“SUPREME COURT judges feel the BCCI could do better under retired Judges, I wish them all the best,” is what Anurag Thakur might have said in his public statement that he put up on Twitter. But if anything what the ousted president seems to be telling the Supreme Court is “good luck running the BCCI”. He might even be right to an extent, considering the cloud of uncertainty that lurks over the Indian cricket board following the Supreme Court’s decision to send the incumbent top brass packing on Monday.
With Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke gone, the BCCI has been left like a headless chicken scurrying around in proverbial circles. It’s not like the BCCI didn’t expect things to end like this. But now that things are getting real, members across the board are left in a massive quandary over their imminent futures, both individually and collectively, whether it is to do with when they should quit or what they should do next.
WATCH VIDEO | Anurag Thakur Sacked: What’s The Road Ahead For BCCI
Mathew quits, Choudhary to be interim secretary
There are those who wasted no time in biting the bullet like Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) president TC Mathew who was the first one to quit from his post. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) chief Sharad Pawar had preemptively taken the plunge a couple of weeks before the Supreme Court’s verdict. And those familiar with the board’s functioning insist that many more will follow their lead in the coming days.
“I expect the likes of Amitabh Choudhary (Jharkhand Cricket Association joint secretary) and Anirudh Chaudhry (Haryana Cricket Association secretary) to give up their roles with their respective state bodies. They have completed well over nine years there. They will obviously prefer to be with the BCCI,” says one veteran administrator.
According to the Supreme Court order, Choudhary, who was till now the BCCI’s joint secretary, will anyway take over as interim secretary till January 19 when a entirely new committee of administrators will take over the functioning of the BCCI. But it’s still very unclear who will be in-charge of the BCCI over the next nearly two-and-a-half weeks. Following the dismantling of the top brass in the board, the Supreme Court had directed that the senior most vice-president would perform those duties. The BCCI though seems to have little idea about which one of the five vice-presidents could be potentially nominated to run the show temporarily.
Johri could be president
CK Khanna from the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) is the senior-most in terms of this being his third term in this role. But his dubious past is well-documented with Justice Mukul Mudgal having referred to Khanna as a “pernicious influence” in his report as DDCA observer.
Like Khanna, Goutam Roy who’s headed the Assam Cricket Association for close to two decades, doesn’t have the cleanest record either. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly and veteran Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) administrator G Gangaraju, meanwhile, are in line for colling-off periods considering they’ve already overshot the prescribed durations of their respective tenures with their state bodies. For now, CEO Rahul Johri seems the likeliest candidate to hold the reins.
Gangaraju though revealed that the ACA would immediately implement all the Lodha reforms on the back of the Supreme Court verdict.
“There is no confusion as Supreme Court has passed it’s verdict. As the president of Andhra Cricket Association we would implement Lodha Reforms in totality with immediate effect. If it means that we have to go into cooling off period, so be it. Indian cricket should move forward,” he told PTI on Monday.
When asked about whether he considered himself to be in line for the interim president’s post in the BCCI, the ACA chief seemed uncertain like everyone else in the board.
“Look, I still need some clarity over the matter. Mr CK Khanna of DDCA is also a senior VP. But in any case it will be a temporary post as I will also have to go into compulsory cooling off period. But if such kind of responsibility is entrusted on me, I will perform my duties with utmost honesty and sincerity,” he said.
The MCA, meanwhile, has decided to call for a managing committee meeting to discuss the issue according to vice-president PV Shetty.
Shah might seek legal counsel
Not everyone though seems prepared to go down without a fight. Saurashtra Cricket Association’s long-standing president Niranjan Shah hinted at seeking legal counsel. He even cited his constitutional rights to support his point. “We respect the Supreme Court judgement and we have to abide by that but whatever judicial thing is left we will discuss with our lawyers. I have got constitutional right which has given by Gandhiji. Constitution is written by Babasaheb Ambedkar. In democracy everyone has his lakshman-rekha, be it parliament, judiciary or military. Otherwise if it’s is not there, the democracy will not survive,” said Shah.
Perhaps, one member sums up the extreme panic and cynicism that presently is running amok through the BCCI best when he says, “BCCI was not bothered since the beginning. When these recommendations came in, then only board should have gone and met Lodha Committee but back then everyone was unmoved. The cricket board has called this upon themselves. Everything is finished.”
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