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Restructuring BCCI is a herculean task but we need to do it for the good of Indian cricket
The expected verdict of the Supreme Court of India has predictably caused mayhem in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as at the Association level.
The decision of sacking the president and the secretary of the BCCI by the highest legal authority has brought about a tremor not only among the cricket administration around India, but also in the the other sporting bodies of the country. The Lodha committee recommendations which finally resulted in becoming a part of the judgment in July 2016 does have a lot of merit in the way it has been framed for the future of Indian cricket. It may face hurdles in its implementation, but gradually over time it will bring in a process that will ensure a clean, open and ethically correct system.
The change suggested will make the BCCI similar to a corporate business unit rather than an independent organisation not answerable either to any authorities or to the players.
Justice Lodha has deciphered the cricket institute into three important segments. One being the operations which is to be handled by professionals, the other relating to cricket, to be run by cricketers and the third being the core BCCI committee comprising of representatives from the associated and affiliated cricket bodies. All of them will need to report their activities and performances to the nine persons “apex committee”. This body will comprise of the president, vice president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer, an additional elected BCCI member, two former cricketers (man and woman) and a government representative from the C&AG. This does seem simple as a suggestion but at present it requires a massive amount of work to implement it.
The reason being that, apart from a small structure in place at the BCCI level, the associations do not have a professional set-up as recommended by the Lodha committee. A massive recruitment of qualified individuals will need to be done at all centres. A wonderful employment opportunity for the sports-loving aspiring candidates. The associations will all need to become independent operating institutions, required to do their finance, marketing, administration and assisting the cricketers in the cricket relating activities. They will need to budget and give an account of the money spent for any finances received from the BCCI. In short they will become a full-fledged subsidiary operating on their own, however, reporting to the BCCI. To put this in place would be a time consuming task but essential in the development of the game and infrastructure in the city and district areas of their territories.

Being a former player, I was a part of a possible player’s association on two occasions. Both the attempts failed for various reasons. The BCCI did recognise the problematic impact it may have in their operations in the future if such a body was formed. They brought in a pension for former cricketers, increased the pay packet of the present players and strategically involved some of the Indian cricket legends into their fold. This extinguished any thoughts of a player’s get-together or union in its bud. A player’s association will now have to be formed, both for the men and women at all the cricket playing centres. This will be an interesting step as cricketers will now have a say in the operation of the game.
The most interesting area of the change will be in the structuring of the new committees at the State Association level. Several of the State bodies were spearheaded by powerful rich individuals. Most of them will now have to relinquish their seats. They have, during their reign, established a system of protecting their domain. The challenge for the electoral officer at all the centres will be to establish a fair and just system for the election of the local committee.
A task that will need a lot of muscle power to assert and establish. The formation of each state association is most important, as without it, the core committee of the BCCI cannot be structured. The other time consuming effort would be to change the constitution of so many of these associations and the BCCI to meet the Lodha committee recommendations. An enormous and challenging task, especially as unforeseen hurdles may arise while implementing the requirements.
The intriguing part of the Lodha committee’s recommendation is the power that they have vested in the eastern part of India. The idea of developing cricket in the east is very commendable as very little cricket is played there. The new change, however, has brought them into a very strong position as they now have six of them as part of the main state associations of the BCCI. They neither boast of a team nor of any cricket facilities at present and for them to establish themselves will need a complete make over. In corporate terms one can say that a start-up will be equated in the same way as an established company. The BCCI will need to pour a lot of resources and funding and introducing cricket in these state associations will be a formidable task. A proper system of developing these areas is essential or else money may just be blown out of proportion.
This, therefore, brings one to the most important interim team to be formed by Gopal Subramaniam. The names are to be handed over to the Supreme Court on January 19. This team will need to structure a complete process with time lines for each of the activities, roles and committees recommended. A herculean task that, however, is imperative and essential for the good of Indian cricket. Lets pray that all goes well.
(Yajurvindra Singh is a former Indian cricketer)
Yajurvindra Singh