Perturbed by player power, historian Ramchandra Guha has resigned from the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administration (CoA). He was appointed to oversee the cricket board’s affairs along with committee head, Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Diana Edulji, former Indian cricketer and banker Vikram Limaye.
Guha explained the reason behind his resignation in a detailed letter which reveals the conflict of interest present in the Indian cricket scene. He also revealed the disproportionate influence of A-list ex-cricketers when it comes to contracts. He hinted that Dhoni, Gavaskar, Dravid, etc. enjoy under BCCI’s superstar syndrome.
Conflict Of Interest
The BCCI has accorded preferential treatment to some national coaches, by giving them ten-month contracts for national duty, thus allowing them to work as IPL coaches/mentors for the remaining two months. This was done in an ad-hoc and arbitrary manner; the more famous the former player-turned-coach, the more likely was the BCCI to allow him to draft his own contract that left loopholes that he exploited to dodge the conflict of interest issue.
Though Guha didn’t name Dravid in the letter, he mentioned “young players” and IPL coach in the same excerpt, it became quite evident that this explanation was targeted at “The Wall”.
When, on the 11th of March, I was told that there was a camp scheduled for young players at the National Cricket Academy but at least one national coach was likely to be away on IPL work and might not attend the camp.
Sunil Gavaskar also managed to make place in the letter. Guha further addresses the conflict of interest prevalent in BCCI and mentions,
Sunil Gavaskar is head of a company which represents Indian cricketers while commenting on those cricketers as part of the BCCI TV commentary panel. This is a clear conflict of interest. Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI.
Guha explicitly mentions Dhoni in a point explaining that BCCI lets popular cricketers exercise power which violates norms and procedures. In a shocking take, he clearly mentions that Dhoni doesn’t deserve to be given an ‘A’ contract.
Unfortunately, this superstar syndrome has also distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding MS Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message.
On State Level Cricket
He addressed the poor state of Ranji Trophy players and their payments. In a scandalous revelation, he writes,
And yet, shockingly, Ranji match fees have remained at a very low level (a mere Rs 30,000 odd for each day of play); moreover, cheques for match fees sent by the BCCI are sometimes not passed on by the state associations to the players. We need to learn from best practices in other countries, where domestic players are awarded annual contracts like those in the national team, while their match fees are reasonably competitive too.
It is notable that Ramchandra Guha is disenchanted by the way BCCI chose to ignore his email when he addressed these issues. Such influence of powerful players led to a conflict of interest and in the ongoing reports of a “rift” between Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli. He is furious that coach Anil Kumble did not get an extension despite a stellar record, winning five Test series on the bounce.
Read the full letter on Scroll here.