BCCI – Board of Cricketing Clusterfuck of India

The BCCI, to nobody’s surprise, has made a complete dog’s bollocks of proceedings.

It all started going to pot once Dalmiya was kicked out by Sharad Pawar. And then came Srinivasan.

The rest – as they say – is a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

The Supreme Court stuck its nose into proceedings. Justice Lodha gave suggestions for reforms. A Committee of Admins was set up to enforce those suggestions.

And now even that committee is going tits up (Cheapo never understood the phrase….isn’t tits up supposed to be a good thing?) with the resignation of Ramachandra Guha.

Here is his letter

Dear Vinod,

It has been a privilege working with Diana, Vikram and you in the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators….. However, it has seemed clear for some time now that my thoughts and views are adjacent to, and sometimes at odds with, the direction the Committee is taking as a whole. That is why I eventually decided to request the Supreme Court to relieve me of the responsibility, and submitted my letter of resignation to the Court on the morning of the 1st of June.

For the record, and in the interests of transparency, I am here listing the major points of divergence as I see it:

1. The question of conflict of interest, which had lain unaddressed ever since the Committee began its work, and which I have been repeatedly flagging since I joined. For instance, the BCCI has accorded preferential treatment to some national coaches, by giving them ten month contracts for national duty, thus allowing them to work as IPL coaches/mentors for the remaining two months…..I have repeatedly pointed out that it is contrary to the spirit of the Lodha Committee for coaches or the support staff of the Indian senior or junior team, or for staff at the National Cricket Academy, to have contracts in the Indian Premier League. One cannot have dual loyalties of this kind and do proper justice to both. National duty must take precedence over club affiliation……

2. I have also repeatedly pointed to the anomaly whereby BCCI-contracted commentators simultaneously act as player agents. Yet, despite my warnings, no action has been initiated in the several months that the Committee has been in operation….one reason the conflict of interest issue has lingered unaddressed is that several of the game’s superstars, past and present, have been guilty of it. The BCCI management is too much in awe of these superstars to question their violation of norms and procedures. For their part, BCCI office-bearers like to enjoy discretionary powers, so that the coaches or commentators they favour are indebted to them and do not ever question their own mistakes or malpractices. But surely a Supreme Court appointed body should not be intimidated by the past or present achievements of a cricketer, and instead seek to strive to be fair and just.

Conflict of interest is rampant in the State Associations as well. One famous former cricketer is contracted by media houses to comment on active players while serving as President of his State Association. Others have served as office-bearers in one Association and simultaneously as coaches or managers in another. The awarding of business contracts to friends and relatives by office-bearers is reported to be fairly widespread.

Had we been more proactive in stopping conflict of interest within the BCCI (as per Lodha Committee recommendations, endorsed by the Court), this would surely have had a ripple effect downwards, putting pressure on State Associations to clean up their act as well.

3. Unfortunately, this superstar syndrome has also distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding MS Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message.

4. The way in which the contract of Anil Kumble, the current Head Coach of the senior team, has been handled. The Indian team’s record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the Head Coach and his support staff also get some. In a system based on justice and merit, the Head Coach’s term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told the post would be re-advertised afresh.

Clearly, the issue has been handled in an extremely insensitive and unprofessional manner by the BCCI CEO and the BCCI office-bearers, with the COA, by its silence and inaction, unfortunately being complicit in this regard…. …. And surely giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country…..

5. Ever since the Supreme Court announced the formation of the COA, we have been inundated, individually and collectively, by hundreds of mails asking us to address various ills that afflict Indian cricket and its administration…. there was one concern that we should have done far more to address. This concerns the callous treatment to domestic cricket and cricketers, namely, those who represent their state in the Ranji Trophy, the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and other inter-state tournaments. The IPL may be Indian cricket’s showpiece; but surely the enormous revenues it generates should be used to make our domestic players more financially secure? There are many more Indian cricketers who make their living via the Ranji Trophy than via IPL; besides, for us to have a consistently strong Test team (especially overseas) we need a robust inter-state competition and therefore must seek to compensate domestic players better.

And yet, shockingly, Ranji match fees have remained at a very low level (a mere Rs 30,000 odd for each day of play); moreover, cheques for match fees sent by the BCCI are sometimes not passed on by the state associations to the players. We need to learn from best practices in other countries, where domestic players are awarded annual contracts like those in the national team, while their match fees are reasonably competitive too….

6. I believe it was a mistake for the COA to have stayed silent and inactive when the Supreme Court judgment was being so flagrantly violated by people clearly disqualified to serve as office bearers of state and even BCCI run cricket bodies. These disqualified men were openly attending BCCI meetings, claiming to represent their state association, and indeed played a leading role in the concerted (if fortunately in the end aborted) attempt to get the Indian team to boycott the Champions Trophy. All these illegalities were widely reported in the press; yet the COA did not bring them to the notice of the Court, and did not issue clear directions asking the offenders to desist either.

7. I believe that the lack of attention to these (and other such issues) is in part due to the absence of a senior and respected male cricketer on our Committee……. With such a person on board the COA would have gained in experience, knowledge, understanding, and, not least, credibility……

8. While all our meetings were held in a cordial atmosphere, between meetings perhaps there was not adequate consultation, and there were several crucial decisions made where all the COA members were not brought into the loop. For instance, a capable, non-political Senior Counsel representing the COA and the BCCI in the Supreme Court was abruptly replaced by another Senior Counsel who is a party politician. Surely other COA members should have been consulted by email or by phone before this important change was made.

I have taken too much of your time already, but permit me to make one last suggestion. This is that the place vacated by me on the Committee of Administrators be filled by a senior, respected, male cricketer with administrative experience. Let me in conclusion thank you for your courtesy and civility these past few months, and wish you and the Committee all the best in your future endeavours.

With best wishes

Ramachandra Guha

So lets see his arguments point by point

Point 1: Cheapo agrees. When you are the national coach, especially for the younger players who actually need all the coaching they can get, then you can’t be the coach of a state body or club or franchise. The kids who play in that state, club or franchise will get that extra coaching that will be denied to the other kids.

Point 2: Unfortunately, Mr. Guha, being an academic and not an admin, has no idea about what conflict of interest actually is.

Conflict of Interest

  • a situation in which the concerns or aims of two different parties are incompatible
  • a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity
  • a situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the result

How exactly is Saurav Ganguly going to get affected by commentating? What benefit is he getting? If anyone is claiming that Ganguly does not have the best interests of Indian cricket in his heart needs their head examined.

Point 3: Unless there is a rule that says that only test players get an A contract, this is a stupid issue to raise. Is Mr. Guha claiming that test matches against crap test teams like England or West Indies or Sri Lanka or the Savages to our Right are much more important than the World Cups or Champions Trophy?

This is 2017, not 1977.

As long as Dhoni is deemed to be good enough to be in the national team (he is still the best keeper and a dependable batsman, immensely fit plus Dhoni Referral System) he gets an A contract.

Point 4: Totally agreed regarding the Kumble situation. Its a fiasco.

However, “And surely giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country” seems to suggest that Mr. Guha lives in a kind of fool’s paradise.

If he thinks that LeBron or Kobe or Messi or Ronaldo or Captain, Leader, Legend or Tom Brady or Stevie G or Wayne Gretzky or Steve Waugh or Viv Richards or Imran Khan etc have/had no say in the appointment of coaches, then he really has no clue about the modern world of sports.

Point 5: Totally agree. For about 90% of cricketers, the Ranji Trophy remains the primary source of income. As such, and especially since BCCI has more money than Creosote, these players need to be given contracts and insurance in case they get injured. Its not about Dhoni or Kohli or Rahane or even Dinesh Kartik or Parthiv Patel or Robin Uthappa, its about the Kunal Saikia, Govinda Poddar, Abhimanyu Chouhan, Rana Dutta, Rohan Prem, Sagun Kamat and others.

6. Totally agreed

7. Agreed, but finding a senior respected unbiased ex-cricketer who has administrative experience is going to be difficult; there are only a handful of such players.

8. Agreed.

Of course, the Indian media, being what they are, have been harping on the Kumble issue and superstar syndrome.

But the issues run much deeper. Mr. Guha, all things considered, was not the right person for the job.

The Supreme Court need to think hard about the replacement(s).

If it has to be a cricketer, then lets face it Kapil Dev, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Srinath and Kumble are the only ones completely untainted and incorruptible. And among them, the only ones with the necessary gravitas, clout and admin experience to keep the BCCI busybodies in order.are Kumble and Ganguly.


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