India domestic news August 12, 2014

BCCI sets up committee to oversee disputed domestic associations

The BCCI is set to form a five-member committee, headed by Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary Brijesh Patel, to oversee the cricket affairs of disputed associations, including Lalit Modi's Rajasthan Cricket Association.

Patel, who has also played international cricket for India, is a key south zone ally of the current BCCI administration. The committee will include Baroda Cricket Association president Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, RCA member and a prince of the Udaipur royal family Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar and cricket consultant Amrit Mathur. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, joint-secretary Anurag Thakur and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry will be a part of the committee as ex-officio members.

The committee has been briefed about overseeing cricket operations in states or associations where there are disputes, like Bihar and Rajasthan. "As had been decided earlier, even though the associations have been involved in various disputes, we don't want the cricket and the future of cricketers to suffer in these regions," Sanjay Patel said. "As a result, the interim BCCI president [Shivlal Yadav] appointed the committee recently and we hope to provide the best of facilities to cricket and cricketers [in disputed regions]."

Though the committee members were recently informed of their inclusion and some of them met with the Rajasthan government's sports ministry officials on Monday, the committee's formation will be ratified only during the BCCI working committee meeting, expected to be held in Goa next week.

It is understood the most immediate priority of the committee would be to pick teams for various age-groups, put together various selection committees, hold selection trials, appoint match officials and support staff, and ensure the basic minimum infrastructure required to hold matches and tournaments is in place. With the domestic season starting in October, the committee needs to ensure things are put in place at least a month ahead of the schedule. The committee is likely to meet next week to finalise a schedule and set deadlines to meet the targets.

It is also understood that the formation of the ad-hoc committee will be opposed by the RCA and at least one of the three factions of the Bihar bodies. This could lead to yet another legal tangle between the BCCI and member associations.

"RCA does not recognise (the committee) nor the state act allows," Modi said. "Nor the BCCI constitution provides for it."

RCA vice-president Mehmood Abdi has indicated that the state association may take legal recourse, including criminal prosecution under the Rajasthan Sports Act, to contest the formation of the committee.

The RCA had been suspended in May immediately after Modi, the former IPL chairman who was expelled from the BCCI last year, was announced as its elected president. Despite being banned by the BCCI, Modi was allowed to contest the election on the grounds that the RCA, despite being a BCCI affiliate, is governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act. This led to the BCCI suspending the member body.

Bihar's tale is very different. Besides the Bihar Cricket Association, which is a BCCI associate member, two other registered associations have staked a claim to run cricket in the state. One of them, the Cricket Association of Bihar has spearheaded a legal battle against the BCCI and its sidelined president N Srinivasan ever since the IPL corruption scandal broke in 2013. As a result, even though Jharkhand, a state carved out of Bihar by the Indian government, enjoys full member status, Bihar is deprived of a Ranji Trophy team and all the privileges of a full member. It is also alleged that players from Bihar, who fall into Jharkhand jurisdictions according to BCCI regulations, are ignored by the Jharkhand associations.

Similarly, players in the Uttarakhand region suffer since there is a lot of ambiguity over whether they should be considered for selection in Uttar Pradesh or Himachal Pradesh. Ever since the state was created in 2000, three bodies have vied for its cricket administration rights - one supported by the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association, one supported by a prominent politician who is involved in the BCCI, while the other is a local outfit.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo