Ramachandra Guha has come down heavily on the superstar culture prevalent in Indian cricket and detailed out his angst at the inability of the Supreme Court appointed committee to crack down on the various conflicts of interest that plague the system. In his resignation letter, he also brings up the need to increase the fee of domestic cricketers, and laments the absence of a male cricketer in the COA, but it’s the superstardom and allied conflict of interests that irks him the most.
Guha cites the example of Sunil Gavaskar who heads the PMG company which manages cricketers like Shikhar Dhawan to Rishabh Pant, and continues to work as BCCI commentator. “Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI.” Likewise, Guha points out the case of MS Dhoni, who has retired from Test cricket, but continues to be placed in the Grade 1 category of national contracts. Guha believes its “indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message”. Full text: Ramachandra Guha’s resignation letter to BCCI Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai
He also raises the issue of how Dhoni was a captain of the team while “holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players”. “This [superstar culture] must stop – and only we can stop it.” It’s obvious from the rest of his mail that he believes COA hasn’t done much to stop it.
Guha doesn’t name Rahul Dravid but it’s clear that he is being referenced in the case of coaches who work with national team for 10 months and are mentor of an IPL team for the other two months. Dravid is India A and U-19 coach, who worked as mentor of Delhi IPL team. “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,” Guha writes.
Guha feels Anil Kumble, India’s coach, has been unfairly treated despite a good year at the helm. He blasts the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and BCCI office bearers for being “extremely insensitive and unprofessional” in the way they handled it, and also pins blames on COA for its “silence and inaction”.
Guha also warns about giving untrammeled power to the players. “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?”