India news January 7, 2016

BCCI silent in public but starts internal response

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Ugra: A familiar way for BCCI to tread

Three days after the Lodha Committee submitted its report, the BCCI is yet to make its first public move, with no official statement being issued by the board and senior officials preferring to speak off the record. While the general consensus in the board is to proceed slowly, it is wary of being seen to be dragging its feet.

The BCCI took its first step towards acknowledging the report on Wednesday when Anurag Thakur, the board secretary, sent an e-mail to all BCCI members asking them to study the Lodha Committee recommendations, figure out how it would affect each member individually and report back the findings by January 31. The letter, which has been published on the board's website, asks the associations to seek expert advice as "some of the recommendations have far-reaching consequences."

The Cricket Association of Bihar, whose public-interest litigation triggered the Supreme Court's intervention in the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, has decided to wait for a maximum of two weeks for the BCCI to make public its response. If the BCCI fails to act, the CAB could move the Supreme Court again.

Despite the closed attitude adopted by the BCCI top brass, apprehensions within individual ranks are growing among the BCCI ranks. A president of a prominent state association, who is also part of one of the board's top sub-committees, said that if the Lodha Committee took a year to compile its report the BCCI could afford to wait for some time, study the report and then make a decision whether to implement the recommendations or not.

"Ultimately this report envisages the complete dismantling of the board. Assuming that we have to do it, first of all we don't have to do it, it can be for reasons of academic nature and out of curiosity," the member president said.

He also believed that it was board president Shashank Manohar's responsibility to make a public statement putting forward the BCCI's opinion on the various recommendations considering the public, adding that the silence was not helping the board's cause. He said that Manohar, a senior lawyer, should use his credibility and his reputation as an honest administrator to regain control of the narrative.

The consensus legal opinion, though, is that the board cannot arbitrarily reject the proposals. "They cannot refuse it by simply saying we do not accept the proposals," a senior legal counsel who has dealt with BCCI for long, said.

On the issue of whether the BCCI was bound to accept the reforms, RM Lodha, the chairman of the committee, had stated that it was not the committee's job to suggest the course of action for the board. Legal opinion suggests the BCCI can approach the Supreme Court to permit the board to file a review before the Lodha Committee.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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