It had turned out to be one of the most controversial selection committee meetings held recently. Former India all-rounder and then selector Mohinder Amarnath had revealed how the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan, back in 2011, had vetoed the decision to remove MS Dhoni as skipper after the losses in England and Australia. If the recommendations of the three-member Lodha panel — appointed by the Supreme Court — is accepted by the BCCI, the scenario of a president overruling the decision of selectors will not arise again. This is because the additional vote of the president at meetings has been done away with.
The president will also no longer be nominated through one of the five zones. This means a scenario where Srinivasan, the Tamil Nadu State Cricket Association president, who tried to get renominated as president by gaining the support of East Zone members will not exist.
WATCH: Lodha Panel Proposes Sweeping Reforms For BCCI (App users click here)
The disbanding of zones will also hit the various selection committees. Zonal representatives on the selection committee of teams, including the senior national team, will be done away with and instead will be restricted to three members per committee.
By noon on Monday, justice (retired) RM Lodha unveiled a slew of recommendations, which not only chipped away at the powers of the president but also clipped the wings of other office-bearers by limiting the tenures of office-bearers to a maximum of nine years, with a cooling off period of three years and putting an age cap of 70 years. Ministers and government servants will not be allowed to be part of the BCCI set-up.
The aforementioned restrictions, if put into practice, is bound to affect a number of BCCI officials. For example, Saurashtra Cricket Association president Niranjan Shah will be declared ineligible on more than one count if he is to hold an office in the BCCI. At 71, he overshoots the age-gap. The fact that he has already held the posts of BCCI vice-president, the BCCI secretary in the past puts him in a tricky spot if he wants to contest for one of the top posts of the BCCI in the future.
Lodha flanked by two members of his committee retired Supreme Court judges — Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran — and the committee’s secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan, began listing out the recommendations for reforms in the Indian cricket board. Lodha and the committee members carried with them what was a comprehensive file with a blue cover page titled ‘Report on Reforms’.
Ahead of the planned interaction with the media at the Teen Murti Bhawan, there was anticipation as to how far-reaching would be the proposed recommendations of the Lodha Committee. Ten minutes into justice (retired) Lodha’s statement it was clear that if the BCCI chose to implement his committee’s recommendations that the structure of the Indian cricket board as we know it would change drastically.
Lodha started off with a introduction about how the committee went about their task of putting in place recommendations for reforms, including preparing and distribution of a questionnaire with eight distinct leads which contained 135 questions concerning administration of the game, which was distributed to office bearers and various stakeholders.
“The committee has about 37-38 meetings,” Lodha said as a preamble before going into details of the recommendations starting off with the ‘structure and the constitution’ of the Indian cricket board. Lodha spoke with measured pauses and in a manner of a professor well-versed in his subject. He started off my recommending changes to the status of BCCI members who did not have a territory — Services, Railways, All India Universities — and those who do not play in tournaments — the National Cricket Club in Kolkata and Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
The aforementioned units of the BCCI were to be relegated as associate members and won’t have a vote, while each state will have only one vote. “They (associate members) will continue to have a voice in the BCCI but they will not have voting rights,” Lodha said.
Change in voting pattern
The committee also sought to change the voting pattern of the BCCI by introducing the policy of ‘one state one vote’. “States with multiple members like Gujarat and Maharashtra will be represented as one unit only. Whole idea is to have an equitable voting pattern and to remove the imbalance created by over-representation or non-representation of the state ,” Lodha said.
However, Lodha made it clear that when it came to separate teams playing in domestic cricket from one state, the structure was untouched. It meant that a state like Gujarat would continue to have three teams in domestic cricket; Gujarat, Saurashtra and Baroda. Lodha also called for the need for separation of governance and management in the Indian cricket board.
“Governance has to be separate from management For the purpose of governance, the supreme body is the general body of the BCCI, which will comprise 30 full members and seven associate members. All law making and rule making powers will be with the general body,” Lodha said.
The committee also mooted the formation of two executive bodies – one for the purpose of BCCI (Apex Council) other than the IPL and another for IPL-related issues (governing council) which will have right of governance of their respective fields. These two executive bodies will be answerable to the general body.
The Apex Council, will comprise of nine members, including five elected office bearers — president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer — two representatives from the players association and a nominee from the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
“Idea is to strengthen the governance of BCCI with experts in audit and finances. Apex Council will have multiple tasks significant of them being formulating road map for development of game in the country and overseeing monitoring the functioning of the professional management team which will look into the day to day management of the cricket board,” Lodha said.
The professional team will comprise a chief executive officer, who will be assisted by six professionals.
A re-structured IPL Governing council was also recommended by the Lodha Committee which will comprise nine members in all, including the secretary and treasurer, two nominees of franchisees and the nominee from CAG office.
As he summed up the recommendations, Lodha said that the committee did not overlook the good work conducted by the BCCI and had made an effort to ensure the autonomy of the cricket board was retained.
“All this (recommendations) would not have been necessary if we had gone in for quick fix solution and handed the control of BCCI to the government. We wanted to retain the autonomy of BCCI. The toughest challenge before us was that there were ailments which needed a cure, but while providing the right dose the good bacteria in the body must not be lost… to remove the ailing parts, revitalize the body so that it can run a marathon.”