IPL auction 2019: Incongruity between BCCI, CoA signals administrative muddle

The IPL auction in Jaipur on Tuesday displayed the undercurrents between members of the BCCI and Diana Edulji, member of the CoA.

Not a happy family: Members of the BCCI and the CoA seemingly do not see eye to eye.   -  PTI (File Photo)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction on Tuesday was not only about hits and misses for the eight teams. The proceedings on the outskirts of Jaipur also displayed the undercurrents in the administrative mess that is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

It started with Diana Edulji, the disgruntled half of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, delivering the inaugural address for the auction. Moments later, Amitabh Choudhary, the BCCI acting secretary, mischievously started his welcome speech by referring to Edulji as “most respected madam” before pointing out to her that she incorrectly referred to Anirudh Chaudhry — also seated on the dais — as “acting treasurer” instead of “honorary treasurer.”

Conspicuous undercurrents

Choudhary didn’t stop there. He said that by IPL 2019, the league would hopefully have a chairman and a governing council. The fact is that with the inability of CoA to implement administrative reforms, the BCCI cannot appoint the IPL governing council.

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As the temperatures dropped in Jaipur, the undercurrents began to get more pronounced. First, Rahul Johri, the controversial BCCI chief executive, made a conspicuous exit midway through the auction. Despite having been released of sexual harassment charges, Johri’s spats with Edulji, have been well-documented; he was understood to have been desperate to deliver the inaugural address.

'What's going on?' Amitabh Choudhary, BCCI secretary, arrives at the IPL auction in Jaipur. Photo: AP

 

Let alone the speech, he wasn’t even allowed to be seated on the dais, with the quartet of Edulji, Choudhary, Chaudhry and acting president C. K. Khanna completing the quorum. Perhaps it led to Johri advancing his flight back to Mumbai from Wednesday morning to Tuesday night.

Walking the tightrope

Soon after the chief executive had left the venue, the barbs by the office-bearers continued. First, Chaudhry in a media briefing indirectly took a dig at the BCCI’s cricket operations wing for “not organising Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (inter-state T20 tournament) before the IPL auction.” Then, he added that the franchises were left in the lurch with the uncertainty hovering over the IPL venue and dates even at the end of the auction.

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Edulji, meanwhile, tried to play the balancing act, stating that the BCCI was walking the tightrope when it came to cramped domestic season. However, when a scribe observed in a monologue about how the current differences within the administration has signalled that the BCCI is not really bothered about IPL, its most precious baby, Chaudhry, in response, said: “I agree with you.”

Hopefully, the CoA, the office-bearers and executives agree with each other to improve the administration of the game at all levels.