“The BCCI is not looking at an escape route,” Anurag Thakur emphatically took the sting out of the first query hurled at him in the press conference. A question that invariably pertained to the BCCI’s supposed delay in implementing Lodha committee’s recommendations. Promptly reminded the media manager, standing beside him: “Let me remind you (media), the questions should be strictly on the selection committee meeting.” It did present Thakur an escape route. But he chose not.
Thakur was in a more welcoming mood. “You can ask me whatever you want me to. We (BCCI) believe in transparency and accountability.” Like he meant, he didn’t want to escape from the questions. And escape route was a phrase he repeatedly sought.
For sure Thakur expected a volley of questions, as also seeing the prospective controversy written over those in bold. Only a day ago had the Supreme Court given the board a March 3 deadline to “fall in line” with the Lodha panel recommendations while expressing their dismay at the BCCI’s unexplained delay in giving its feedback.
But Thakur gave little away and reasoned: “You need to understand that the Lodha panel recommendation is not a one page report. It is a detailed report which will have a lot of consequences on the functioning of the board. If the committee (Lodha) has taken 12 months, we are taking just two months to deliberate and discuss. The day it came to, I had written a letter to the associations, who form the board. Many states are yet to have their association’s SGM, wherein they will give their viewpoints. We are not shying away.”
When asked about his views on Lodha recommendations, he merely deadbatted. “I can’t comment on what I personally feel (about it) because I’m a board member.” But as an afterthought, he quipped: “You should know better, because you have been writing and discussing a lot on it.”
But later, towards the end of the press conference, he did concede he wasn’t exactly amused with the panel’s views on conflict of interest. “Kevin Pietersen is playing in the T20 leagues and also is commentating on the same tournament. So are a lot of players in England and Australia. Here some people have made it a habit of filing ‘conflict of interest’ complaints with malafide intentions. Every organisation goes through phases when structural reforms happen and BCCI is no exception,” he remarked.
All the same, he pointed out that the BCCI has been in the last nine months, since the new regime took over, cleansing the system to regain its lost credibility. “In the last nine months, we have done things which would indicate that we are in the right direction. The Lodha committee has recommended many things but every member has the right to look into the recommendations,” he said, informing that the BCCI will summon an SGM in the third week of February to discuss it. “Our legal panel has met and in our next court hearing we will definitely give them our feedback,” he added.
He also dwelled on the BCCI’s magnanimity, which though felt like he was actually seeking an escape route. “In 1983, when India won the World Cup, we did not have any money to pay our champion team. But now it is different. It is not that everything that has happened in the last 30-40 years in the BCCI has been all wrong. So while taking any step, that should also be taken into account,” he pointed out.
Kotla fate on Feb 8
Regarding Ferozshah Kotla’s fate on hosting World T20 matches, after it was stripped of the T20 against Sri Lanka, Thakur said the final decision will be made after an inspection on February 8, exactly a month before the tournament begins. If the DDCA doesn’t get the required clearances, they have a plan B in place, he revealed.
ICC measures welcome
The ICC has taken stern measures to dilute the big three’s clout in the board, and Thakur welcomed it without much fuss. “It’s a welcome step and must be appreciated. It’s not about big three or others. It’s about collective effort,” he said.