mid-day editorial: Clean up cricket, but let's be practical

Nothing has challenged the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) autonomy the way the Lodha Committee’s recommendations — revealed yesterday — have.

The panel’s recommendations aim to clean up this country’s best-loved sport, but despite all good intentions, they will be viewed as obstacles to a particular way of running cricket in India. These measures, it must be stressed, are just recommendations that can be challenged in court. And if that happens, the battle could well be billed as reformists versus road-blockers.

The Lodha panel obviously does not approve of so many politicians or ministers running state associations. It wants to see more cricketers at the heart of administration. It sounds noble, even perfect, but there is a flip side. State units need politicians to get things done when it comes to day-to-day administration, which is not just restricted to Ranji Trophy games but also cricket on the maidans, which needs government backing. The ideal scenario in the opinion of this newspaper is a good mix of politicians and former cricketers in big seats. While not all politicians are detrimental to cricket, all cricketer-administrators cannot boast of being capable.

Amid this debate, the one way of getting more cricketers into the administrative fray is by giving them voting rights of the associations they played for. A cricketer may have been good in garnering plenty of runs and wickets, but when it comes to elections, most of the time, he lands up on the losing side of the numbers game. The best example of this is how cricketers wanting to become administrators in the last two Mumbai Cricket Association elections ended up biting the dust despite assurances of votes.

The Lodha Commission recommendations are too fresh to be fully assimilated. Until then, the need of the hour is an open mind. In the end, just like in all humdingers, cricket should be the winner. Cynicism aside, the game is set to become cleaner, and who wouldn’t want that?

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