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‘Keep us in loop’: CoA chief Vinod Rai frowns on BCCI’s day-night Test move

Vinod Rai instructed that the day-night Test issue be put on hold and not go out of Cricket Centre till the BCCI held detailed discussions with all the stakeholders.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
Updated: February 23, 2018 7:58:52 am
Vinod Rai, Vinod Rai CoA, Vinod Rai news, Vinod Rai BCCI, BCCI, CoA, day night test, sports news, cricket, Indian Express Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai.

THE SUPREME Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai has come down hard on the BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary for what he called the board’s “cavalier way of taking policy decisions.” The issue concerned a proposed day-night Test match which the BCCI was planning to hold in October against West Indies and for which Choudhary had consultations over telephone and email with India’s head coach Ravi Shastri.

In his email, which was accessed by The Indian Express, Rai asked why a decision was taken without consulting him, CoA member Diana Edulji, the two office-bearers — acting President C K Khanna and treasurer Anirudha Chaudhary — or the players. He has further asked the secretary to convey the message to the coach. “I don’t have Ravi’s email id. Please forward to him also,” he wrote.

Rai goes to add that he was “amazed” at the way policy decisions were being taken by the board, which constituted “four persons sitting in Cricket Centre (in Mumbai)”.

“Even if it be cricket of which all of you certainly have greater knowledge than me (I am excluding Diana who has greater knowledge than all of you!), I represent the viewing population. They are your greatest stakeholder. Don’t you think you need to factor them in?” Rai wrote.

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Choudhary had proposed that the BCCI hold a Test under lights due to dropping interest in the five-day game. He had consulted BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and General Manager (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim besides Shastri.

Rai instructed that the day-night Test issue be put on hold and not go out of Cricket Centre till the BCCI held detailed discussions with all the stakeholders, including the players whose body clock over five consecutive days, according to Rai, needed to get “accustomed to a new timing”.

Rai wrote, “The issue is placed on hold. It does not go out of cricket centre_till: 1. We work out a whole process with venue thrown in _ exact timing incl. security arrangement over five days in the same venue and the cost of the same to BCCI/State Assn. We then consult the guest team. We need to factor in their viewpoints. 3. Ravi may have been consulted but I would like to consult the players whose body clock over five consecutive days will have to get accustomed to a new timing. 4. Also factor in the administrative set up who will be doing the regimen for five days-late nights and all.”

Rai’s mail came after Choudhary had sought views from Shastri with regards to the day-night Test. In his email, he wrote how figures for the last series of home Test matches had reached a record low with even Kolkata recording alarmingly poor attendance.

“This was not the first challenge being faced by cricket and we had agreed that the game at international level had been facing continued challenges as it evolved, with every challenge being met successfully through innovations just as we may need to deal with the current one. This led our discussion to the natural option of day-night test matches,” Choudhary wrote.

Choudhary, Johri and Karim decided to convert one of the games into a day-night one as long as the dew factor in Indian conditions could be taken care of. Shastri had suggested that just one of the three sessions spill over beyond natural light necessitating a start around noon.

“As should only be natural, a consensus needs to be built around this view and I would be grateful to you if you could confirm the same so that I could take it further with the national selectors and other stake holders,” Choudhary wrote.

In his reply, Shastri wrote, “I firmly believe for Test cricket to survive in India the venues must be chosen smartly. Above all, Tier two cities must be used for tier two teams without compromise.”

He added: “As far as day night cricket goes it can be tried out as an experiment with a game starting at 12 and where the last session is played under lights. It will be interesting to see how much part dew will play. Again against a team like the West Indies it has to be played in a tier 2 city without a doubt. To get in the crowds it doesn’t matter if it’s a day game or daynight game. What (is) important is 2 tier city.”

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