The latest battle between the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators’ Chairman Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji has made them a laughing stock. You will only know who is right and who is wrong if you read between the lines (or between the multiple leaked emails between the two).
It seems both are working for the Supreme Court-appointed CoA and not for the welfare of the BCCI.
I am utterly surprised at how the emails between Mr Vinod Rai and Ms Diana got leaked to media, or was that done intentionally? If a committee comprising just two members finds it difficult to work in unison, how can you expect the entire cricket board to function smoothly under them?
The Supreme Court appointed this committee in good faith and one should respect the orders of the country’s apex court – but in the last one year, all one hears from this two-member committee is about the fights between them. They sit in the same room to discuss BCCI matters but it seems like the discussions happen more through their mails than verbally in the meetings.
Mr Rai is saying he is the Chairman of the committee and his word will be the final call. But if that is the case, then what chance does Diana have to put her case forward and make her point?
The whole idea of the Supreme court appointing the CoA was to get transparency in the BCCI’s working style, but lately we are reading more about their fighting style than anything else.
I have never met Mr Vinod Rai who is heading this committee, though Diana is an old and good friend of mine.
In the most recent of the standoffs between the two, Mr Rai is saying senior players like Mithali Raj’s views should be given importance while deciding on who coaches the women’s team. Diana, on the other hand, is saying the T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s views should be given more weight. This argument should go on, but is it helping the cause of women’s cricket?
It is really funny to see a two-member committee handling the richest cricket board in the world, and that too by opposing each other or making allegations against the other. If one agrees, then the other does not.
For some context on the procedure followed to appoint a coach, you don’t have to dig too deep. It is very clear that the captain and the senior players views have always been more important and influential in appointing the coach. There are many examples that can be cited, like the captain/coach combinations of Azharuddin and Ajit Wadekar, Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell, MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten, Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher and currently, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri. The captain’s input and the views of senior players remain most influential in appointing the coach.
Indian cricket history is witness – be it coaches or players, those who did not get the backing of the captain were removed, like myself, Kapil Dev, Madan Lal, Anil Kumble and now Ramesh Powar.
Raman Appointed But Why Was Kirsten Considered?
In the last 5 years, if I am not wrong, the Indian women’s team has seen 4 to 5 different coaches and despite having problems with leadership, I am extremely happy to see that the team’s on-field performances have not been affected.
Now we have a new coach, my friend WV Raman, who has loads of experience and his appointment was made by none other than Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy, who have all served Indian cricket greatly in their day.
While I am happy for WV Raman, I have one big question. In fact, like me, I’m sure many others would like to know what happened to Gary Kirsten.
Gary’s work ethic was not only accepted but appreciated by both BCCI and Indian cricketers. The coach who helped Dhoni’s team win the ICC World Cup. The coach who is well-versed with the policies and the politics of Indian cricket and someone who also developed a great rapport with both senior and junior cricketers and who showed an interest in helping Indian women’s cricket – how come he was ignored for the job?
We are told that conflict of interest was the cause.
My question then to the BCCI, Mr Rai, Ms Diana and the 3-member committee is that we all knew well before the interviews and final announcement of the women’s coach that Gary was involved with an IPL franchise. So then, why was he interviewed and heard on Skype in the first place?
This whole thing reminds me of the Anil Kumble and Ravi Shastri coach selection controversy, when they both were also interviewed by Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Laxman committee, but one candidate was already out of the running.
Something is definitely wrong somewhere.
The sad part is that the Supreme court-appointed CoA and BCCI members don’t want to draw themselves in any controversy and burn their fingers.
The biggest question now is, who is running the BCCI? We have Rahul Johri as CEO, who also came under the firing line. Then there’s my friend Saba Karim who is the General Manager of cricket operations but can’t take any big calls. We have an acting BCCI President, an acting Secretary and an acting Treasurer.
The Indian team is fighting it out on the cricket field and this administrative structure is involved in a different kind of fight, the kind inside the office field.
The happiest in all of this is the electronic and print media as they are getting a handful of stories every week.
I don’t at all know when this is going to end. I also don’t know when we are going to get the right answers to questions that we feel are our right to ask.
The women’s team is departing for the New Zealand tour next week. I can only say good luck.
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