As new BCCI president embarks on his 16-month initial journey, nothing will play more on his mind than the Lodha Committee recommendations
Four presidents in three years provides no indication of a settled outfit and Anurag Thakur, who was unanimously elected as the 34th president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai yesterday, has the most daunting of tasks as compared to some of his predecessors.
Newly-crowned BCCI president Anurag Thakur at the Board's headquarters yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
As 41-year-old Thakur embarks on his 16-month initial journey, nothing will play more on his mind than the Lodha Committee recommendations. To many in the BCCI, the reforms are too stringent, unfair, even impossible. But the Committee has the backing of the Supreme Court and if push comes to shove, the recommendations will turn into orders, very much like an umpire's decision on the field of play.
Will Supreme Court be convinced?
While the Lodha panel's intention is to set things right in Indian cricket, Thakur will be hoping that the BCCI lawyers are successful in convincing the Supreme Court that the recommendations don't work in best interests of the BCCI.
In many ways, Thakur wears a crown of thorns and cricket administration in India — for better or worse — will not be the same. All this may not have come to pass had ex-president N Srinivasan stepped aside when his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was named in the Indian Premier League spot fixing controversy in 2013.
On the other hand, if not for the spot fixing controversy, Thakur wouldn't have got into the inner ring of Indian cricket administration so soon. Everything has a plus side.
BCCI will be hoping that their lawyers succeed in convincing the Supreme Court that some recommendations will not be best interests of the Board and cricket in the main. Is it, for example, going to be impossible to win on the issue about the Lodha panel not wanting advertisements in between overs? Or having franchisee representation on the IPL Governing Council?
On Saturday, Thakur's predecessor Shashank Manohar spoke on the difficult-to-implement clauses. Even though Manohar spelt it out after quitting as BCCI president, his observations mirrored the views of the Board members and some of Manohar's utterances made sense.
Unlike several Indian sporting bodies, BCCI have run their sport well and produced champions from numerous tournaments conducted all over this huge nation. That cannot be achieved without planning and execution. And despite all the criticism towards the Indian Premier League, the fact is that it's a good part of India Inc.
Good and bad
Not everything is rotten in BCCI's big ship. Or let's say, the plusses edge out the undesirable factors like hanging on to seats, uneven distribution of matches among state associations, suppressing opinion and punishing straight-talkers. Thakur along with new secretary Ajay Shirke must work towards changing the BCCI's image. Being a seasoned administrator from Maharashtra Cricket Association, Shirke will know that in terms of day-to-day work, there is no one more vital than the secretary.
To be fair, the BCCI at times have been victims of a witch hunt, but they continued getting slammed because they just did not have genuine public relations machinery which could have projected the flip side of their so-called arrogant administration.
As BCCI secretary, Thakur had made a start. It was he who reintroduced the practice of the chairman of selectors addressing the media after important selection meetings, something that a few powerful Board biggies were against.
Yet, the BCCI have a long way to go before they can be supremely transparent, their website showing salaries of coaches, BCCI-contracted commentators notwithstanding. Thorns and all, unlike in Sholay, the movie, this Thakur has hands to make a difference to cricket in India.
> Rs 100 crore earmarked for one-year water conservation project using Solar Panels, trying rain water harvesting' and sewage treatment to conserve water during crisis like drought.
> Rs 5 crore corpus created for next five years to help the visually challenged and deaf & dumb cricketers.
> Santosh Rangnekar appointed new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as part of reforms suggested by Lodha Panel.
> Minimum 10 per cent free tickets for international matches allocated for girl students, specially-abled persons.
> Specially designated seating area for the physically challenged persons.
> All stadiums in India to have seats with numbers for convenience of spectators.
> All state units told to create official Facebook/Twitter accounts as well as have websites wherein they can engage fans by uploading relevant information.
> Creating 'Mobile Coaching App' licensed by BCCI which can be used in cricket academies in remote areas where they can get access to state-of-the-art coaching as 70 per cent associated with these academies have access to smartphones.
> Implementation of central contracts for India's women cricketers and a detailed report sought within a month.
> Indoor facilities for North Eastern states; better grounds.