Eminent historian and highly respected writer, Ramachandra Guha has stepped down from his post in the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). The CoA was tasked with ensuring the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations for the BCCI. Just hours after he resigned, Guhu wrote a scathing letter in which he criticized the workings of the BCCI, calling them a group of ‘nothing more than awestruck officials’. All that and much more, as Ramachandra Guha rips apart BCCI, Kohli, Dhoni and Gavaskar in an open letter.
These are extracts from Guha’s letter.
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. This was done in an adhoc and arbitrary manner; the more famous the former player-turned-coach, the more likely was the BCCI to allow him to draft his own contract that left loopholes that he exploited to dodge the conflict of interest issue.
I have also repeatedly pointed to the anomaly whereby BCCI-contracted commentators simultaneously act as player agents.
Sunil Gavaskar is head of a company which represents Indian cricketers while commenting on those crickters as part of the BCCI TV commentary panel. This is a clear conflict of interest. Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI
t think prompt and swift action on this matter is noth just and necessary. COA’s credibility and effectiveness hinges on our being able to take bold and correct decisions on such matters. The ‘superstar’ culture that afflicts the BCCI means that the more famous the player (former or present) the more leeway he is allowed in violating norms and procedures. (Dhoni was captain of the Indian team while holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players.) This must stop – and only we can stop it.
Unfortunately, this superstar syndrome has also distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding M S 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.
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. (Recall that the Court Order of 30 January had expressly mandated us to supervise the management of BCCI.) In case due process had to be followed since Kumble’s original appointment was only for one year, why was this not done during April and Many, when the IPL was on? If indeed the captain and the Head Coach were not getting along, why was not this attended to as soon as the Australia series was over in late March?
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Why was it left until the last minutes, when a major international tournament was imminent, and when the uncertainty would undermine the morale and ability to focus of the coach, the captain and the team> And surely fiving 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. Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?
A senior official also said that Guha was extremely critical of Kohli’s attitude during the ongoing drama surrounding Anil Kumble.
“He didn’t mince words. He put it on mail that the captain and coaches are already deciding commentators, and if they are allowed to pick the coach of their own choice, they will soon be deciding the selectors, even the CEO,” the report quoted a senior official as saying.
Clearly, Guhu has made his point across as he tries to call out all the ones inside the BCCI who have allowed such atrocities to take place. Now the ball is BCCI’s court.