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No surprises: BCCI gets it done like T20

With no elections to be fought or legal issues to be discussed, the 79th Annual General Meeting of the BCCI ended almost as soon as it had began, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Sep 27, 2008 23:43 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times

With no elections to be fought or legal issues to be discussed, the 79th Annual General Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India ended almost as soon as it had began. Some say the meeting lasted 20 minutes, others more, but whatever the case, some high profile attendees were leaving the Cricket Centre barely 90 minutes after the scheduled start of the meeting. With all office bearers being elected unopposed, interest centred around the national selection committee and whether certain norms that the board's working committee had adopted (for appointing selectors) would be modified.

“Played” not “retired”

While there is some doubt over what transpired when it came to deciding on the norms for selectors, Shashank Manohar, the new president, claimed the pertinent clause never referred to when a player retired but took into account when he last played for India. "It's not when they retired. It's when the last played," said Manohar. "Don't go by media reports. Go by our resolution. There is a distinction between 'retired' and 'last played'."

What Manohar ignores, or assumes the public at large is unaware about is that it was the board which announced the norms for selectors at the end of its last working committee meeting. The board had then said, "While appointing a senior selector care should be taken to ensure that he should have retired at least ten years ago."

Perhaps the board did not want to amend a norm framed by its own working committee, and is therefore now saying the working committee never mentioned "retired" in the first place. Whatever the case may be, this meant that Narendra Hirwani and Surendra Bhave (who had both not retired ten years ago) fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The others, K. Srikkanth (chairman), Raja Venkatraman (Venkat) and Yashpal Sharma, were not in doubt.

Dalmiya mystery

When Jagmohan Dalmiya attended a party hosted by Sharad Pawar on Friday evening, whispers began about just how the two would work together. As it turned out, Dalmiya did not say a word in the AGM, an insider told HT. What's curious about this is that the treasurer's report was adopted in this meeting and that clearly spells out that the board was pursuing a civil suit against Dalmiya to recover Rs 47 crore. The fact that Dalmiya did not say anything when this was being adopted, defies logic.

"The accounts have been adopted unanimously," Manohar said. The BCCI has already filed the civil suit in a Mumbai court on September 22. When pressed on the issue, Manohar said, "It's a legal issue which will be decided in court. Factually I can tell you that the accounts have been adopted unanimously. You can derive your own conclusions."

Dalmiya, who was one of the first to leave the meeting, told HT, "The meeting lasted barely 20 minutes and this issue (the civil suit) was not discussed."

Perhaps it was not discussed explicitly, but just the fact that the accounts were adopted unanimously (and this matter was a part of that) makes the case that much more curious. Surely, Dalmiya did not concur with the board's decision to sue him?

Direct or indirect interest

Shortly before N. Srinivasan became secretary, A.C. Muthiah, the former BCCI president, raised an objection, citing a provision in the BCCI which said no officer of the board should directly or indirectly benefit from the staging of BCCI matches. But, with Srinivasan being managing director of India Cements, the company that owns the Chennai IPL team, there was a grey area. That has now been cleared comprehensively. "There was a provision which said: if a person has direct or indirect interest in any of the tournaments conducted by the board, it would be a misconduct," explained Manohar.

"Now the IPL is a tournament conducted by the board. Let me give you an example: if I hold 10 shares of Reliance Industries and Reliance gives a bid then I have an indirect interest because I am a shareholder/stakeholder in the company. This would affect most of the members. We have amended that to explain that this clause will not apply to IPL and Champions T20 league."

That leaves Srinivasan completely in the clear.