BCCI president Anurag Thakur has come out to bat for politicians, after the OP Jaisha controversy and the Lodha panel report caused an uproar on the involvement of politicians in sports.
In an interview to the Economic Times, Thakur insisted that Indian politicians have done plenty for the Indian sports ecosystem and the backlash after the Rio 2016 Olympics debacle was unwarranted.
"The Mumbai stadium was built because of Sharad Pawar, the Delhi one because of Arun Jaitley, and the Mohali stadium because of IS Bindra. I built the stadium in Dharamshala before entering politics. Politicians have contributed and haven't taken a single penny for it," said Thakur to Economic Times.
He then went onto add: "I wish Justice Lodha had come to the BCCI office or state association offices and interacted with members and office bearers. The fundamental problem with the report is that it hasn't understood the way cricket administration functions."
Thakur's comments come after the Supreme Court had upheld most of the sweeping recommendations of the Lodha panel, including age cap of 70 for the BCCI office-bearers, cooling off-period, one state one vote and ban on ministers and bureaucrats.
Among other recommendations upheld by the apex court is that an office-bearer cannot hold multiple posts in BCCI or its affiliated units and Thakur is also the president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
A major point of contention that Thakur seems to be hinting at is that some politicians have been involved in sports for a long period and thus understand the nuances involved with running the sport and its different duties.
"People who have never even played the game, they are trying to govern the board. Efforts are being made to cut BCCI's roots," said Thakur in his address as chief guest of an event organised by the PHD Chamber in New Delhi.
The HPCA president is famous for turning up unannounced and declaring himself as the Himachal Pradesh Ranji cricket team captain in order to vie for the post of junior selector in the BCCI's selection committee. He played a solitary game, got out without scoring a run and took two wickets to close a very brief career as a cricket player.
Thakur didn't just to stick to cricket as the topic of politicians and their presence at the Rio 2016 Olympics came up.
When asked about the recent goof-ups committed by Sports Minister Vijay Goel in the Olympic Village at Rio de Janeiro, Thakur said, "Goelji is a senior leader who understands the dynamics. I am sure he will never do anything that can bring disrepute to the country."
The BCCI president also talked about his recent inclusion in the Territorial Army as a lieutenant. He told the Economic Times about how his grandfather was a part of the army and his father appreciated this post far more than him being a MP or BCCI secretary and president.