Interview | Cricket

‘I don’t understand how an SC order cannot be accepted’ - Amitabh Choudhary

On course: Amitabh Choudhary says the BCCI is determined to act on the Lodha Committee recommendations at the earliest and is moving in that direction.

On course: Amitabh Choudhary says the BCCI is determined to act on the Lodha Committee recommendations at the earliest and is moving in that direction.   | Photo Credit: PTI

BCCI acting-secretary offers a candid outlook on the current state of affairs

BCCI acting-secretary Amitabh Choudhary spoke to The Hindu on Wednesday about implementing the Justice Lodha Committee reforms, ICC matters and Virat Kohli’s feud with Anil Kumble.

You and some like-minded BCCI members went to the Special General Meeting on June 26 with hopes of implementing the Lodha Committee recommendations in some form. For the first time since July 2016, the BCCI gave the impression some headway would be made, but as it concluded, you must have been gutted.

Gutted? (laughs)…I like the choice of the word...gutted. To tell the truth, I would have been the happiest if some tangible progress had been made.

The BCCI has been defiant, giving flimsy reasons. Do you see the order being accepted in the immediate future?

I am trying my best, as an individual, to see that my efforts result in the BCCI moving forward in that direction. I am not the only one trying. The committee constituted on Tuesday is meeting on July 1. All these are indicators of our determination to deal with the subject in a forthright manner.

It appears some members do not want to honour the order

I really cannot comprehend how an order of the highest court cannot be accepted. My view is that there are difficulties that we must submit before the honourable court. The purpose of the SGM was that. The purpose of the seven-member committee is also for that; it is seized of the matter and will try its best.

Two BCCI SGMs, with 31 members, have met twice and refused to implement the order. The BCCI spent nine hours at an SGM last year. What is the seven-member committee going to look at?

In any system of governance of policy-making, a preliminary body often leaves the responsibilities of framing the body of thoughts to a committee of its own. We are actually in that process. As one can make out from the written document, the committee has been apprised that it has to work expeditiously and articulate the points that need to be submitted before the highest court.

What are the issues the Board has found irritating to implement?

I cannot put a finger on it. It would be like pre-judging. Genuinely, there could be some points which the committee, and thereafter the general body, would most humbly bring before the Supreme Court. I am sure we will get a hearing on that.

Justice Lodha has said that members have made positions in the BCCI as permanent seats of power and have asked them to go…does that rankle?

India is a diverse country and no two associations (in the BCCI) are similar. It’s possible that in some associations there are people in power for long periods of time. There are different thoughts on this matter. We respect the thoughts expressed by the Lodha Committee and the order of the SC.

Justice Lodha once said that people in the BCCI should do good work for three years, go away and let new people in...

That’s a thought. Every individual can genuinely think and come up with suggestions as to how he looks at a particular subject. How the committee will think I cannot pre-judge.

The Lodha Committee has made some good observations.

The recommendations are a result of very hard work by top judicial minds and therefore we have the highest respect.

I am sure something good is going to come about.

Members have been in power for multiple decades. Is it an ideal situation?

I may personally think that very long tenures could be good at one time and not good some other time. It depends on how those long tenures have come about. I cannot make a single flat statement on whether a long tenure is necessarily bad or good.

Are people showing interest in administration because of the money factor, especially in the last 10 years, as States receive big subsidies every year?

I cannot comment on this. But there could be some people because of that. It cannot be denied.

The Deloitte report has pointed out the shortcomings and flaws in administration and how money has been misused...

It’s a good exercise. Yes…nobody can deny that. It’s a step ahead on the learning curve.

Many members have been disqualified but they were finding loopholes in the SC order

Here, one is mixing an order with what is not an order. The disqualification order applies to office-bearers.

You said the BCCI is satisfied with ICC matters, governance and financial. Has Shashank Manohar (ICC chairman) been of help?

The subject is best dealt if individuals are not brought in. Of the net surplus that the ICC would generate in the 2016-2023 cycle, India (BCCI) will get the largest share (23%). I am satisfied and I think the BCCI feels so.

On the governance issues, no constitution is constant…it’s subject to changes. Having said that, you cannot compare today’s situation to the past as you have 12 Test-playing countries now.

You said you did not see any smoke at your first interaction with the media before the Champions Trophy. Was there bad blood when Kohli and Kumble met in the presence of Rahul Johri, M.V. Sridhar and yourself after the final?

I don’t want to add to that. I think the term (bad blood) is too sharp to comprehend what has happened. It’s a subject I won’t like to talk. My job, like everyone in the BCCI, is to find a solution and not to talk about problems.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 8:32:30 PM |

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