Pataudi Lecture: BCCI secretary opposes names proposed by Karim

The lecture features an eminent cricketer of yesteryear addressing a relevant issue of the game.

What has possibly irked Amitabh, even more, was that when Karim had sought his suggestions, he had given a few names which the General Manager (Cricket Operations) conveniently ignored while preparing the final list.   -  AFP

A consensus appears to be eluding the two quarrelling groups of the BCCI - the elected office bearers and the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators – in the choice of the cricket personality for the annual Tiger Pataudi Memorial Lecture in Bangalore on June 12, two days before the inaugural Test match against Afghanistan.

The two sets of people have hardly been in good terms for almost 15 months from the day the apex court appointed the CoA. Hence, observers are not surprised by the latest development wherein the acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, has proposed Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and  Abbas Ali Baig as candidates for the prestigious lecture, whereas Saba Karim, General Manager, Cricket Operations of the BCCI, has asked the CoA and the BCCI office bearers to choose from the former national captains of their respective country, Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakkara, Kevin Pietersen and Nasser Hussain.

The former India stumper, Karim, chose cricketer-turned commentators/administrators and also narrowed the topic to (1) Peace and sustainability through Cricket (relevant since Afghanistan is a wonderful story), (2) Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age (Players perspective) and (3) Cricket as an Olympic Sport (Way forward).

Former India captain and CoA member Diana Edulji chose the former Sri Lankan skipper, Sangakkara and she was backed by the CoA head, Vinod Rai. The BCCI Treasurer, Anirudh Chaudhry gave the option of Ganguly or Pietersen with "Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age" as the subject and the acting president C.K.Khanna responded saying: "Undoubtedly all suggested speakers (by Saba Karim) are good orators. I would go with Sourav Ganguly and  Kumar Sangakkara in that order.’’

While Choudhary agreed with Karim that the four names proposed by him are "eminently suited for the job", he stated that they were not previously discussed. "When the matter was discussed with me at Bangalore a couple of days ago, I had suggested we also look for probable speakers amongst distinguished cricketers of yesteryears such as Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig. These cricketers even have the distinction of playing alongside Tiger Pataudi and if any of them agrees it could provide the much-needed perspective on how cricket has evolved from those years of challenge,’’ wrote Choudhary to Karim.

Choudhary further added, "As I understand, the  Tiger Pataudi Memorial Lecture is not an elocution contest and reasonable communication skills are all that we should look for. It is meant to bring to the fore the evolution of the game, what it meant to play for the country in the old days, the hardships of the time, challenges of the future and the like. If that is the case, certainly once every few years an iconic cricketer of yore should find a place as the keynote speaker in the Memorial Lecture. ‘’

Choudhary ended the communication saying: "Consequently, I am unable to agree to the proposal (by Karim) unless the ones named (by me) are disqualified for other reasons. I would earnestly request a further effort to seek one of them. As in the past on so many occasions, if overruled, I will have no option but to go with the decision which emerges from these communications.’’

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