BANGALORE: When Ajay Shirke quit as BCCI treasurer following the 2013 IPL spot-fixing controversy, it was seen as an unprecedented step. Earlier this month, he returned to the BCCI fold as secretary. The Lodha panel recommendations offers the biggest challenge but Shirke feels the Board has emerged stronger. A concerted effort will see BCCI weather the storm.
You enter the BCCI at a stage when there are serious implications against the Board...
One cannot forget that despite the issues, in the past 18-20 months BCCI has delivered what it does best, that is cricket. Not a single match has been disrupted, IPL has gone off smoothly. It definitely has tremendous room for improvement. But it is not what it is being made out to be. It is for us to implement decisions that have been made. Former president Shashank Manohar has already addressed a few areas. My goal now is to make the Board more of a process driven organisation than a person driven one.
What is affecting BCCI?
The problems are not chronic. 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. There needs to be objectivity. BCCI is financially selfreliant. We are among the top three as a cricket team of all times. 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 Board management is handled.
How do you see Lodha panel recommendations impact the Board?
Which of these recommendations will be implemented is still under consideration of the Supreme Court. It would be premature for me to comment. However, there are certain proposed reforms like the restrictions on advertisements during matches which we don’t see having any connect to the original brief that was given to the panel. I do not see how cutting ads by nearly 80% will improve BCCI’s management. In fact, it might just shut down the BCCI. As far as transparency, fair-play are concerned we are all for it. We have begun implementing many steps. But we cannot take steps which are not relevant. Removing an existing association (one state-one vote) and substituting them with an association where there is no record, accounts, how is that going to improve BCCI’s management?
The secretary has been seen as the executive officer of the Board. How will the new dynamics work with a CEO in place?
There is no conflict. Secretary is an elected representative and will come and go. A CEO is an employee of the BCCI and will always be there. He is the executive arm of the secretary’s office. We will be working together. The provision that states the secretary is the CEO of the Board was implemented long ago which does not mean it is relevant today. There are members who still have a problem with it. In future the clauses in the constitution can always be revisited.
There were arguments that you spend a lot of time away from India for your business...
My position on that front even as treasurer was the same. With the technology available now, it is possible to handle affairs from anywhere. To say that a secretary has to punch in and out a card everyday at the Board office is irrelevant. I would say, the secretary should spend less time in the Board office and not micro-manage every detail.
Your plans for cricket at the state level?
I believe cricket activities pertaining to the field should by and large be handled by cricketers. We want to strengthen the advisory role of cricketers. The idea is to distance us (administrators) from cricketing decisions. The president (Anurag Thakur) recently decided to advertise the post for a new coach. It is a new transparent process that has been initiated. It is a different way of looking at the process which was earlier based on recommendations.
There is a committee comprising of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly, but they hardly seem to meet.
We could say they have not met as much as they should have. We have plans to set goals for such committees and set a system where they have to meet regularly.
Is there a dearth of interested candidates for India coach?
On the contrary, there are more than what we would like. There is a long list waiting. Once we make the advertisement public, I assure you we will hit a three-digit mark. Who does not want to work with the best team in the world and the best pay-masters?
How do you think we can end spot-fixing?
The best recommendation the Lodha Panel has made is the legalisation of betting. Only then can we, at our level, work better at monitoring and educating youngsters.
How do you see Manohar’s decision to end the big three?
One cannot talk about transparency here and do the opposite at the international level. It is a decision that has yet to take effect. We will see how it works out. But, I have great expectations from Mr Manohar on adopting a fair policy for all members.