BCCI

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Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – VI


Chapter Seven: Ombudsman, Ethics & Electoral Officers

The Lodha Commission recommends the creation of three authorities to make the functioning of the BCCI more transparent and independent:

An ombudsman to resolve internal conflicts independent of the BCCI,

an ethics officer to administer matters regarding conflict of interest, and

an electoral officer to ensure a clean and fair elections process.

1) Ombudsman

The committee recommends the appointment of a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court as the Ombudsman of the BCCI, to be appointed once a year at the Annual General Meeting.

The ombudsman will attend to any disputes between the Board and its member associations.

Principles of natural justice, production of evidence and fair hearing are to be followed.

The ombudsman can also entertain and redress any grievance or complaint by members of the public concerning ticketing, access and facilities at stadia, and lack of transparency in the award of contracts for goods and services.

2) Ethics Officer

The ethics officer is to be a former justice of a state high court.

He/ she will monitor conflict of interest, code of behaviour and any other similar rules.

The panel rapped the BCCI saying:

“The approach of the BCCI in recent years in administering these Codes (of conduct) has not been encouraging, especially when powerful figures in the sport were involved. “

Full member associations are also to observe all the ethical principles including those concerning Conflict of Interest. An ombudsman can cover for an ethics officer in members. Multiple states can appoint a single ethics officer.

3) Electoral Officer

A former Election Commissioner of India is to be appointed as electoral officer of the BCCI. His/ her decision would be final and conclusive regarding scrutinizing of nominations and clearing them, drawing up and verifying the electoral roll after identifying appropriate representatives of the Full Members, ensuring that no candidate falls foul of the Rules, and declaration of results.

Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – V


Chapter Six: Conflict of Interest

The sixth chapter of the Lodha Commission recommendations to the BCCI and its constituents deals with the kicker that began the reforms ball rolling within the cricketing body.

Yes, conflict of interest is the title of chapter six; Shashank Manohar, a lawyer by profession, tackled the matter as soon as he took over as the latest BCCI president.

His predecessor, N Srinivasan, was forced to quit as President as his position as both owner of an IPL team and administrator was considered untenable by the Supreme Court.

The Lodha Commission considers resolution of conflict of interest the “underpinning of all governance in the civilized world.”

The commission further remarks the BCCI had “an extremely casual understanding of the concept of Conflict of Interest.”

The members of the panel recognise that there is a lack of understanding in players and officials about the very concept unlike legal professionals who are “attuned to conflict mechanisms and their avoidance on a daily basis.”

Conflict of interest and overlapping interests were treated very subjectively by administrators and players and there was a lack of voluntary disclosure in many an instance.

The commission further damns the BCCI that the advent of the IPL only meant that the BCCI accommodated these ‘inherent’ conflicts.

Conflict of interest issues are central to ethical conduct.

The BCCI’s newly spelt out guidelines on this issue should apply to all individuals connected or employed with the BCCI i.e. every Office Bearer, Player, Councillor, Employee, Administrator, Team Official, Umpire or other person connected to the BCCI, its Members or the IPL and its Franchisees. These include both acts of commission and omission.

Conflicts are broadly classified as tractable and intractable.

An Ethics Officer is to apply the policy for the BCCI.

Commentary on Lodha Commission Recommendations to BCCI – III


Chapter Three: Management

The Lodha Commission believes that the BCCI will thrive by having professionals experienced with  large corporations in charge of its daily operations.

Governance and policy direction are to be kept separate from the execution of the body’s vision.

This multiple-tiered hierarchy is on lines with what exists in the Football Association (FA) of the United Kingdom, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Federation Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH), MLB, NBA and NFL respectively.

The BCCI and its members are to be run professionally.

Non-cricketing management will be led by a CEO and his team.

Cricketing matters such as selection, coaching and performance evaluation will be left to the ex-players.

Umpiring will be handled exclusively by umpires.

The Cricket and Umpires committees will report to the Apex Council.

The CEO will be assisted by two advisory committees the Tours, Fixtures & Technical Committee and the Tournaments Committee.

The CEO too will be accountable to the Apex Council.

A maximum of six managers will aid the CEO in the following matters: Operations, Finance, Technical, Compliance (legal), Human Resources and Media.

The CEO will be contracted for a tenure of five years to the BCCI while the managers will be regular employees.

Seven cricket committees will deal with selection, coaching, performance evaluation and talent resource development of Men, Women, Junior, Zonal and Differently-Abled teams. They will consist only of former players and report directly to the Apex Council.

The selection committee will no longer be zonal in nature and would consist of just three members.

Currently existing committees such as ‘Vizzy Trophy Committee’, ‘the TV Production Committee’, ‘the Ground & Pitches Committee’, ‘the Museum Committee’ and

‘Cricket Advisory Committee’ are to be abolished.

Two standing committees namely the Senior Tournaments Committee, and the Tours, Fixtures & Technical Committee are retained to give guidance to the new CEO and his team.

Comments:

The professionalization of the BCCI is to be welcomed. The BCCI can no longer be run in an ad-hoc fashion given it is the richest sporting body in the country and within the ICC. The BCCI’s functioning needs to be streamlined and be more in line with modern organisations. Ex-players are well-qualified to take care of cricketing matters and the umpires will enjoy autonomy with regards to decisions on their profession.

The five-man selection committee is a relic of the division of the country into five zones. In this modern age, three selectors will be more than enough to select a team of 16 players and 30 probables given that there is no longer the need for them to traverse the length and breadth of the nation. They can catch up on Ranji and other national tournaments via television and video recordings.

The CEO’s term is limited to five years thus making him accountable for the BCCI’s performance during his tenure. Career professionals too may find the BCCI a practical proposition for employment in their respective fields.

The creation of committees for women and differently-abled implies that the BCCI has been given a mandate to be more inclusive in its policies to the less privileged sections of the sport.

The separation of governance and policy from the daily running of the BCCI mirrors the best practices of corporate governance in large corporations.

Should Dhoni continue as skipper?


Anuraag Thakur of the BCCI vocalised his support for MS Dhoni’s continuance as skipper in the shorter formats of the game.

Dhoni has lost his last three series as captain whereas Virat Kohli has earned his stripes at home instilling aggression and dynamism that seemed lacking in recent times under MSD.

Does Team India really need two leaders? Not really. Kohli is more than capable of leading the side in all three formats. And team-members will not have to readjust every time the other takes over the reins.

Dhoni leaves behind a tremendous legacy but it’s time for a change in approach.

The losing streak has to end.

The multiple leaders theory came into existence because there were quite a few players who were unable to make the adjustment to the shorter formats. But modern cricketers are more adaptable and thus I foresee a reverse trend towards only one skipper in all three formats.

Similar changes have been effected in South Africa and Australia with Steve Smith and AB DeVilliers leading the side in both Test and ODI formats.

While there will always be Test and ODI and T20 specialists, it is the more versatile players who will be the natural leaders of cricketing sides, the ones who are able to adjust and exhibit both strategic and tactical acumen in all formats. Multi-dimensional cricketers are the need of the hour when it comes to choosing leaders.

What will Dhoni’s role in the side be? Can he continue as a player?
He’s certainly fit enough to contribute and his experience cannot be discounted.

The Big Three of Indian cricket, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid soldiered on as players much after giving up or losing out on the captaincy. Can Dhoni do an encore?

Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – II


Chapter 2: Governance

The Lodha Commission identified the following problems with the BCCI’s governance structure.

  1. Concentration of power
  2. Lack of competence
  3. Overlap of diverse functions
  4. Zonal considerations
  5. No representation to players
  6. No representation to women
  7. No independent voice
  8. Unlimited terms and tenures
  9. No disqualifications

The President will no longer be all-powerful.

An Apex Council is to be formed and powers formerly vested in the President will be assigned to it.

The IPL Governing Council will continue to exist as a separate entity.

The BCCI will address lack of competence by bringing in professional managers and area experts.

There shall be only one Vice-President. The provision for having five VPs is to be scrapped.

The Apex Council will thus consist of the President, Vice-President,Secretary, Joint Secretary and Treasurer.

The council will have nine members: two additional Councillors (one male, one female) to be nominated by the Players’ Association to be formed, one to represent the Full Members of the BCCI, and one to be nominated by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India.

No member can be a member of the Apex Council for more than nine years, with a single term consisting of three years.

Additionally no one can be elected to the council for more than one term at a time. The same holds for nominated Councillors.

Ministers, government servants or post-holders in other sports bodies as well as persons over 70 are disqualified from being members of the Apex Council.

Comments:

The appointment of a woman member to the Apex Council is to be welcomed. This should help promote the women’s game in the country and a player representative will be able to give advice to the BCCI about the problems ailing women’s cricket.

The added four members nominated will bring in independent members thus adhering to good corporate governance principles.

The nomination of a member by the C&AG will help in desired oversight into the BCCI’s finances.

The provisions of this section are so much in line with the Draft National Sports Federation bill that it makes one wonder if the Commission used it as a reference document to frame the governance rulings.

The key differences are that the term of office recommended is four years as against three in the Lodha Commission, council members can serve two consecutive terms which would then be followed by a cooling off period of four years. The President is exempt from this rule in that he or she can hold office for three consecutive terms or twelve years.

Government servants are eligible to serve as Board members provided they get permission from their Ministry.

Commentary on Lodha Commission recommendations to BCCI – I


Should the Supreme Court ratify the Lodha Committee’s proposals to the BCCI and should they be accepted in its entirety, then the panel would have achieved what the proposed National Sports Federation bill could not. The BCCI honchos may crib and cry as much as they want but they have only themselves to blame at being forced to turn over a new leaf given their lackadaisical responses to the scandals that plagued the IPL.

Shashank Manohar may have tried to clean up the Augean stables with his conflict of interest proposals but the Lodha commission have handed him an unambiguous mandate of dragging the national cricketing body into the 21st century with its dynamic suggestions.

The first reaction within the BCCI was to oppose all recommendations except the one of legalizing betting.

Surprisingly or perhaps not, betting is a state matter and thus does not actually come under the ambit of the BCCI.

In 2006, the BCCI had suggested to the central government to make sports betting legal in the country.

A former BCCI secretary said:

“The taboo that is attached to the whole thing prevents the government to nod in the affirmative. You can’t compare India with Europe or the US. The socio-economic structures are different. Interpretations of moral values are different. So it’s very difficult to convince the government that such a measure is absolutely necessary. And even if people are convinced, who will bell the cat?”

The Lodha report itself is divided into ten chapters each addressing different aspects on the running of the BCCI.

While the recommendations may seem harsh and shed light on the limitations of  the BCCI in its current avatar, the commission had this to add:

“We hasten to add a word of caution lest there be a negative impression created about the BCCI. During our interactions, one fact that emerged uniformly concerned the way the manpower of the BCCI organizes the actual game and its competitions across the country. The organisation has still managed to harvest talent and ensure that the national teams perform remarkably on the world stage. Talented players from virtually any corner of this vast nation are in a position to compete and reach the highest levels, even if they come from relatively modest backgrounds. Recent years have borne evidence with India winning the World Cup in T-20 and One Day Internationals, while also reaching the top of the Test rankings.

The BCCI staff members have ensured that hundreds of matches along with match officials are organized annually at all levels, and that updates are provided so that the BCCI remains fully informed. The management of the game is also self-sufficient without any governmental grants. We notice the BCCI also conducts charity matches for national causes and humanitarian assistance is also given to the former cricketers and their families.

The Committee has therefore consciously ensured that no measures are recommended that would interfere or limit the good work being done on behalf of the BCCI. “

The Commission also said that they applied two tests to every issue:

“Whether this will benefit the game of cricket?”

and

“What does the Indian cricket fan want?”

Chapter One:

This  pertains to the structure and constitution of the BCCI.

The problems listed were:

  1. Not all States are represented on the BCCI
  2. Some States are over-represented
  3. Some members do not represent territories
  1. Some members neither play matches nor represent territories
  2. Union Territories are unrepresented on the Board
  3. Ad-hoc creation of Membership categories
  4. Arbitrary addition and removal of associations

There was a concern earlier that the state associations of Gujarat and Maharashtra would suffer should the one-state, one-member rule come into effect. That is not the case.

There will be one state association and thus one full member and the other state associations would continue as associate members without voting rights but would continue to field separate teams in the national competition.

There will also be no further affiliate or future members.

Union territories, too, are to be made full members as per the discretion of the BCCI.

The Services, Railways and Universities will no longer be full members but associates.

Clubs such as the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC) too are to be declassified and made associate members since they do field cricket teams.

Comment:

While at first appearances, this appears to be a clear and fair readjustment of the structure and constitution of the BCCI, this also allows the smaller states of the North-East and Union territories considerable leverage within the BCCI when it comes to electing officials to the Board. FIFA too operates under similar rules and the likes of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter used this to their advantage by promising and delivering benefits to members from Asia and Africa that helped promote the game, yes, but also assured their uninterrupted reign in FIFA’s corridors of power. Isn’t it possible that a similar scenario may play out within the BCCI with the smaller states using their voting power to secure their share of the spoils in exchange for their votes?

 To be continued…

 

Lodha Committee suggested reforms turns up the heat on BCCI bigwigs


English: Ranji Trophy

Ranji Trophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

CCI Mumbai - Main entrance: lobby of the club ...

CCI Mumbai – Main entrance: lobby of the club house with replica of original Ranji Trophy as centerpiece. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Matter of policy: BCCI’s bone density test for age deemed admissible by Bombay High Court


Your real age is what your bone density test says you are.

The above is the edict of the Bombay High Court dismissing a petition from young cricketer Sagar Chhabria challenging his declared ineligibility for an Under-16 tournament.

The Tanner-Whitehouse Test (TW3) determined that Sagar was in fact 16-and-a-half and thus overage.

Honourable judges, SC Dharmadhikari and Justice BP Colabawalla,  declared that chronological age such as birth certificates and passport are insufficient—specifically for sporting activities.

Wikipedia states:

“Bone age is the degree of maturation of a child’s bones. As a person grows from fetal life through childhood, puberty, and finishes growth as a young adult, the bones of the skeleton change in size and shape. These changes can be seen by x-ray. The ‘bone age’ of a child is the average age at which children reach this stage of bone maturation. A child’s current height and bone age can be used to predict adult height. For most people, their bone age is the same as their biological age but for some individuals, their bone age is a couple years older or younger. Those with advanced bone ages typically hit a growth spurt early on but stop growing early sooner while those with delayed bone ages hit their growth spurt later than normal. Kids who are below average height do not necessarily have a delayed bone age; in fact their bone age could actually be advanced which if left untreated, will stunt their growth.”

Bone age is determined by comparing hand x-rays against an atlas of bone x-rays.

The Tanner-Whitehouse Test (TW3) has a 96% success rate in males and 98% in females. The classification process was tested with 50 left-hand wrist images. Details can be found in the research paper  Estimation of Skeletal Maturity by Tanner and Whitehouse Method by V.Karthikeyan, V.J.Vijayalakshmi and P.Jeyakumar.

The esteemed judges said:

“Chronological of birth through public documents cannot provide absolute right for selection in a sports activity, when the petitioner completely knew about the medical test laid down by the BCCI in regards to selection process for which he had signed up.”

(FIFA introduced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans for the Under-17 World Cup in 2009. MRI scans are believed to be 99% accurate for 17 years and below.)

Chhabria did not challenge the methods of the test or the experts employed by the BCCI to make the correct deduction.

The cricketer was opposed to an ‘excessive’ policy which also meant that the BCCI enjoyed a monopoly while determining whether Chhabria should be allowed to participate in sports tournaments or not.

The BCCI defended itself claiming that the test was in use across different states and was not particular to the Mumbai Cricket Association. Moreover, the test had an in-built corrective mechanism wherein a third expert could be called in to if the first two experts differed in their opinion.

The judges added that the challenge could only be entertained if there was no prior rule or policy.

“However once participation is dependent on policy, then parties like the petitioner cannot bypass the same or call upon the court to do so.”

Sagar Chhabria is a Bandra resident. The petition was filed through his father.

The BCCI’s advocates said that Chhabria was , however, eligible to take part in Under-19 tournaments.

The BCCI does not employ the TW3 test at the Under-19 level.

According to an article in the Mumbai Mirror, “the so-called ‘fool-proof testing’ has not apparently worked well at the under-19 stage.”

The BCCI had over 2000 litigations from Under-19 players with regards to age testing using the said method.

A BCCI official said:

“The protocol for the under 19 players is valid certification — valid school leaving and birth certificates. The point is testing at under 19 level is a futile exercise and the accuracy of the results are questioned by the players who are resorting to legal recourse, if found overaged.”

The testing was undertaken at both levels following a directive from the ministry of sports.

The official added:

“The ministry of sports has sent us a directive to verify height, weight, dental age, physical and physiological state of the players and do X-rays and MRI scans. It would cost a lot and there is no guarantee over its accuracy, particularly at under 19 level. The board wants U-16 to be the entry point but the point is if someone flunks age-test at the under 16 level, one can always make himself available three years later at under 19 level with fake birth certificates.”

Why isn’t recusal good enough for Roger Binny’s conflict of interest?


Is Shashank Manohar going too far with his conflict of interest reforms?

South Zone selector Roger Binny is under the hammer.

The proposed 29-point-agenda foresees serving notice to selectors who have financial or business interests with players.

Stuart Binny, Roger’s son, is currently a contender for the ODI and Test sides.

He enjoys the support of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

Binny Sr. has always recused himself from committee deliberations whenever his son’s case came up.

A senior BCCI official, speaking to Times of India, said:

“I believe he should step down from his post. His work as national selector has been impeccable but with Stuart part of the Indian team, the ‘conflict of interest’ issue might come up in different quarters.

The board is planning to implement the points suggested by Manohar into its constitution and if and when it is done, Roger’s position may directly be in conflict.The rest of the selectors still have one more year on their term and may be asked to continue.”

The precedent cited is that of Manohar’s son Adwait stepping down from his positions in the BCCI soon after his dad took over the board to avoid any conflict of interest.

BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary said:

“The points made by the president are only suggestions at the moment, which will come up for discussion at the AGM. If the consensus in the board is on incorporating some of these points into the constitution, it’ll be done.

However, regarding conflict of interest over Roger, we are not part of the selection meetings and don’t know if Roger is present when his son’s name comes up for discussion. So it’s very difficult to prove a conflict in this case.”

The said requirements are way too stringent.

What the BCCI seems to imply is that an ex-cricketer can be a selector as long as his relatives are not competing for a spot in any of the sides the national selectors oversee.

Once his relatives are serious challengers, out goes the selector!

The practice of recusal is well-known and is often used to address a perceived conflict of interest.

To provide an analogy:

A university professor whose son or daughter were students in his or her class would not be stopped from teaching their class.

He or she would however not be allowed to set examination papers or mark results of the entire class.

The above is an example of recusal at its simplest.

It is the principle that ought to be applied to conflict of interest issues with national selectors when the reasons why they are in contravention are filial.

Conflict of interest issues, such as above, could be handled on a case-by-case basis.

The rules follow the principles and not vice-versa.

Shashank Manohar is inclined towards a stricter interpretation of the law. Even a perceived conflict of interest is to be summarily dealt with.

An India player is worth much more on the IPL auction block than a junior or Ranji cricketer.

Follow this thread of thought and you’ll understand the reasoning behind the latest BCCI thrust.

The law can be an ass sometimes and a stricter law a bigger ass.

Are the proposed diktats practical given the current dispensation where administrators and ex-cricketers have their fingers in more than one pie?

Can the BCCI attract enough ex-sportspersons to keep its machinery going?

Its pockets are deep enough.

Blame game has a fresh target—curator Sudhir Naik


Blame the pitch, blame the curator, blame your bowlers, blame your batsmen, blame your running between wickets, blame your fielders but never ever, ever blame the opposition for out-batting, out-bowling and out-playing your side through the most part of the series.

Ravi Shastri, former Indian cricketer. 4 Test ...

Ravi Shastri, former Indian cricketer. 4 Test series vs Australia at Adelaide Oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravi Shastri allegedly had harsh words for Sudhir Naik, the Wankhede curator.

He expressed his displeasure after the South Africans posted a mammoth total on a benign wicket all but wrapping up the series before the Indians came out to bat.

His behaviour is to be deplored.

Curators are responsible for preparing pitches keeping in mind soil and weather conditions.

Indian skippers and support staff seem to believe that they ought to always be given the extra edge, not by taking scheduling and conditions into account, but based on how they have fared in the series up to that point.

Naik claims that he was told to prepare a turning wicket just two days before the game—an impossibility.

It is time that Indian team management admitted that they are no longer bully boys on sub-continental wickets given that their South African, Australian, English and Kiwi counterparts are now accustomed both to the heat and the batting conditions courtesy the IPL.

They would be better off choosing the best bowlers for all conditions rather than ‘horses for courses’.

The BCCI should also spell out specific guidelines in their newly drafted conflict of interest rules that would prevent such a situation recurring in the future.

Curators’ decisions must be independent of the Indian team’s vagaries and fortunes.

Therein lies the best interests of Indian cricket.

The question then is: Are these the best players in the country at the moment? If not, where are the ones who deserve to be in the side? Why have they been overlooked?

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