Among several other recommendations of Ramachandra Guha, during his stint with COA, was the appointment of a male cricketer in the panel. In his resignation letter, accessed by The Indian Express, he had mentioned that he had put forth the name of former cricketer and match referee Javagal Srinath’s name, but, like several other suggestions his, went unheeded. As it unfolded, it was among the several reasons that prompted his resignation.
In fact, this was one of his earlier suggestions to the COA. In a letter dated February 1, weeks after the COA was constituted, he had written to them regarding the inclusion of male cricketer, “either as a member or a special invitee.” This, he felt “would greatly enhance both our credibility and ability to make informed decisions,” he observed.
The absence of a senior cricket had drawn much criticism, “much of it from important stake holders”, as apart from Diana Edulji, the rest hadn’t a close experience of cricket or cricket administration. The amicus curae had put forward two names, that of former skippers Srinivasan Venkataraghavan and Bishan Singh Bedi, but both names were rejected because they were over seventy.
So Guha recommended Srinath, who he says would have been an excellent choice, “given his credentials”. “He was a world-class cricketer, was a successful and scandal-free administrator of the Karnataka State Cricket Association and is an ICC match referee, and comes from an educated, technical background to boot. I strongly urge the committee and other members to consider approaching him in this regard,” he wrote.
Srinath and Diana’s collaboration, Guha reckoned, “would enhance our credibility and effectiveness enormously.” He further added, “As the only cricketer in the panel, Diana’s contributions have been invaluable; on many issues of administration and the rights of players she has brought a perspective based on a first-hand experience that the rest of us lacked. A male counterpart would have complemented and further enriched her contributions.” He had also specified that while Srinath was the best choice according to him, there are other alternatives too. “It’s still not too late to make amends, “ he says.
He had voiced the issue in a formal meeting, but his proposal was not acted upon. “We should have approached the court to take the necessary action,” he feels.
If indeed there was a male cricketer in the group, several issues could have, in part, been averted. Like for instance, several disqualified BCCI office bearers “playing a leading role in the concerted (if fortunately in the end aborted) attempt to get the Indian team to boycott the Champions Trophy.” Or even the alleged coach-captain fallout could have been better handled.