Crucial BCCI AGM: Modification of Lodha reforms key item on the agenda

Sourav Ganguly and N Srinivasan at the BCCI headquarters Associated Press

After a three-year gap, the BCCI's general body, comprising the 38 state associations, will convene for the annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Sunday. This particular AGM assumes great importance because the body will take some key decisions that are expected to be of significance beyond the cricketing domain.

ESPNcricinfo looks at the some of the key points on the AGM agenda.

Rolling back of Lodha reforms

Within two weeks of taking charge, the new BCCI administration recommended sweeping changes to key RM Lodha Committee reforms, which were approved by the Supreme Court twice - initially in 2016 and then in 2018. These reforms were the basis for the new BCCI constitution, which was drafted by the court-appointed Committee of Administrators and registered in August 2018.

The BCCI now wants to modify some of the reforms, including (1) tweaking the cooling-off period for the board's office bearers, (2) modifying the disqualification criteria, (3) giving unprecedented powers to the BCCI secretary, and (4) stopping the court from having any say if the board wants to alter the constitution.

The key amendment has to do with not approaching the court each time the BCCI wants to tweak the constitution, however small or big the change. If the court does approve that, it would mean going back on its own decision of August 9, 2018. In that order, the court was "emphatically of the view" that the BCCI would need its permission to carry out any changes the constitution.

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The other important amendment the BCCI wants concerns the cooling-off period for the board president and secretary. The BCCI wants both these office bearers, the top two in the board's hierarchy, to occupy the position for two consecutive terms (six years) regardless of whether the person(s) are eligible or not.

The constitution, as it stands, says that if the office bearer has served for six years either consecutively at the state association or BCCI or a combination of both, he needs to take a three-year break. However, the BCCI has said that it is a "restrictive" step and robs the BCCI of able and experienced administrators that would safeguard the interests of Indian cricket.

This amendment assumes significance because both Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah (the BCCI president and secretary respectively) have less than a year left before they are scheduled to serve the cooling-off period. But, with the amendment, they can be at the helm till 2024.

Will the amendments be passed?

For these and the other proposed amendments to be passed, the BCCI needs the nod of three-fourths of the state associations, which is quite likely, as several state associations' officials have pointed out. However, the BCCI will need to submit the approved amendments to the court, get them approved, and then exercise them. Otherwise, it will be a contempt of court.

N Srinivasan's possible return

A question that has been asked ever since the Ganguly administration took charge on October 23 is whether Srinivasan, the former BCCI president (and ICC chairman), will return as the board's representative to the ICC.

Srinivasan was present in the BCCI headquarters on October 23 despite the court having earlier disqualified him from serving as an administrator. Nonetheless, Srinivasan has been around, like a shadow, in the last few years. He was instrumental in facilitating Ganguly's elevation as the president and some reckon he is in the running to be the BCCI representative for ICC meetings.

Srinivasan ticks various disqualification criteria listed in the constitution, including the age cap of 70. But the BCCI doesn't want the representative to the ICC to be affected by the various disqualification criteria.

Officials point out that if such criteria are not applicable to other ICC member boards, why should the BCCI have to accept them. "The disqualifications are too wide," the BCCI said in a note on proposed amendments it shared with the state associations. "If persons without sufficient experience are made to represent India's interests in the ICC, there will be no recognition for India's contribution to Cricket at the international stage.

"In order to protect the interests of BCCI which are being steadily eroded at ICC, people with experience of negotiation and personal interaction with other member nations should be made the representatives."

Does that mean Srinivasan will be back?

It remains unclear. Some officials point out that Ganguly is also keen to represent BCCI at the ICC Board meetings. The concern for the BCCI is that it would again be contempt of court if it does finalise a name and that person does fail to meet the eligibility criteria.

The Cricket Advisory Committee

This is one of the most important panels the BCCI must appoint at the AGM as per the present constitution.

The panel would comprise three "reputed" persons, all retired former India cricketers. The CAC's main task, as per the constitution, is to appoint the men's senior selection committee. The selection panel comprising five former players has the powers to appoint the India captain in addition to picking the national squads. In 2016, the CAC appointed Anil Kumble as the head coach of the senior men's team. A year later, the CAC played a role in trying to sort the differences India captain Virat Kohli had with Kumble, mainly to do with his way of functioning, but eventually shortlisted Ravi Shastri as the coach. Last year, an ad-hoc CAC was put in place by the CoA to pick the women's head coach [WV Raman] and the men's coach [Shastri again].

Will the CAC be put in place?

This, too, is unclear. Only Ganguly and Shah, officials point out, are privy to the appointment and if any players have been spoken to. It is likely that the BCCI will wait to approach the court on the matter because it wants to modify the rules concerning conflict of interest, something the CoA, too, felt were "straitjacketed" in the existing form.

Incidentally, Ganguly himself was found guilty of breaching the one-man-one-post conflict rule by the BCCI ombudsman earlier this year. Ganguly wants the rules to be changed as that would then allow the BCCI to have better options to sit on the CAC.

Other cricket committees

The AGM agenda also covers the appointment of various other standing committees as mentioned in the constitution. These include the tournament committee (to oversee the domestic tournaments); the tours, fixtures and technical committee (to oversee the rules and laws of the game, finalise venues for various tournaments/series); the junior cricket committee (to pick squads till the Under-23 level including appointing the coaching stafff); the women's selection committee (to pick squads for junior and senior teams, appoint coaching staff); the women's cricket committee (conduct tournaments for both junior and senior teams, oversee the organisation of tours for all teams); the cricket talent committee (scouting for talent across the zones to help the selection panel); the zonal selection committee; the umpires committee; and the differently-abled cricket committee.