing happening is the perception people have of it. We have a remarkable pool of talent in junior and senior levels and yet we generate negative headlines and there is this perception of negativity. But that said, we're trying to root out major causes of this along with a few people who are bringing a bad name to the association. I was reading stories about a player threatening selectors; this kind of hooliganism has to be cracked down upon. We will evaluate things after the elections.
The renovation of the Ferozeshah Kotla went on for ages and even after the construction, the DDCA does not have a completion certificate.
It is indeed something to be looked at. We have asked the executive committee for the reasons for this and I have personally asked Mr Jaitley to provide us with details as to why the association hasn't obtained the completion certificate. During my first tenure, the stadium was coming up and the work had only started, hence it was too early to ask the DDCA about anything, although I was part of some committees. But now that the stadium has taken shape and is almost complete, why we are not getting the completion certificate is a valid question and we're looking into it.