We are trying to end a proven 87-year-old track record, says Shirke

"I'm completely fine and have no regrets," Ajay Shirke said, reacting to his dismissal as Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary by a Supreme Court verdict on Monday.

Ajay Shirke was elected unopposed as BCCI secretary in September, 2016.   -  Vivek Bendre

Hours after he was >eventually axed as the BCCI secretary along with President Anurag Thakur, Ajay Shirke sticks to his stand and says the duo couldn’t have handled the BCCI mess in a different way.

Could the BCCI have done anything differently during the legal tussle?

What different? Let me reiterate that the directive of the Lodha Committee to us was to call the members and get the new constitution adopted. But our members refused to adopt the constitution in its entirety. Please understand that who are you calling the members? The likes of Railways, Services, CCI, NCC and Universities, they are sitting in the meeting and they were supposed to say in the meeting “how the hell can I be a part of the BCCI. I should keep myself out. Please kick me out of this organisation." Is it possible? Three-fourth members had to say something like this if you have to go as per the law of the land.

If you don’t have to go as per the law of the land, the Supreme Court or Lodha Committee should have empowered us or told us even if the members are not agreeing, we are giving you directions that tomorrow onwards, this will be your new constitution. They neither did that or this. Now I am glad in a way that the Court has taken it upon itself to get this implemented, so it’s good that it will be implemented now.

How would you differentiate your own position between your resignation as BCCI treasurer in 2013 and your position since you returned as secretary in 2016?

I resigned in 2013 because of the bad handling of the IPL betting and match-fixing scandal. We didn’t handle it properly because Srinivasan kept on giving Meiyappan a clean chit and that is why I resigned. As for this, what could I have done differently. We have called the members, not once but three times. When we were told that the payments of the members could be stopped, we called them again and told them if you don’t implement this, your payments will be stopped. They still said we don’t want to go ahead with the new rules, so what else could we have done?

Would you say that the BCCI office-bearers missed an opportunity to sit across the table with the Lodha Committee?

I have sat across the table with the Lodha Committee. When they had called us, I had gone and they told us this has to be implemented and there cannot be any discussion on this. When Anurag Thakurji couldn’t come when the Parliament was on, I had gone and met with them. And later on, when the Supreme Court had given directions to them, we sought an appointment with the Lodha Committee but we did not get one. What else could we have done?

Do you think today’s sackings have further damaged the BCCI’s image or has it ushered the beginning of a new era?

Look, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. What we are trying to end is a proven 87-year-old track record. Let us see what happens in the next eight and a half months and then see if it changes for the better. Let the reforms come in, let them be implemented and ultimately the deliverables will decide whether it has worked or not.

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