Cricket’s inclusion at the 2024 Olympics is an item on the agenda as also increased compensation for players in domestic cricket, when the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and BCCI office-bearers meet in Delhi on Wednesday. Other major issues to be discussed are: managers for the India U-19 and India ‘A’ teams, list of commentators (for the upcoming home season), IPL 2018, representation made by Mohammad Azharuddin (for his pending dues) and the Affiliation Committee’s report on Mizoram.
Cricket at Olympics
During its meeting on July 22, the CoA discussed the Olympics participation issue, eventually deciding that the BCCI members should vote on it. The committee felt that as it’s a “long-term policy decision”, it was best left to the members to take a call on why they had opposed it earlier and if they are willing to accept it now. The CoA, however, has “encouraged” the BCCI to take a decision without “too much delay”. According to a BCCI official, however, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) whereabouts clause could be a major bone of contention. If cricket becomes an Olympic sport, the cricket board will have to sign it, forcing the players to undergo ‘out-of-competition targeted doping tests’ and ‘blood tests’. Indian cricketers have long been vehemently opposing blood testing because they feel the WADA whereabouts clause violates their right to privacy. If the BCCI has to decide in favour of cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics, it might have to get a nod of approval from Virat Kohli & Co.
One BCCI official also spoke about the “contradiction” between the Olympic Charter and the Lodha Committee recommendations. “To participate in the Olympics, the BCCI will have to sign the Olympic Charter and accept its rules and by-laws. The Olympic Charter doesn’t have an age cap of 70 years for office-bearers. The Lodha Committee recommendation doesn’t allow it. So there’s a contradiction,” he said.
The ICC, meanwhile, is waiting for BCCI’s decision. “We haven’t discussed it yet in detail at the ICC level because the BCCI has taken time to come back after discussing it with their members. It would be taken up only after the BCCI comes back,” ICC chairman Shashank Manohar had said, speaking to The Indian Express a few days ago.
Earlier this year, Harbhajan Singh wrote a letter to then India coach Anil Kumble, pointing out “constant struggle” around him “in the financial situation” of his first-class team mates. Domestic cricketers get just over Rs 1 lakh for a first-class game. Kumble’s presentation to the CoA that came on the heels of Harbhajan’s letter, however, excluded domestic cricket. But the cricket board has started working on a better compensation package for domestic cricketers, although according to a BCCI functionary, nothing has been finalised yet – whether fixed contracts will be introduced, percentage of hike etc.
U-19 and ‘A’ team managers
This is likely to follow the senior team structure that now has Sunil Subramanian as its administrative manager with a one-year contract. With the CoA keen on professionalising the whole set-up, the India U-19 and India ‘A’ managers will get professional contracts via advertisements and interviews. Incidentally, the CoA didn’t like the way former Jharkhand State Cricket Association secretary Rajesh Verma was appointed manager for the India U-19 team to England.
The 2018 IPL season
It remains to be seen what is going to be discussed under this item. Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are back in the fold after suspension and the BCCI is pretty keen on keeping the IPL an eight-team event. According to a cricket board functionary, it’s not clear what would be deliberated upon on Wednesday. “The agenda has been set out, but the items were not explained,” he said.