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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Conflict of interest has crept in, says BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary

Amitabh Choudhary acknowledged the conflict of interest was a major issue in BCCI and expressed hope that the SGM on Wednesday will set the Board on a new administrative path.

cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2017 09:16 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary is currently in London for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary is currently in London for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup.(PTI)

The conflict of interest accusations that rocked the Indian cricket Board bosses has shaken the influential body to its roots, but its senior members are still resisting the bid by the Supreme Court to push through widespread reforms.

The BCCI SGM in New Delhi on Wednesday will again show how to what extent the members accept they have to agree for reform. (IND vs SL Live Blog)

On the eve of the meeting, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary acknowledged conflict of interest was a major issue but was confident the meeting will see members take big steps to resolve issues and set the Board on a new administrative path.

Choudhary, who was in London for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, spoke to Hindustan Times on various contemporary issues in Indian cricket.


After Monday’s Supreme Court hearing, (ex-BCCI bosses) N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah won’t be allowed to attend BCCI’s SGM on July 26. Do you think this will smoothen the process of implementing reforms?

It is the Supreme Court of India; its orders will be binding. As the order says, in the SGM on July 26, only those persons who are office-bearers of member units can participate. Naturally there will be exclusion of some and inclusion of others. Whether it smoothens the process or not, I can assure you that irrespective of who attends, there is enough collective wisdom. In the next meeting in any case we would have reached a solution. This is the Supreme Court order and we will follow it.

Why is BCCI taking so long to implement the Lodha reforms?

It has taken some time, no doubt about that. But this (BCCI) is an edifice which has grown over a period that exceeds eight decades. It is an organisation which reflects the country’s diversities. For example, no two associations are identical or even close to each other. Take the Cricket Association of Bengal; it is dominated by Kolkata. If you were to apportion a certain ratio of what proportion is represented by Kolkata in CAB, it would be nothing less than 60 or 65 per cent. Compare it with Jharkhand, which has four cities which are more or less similar in demography, size – Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro. It cannot be dominated by any one place. Delhi is a much smaller entity spatially but is almost fully urban. So there are great variations among the state units.

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Some time has also been taken because the associations reflect widely differing aspirations. We try our best to still find a common denominator. We have travelled a great distance, particularly in the past one-and-a-half months and we are very close to a solution. I am sure there will be one on July 26.

Ramachandra Guha raised some issues while resigning from the Committee of Administrators, particularly about conflict of interest.

Yes, of course, conflict of interest has been a major issue. If you recall, the series of litigation now culminating in the Supreme Court actually began with the issue of conflict of interest. This conflict of interest issue had to be dealt with. It had crept in; there is no doubt about that. All of us are conscious of it and sensitive to it.

The drama around appointing Ravi Shastri showed BCCI in poor light. Do you think the Board is missing a strong leader like Jagmohan Dalmiya or N Srinivasan?

The process (of appointment) itself was the result of a difference of opinion between the captain and coach. In a sense, the genesis of this phenomenon was such that the whole process could not have been too smooth. The BCCI tried its best in these circumstances. There were some areas which could have been done in a different way. But it is always easy to say things in retrospect. It was a very unusual situation where a captain and coach don’t have the same views. I mean no two persons should have the same view anyway, but if you have widely different views on the approach to the game or on how to deal with the team, then that becomes a slight problem. So the genesis actually dictated the process in a sense.

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The BCCI tried its best to see that things evened out. Nobody would like to not find a solution, which is a natural instinct. So, initially when it was realised that there was a problem, the BCCI tried its best to even it out. Since that couldn’t happen despite the best efforts, an alternative solution had to be found, and that was found.

What is the real function of the Cricket Advisory Committee – is it just to select a head coach?

As the very name suggests, one of its major functions is to render advice on the most suitable person as the head coach. But then it is also expected to render advice on any aspect of Indian cricket that it finds fit. Their advice of course will be of great quality. I was witness to their efforts in the last one-and-a-half months and I have nothing but completely unqualified words of praise for them. In terms of time, devotion, dedication, feeling for the country, it has been amazing. I realise there couldn’t have been three other better people (Ganguly, Tendulkar, Laxman) than them.

A BCCI release said Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid will be consultants. Ganguly said Zaheer could be given a 150-day contract. Now there is no clarity. Why such confusion?

The fact that the release says they are consultants means they are consultants. At the same time, the exact profile of this engagement will evolve over a period of time.

Do you think Anil Kumble got a bad deal only because Virat Kohli did not like him?

In my interface with them, individually and collectively, I thought there were differences which were not personal in nature, but probably on approaches to the game and on how to deal with international cricket in general. It was more to do with cricket than individuals. I cannot comment whether Kumble got a bad deal because obviously going by CV he did a fantastic job. Going only by record, it is very difficult to see anybody else could have done better than that. To that extent, we all salute him. But the situation as it obtains is before you.

If a captain has the freedom to choose a head coach, what is the need for a CAC or Board?

I don’t think that is the case.

Has Shashank Manohar’s role as ICC head hurt Indian cricket?

I can’t comment because there are so many different views on this. Instead of me getting embroiled in that, I would rather concentrate my energies on seeing that India’s interests don’t suffer. When needed, we have to engage with the ICC as a member country, and also its office-bearers. That’s the job of the BCCI and if I am any part of that, I have to follow it.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 09:11 IST

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