Split wide open in BCCI CoA as Diana Edulji questions Vinod Rai’s ‘unilateral decisions’

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByBaidurjo Bhose
Dec 11, 2018 04:06 PM IST

Diana Edulji has also made it clear to CEO Johri and GM Cricket Operations Karim that they shouldn’t go ahead with the process of selecting coach with the ad hoc committee as it doesn’t have her proposal and the CoA chairman doesn’t have any casting vote to decide by himself.

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chairman Vinod Rai’s decision to go against colleague Diana Edulji’s advice of scrapping the process of selecting the next India women’s team coach hasn’t gone down well with the former cricketer.

File image of CoA chief Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji.(PTI)
File image of CoA chief Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji.(PTI)

Diana, who is one half of the two-member CoA, had proposed that the team continues with Ramesh Powar as the coach at least till the New Zealand tour next month. This after Indian T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and T20 deputy Smriti Mandhana had written to the BCCI to let Powar continue as the coach of the team keeping in mind the upcoming tournaments and the next WT20.

But Rai shot down the request and asked BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim to go ahead with the selection process. This involved the formation of an ad hoc committee comprising of former India captain Kapil Dev, former India player and coach Anshuman Gaekwad and women’s cricketer Shantha Rangaswamy.

ALSO READ: BCCI secretary questions process in the formation of panel to pick India women’s coach

Diana has now sent a scathing mail to Rai questioning his unilateral decision-making.

In the letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, Diana has also made it clear to Johri and Karim that they shouldn’t go ahead with the process as it doesn’t have her proposal and the CoA chairman doesn’t have any casting vote to decide by himself.

“I have read Mr Rai’s mail and don’t agree with it. As chairman he can’t take any unilateral decisions as there is no casting vote for chairman. Rahul and Saba without my approval you cannot proceed on this as it does not have my approval,” she wrote.

Earlier, Diana had questioned why the CoA was ignoring the request of Harmanpreet and Mandhana with regards to their wish to let Powar continue. Both Powar and Diana were criticised by ODI captain Mithali Raj in her letter to the BCCI after the selection controversy, that erupted after India’s loss to England in the WT20 semi-final.

There was discord in the BCCI over the formation of the ad hoc committee too. In fact, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary had written to GM Cricket Operations Karim on Monday to check on the process followed in the formation of the adhock committee to pick the next women’s coach.

“Reg(arding) the ad hoc committee there is no clarity on the previous procedure carried out. The Capt and vice Capt have requested their choice so why can’t we respect their choice for this tour till we get clarity on the committee. We can go ahead and continue with the same coach. The views of the 2 senior players must not be ignored,” she had written.

ALSO READ: Harmanpreet says decision to drop Mithali Raj was unanimous in letter to BCCI, backs Powar to continue as coach

Replying to this, Rai had said: “The team must realise that coaches are not decided on team votes. If it is a question of respecting opinions of senior players, why not respect the opinion of the senior most player, in fact the ODI captain of the team? What I cannot understand is why some members of the team, or any other person advising them, is against having an internationally acclaimed coach.

“Don’t we seek to upgrade the team from the plateau that they keep hitting in international games? Any way we have had enough of a debate on this. The advert for the head coach has been issued. If media is to be believed, internationally reputed coaches have applied/are applying. We cannot now withdraw and say that we will continue with our ad hoc coach of three months, who has been the reason for such bad blood in the team. This chapter has to be closed and the earlier the better.”

Diana shot back a letter questioning Rai’s attempt to ignore her suggestions. “It is strange that in a democratic setup of COA only views of one person are considered and the views expressed by other member (who was also appointed by the Hon’ble SC along with you) don’t matter. When I mentioned let’s refer the ad hoc committee issue to Amicus you suddenly care about the deadlines and timelines. And going to amicus doesn’t even cost BCCI like in case of other opinions. When it suits you then go for opinion and when I say it, there is no need of it. Regarding the coach, right from the beginning, I have expressed that there should be no change but with someone’s ulterior motive emails were leaked and the team was shown as a divided lot which they are not.

“In my absence, you had a meeting with the two women cricket captains and when I enquired on the same; you replied saying they wanted to meet you so you met them. Once again, you have failed to understand that I have an equal say in all matters of BCCI as COA with equal rights not less not more. You went ahead to issue an advert for a new coach without closing the previous process which was not completed and 6 shortlisted candidates are waiting for a result. This, I have highlighted in previous mails and legal did no express any views on it. The CAC has to select the Head Coach but before their availability was checked, Saba had already spoken to Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shubhangi,” she wrote.

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