The BCCI president, Shashank Manohar, who has won some brownie points from the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee for putting in places measures to bring about transparency and accountability in the Board’s functioning and also appointing an ombudsman to adjudicate on conflict of interest issues, has gone a step further by asking the Board’s affiliates to submit a list of cricketers involved in the administration of their association in the last 10 years.
The members have been asked to submit by January 20, 1) cricketers elected as office-bearers of the association, 2) cricketers elected to the managing committee, 3) cricketers in the sub-committees of the association and the roles performed by them, 4) the welfare measures taken by the association for the cricketers and umpires.
Almost all associations have cricketers (Test and domestic first class and club) elected or nominated as office-bearers, managing committee members and nominated to cricketing committees such as selection and technical committees.
After getting elected as president of the MCA for the first time in 2001, Sharad Pawar pioneered the Cricket Improvements Committee (CIC) with Madhav Apte as chairman. Currently, the MCA has a near-perfect CIC chaired by former India captain and its vice-president, Dilip Vengsarkar. The committee members are: Ajit Wadekar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar, Amol Muzumdar, Pravin Amre, Diana Edulji and Deepak Patil.
In fact, the MCA has been in the vanguard, involving cricketers in its administration (Test and domestic first class voted as office-bearers and committee members); it has even had Madhav Mantri, Polly Umrigar, R. G. Nadkarni and Ashok Mankad in the managing committee and not long ago the legendary Sunil Gavaskar as chairman of CIC.
“An association cannot be run without cricketers. It’s impossible. They have always been a part and parcel of selection committees and other committees where the game of cricket is of paramount importance. We have many associations, which have had Test cricketers as Secretaries. We don’t know why these details have been asked for,” said a secretary of the permanent Test centre and a president of another association.
Justice Lodha had observed in his report that, “Surprisingly, the players who are the sport’s biggest draw are not spared from the apathy of the BCCI. They are treated less like assets and more as employees and subordinates of those governing the game. Cricketers have to be protected and given a free hand in cricketing affairs.”