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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

Players, CoA discuss vexing conflict clause

It is understood Sourav Ganguly, who attended the meeting through Skype, asked the committee: “Why should (Rahul) Dravid resign from India Cements to become NCA chief?”

cricket Updated: Aug 20, 2019 08:55 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
File image of Sourav Ganguly
File image of Sourav Ganguly(PTI)
         

The voices against the ‘conflict of interest’ rule grew louder on Monday when for the first time a group of cricketers—past and present—met the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to discuss the issue. While nobody was willing to come on record, many felt the stipulations were very anti-player and wanted the CoA to help ease the rule.

One player said: “If I do commentary in my free time, why should that be a conflict? I only do commentary when I am not playing for my state.”

A source said: “The ‘one person, one-post’ is so detailed that soon some administrators may also fall prey to it.”

Another player added: “Many players run academies and are also part of the state associations—as coach or administrator—so those players would be deprived of (the chance to) help out associations in grooming youngsters.”

ALSO READ: Team India support staff selection: Rathour, Amre, among 18 in fray

It is understood Sourav Ganguly, who attended the meeting through Skype, asked the committee: “Why should (Rahul) Dravid resign from India Cements to become NCA chief?”

Serious conflict

While one of the senior players said BCCI should be strict in case of direct conflict of interest, like in the case of being a selector and a player-agent, or being associated with an IPL team. “The rule should apply only to direct conflict of interest, not beyond that.”

CoA member Diana Edulji said they will compile all the suggestions put in front of them and present it in court. The CoA wanted the players’ views on the issue as they were the most affected by this clause.

“We will now formulate a paper and submit it to the amicus curiae to put it up to the Supreme Court. But as of now conflict of interest rules have to be followed because they are enshrined in the constitution and as and when it is decided by the court, the amendments will be made,” said Edulji.

“We will sit in our next meeting and discuss all these points. We are trying our level best to see what is best for cricket. We don’t want to affect anybody but also stay within the rules.”

Advisory panel issue

The issue has caused trouble for the players holding multiple positions. Those affected the most are players—past and present—who do commentary in their free time and are also associated with IPL teams. Others are those who run academies and can’t be part of a state association or IPL team.

ALSO READ: ‘Standards can only be maintained if teams are strong’: Harbhajan Singh responds to Sourav Ganguly

Among other high profile players, Dravid—who the COA had asked to convene the meeting—recused himself. VVS Laxman didn’t attend as he was not well and Sachin Tendulkar skipped the meeting, having already shared his opinion with the ombudsman in May. They have all been served notice by the ombudsman over the last couple of months.

Tendulkar and Laxman received the notice for being a part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) while being mentors of IPL franchises. Later, CoA dissolved the CAC comprising Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly because of conflict.

Others who were present were Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Parthiv Patel, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan and Rohan Gavaskar. Some of the players who had come for the support staff interviews were also part of the meeting.

Bhajji backs Dravid

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh didn’t attend the meeting but had written a letter giving his views on the subject. Ganguly and Harbhajan had expressed their displeasure when Dravid was served a conflict notice by the BCCI ombudsman even after CoA cleared his appointment as Head of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy.

While CoA chairman Vinod Rai wasn’t present, its newest member Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Thodge said the meeting was to understand the issues faced by the players.

“There are some genuine difficulties which our cricketers face. We may not agree to certain things but certain things we have to agree. So, those are the issues we wanted to gather from them. Cricketers are the ones who are conflicted, so we are addressing their issues,” Thodge said.

The Lodha Committee recommendation on ‘one person, one post’ was accepted by the Supreme Court and subsequently drafted into the new BCCI constitution. It now remains to be seen whether some tweaks will be made to it or not after Monday’s meeting.

First Published: Aug 20, 2019 08:47 IST