Category: _author:Baidurjo Bhose

BCCI vs Lodha: CoA Attempts to Create Strife A…

New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud have set July 5 as the next hearing date in the BCCI matter after Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramanium has shared the suggestions for the new board constitution with all the state associations and office bearers. But in a surprise move, the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has now sent in a mail to create strife within the state bodies.

The CoA is anticipating a direction by the Supreme Court bench that the affairs of each of the state associations be administered by an administrator to be appointed by the High Court till the time fresh, free, fair and untainted elections are conducted. They have accordingly taken the liberty to send a mail — in possession of CricketNext — on these lines to all the state associations.

The CoA has said that there have been certain developments due to which it has become necessary to issue further communication to the state associations. This despite the clear instruction from the three-member bench that the submissions made by the Amicus Curiae are to be deliberated by them. The BCCI state associations and the office-bearers had readied their suggestions and submitted to the Amicus Curiae and the bench had reiterated that the finalisation of the draft constitution would depend on its order and it would be binding.

But now, the CoA has taken exception and gone ahead and written that it is the view of the CoA that: “It is mandatory for all State Associations (including those which have only representatives of district associations or clubs as voting members in the General Body) to grant membership with voting rights to former international players (men and women) hailing from the State. Membership with voting rights should be granted to former international players (men and women) hailing from the State prior to conduct of elections such that they shall be entitled to vote in the said elections. A list of all such former international players (men and women) who have been granted membership with voting rights shall be provided to the Committee of Administrators and put up on the website of the State Association prior to finalization of the electoral roll of the State Association by the electoral officer so that any former international players (men and women) who may have been missed out have an opportunity to have their name included therein.

“It would not be appropriate for any State Association (including any State Association that has or may hereafter be declared compliant for the purpose of receiving funds from BCCI in terms of the orders dated 7th October 2016 and 21st October 2016 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court) to conduct elections until the New BCCI Constitution is finalized/ approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and an administrator is appointed by the concerned Hon’ble High Court to administer the affairs of the said State Association pending elections. Notwithstanding the above, in relation to DDCA, HCA, JKCA and MCA, the respective administrators will be entitled to proceed as per the orders passed by the concerned Hon’ble High Courts regarding conduct of elections but are requested to remain in charge of the affairs of the relevant State Association until the New BCCI Constitution is finalized/ approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court (in the event further changes to the respective constitutions/ bye-laws of that State Association become necessary on account of such finalization/ approval); and where the term/ tenure of the current office bearers of a State Association is over and/or elections are due, the concerned Hon’ble High Court may be approached either by the said State Association itself and/or any member thereof for appointment of an administrator to administer the affairs of the said State Association pending elections.”

Clearly, the CoA is looking to get administrators appointed to oversee affairs of state associations. The committee seems to have ignored the intent of the SC wherein it has clearly stated that the court will settle the draft constitution subject to the outcome of the state associations’ application. The action of the CoA could in fact create a case of confusion between the former players and the state associations.

Dhoni Plans Special Parting Gift for Pune Grou…

New Delhi: Back in the Indian Premier League after a two-year gap, things didn’t really start according to plan for Chennai Super Kings as they had to shift their home from the M.A. Chidambaram Staium in Chennai to the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune due to the Cauvery protest in the state. While pundits felt that it would be a task for the team to adapt to conditions at their new home, the groundsmen at the MCA Stadium did a brilliant job. The end result was that CSK won 4 out of the 5 games they played, before the final game against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday evening and have qualified for the knockout stages as the second team in the points table.

Acknowledging the terrific job done by the unsung heroes, Dhoni is set to gift the groundsmen Rs 20,000 each on behalf of Chennai Super Kings and that is not all. They will also get a framed photo with Captain Cool — clicked earlier during the season.

Speaking to CricketNext, a source in the team management said that it was a small token of appreciation from the players and the team management for the brilliant effort put in by the Pune groundsmen at such a short notice.

“Dhoni will meet the groundsmen at the end of the game tonight and gift them Rs 20,000 each and also give them a photo with the CSK skipper that has been framed for each and every groundsmen. They did a great job and their effort needs to be duly rewarded,” he said.

After the opening game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chepauk, CSK played their second home game on April 20 at the MCA Stadium against Rajasthan Royals and won by 64 runs. In the next game against Mumbai Indians, the defending champions won by 8 wickets. But after that, it was one win after the other for the Chennai outfit as CSK first beat Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs, beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 wickets and Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets.

The pitch has played an integral role in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career over the years. Be it as captain of Chennai Super Kings or when he is helping out his Indian skipper Virat Kohli, the first things Dhoni does on entering the ground is to head to the pitch and take a look at how it is expected to pan out. And this act is a clear show of appreciation from the Man with the Midas touch for the effort put in by the MCA groundsmen to give the Chennai boys a feel of home away from home.

Dhoni Plans Special Parting Gift for Pune Grou…

New Delhi: Back in the Indian Premier League after a two-year gap, things didn’t really start according to plan for Chennai Super Kings as they had to shift their home from the M.A. Chidambaram Staium in Chennai to the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune due to the Cauvery protest in the state. While pundits felt that it would be a task for the team to adapt to conditions at their new home, the groundsmen at the MCA Stadium did a brilliant job. The end result was that CSK won 4 out of the 5 games they played, before the final game against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday evening and have qualified for the knockout stages as the second team in the points table.

Acknowledging the terrific job done by the unsung heroes, Dhoni is set to gift the groundsmen Rs 20,000 each on behalf of Chennai Super Kings and that is not all. They will also get a framed photo with Captain Cool — clicked earlier during the season.

Speaking to CricketNext, a source in the team management said that it was a small token of appreciation from the players and the team management for the brilliant effort put in by the Pune groundsmen at such a short notice.

“Dhoni will meet the groundsmen at the end of the game tonight and gift them Rs 20,000 each and also give them a photo with the CSK skipper that has been framed for each and every groundsmen. They did a great job and their effort needs to be duly rewarded,” he said.

After the opening game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Chepauk, CSK played their second home game on April 20 at the MCA Stadium against Rajasthan Royals and won by 64 runs. In the next game against Mumbai Indians, the defending champions won by 8 wickets. But after that, it was one win after the other for the Chennai outfit as CSK first beat Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs, beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 wickets and Sunrisers Hyderabad by 8 wickets.

The pitch has played an integral role in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s career over the years. Be it as captain of Chennai Super Kings or when he is helping out his Indian skipper Virat Kohli, the first things Dhoni does on entering the ground is to head to the pitch and take a look at how it is expected to pan out. And this act is a clear show of appreciation from the Man with the Midas touch for the effort put in by the MCA groundsmen to give the Chennai boys a feel of home away from home.

BCCI Unhappy As COA Chooses Kevin Pietersen as…

New Delhi: BCCI members and the CoA are once again at loggerheads, this time over the latter’s decision to pick Kevin Pietersen as the speaker for the Pataudi Memorial Lecture, to be held in Bengaluru next month.

After acting BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary questioned the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators’ decision to pick Kumar Sangakkara as the choice to speak in this year’s Pataudi Memorial Lecture, CoA chief Vinod Rai had said that the Board should look at Chaudhary’s suggestions of getting a former India player (who played alongside Pataudi) if Sangakkara wasn’t available for the lecture. But now the CoA has gone ahead and picked Kevin Pietersen for the occasion after Sangakkara made his unavailability known and Chaudhary is not happy at the turn of events.

In another mail to Rai, in possession with CricketNext, the secretary has written: “The expression of happiness on it (General Manager Saba Karim’s mail that Kevin Pietersen has agreed to address the lecture) had left me wondering whether the Memorial Lecture was indeed MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture or Sir Len Hutton Lecture or for that matter Sir Frank Woolley lecture. The reasons for the same will become clear from the following paragraphs. The national selection committee meetings were scheduled on the 8th May at Bangalore. Shortly before the meetings at 5 PM, GM (Cricket Operations) spoke to me on a few subjects including the Pataudi Memorial Lecture. During our discussion, I mentioned the names of some living Indian stalwarts who could also be considered. He too offered some names but I requested him to first check on the names I had suggested.

“I had also advised there was enough time and there was little need to hurry. This was not followed up with any other communication on this subject until the arrival of GM’s email on May 10 (on the names of the proposed speakers and the topics). There was obviously no explanation about the suitabilility of the so called panelists in a Lecture meant to commemorate Tiger Pataudi except that they were distinguished cricketers/commentators/coaches, which they undoubtedly were. It did not get commented upon that the panel of four had as many as three foreigners. Neither did it explain whether any discussions were indeed held before putting up the panel.

“Significantly, the prose inexplicably left out the discussions held at Bangalore on the very subject two days earlier. It is obvious from the context that the CoA learnt of it first only with the proposal email on the 10th. Unable to stomach the ease with which the significance of the Lecture was being derailed, as also the fact that GM (Cricket Operations) had solicited our views in his email, I wrote an earnest email to attempt a rectification, if possible.”

The CoA had earlier felt that Sangakkara was the best candidate to speak at the awards, but the move didn’t go down too well with the BCCI officials. Board members feel that former Indian cricketers who played alongside the man famously called Tiger Pataudi would bring more value to the occasion and feel someone among Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig should be invited as the speaker.

Acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary had made the same clear to CoA chief Vinod Rai, in a mail in possession with CricketNext. The secretary asked the CoA to reconsider the decision and said that he was unable to agree to the proposal of the committee unless the ones named by him were disqualified for other reasons.

“As I understand Tiger 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 be the case, certainly once every few years an iconic cricketer of yore should find a place as the keynote speaker in the memorial lecture. Besides, the present heroes could always come in later as renowned cricketers of the past are a disappearing species,” Amitabh wrote to Rai.

GM cricket operation Saba Karim had sent the mail to the CoA and the BCCI members asking them for the suggestion as the lecture is set to be held on June 12 in Bengaluru before the Afghanistan Test. The names of the speakers suggested by Saba were Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakara, Kevin Peterson and Nasser Hussain.

The topics were: A) Peace and sustainability through Cricket – Relevent since Afghanistan is a wonderful story. B) Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age – Players perspective. C) Cricket as an Olympic Sport – Way forward.

Diana Edulji was the one who suggested Sangakkara’s name and Rai seconded it and asked Saba to speak to the former Sri Lanka cricketer. The Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture was started by the BCCI on February 6, 2013. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Sunil Gavaskar on 20 February 2013. But what remains etched in everyone’s memory is the beautiful fun-filled lecture from Farokh Engineer on March 9, 2017.

BCCI Sees Red as ICC Plans to Further Reduce I…

New Delhi: The ICC is planning to meet the BCCI officials in the Capital on Thursday and going by the SWOT analysis prepared by the ICC — as part of the global strategy — the world body plans to further cut down India’s financial position in world cricket. And the move hasn’t gone down too well with the members of the BCCI.

The members had a conference call on Wednesday evening and felt the need to discuss these issues of policy and take appropriate decisions in this regard at the general meeting.

“Representatives of 18 full members of the BCCI had a conference call this evening. The members of the BCCI have been observing certain developments at the ICC over the past year and a half. One such development being the shape being given to the outline of the global strategy for cricket which lists the heavy dependence on the Indian fans and revenues as a weakness and laments the lack of aggressive growth strategy to counter over – reliance on India.

“Thus, the intent with regard to India is apparent. The decision to convert the Champions Trophy into a World T20 event is another such recent development. The members took a dim view of these developments and were of the view that the BCCI as an organisation would necessarily need to discuss these issues of policy and take appropriate decisions in this regard at a general meeting. Consideration of and deliberations on the proposed member participation agreement with the ICC would also be undertaken to safeguard the BCCI’s interest before the same is executed on behalf of the BCCI, in lines with an earlier decision of the general body of the BCCI,” a statement from the board said.

The SWOT analysis that the ICC is planning to discuss with the BCCI officials lists their concern over the heavy dependence for revenues on India. Having accepted their dependence, the world body then points at the need to counter the over-reliance on India and brings up the high disparity in distribution of world cricket income. Clearly, the world body is still not done with reworking the financial revenue model of the ICC under current chairman Shashank Manohar.

Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said: “The SWOT analysis of the ICC is farcical. It is as if it has been prepared in the full knowledge that there is an elephant in the room but with the intent of ignoring the pachyderm. They have categorised the dependence on revenue and fans from India as a weakness and the ICC has repeatedly taken steps to malign the BCCI. This speaks volumes about the ICC leadership, which appears to be the biggest weakness and threat for the ICC. The fact that this process is being undertaken under the chairmanship of Shashank Manohar is quite telling of the state of affairs. If the ICC directors decide to continue with Manohar as the chairman, they may have to add his leadership as the number 1 weakness and the biggest threat for the organisation.

“The dependence on revenue and fans from India cannot be countered by weakening the BCCI and acting in haste while the BCCI is weakened, a failure to recognize this is also a very big internal threat for the ICC. If the dependence of India is a weakness, then are the ICC representatives coming to find ways to weaken India further is the big question.”

Earlier, the ICC after its last meeting in Kolkata decided to replace the 50-over Champions Trophy with a World T20. With a World T20 already planned for 2020 in Australia, the move came as a big shock as having another T20 tournament in less than a year’s gap would not only mean repetition for the fans, but also when it comes to the financial side of a multi-nation event, it would cost the BCCI heavily.

ICC Plans BCCI Meet With an Eye on Weakening I…

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is planning to meet the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators in the Capital on Thursday. Going by the SWOT analysis prepared by the ICC — as part of the global strategy — the world body plans to further cut down India’s financial position in world cricket.

As per the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the ICC is planning to discuss, a copy of which is in possession of CricketNext, topping the list is their concern over the heavy dependence for revenues on India. Having accepted their dependence, the world body then points at the need to counter the over-reliance on India and brings up the high disparity in distribution of world cricket income. Clearly, the world body is still not done with reworking the financial revenue model of the ICC under current chairman Shashank Manohar.

Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said: “The SWOT analysis of the ICC is farcical. It is as if it has been prepared in the full knowledge that there is an elephant in the room but with the intent of ignoring the pachyderm. They have categorised the dependence on revenue and fans from India as a weakness and the ICC has repeatedly taken steps to malign the BCCI. This speaks volumes about the ICC leadership, which appears to be the biggest weakness and threat for the ICC. The fact that this process is being undertaken under the chairmanship of Shashank Manohar is quite telling of the state of affairs. If the ICC directors decide to continue with Manohar as the chairman, they may have to add his leadership as the number 1 weakness and the biggest threat for the organisation.

“The dependence on revenue and fans from India cannot be countered by weakening the BCCI and acting in haste while the BCCI is weakened, a failure to recognize this is also a very big internal threat for the ICC. If the dependence of India is a weakness, then are the ICC representatives coming to find ways to weaken India further is the big question.”

The ICC says that the SWOT analysis for world cricket has been prepared based on discussions during board meetings and meetings or workshops with other stakeholders (players, fans, commercial partners, broadcasters) and areas or issues that have been highlighted during formulation of various internal sub-strategies. The ICC senior management staff spent time working on the analysis and also had inputs from other ICC staff. The world body believes that the SWOT will help identify the internal factors — things that are within their control — and external factors — things beyond ICC’s control.

Interestingly, in the threats section, ICC mentions shortening of attention spans and how events like T10 are coming up. They also talk about the competition increasing from other sports like football. It also talks about the threat from other forms of entertainment like music and television etc and the lack of competitive tension in the broadcast markets.

It will be interesting to see how the BCCI officials react to the meeting that is aimed at clearly justifying an attempt to weaken the Indian board’s position on the cricketing map.

BCCI and CoA in War Over Pataudi Memorial Lect…

New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators have clashed again and this time over the speaker of the prestigious MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture. In a surprise move, the CoA felt that Kumar Sangakkara was the best candidate to speak at the awards, but the move hasn’t gone down too well with the BCCI officials. Board members feel that former Indian cricketers who played alongside the man famously called Tiger Pataudi would bring more value to the occasion and feel someone among Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig should be invited as the speaker.

Acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has made the same clear to CoA chief Vinod Rai in a scathing mail, in possession with CricketNext. Amitabh has taken a stand and asked the CoA to reconsider the decision and said that he is unable to agree to the proposal of the committee unless the ones named by him are disqualified for other reasons. He also adds that as in the past on any occasions, if overruled, he will have no option but to go with the decision of the CoA.

“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 have even the distinction of having played 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. Nari was the captain of the touring Indian Team to West Indies when he was struck by a bouncer and the brave man faced it all. This had resulted in Tiger taking over as the youngest ever Test captain having to lead a team of stalwarts such as Manjrekar, Borde, Nadkarni, Jaishima and Umrigar.

“Chandu Borde was one of the most prolific batsmen of the day while Prasanna became the fastest Indian to take hundred wickets in Tests. Baig was the first ever Indian to make a century on debut on foreign soil and otherwise a very distinguished cricketer. It is these past heroes who led to the razzle dazzle of today’s cricket. Unfortunately, when the proposal came there was no mention of any of these past cricketers.

“As I understand Tiger 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 be the case, certainly once every few years an iconic cricketer of yore should find a place as the keynote speaker in the memorial lecture. Besides, the present heroes could always come in later as renowned cricketers of the past are a disappearing species,” Amitabh wrote to Rai.

GM cricket operation Saba Karim had sent the mail to the CoA and the BCCI members asking them for the suggestion as the lecture is set to be held on June 12 in Bengaluru before the Afghanistan Test. The names of the speakers suggested by Saba were Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakara, Kevin Peterson and Nasser Hussain.

The topics were: A) Peace and sustainability through Cricket – Relevent since Afghanistan is a wonderful story. B) Behaviour and conduct of international players in the modern age – Players perspective. C) Cricket as an Olympic Sport – Way forward.

Diana Edulji was the one who suggested Sangakkara’s name and Rai seconded it and asked Saba to speak to the former Sri Lanka cricketer. The Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture was started by the BCCI on February 6, 2013. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Sunil Gavaskar on 20 February 2013. But what remains etched in everyone’s memory is the beautiful fun-filled lecture from Farokh Engineer on March 9, 2017.

BCCI Ready to Accept Cooling-Off Period With a…

New Delhi: The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud is set to hear the matter against the BCCI in the Supreme Court on Friday. The last time the matter came up for hearing was on May 1 and the bench had asked the state cricket associations and BCCI office-bearers to give their suggestions on the draft constitution of the apex cricket body. The bench also reiterated that the finalisation of the draft constitution would depend on its order.

The BCCI state associations and the office-bearers have readied their suggestions and while the ‘one state one vote’ clause of the Lodha recommendations is almost set to be set aside by the bench itself, the most interesting part is the acceptance of the cooling-off period among some members in the board. But it comes with a twist.

A section within the BCCI feels that more than cooling-off for every individual — hindrance in continuity — it is important to ensure that the same person doesn’t hold the same position for nine years at a stretch — an observation which according to the members seems to have eluded the Lodha panel when they were drafting the reforms.

“What we are looking at is a situation wherein a person who is the president, has to go into cooling-off he is nominated again for the same post. But in case of change of position, there shouldn’t be a need for cooling-off as continuity is also an important factor in functioning of the board,” he explained to CricketNext.

Another BCCI official explained that the board wants the suspension of all the disqualifications for the first three years after the implementation of the new constitution to ensure a smooth transition.

“Some of us feel that a smooth transition is very important as there will be a change in the constitution. For everyone to understand how it works and the obstacles that might come in due time, we need a phase of three years after the change in constitution to work according to the old regulations. That will ensure that things fall into place,” the official said.

While the BCCI wants all the existing members to remain, they feel that the associate members should also go the full-members way and be given voting rights.

The elections of the Maharashtra Cricket Association had been put on hold by the bench in its previous hearing and it will be interesting to see the stand the trio takes on Friday.

The COA had in October last year filed a draft constitution of the BCCI incorporating suggestions of the Justice RM Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body. The top court had said the draft constitution should include the suggestions of the Lodha committee in its entirety so that a holistic document can be placed before it for a final decision.

While the BCCI members are keeping their fingers crossed as far as the proceedings in court is concerned, they hope that it comes in favour of majority of the members. “It is a big day and promises a lot on the surface. But one needs to be slightly wary because if the SC says that this is your constitution, then it is immaterial whether it works for the members or not. So, it is hoped that the decision taken by the bench would be in the best interest of the majority of members. On the hindsight, it will also set a precedent wherein the court can enter into the working of a society — BCCI is a society registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.

“Article 19 (1) © of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right “to form associations and unions.” The decision could go against it and Article 142 will come into action. Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc. It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it. Such a situation arrives when there is a vacuum that needs to be filled. But we are keeping our fingers crossed as we believe that the interest of Indian cricket is a priority,” an official said.

BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary informed the media that 12 out of the 37 state units (including North Eastern States) have submitted a common four-point suggestion to amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium. The 12 affiliated units are Andhra, Assam, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Railways, Tripura, Universities, Uttar Pradesh and Vidarbha.

Murmurs Growing in BCCI Corridors About ‘Dravi…

New Delhi: The Indian selection committee surprised quite a few when they decide to go with Karun Nair as replacement for India skipper Virat Kohli, who has opted out of the one-off Test against Afghanistan to prepare for the England series that follows. While the skipper’s decision to skip national duty has been a topic of debate, what has also raised a few eyebrows in the BCCI corridors is the decision to once again overlook someone like Mayank Agarwal.

Mayank scored over 2000 runs in the just concluded Indian domestic season. But the Karnataka lad has not been considered for a place in the Indian squad due to an ‘unofficial diktat’, according to which players need to first perform well for the India ‘A’ team before they can be picked for the national team. People with knowledge of the situation have informed Cricketnext that with Rahul Dravid in charge of the U-19 and ‘A’ team, the national selectors seemingly have agreed that the ideal feeder line is to first have players perform in the ‘A’ team before they are rewarded with national caps, an arrangement backed by Dravid himself.

But the move hasn’t gone down too well with some BCCI officials who feel in that case there is no need to have national selectors as extraordinary domestic performances will mean nothing. Also, they feel that it gives out the wrong signal to the youngsters who already feel that playing the IPL and performing well there is more important than slogging it out in tournaments like the Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said: “The selection of the India ‘A’ team by the selectors has indeed exposed the selectors and the selection policies to a lot of criticism. India ‘A’ team selection was never really scrutinised earlier since these tours were always to give exposure to the performers and to the established as well. These tours were preparation. Now apparently, it is reliably learnt that Dravid has put forth a policy that only if one performs for India ‘A’ should he be given an India cap. If this is indeed the case then it is alarming at different levels.”

Another BCCI official echoed the sentiments and said that one cannot forget that grinding it out in domestic cricket must be given its due. Also, he feels that getting suggestions from a former player is one thing and requiring his stamp of approval is another.

“Firstly, the policy has not been discussed at any forum in the BCCI. Secondly, though the selectors may come up with a consistent policy, it needs to be thought through and should not be a half-baked idea being implemented. India’s premier domestic tournament is the Ranji Trophy and performance in that tournament has to count for something more than merely being selected for an ‘A’ tour where even the playing XI would be decided by the coach and the captain. If the prerequisite for an India call-up is to play ‘A’ team cricket then the Ranji Trophy does lose significance and that is unacceptable.

“Thirdly, the ‘A’ tour circuit is a very disorganised structure and depends upon a lot of factors and if you notice, last year had only two tours, one where we visited South Africa for 2 multi-day games and a one day series and the other where New Zealand visited us for 2 multi-day games and 5 limited-over games. Fourthly, some of the selections on these tours are being done on the players’ performance in the IPL and this is alarming as well because it lends another impetus to the players in the IPL rather than the ones slogging away on the first-class scene. Team composition of an IPL franchise may bench a superb Indian player at the cost of a foreign player while another may get chances with another franchise and is therefore more on the radar of the selectors who are falling into this trap. It is no surprise that some of the youngsters are more keen to play IPL than to play Ranji trophy,” he explained.

“Therefore, if the only tour of the ‘A’ team after the start of the 2017-18 domestic season in September 2017 would be in June 2018, then how on earth would a Mayank Agarwal with more than 2000 runs in that season stand a chance to represent India. So what the selectors and Dravid are essentially saying is that you may score 2300 runs in the season and you may be in the form of your life, but till the BCCI organises an ‘A’ tour and till you play there, we don’t know you from Adam. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.”

Interestingly, one of the current national selectors had told the reporter when the squad for the Nidahas Trophy tri-series was selected that players needed to come through the ranks. This was in response to why Mayank was ignored even after scoring 1160 runs in the Ranji Trophy at 105.45 with 5 hundreds.

“You cannot jump the queue and have to come through the ranks to get picked. He is in the mix and will be considered at the right time,” the selector had said.

Clearly, the failures in the ongoing IPL has ensured that Nair got the nod ahead of Mayank with Kohli headed to Surrey. Nair has had a decent season in the middle-order for Kings XI Punjab, scoring 243 runs in 10 games with a strike-rate of 130.64. In contrast, Mayank has scored 118 runs in 9 games and was dropped as his highest score has been 30.

Another former selector refuses to buy the on-going process and said that while following a feeder line was fine, extraordinary performances in domestic cricket needed to be acknowledged as well. He went on to add that Dravid’s recommendation can be a reference point for the selectors, but they themselves need to check players doing well at the domestic level.

“I have no problem with Dravid’s recommendation. He has done exceedingly well for the country and his experience helps. But it is for the selectors to decide on the team. During our time also, we would have senior or former players giving us a few suggestions on players to keep an eye on. But the final call was ours.

“While giving players doing well in the ‘A’ team or the U-19 team an opportunity is fine, but the selectors also need to pick domestic talent. A player who has scored 2000-odd runs in a calendar year cannot be ignored because he wasn’t part of the ‘A’ team. Similarly, if a bowler picks say 40 wickets in a season, he must be given the due recognition. The job of the selectors is to not just recognize talent, but also give them the due reward,” he signed off.

IPL Play-offs & Final to Start at 7pm Keeping …

New Delhi: There is good news for the cricket fans who have had an issue with the late games of the Indian Premier League. The play-offs and the final of the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League will start at 7pm instead of the usual time of 8pm. Thanks to the slow over rates, some of the game have gone on to end at around 12 midnight and with matches slotted right through the week, this isn’t the most viewer-friendly practice as most also need to head to schools, colleges and work the next morning.

Speaking to CricketNext, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said that it was an effort to help the fans who have an issue getting back home from the stadium late in the night as also those who have work the next morning and have an issue with watching the late encounters on television.

“The IPL is what it is because of its fans and the tournament has over the years been followed avidly both on the ground and on television at homes. So, keeping the interest of the fans in mind, it was decided that the play-off games and the final will start an hour earlier. So, instead of the 8pm start, the games will start at 7pm.

“It gets difficult not only for those at the stadium, but also for those watching on television as students and office-goers also need to get back to their respective stuff next morning and it helps if the game starts an hour earlier,” he explained.

The historic Eden Gardens will host two play-off matches that were originally scheduled in Pune. “The GC has confirmed that Kolkata will host the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 on May 23 and 25 respectively,” Shukla had earlier said.

As per the original schedule, Pune was scheduled to host the Eliminator and Qualifier 2, but the venue became Chennai Super Kings’ adopted home for six matches owing to security concerns for the Cauvery protests in Tamil Nadu.

The 67,000 capacity Eden Gardens emerged as the frontrunner and was adequately compensated by the IPL GC. “We are happy to host the play-off matches and are looking forward to it,” Cricket Association of Bengal joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya said.

Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium will play host to the Qualifier 1 and the Final on May 22 and 27 respectively.