Nobody can accuse BCCI president Anurag Thakur of not keeping lines of communications open with his affiliated units. Just four days after a rather contentious Special General Body Meeting of the Board he has chosen to write an elaborate letter to the units. In the two-page letter sent on Wednesday, Thakur hit out strongly at the lack of transparency in the Lodha Committee’s workings. A copy of the letter landed in my mailbox and is published below:
The letter, which came a few hours before the Supreme Court is to sit in judgment of the Lodha Committee’s demand that the BCCI top brass be sacked for non-compliance, points out that the committee often stated that “ it is carrying out functions to clean up Indian cricket as it has been approached by former players who keep giving it information”.
But the Committee failed to disclose the names of these players who whispered in its ears. The board president goes on to ask why this secrecy when the BCCI itself is expected to come under RTI and be transparent. He says that “every deliberation should be made public” and calls for “disclosure of all information and sources of information”, in exactly the same manner as expected of the BCCI.
Another glaring anomaly in the committee’s recommendation was also pointed out by the BCCI president.
His letter stated that when the soard said it may have to cancel the New Zealand tour following the freezing of bank accounts, the Lodha Committee clarified that the bank accounts should be “defreezed”. Again, when the BCCI said that there was no 15-day gap between the IPL and Champions Trophy and one of them would have to be cancelled, “the commission clarified that as this was a prior decision and as the Supreme Court judgement came later it will not get affected by the decision of the Committee.”
It is then that Thakur said that he failed to understand how there could be a pick and choose policy for the committee. His argument was that with regards to the tenure of office-bearers, the Lodha Committee wanted to impose it with retrospective effect, but when it came to adopting the 15-day gap policy between the IPL and international matches before and after it, the Committee wanted to adopt a prospective effect. The report should not be selectively adopted at the discretion of “anybody”, he wrote.
Another “flip-flop”, as Thakur calls it, was with regard to payment. The Committee had said payment to state units can be made only for cricket matters. BCCI’s payments to state associations are for cricket matters also, pointed out Thakur. “Many of you (state units) have written to suspend matches and postpone the cricket calendar” following the directive of the Committee to state associations not to deal with the funds transferred by the BCCI.
Thakur wrote that he was aware of the financial difficulties faced by many state associations because of the directive regarding funds. He assured them that the BCCI would do everything it can to see that they can get to use the money that rightfully belonged to them. Thakur, who touched on the SGM which was dubbed illegal and the challenges faced by BCCI in appointing a selection committee, went on to add that they received directives nearly every day from the Committee threatening them with contempt of court proceedings for many of the decisions on routine cricketing matters. He added that many of the directives from the Committee also end with a similar threat.
Thakur stated that the Board had courteously and respectfully responded to such directives explaining its stand in the mater for the consideration of the high powered committee. There had been “no revert by the Committee,” he told the state associations. “Instead in recent emails from the secretary of the committee, I and other BCCI office bearers have been accused of misleading people,” he wrote.
He lamented that the hampering of the work of the BCCI would sound the death-knell for Indian cricket. He ended with the resolve that “we must all work together and strive to take Indian cricket to greater heights.”
Was that last line meant for the Lodha Committee or the state units? That should remain a matter of conjecture. For the moment at least.