Will the Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association and Vidarbha Cricket Association be merged into one state body?
That’s the loaded question the BCCI hopes to discover answers to when the Lodha Committee make a fresh set of recommendations on January 4 next year.
It is believed that the committee is keen on reducing over-representation from Maharashtra and Gujarat in the BCCI.
Gujarat has three Ranji associations too: Saurashtra Cricket Association, Baroda Cricket Association and Gujarat Cricket Association.
Andhra Pradesh has two but Hyderabad could be assimilated into the new state of Telengana.
These reforms could deal a body blow to Mumbai cricket and its rich traditions.
Mumbai have 40 Ranji victories to their credit in the tourney’s multi-storied history.
The record books indicate 16 Irani Cup, two Vijay Hazare Trophy, five Wills Trophy, and a single Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The Mumbai cricket team was formed under the Bombay Presidency and continued as part of the Bombay province until independence in 1947 when Bombay became Bombay state.
The formation of Maharashtra led to the assimilation of the city into its boundaries and it was made its capital.
Bombay continued as a separate Ranji team and continues to compete separately from Maharashtra state.
The Vidarbha cricket team was founded in 1957.
The Maharashtra cricket team has two Ranji trophy wins to its credit coming in 1939/40 and 1940/41.
Saurashtra are another side that have clinched the national title winning in 1936-37 and were also runners up in the very next season of 1937-38.
Baroda are five-time victors: 2000-01, 1957-58, 1949-50, 1946-47, and 1942-43.
They were established in 1930.
The Gujarat Cricket Association were founded in 1950.
There are 27 teams in the Ranji set-up.
19 State teams are currently participating in the tournament.
The Lodha Committee may also consider disallowing BCCI officials from holding positions in their state bodies.
This is purportedly to prevent a conflict of interest.
The implementation of this would be interesting—to put it mildly.
The ICC too functions like the BCCI with national cricket association heads elected to the ICC executive.
Similarly, the FIFA executive functions by appointing members from its respective confederations:
- CONMEBOL: one vice-president and two members
- AFC: one vice-president and three members
- UEFA: two vice-presidents and five members
- CAF: one vice-president and three members
- CONCACAF: one vice-president and two members
- OFC: one vice-president
What the Lodha Committee suggests is that the BCCI should function like the United Nations with country representatives differing from national heads.
This could be workable only if there are sufficiently experienced administrators available to be elected both at the state and national level.
Is that the case?
Is this an attempt to create more positions and thus more opportunities for both experienced and budding sports administrators within the annals of power within the BCCI and its member associations? That surely is not the mandate of the Lodha committee.
This could also be an ‘insidious’ attempt to bring the BCCI under the purview of the proposed Sports Bill which does not envisage more than three terms for an individual at the helm of any National Sports Federation with a cooling off period after two terms. Presidents are exempted from the cooling off period.
Office bearers are also to retire at 70.
The proposed Sports Bill (in 2013) sought to make the BCCI accountable to the general public by making it liable to respond to Right To Information (RTI) applications about its functioning.
Indranil Basu , reporting for CricBuzz, writes:
“The general belief within the BCCI is that the acumen and experience gained from being part of the board helps the administrators run their state bodies better. It is also believed that staying in the loop would only help streamline the system.
Drawing a parallel with the country’s political system, the board members said that it would create a situation where the ministers serving the government would not be allowed to be a part of the Parliament or legislative bodies. It simply can’t work. Today the board has an asset worth Rs 10,000 crore. In the last six years, the board has paid Rs 100 crore as income tax and gets the country around Rs 400 crore worth of foreign exchange every year. When India won the first World Cup in 1983, the board didn’t have Rs 2 lakh to honour its world champions. We are a professional body and deserve that respect, the official said.”
The most ‘damaging’ reform suggested may be the one that would prevent industrialists and politicians from participating in BCCI politics.
That would really set the cat among the pigeons.