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BCCI to wait for Supreme Court nod to roll back key Lodha reforms

However, board has decided to swap secretary for CEO at key ICC meeting in a return to how things were

Nagraj Gollapudi
To avoid being held in contempt of court, the BCCI will wait for the Supreme Court of India's approval before carrying out sweeping changes to its constitution, which would result in significantly rolling back the Lodha Committee's reforms. The court is likely to hear the matter on December 3, listed "tentatively" as the date for the next hearing.
The board has, however, reversed one key decision taken by the court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) that supervised the BCCI's operations until October this year: secretary Jay Shah will attend the next meeting of the ICC's chief executives' committee (CEC) instead of CEO Rahul Johri, who had been attending the meetings in accordance with the CoA's decision. This is a throwback to how it was to before the court took over the BCCI's administration, when the board secretary attended the ICC's CEC meetings.
The BCCI took these decisions on Sunday at its annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai, which was attended by all its 38 members (state associations).
Immediately after taking charge of the BCCI in October, the new administration led by former India captain Sourav Ganguly recommended six amendments to the board's constitution. The proposed changes included stopping the court from having a say if the BCCI wanted to tweak its constitution, modifying the cooling-off period rule for the board's office bearers, revising the disqualification criteria, and allotting supreme powers to the board's secretary.
The recommendations were meant to be passed at the AGM - with no opposition expected - if proposed. As per the constitution, a three-fourth majority is required to pass any amendment. It is understood that once Ganguly read out the recommendations to the general body, a majority of the representatives gave their verbal agreement, indicating they were willing to pass the amendments.
However, according to one state representative who was present at the AGM, the amendments were not officially put to vote. "There was no passing of the amendments," the representative said. "They did not put the amendments to vote or in front of the general body. They just said this would be required to be clarified by the Supreme Court first."
It is understood that more than one state association was willing to voice concern if the amendments were put to vote, pointing out that passing them without the court's approval would amount to contempt of court.
Shah to attend ICC CEC instead of Johri
Ganguly's proposal that Jay Shah attend the ICC's CEC meeting was approved by the general body, reversing the decision taken by the CoA.
At its very first meeting after being appointed as the supervisory authority by the court in January 2017, the CoA had decided that Johri would attend the meetings. Incidentally, the court had said that the BCCI's then acting secretary Amitabh Choudhury and treasurer Anriduh Chaudhry would accompany CoA members to the ICC's meetings, comprising the CEC meeting, finance & commercial affairs (F&CA) committee meeting, and the ICC Board meeting.
In a note to the state associations, sent as part of the AGM agenda last month, the BCCI pointed out that in order to "protect interests" of the Indian board, which it feared were being "eroded", representatives to ICC meetings needed to be experienced and have the skills to negotiate.
As for the BCCI representative for the F&CA and Board meetings, the general body left the decision to the board's Apex Council. The next round of ICC meetings are scheduled for March 2020.
Before the court got involved in BCCI matters, the board president attended the F&CA and ICC Board meetings, while the secretary would sit in on the CEC meeting.
No committee to pick selectors, yet
As per the constitution, the BCCI has to appoint a cricket advisory committee (CAC) at the AGM, which in turn will appoint the men's senior selection panel and - whenever the need might arise - the head coach. At the moment, the terms of two members of the men's senior selection panel - MSK Prasad (chairman) and Gagan Khoda - have expired.
The general body was told that the CAC and the other cricketing committees would be finalised by the BCCI office bearers "very soon".
Ganguly's administration wants to approach the court to relax the conflict of interest rules, which would then allow it to have reputed former players as part of the CAC as well as other key committees, including the selection committee.
"We met [the BCCI's ethics officer Justice (retired)] DK Jain yesterday regarding the conflict of interest issue," Ganguly told reporters after the AGM. "We need to get proper clarity from him about what is conflict and what is not conflict, because we don't want to appoint someone [for the CAC] and then again he gets cancelled like it has happened in the past. So those clarifications were required."
Additional reporting by Vishal Dikshit

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo