Updated: January 31, 2020 9:29:33 am
Diana Edulji, who was at the helm of India’s cricket administration until last October, has slammed skipper Virat Kohli for complaining about the scheduling of the ongoing T20 series in New Zealand — and pointed out that the captain was part of a group that approved the itinerary over two years ago.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Edulji said that the Future Tour Progamme (FTP) of the team up to 2023 was approved by Kohli, former skipper M S Dhoni and head coach Ravi Shastri during a meeting with cricket officials at the Taj Mansingh Hotel in Delhi on November 30, 2017.
“Virat complaining now is definitely strange, I feel that he is playing so much of cricket that he forgot that he has given OK for such a schedule. We didn’t force this on the players. They knew that they would be landing in New Zealand three days before. It’s written in the minutes. Only after they (players) gave their consent was it approved,” Edulji said.
At the time, Edulji was part of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, which was mandated by the Supreme Court to oversee cricket affairs. Dhoni was heading the team in the shorter formats, and Kohli in Tests.
How does the FTP work?
The Future Tours Programme (FTP) is a comprehensive schedule of all international games approved by International Cricket Council. The current FTP started in August 2018 and will end in July 2023. This ICC-approved five-year itinerary has been put in place after consultations with all full members. The BCCI, like all boards, after consultations with all its stakeholders, came up their preferred itinerary. The five-year FTP period has been broken into various groups according to the three formats — Tests, ODIs and T20Is. Apart from bilateral series, separate windows have also been drawn to include ICC events such as the 50-over World Cup, World T20 and the newly-formed World Test Final. Accommodating the cash-rich T20 leagues into the jam-packed calendar is another challenge for the authorities. From the PSL, IPL, the Natwest T20 blast, CPL, The Hundred, CSA League, BPL, and the BBL, all run parallel to the international events.
The CoA was disbanded on October 23 last year after the BCCI elections were held and new office-bearers took charges.
According to Edulji, the FTP wasn’t drafted by the CoA but by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and cricket administration head Gaurav Saxena, who had presented it at the meeting.
She said that before the FTP was prepared, a chart of the schedule was given to the top players and the management for approval. “We had asked if the players wanted to change anything. We passed the FTP only after the players and the coach okayed it,” she said.
On January 24, on the day before the first T20 game of the five-match series against New Zealand, Kohli told reporters in response to a question on the itinerary: “It’s getting closer and closer to landing at the stadium straight (from the airport).”
The team had reached New Zealand on January 21, just two days after playing the final game of the ODI series against Australia in Bangalore. “Hopefully, this will be taken into consideration in the future,” Kohli had said.
The team’s New Zealand tour includes five T20 games in 10 days, followed by 3 ODIs in seven days. Kohli’s statement led Rajeev Shukla, former IPL chairman, to blame on the CoA. Edulji said that “before making the statement, Kohli should have thought that he was part of the discussion where this FTP was formed”.
The minutes of meeting, signed by Rai, states: “FTP (2019-2023). Mr Rahul Johri presented the proposal for International FTP. The Team Representatives [Kohli, Dhoni, and Shastri] appreciated the efforts of the BCCI team in addressing their concerns on the high number of playing days per season, long overseas tours and preparation time before a marquee series/event and gave their consent to the proposed FTP”.
Edulji said the team “appreciated” the FTP. “We discussed how many T20s they are going to play, how many ODIs, how many home matches, the gaps between tournaments… We have always made sure that players got what they wanted, their comfort was top priority,” she said.
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