The decisions taken by the Board of Control for Cricket in India at its special general body meeting last week have raised a furore in cricketing circles. Cancelling rotational policy is not a new phenomenon. It has happened ever since politicians, cutting across party lines, wanted to get more than what they deserved.
I remember Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad storming out of the conference hall at the 1983 AGM held in Bangalore. When he invited waiting journalists for a cup of tea, Jaywant Lele rushed in and requested him to come back to the hall.
Gaekwad said, “I have been in the hall for more than an hour and haven’t heard the word ‘cricket’. When you guys want to discuss cricket, please let me know.”
Gaekwad was angered by N.K.P. Salve’s keenness to be the president. President S.K. Wankhede, who had a year left, did not attend the meeting as he was hospitalised and Salve, another politician from Vidarbha, wanted to be the president.
In 1988-89, East Zone’s B.N. Dutta was holding office of the president and hadn’t completed his term of three years. A Central Zone representative Madhav Rao Scindia made appropriate moves, but was told that he would have to wait for another two terms to contest from Central Zone.
Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the former BCCI secretary and president of the Haryana Cricket Association, invited Scindia to contest from North Zone and, before Dutta could complete his term, he was dethroned.
The real drama took place in 1993-94 at Gwalior. It was the turn of West Zone and Dyaneshwar Agashe of Maharashtra Cricket Association was an automatic choice from West Zone for the post of the president. But Baroda asked I.S. Bindra to contest and J.Y. Lele represented Punjab.
Though he was supported by Baroda, CCI and Gujarat, Bindra knew it wasn’t easy as he also needed the support of Mumbai Cricket Association so that he could represent West Zone. The MCA President, Manohar Joshi, managed to get Naren Tamhane from the opposition on his side a couple of days prior to the election and Bindra was through.
If the team had to perform together, Bindra needed Dalmiya, who defeated C. Nagraj of Karnataka. It was thus that the Bindra-Dalmiya era came into being. For the first time, the BCCI, which had no clue about marketing the game, began to receive a humungous flow of money.
Next week when the representatives of the affiliated units meet in Mumbai for the AGM, BCCI would be expected to choose a new set of selectors. One expects selectors who had been a part of their respective State selection committees for the past four years to be chosen as they would have watched first class games.
Bringing in a new selector because of his stature or political pressure would be detrimental to players.
One thing that the BCCI will have to consider is not appointing someone as selector for the category his son is playing in.
In the past too many sons have suffered from the ‘Sonstroke’ because of ambitious fathers in selection committees. It is unfair to grant privileges to people whose fathers are in power. But it is equally unfair to ruin someone’s career for the same reason.