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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Indian cricket team urgently needs player’s body for constructive administration

India’s cricket team, who have played cricket non-stop from August 2016, need a player’s body on the lines of the Australian player’s association in order to play a constructive role in cricket administration.

cricket Updated: Jun 29, 2017 08:50 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
India’s cricket set-up has well-defined roles for the players and the administrators and each stay within their allotted patch.
India’s cricket set-up has well-defined roles for the players and the administrators and each stay within their allotted patch.(BCCI)

The role of players in India’s cricket administration is peripheral and ornamental,restricted to the fringes and never mainstream .India does not have a player’s body, nor is India part of FICA.

The Lodha committee felt this should change and suggested a structure to make players central to governance.There are sound reasons to support this reform:players have ‘domain knowledge’,perspective,insight ,hands-on experience and understanding of ground reality.

Till now,implementation of this important Lodha recommendation was a non starter and formation of the promised player’s body remained on the backburner.But recent developments in India and Australia confirm Mr Lodha was right:India needs players to play a constructive role in cricket administration.

Had such a body existed it’s doubtful India would be touring the West Indies now.Without context or cricket merit, ODIs/T20s at this time are meaningless.

Step back a moment and rewind to what happened this season. India’s domestic cricket started last August with day night Duleep even as the Indian team was playing West Indies in America. After that India went through its busiest ever season playing 13 tests( vs NZ,England,Australia,Bangladesh) stretching till end March .The IPL started first week April , followed immediately by the CT in England. The players were constantly on the road /in flights/in hotels/living out of suitcases for almost one year.

So, the obvious question : why is the Indian team in the West Indies after such a draining season?Is there some mysterious cricket reason we are missing?

It seems India is doing the perpetually pauper West Indies board a massive favour by showing up.The utter futility of matches is confirmed by teams playing to empty stands,watched only by friends and ground staff .

Contrast the situation in India with Australia where players are engaged in a bitter struggle with their board.On the surface the dispute is over salaries and revenue share but the actual fight is about control .At stake a fundamental principle : are players just players or partners in governance?

Cricket Australia feels players should limit themselves to the ‘technical’ side instead of getting involved in substantive governance .To establish a employee- employer relationship the CA is pushing for fixed salary annual contracts to replace the earlier percentage based arrangement that made players stakeholders in running cricket.This changed relationship is resisted by players who want a role in administration and a say in growing the game.

There is no such confusion about the respective roles of players-officials In India.Here the boundaries are set and roles so defined that each stays within his allotted patch.

This convenient ‘separation of powers’ will soon change for two reasons: One:The Supreme Court has already set the agenda so arguments against a player’s body now are pointless. Two : The on- going tussle over Indian player salaries/ payments and the endless presentations /negotiations between the BCCI and Anil Kumble are completely unsatisfactory.

Apparently Kumble was requested for inputs but this is the last thing any Head Coach should be doing.This is core activity,routine work,of a player’s body!

(Amrit Mathur is a former sports administrator who worked with the BCCI as a media manager. The views expressed are personal)

First Published: Jun 29, 2017 08:49 IST