Cricket administrators in a fix ahead of domestic season

There is a clamour now to announce their “willingness” to adopt the Lodha Committee reforms as the date for the Supreme Court hearing nears but it is the daunting task of organising the cricket that is giving the officials sleepless nights.

The Indian cricket administrators are facing a daunting task of organising the cricket ahead of the 2017-18 domestic season.   -  AFP

There is a growing concern among the cricket administrators as the 2017-18 domestic season is a mere month away.

There is a clamour now to announce their “willingness” to adopt the Lodha Committee reforms as the date for the Supreme Court hearing nears but it is the daunting task of organising the cricket that is giving the officials sleepless nights.

Uttar Pradesh has indicated it was ready to implement the reforms. Punjab too has said it would fall in line. “Do we have a choice if the Supreme Court declares that we have to adopt the reforms in toto,” asked a veteran Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official.

A senior official from the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) confirmed that it had implemented 90 percent of the reforms. “We are waiting for the final verdict in this matter – on issues like having five selectors, the tenure and age cap. At UPCA we have already appointed an Ombudsman and there is a system in place as desired by the Supreme Court. Once the directions come, we would be too happy to fall in line because we don’t want to harm the game and the cricketers,” the official added.

Some units, like the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and Vidarbha (VCA) have been functioning on the lines of the reforms. Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen has pledged to cleanse the dented image of the DDCA. He has introduced a transparent style of functioning with forensic auditing and a vibrant official website which are a step in that direction.

The UPCA official claimed, “Our auditing has not shown any misappropriation of funds. We are looking forward to open a new chapter under the new constitution.”

Associations like Tamil Nadu and Punjab assure they would not waste a day once the issue is finalised.

A senior official observed, “Not all BCCI units are corrupt. We have worked to bring cricket to this stature with our diligence. It would not be fair to bracket the progressive units in the same bracket as some regressive ones. Just look at how some of the units have used the subsidy to provide state of art facilities to their players.

“Most state associations have world class stadiums. Penalise those units who have nothing to show in terms of infrastructure. But the situation is alarming now.”

The alarming situation the official referred to concerned the non-payment of dues to the players and the support system for the last season. He painted a grim picture, “Many units just don’t have the funds to plan for the season. There is no money to organise camps and finalise travel and accommodation for the teams. There is welcome talk of increasing the remuneration for domestic players, umpires and scorers but what about the last year’s payment?”

Most units are hoping for an early solution to the vexing issue before it affects the game. “The calendar (for men, women and juniors) for the forthcoming season has not been finalised yet. And that is not a good sign,” warned the veteran official.