The exemplary verdict announced by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha committee seems to have created all sorts of problems for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
One must feel that the Lodha committee's verdict would have been a welcome step for the BCCI that has a zero tolerance policy against the demons of corruption in Indian cricket. But, the recent actions of the Indian cricket board speak otherwise.
BCCI, the richest cricket board in the world, has set up a four-member working group to study the Lodha committee's order and give recommendations within a span of six weeks. It's not hard to make out that the board has clearly no idea how to respond to the findings of the Lodha committee.
The formation of a sub-committee to review the findings of another sub-committee is just bizarre. Amongst the numerous conspiracy theories behind the move, BCCI's inability to draw a general consensus and operate as a unit seems to be the one that makes sense.
The Indian cricket board has been a divided house ever since the ICC chairman N Srinivasan took control as the BCCI chief in 2011. It is believed that a group of board members, who are eager to settle scores with the former BCCI supremo, wish to get rid of the Chennai Super Kings. On the other hand, the Srinivasan loyalists are trying hard not to let that happen.
The tussle within the BCCI is likely to delay the implementation of Lodha committee's findings which will only affect the credibility of the board and irk the cricket fans across the country.
Anurag Thakur-Ajay Shirke vs Rajiv Shukla-Ravi Shastri
The IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting on 19 July saw a heated exchange between two groups of members on the future of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. A group, including BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, was in favour of extending the punishment pronounced by the panel and terminating the two suspended franchises. On the other hand, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and GC member Ravi Shastri showcased their concern for the players and supported the idea of BCCI taking over the functioning of Chennai and Rajasthan during their two years suspension.
But as Shirke rightly pointed out during an interview, one must wonder as to why Shukla or Shastri didn't voice their concern for the players when the BCCI terminated Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors in 2011. It seems that the Kochi and Pune players were simply expendable when compared with the star-studded line-ups of Rajasthan and Chennai.
Hiring KPMG or Deloitte to manage suspended teams
One of the most absurd suggestions during the IPL Gverning Council meeting came from IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary. The duo reportedly suggested that the Indian cricket board could hire the services of global consultancy giants KPMG or Deloitte to manage Rajasthan and Chennai during their two-year suspension.
As absurd as it may sound, the suggestion invokes two obvious questions. The first question is why an accounting and management consultancy firm who have no prior experience or expertise in running sports franchises would want to take over the two suspended IPL teams? And secondly, even if they make their mind about the potential take over, how would they pay the players and manage the other team expenses? We cannot expect the firm to pay out of their own pocket. And, in case the BCCI agrees to pay them to avoid conflict of interest, who would actually take the decisions for the franchise - BCCI or the firm?
BCCI's four-member working group
Despite numerous suggestions and heated exchanges, the only outcome of the crucial IPL Governing Council meeting was the formation of a four-member working group. Comprised of IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla, BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur, BCCI Treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, the working group was formed to study the Lodha committee's order and give recommendations within six weeks. The BCCI's legal adviser UN Banerjee will also assist the group.
While announcing the names of the working group members, IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla clarified that the BCCI will implement the Lodha Committee verdict in toto and the panel's job is only to find the way forward so that preparations for IPL 9 can begin. However, with the looks of it, the formation of the panel has already delayed the implementation of Lodha committe's verdict by six weeks.