BOARD IN CONTROL NOW
By: Clayton Murzello
IN September 2004, while all the drama was being enacted in Kolkata where Jagmohan Dalmiya's camp was being challenged by Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, I decided to visit the BCCI's headquarters at the North Zone of the Brabourne Stadium to bring to light the deplorable office premises of a body that boasted of being the richest Indian sporting institution.
View of the reception lounge at the Wankhede Stadium office
POOR! The entrance of the old Board office at the North Stand of the Brabourne Stadium. In his book, John Wright called the office as the greatest camouflage since a wolf put on sheep's clothing. FILE PHOTO/SURESH KK
HISTORY IS HERE: The metallic shelves where every international match featuring India in India since 1996 is stored on DG Beta tapes.
The conference room at the BCCI's Cricket Centre headquarters where the AGM will be held over this weekend.
It was lunchtime for the BCCI employees. They were at their cordial best. The trusting souls did not have a clue about my intention and I was touched seeing them sit together on a small table and share meals.
My colleague Suresh KK, the photographer, got shots of the office but the picture which was soon to be much sought after by magazines and book authors including the then coach John Wright, was the one with the disgraceful BCCI board hanging at the entrance.
I happened to chat up Sitaram Tambe, the BCCI's senior-most employee, who did not get a decent raise since 1969. MiD DAY was honoured with a Sports Journalists Federation of India award for that story.
It would be nothing short of obvious to say that the present Board office (in operation since November 2006) at Wankhede Stadium is a far cry from the previous one.
Soon, the Cricket Centre office where the BCCI Annual General Meeting will be held over the weekend will be the epicenter of drama.
Chief Administrative Officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty, who now occupies a huge, plush cabin admits to the unbelievable aspect of the shift. After all, he did spend some time in the old office as Jt Secretary of the Board.
"It was important for us to get all correspondence under one roof. Earlier, it used to be in possession of the office-bearers," says Shetty, emphasising the role president Pawar played in getting things in order.
Any reluctance to embrace change was quelled by Pawar's stature. Earlier, the BCCI's headquarters was used mainly to send out letters and postings to umpires.
Clearly, the BCCI today wants to be a well-run organisation although it is not viewed that way by the cricket world. The area where the circle does not get completed is the manner in which the game is run. For example, no one knows who the next crop of selectors will be.
The new selectors will be picking the team for the first Test against Australia only a few days after their appointment. The Test series kicks off in Bangalore on October 9.
However, it appears the BCCI have got it right administratively. According to Shetty, the decision to rope in Tata Consultancy Services to set guidelines for office operations was critical and helpful.
"Now, we have an office befitting our status," says Shetty.
Outside Shetty's cabin, the office is buzzing with activity. Niranjan Shah is in the adjoining room spending his last few days as secretary of the Board. The large television set brings him closer to Baroda where the Irani Trophy is on.
The genial office assistant Tambe serves up coffee and tea while Marvine D'Souza finds time to reminisce about her days at the old office where she worked under the late Polly Umrigar.
Media Relations and Corporate Affairs manager Devendra Prabhudesai's role is not restricted to sending out press releases and handling media accreditations. He's got his hands full with the archives project and is interviewing former Test captains for a film BCCI want to make on its history.
Shetty is keen to talk about plans for the fourth floor. Soon, we are up there in a room with steel cabinets, which have steering wheels. He moves the wheel to open up space between two cabinets.
What an idea!
He moves in to show us the DG Beta tapes the BCCI has just procured from various broadcasting houses. "We have every single match India has played at home since 1996," says Prabhudesai. Efforts are on to get footage of every match India has figured in since their Test debut in 1932.
The process will involve time and costs. How much money would the BCCI spend on this? When one hears 35 to 40 crore, an evil thought comes to mind: If there is a match-fixing probe, BCCI will not be short of footage. Wonder whether the Board thought about this advantage, but its main concern is the lack of knowledge of the game's history among present-day players.
Cricket lovers should be able to benefit from the Board's efforts to give history its due importance. "The museum will be open to public," Shetty promises. What the public would really love is a guided tour like they do at historic cricket venues.
That the museum project has not met the deadline is not surprising considering it is going to be a task to get items from so many players across the country.
The Board can boast of Rs 1000 crore plus in revenue this year. One cannot say that the money is being ill spent but while the Cricket Centre is fabulous, more thought ought to be given to our injured
The Board can well afford a state- of-the-art rehabilitation centre which should be ideally set up within or near the Cricket Centre.
They can then rename it Centre of Excellence. And the headline writers can say, Move Over Cricket Australia, Rock on Cricket India.
|They run our cricket|
Members of the BCCI staff at Cricket Centre, Wankhede Stadium:
* Chief Administrative Officer: Prof Ratnakar Shetty
* Manager ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Administration: Dinesh Menon
* Manager ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Cricket Operations: Suru Nayak
* Manager ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Game Development: Stanley Saldanha
* Manager ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Media Relations & Corporate Affairs: Devendra Prabhudesai
* Asst Manager Game Development: J K Seth
* Asst Manager ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Game Operations: Dalpat V
* Executive ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Coordination: Ms Marvine D'Souza
* Executive ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Accounts (Scrutiny): Ms Mohini Deshpande
* Executive ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Accounts (Scrutiny): B Laxman
* Executive ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Game Development: Vikas Pandit
* Officer ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Umpires & Referees: Prakash Sant
* Officer - Accounts (Gen): Nilesh Dhulap
* Officer - Game Organisation: Anant Datar
* Officer - Game Development: Alvin Gaikwad
* Officer ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Administration (steno): Sylvester D'Britto
* Technical Officer: Devendra Bhuvad
* Office Assistants: Sunil Telge, Sitaram Tambe, Santosh Sangvekar
* Driver-Office Assistant: Manav Singh Bist