Once the Supreme Court accepted the Lodha Committee's recommendations on reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), those who ran the day to day affairs of the game realised they would have to make way for freshers to herald a new phase in India’s cricket administration.
Determined for a radical reform, the Lodha Committee rewrote BCCI’s Memorandum of Association (MoA) and its rules and regulations. This shook the edifice of the BCCI, which for almost nine decades has amended its constitution but not its MoA and rules and regulations.
The apex court not only approved the Lodha Committee recommendations but also let it set a six-month deadline for the BCCI to reform the board and its state associations.
The Supreme Court order said: "Since the Lodha Committee had a complete understanding of the nature of the problems sought to be remedied, and the ability to draw timelines for taking the steps necessary for the implementation of the proposed reforms, the supervision of the transition has to be left to the committee."
Most administrators saw the reforms in cricket as a writing on the wall on various counts and almost all of them confided:
1) That it would be difficult to run the sport in the country without a government minister or politician at the helm
2) That restrictions on the term and tenure of office will deprive an association of able administrators and many volunteers, who work on a honorary basis
3) That the one state, one member, one vote would result in an East Zone vote bank consisting of Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Odisha, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram
4) That the age limit of 70 for an elected councillor would deprive the young administrators of mentors
5) That when cricketers are in-charge of the activities at the BCCI and state level, there is no need for a players association and their nominees (male and female) in the apex council.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) lauded Sharad Pawar for the facilities at the Bandra-Kurla-Complex and Kandivali.
The Wankhede Stadium itself came up in 1973 because of the interest shown by the late Seshrao Wankhede, a former politician and an administrator.
"A telephone call from these people would get things done, but now it will be difficult to get permissions for small things. Mr. Pawar was the one who formed the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) in 2001; he made sure that cricket matters were decided by the CIC," said a member of the MCA committee.
Shashank Manohar (Vidarbha), Niranjan Shah (Saurahtra) and Amitabh Choudhary (Jharkhand) who have been able to create modern facilities at Nagpur, Rajkot and Ranchi deploying the BCCI subvention. But, in other places, the local association has largely benefited by the presence of a minister, politician or bureaucrat at the top. The Gujarat Cricket Association, which has BJP president Amit Shah at the helm, has demolished the structure at Motera and built a new stadium.
A senior BCCI administrator said: "The leadership decided to challenge the recommendations in the court. The confronted the Committee and Court. They were advised to meet the Lodha Committee members in January itself and explain the difficulties. They did not. They did not set right things at Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Hyderabad, Assam, Delhi and a few more associations."
The BCCI has convened a SGM here tomorrow and thereafter it has a week reply to the Lodha Committee’s status report filed on Wednesday. But whatever the BCCI decides, this is clear: come New Year, India's cricket administration is all set to change.