A majority of the one-time administrative big-wigs of Indian cricket who have been defanged by the Supreme Court met in Bangalore on Saturday (January 7) evening to ‘take stock’ of where things stand and whether or what steps could be taken in future to keep themselves relevant.
Following the recommendations of the Lodha Committee which have been accepted almost in their entirety by the Supreme Court, several big-ticket officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India have been rendered ineligible to be involved in an official capacity as an office-bearer, either at the national level or with state associations.
Among those who gathered in Bangalore are N Srinivasan, the former BCCI and ICC president who is said to be the prime mover behind the coming together of ‘a few sacked employees meeting for a cup of coffee’ – as he himself put it – and Anurag Thakur who, until Monday last, was the president of the BCCI.
Also present at the get-together were Ajay Shirke, sacked by the Supreme Court as secretary on the same day that Thakur was removed, as well as Brijesh Patel, who on Tuesday stepped down as the secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association following a clarification that the eligibility criteria applied not just to the BCCI but also state associations. Rajiv Shukla, the IPL chairman, too attended the event though he left much before the rest.
Erstwhile office-bearers of most state associations turned up to share a sense of hurt and anguish at the Supreme Court verdict that they deemed harsh, it is learnt, even as they patted each others’ backs for a good job done while at the helm of affairs, either at the BCCI or at its various state affiliates.
As friends turned foes turned friends congregated on one platform, unified by their perception of having been hard done by, they exchanged notes on how much they had contributed to the growth of cricket in the country, on the field and off it, and how they deserved another opportunity to clean things up without shaking up the entire core of the BCCI fabric.
“If the way we administered was as bad as is being made out, the BCCI wouldn’t be the richest cricket body in the world,” an attendee said, refusing to dwell at length on the happenings within closed confines. “Everyone knows that the BCCI is the best-run sports body in the country, and yet we have been singled out.”
Exactly what these deliberations translate into remains to be seen, but the players involved will tread carefully, aware that the slightest mis-step could further invoke the wrath of the Supreme Court which has emphatically made clear its intention to clean up the Augean stables. One of those who attended the meeting described it as ‘a waste of time’. So much for stock-taking.