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Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) runs cricket in the dumps | Opinion

Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) can’t be accused of competence but this season it reached a new level -- with Ranji Trophy just two weeks away, it is yet to be pick a team and the captain is not named

cricket Updated: Sep 21, 2017 09:24 IST
Delhi & District Cricket Association,DDCA,Delhi Cricket
Delhi had no cricket this summer --- the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) league was not held and the senior team did not play any pre-season tournament (KSCA, Buchi Babu, Moin-ud-Daulah) to get match fit.(DDCA)

If state cricket associations were rated on good governance and player-friendly operations, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) would be close to the bottom. DDCA’s low standards are advertised in the Willingdon pavilion itself, whose walls are plastered with photos of past greats, arranged haphazardly with names misspelt.

The DDCA can’t be accused of competence but this season it reached a new level. The Ranji Trophy is round the corner and players have never been less prepared. With two weeks to go, the team is yet to be picked and the captain is not named.

Delhi had no cricket this summer --- the DDCA league was not held and the senior team did not play any pre-season tournament (KSCA, Buchi Babu, Moin-ud-Daulah) to get match fit. Heading into the domestic season, Delhi is like a student about to sit for an exam without attending classes.

If aggrieved players staged an agitation at Jantar Mantar or Ferozeshah Kotla, they couldn’t be blamed. Delhi has a rich history of players seeking freedom from officials (from Tiger Pataudi and Bishan Bedi to Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir) but now they seem resigned to their fate, knowing this is par for the course.

It shouldn’t be like this. Players are talented athletes pursuing their sporting dreams, also professionals struggling to earn a livelihood. To do this, they deserve a supportive setup; what they get instead is a system literally playing with their careers. It is astonishing that this should happen when DDCA’s representative is ‘acting’ BCCI president and its cricket administered by a distinguished person known for his passion for sport.

The Lodha Committee came down hard on cricket officials and made strict guidelines about who should hold office. Ministers are out, bureaucrats ineligible and after a while everyone is ‘disqualified’. In days ahead, players will have a bigger role and women awarded more seats on the high table.

It is good intent but ultimately what counts is competence and integrity of the individual, not where he comes from. Several top players have performed poorly when given administrative (or technical) responsibilities and many bureaucrats/corporate leaders have flunked the challenge of cricket management. Just as playing cricket requires technique and temperament, administering cricket demands specific skills and training.

A batsman can’t become a bowler and a retired bureaucrat /judge/corporate head can’t suddenly take on a new role. Running cricket requires experience and domain knowledge, which can’t be downloaded from the internet. Nor can administrative positions be decided after a walk-in interview or gifted to the first person who comes through the door.

When certain BCCI officials were removed from their positions, a prominent voice made a sarcastic statement --- if courts can run cricket, good luck to them. Subsequent developments suggest he was on the ball. If cricketers in Delhi and Rajasthan are struggling despite a COA and clear court directions, questions will arise about accountability.

There is a solution though: An Olympic Task Force (constituted to suggest administrative reforms in Indian sport) made a hard-hitting suggestion. Failure by sports federations to meet ‘obligations’, it said, should attract punitive action, including initiating criminal proceedings. If this bouncer becomes legal, many will end up ducking for cover.

(Amrit Mathur is a senior cricket writer and has been involved with IPL in official capacity)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 09:24 IST