Category: _author:Devadyuti Das

Shubman Gill is one of the most talented young batsmen in India currently and many believe that the Punjab opener should have been part of at least one of the senior squads that will embark on the Caribbean tour next month.

Gill, who made his ODI debut against New Zealand earlier this year by replacing a suspended KL Rahul, came close to being picked once again but the chairman of selectors MSK Prasad announced on Sunday (July 21) that Gill was definitely in the mix of things.

He might not be part of the senior squad to the West Indies but Gill is filling his coffers against the West Indies ‘A’ side currently. Gill ended the five-game unofficial one-day series as the top run-getter for India with 218 runs in four games 54.5 with a strike-rate of 54.5 with three fifties and a top-score of 77.

“I was waiting for the Indian senior team to be announced on Sunday and I expected to be selected for at least one of the squads. It was disappointing not to get picked but I am not going to spend time thinking over it. I’ll keep scoring runs and performing to the best of my ability to impress the selectors,” Gill told CricketNext from Antigua.

“It was a fantastic series for me and team as well since we won with a 4-1 margin. Personally, I would have liked to carry on and score at least a couple of hundreds in those fifties. But I will learn from this experience,” the 19-year-old opener said.

Gill blazed his way to a 40-ball 69 on Sunday night with three sixes and eight fours to seal an eight-wicket win for India in the fifth one-dayer.

“The West Indies team that we faced here in the series was very good. The pitches — especially in the first few one-dayers — were very tough to bat on. It was tough challenging cricket and it’s good that we managed to come out on top,” Gill said.

The Punjab opener had a phenomenal time in the Ranji Trophy last season, scoring over 700 runs in just five games with a career-best knock of 268. In just nine first-class games so far, Gill has 1,089 runs at an average of 77.78 with three hundreds and seven fifties.

“The biggest lesson that I have learned from my first West Indies tour is to try to curb my natural game depending on match condition. It’s important to block the good balls as well and remain at the crease for as long as possible. Person who is set at the crease needs to bat through the difficult period,” he said.

It’s also a lesson passed on to him from India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid. “Yes, this along with a lot of other important inputs have been passed on by Dravid sir,” Gill said.

The youngster’s next assignment will be the three unofficial Tests against West Indies ‘A’ beginning on Wednesday in Antigua.

“The first Test is in Antigua, where I have played a couple of one-dayers now so I know the pitch well. It’s not an easy track to bat and you have to apply yourself for the first couple of hours at least before starting to play your shots. The next couple of ‘Tests’ will be in Trinidad where I have not played before, so it will be a tough challenge,” he said.

While the rest of the squad including the new player who arrived for the longer format in the ‘A’ series went through their paces in the North Sound Stadium on Monday (July 22), Gill had been given a break after a tough one-day series.

India ‘A’ will have a couple of new options for openers with Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran joining the squad for the longer format games.

“I am not sure yet if I’ll be opening the batting in the ‘Tests’. I’ll join the rest of the team in practice tomorrow and find out the plan from the team management. Whatever the role given to me, I’ll try to perform to the best of my ability,” Gill signed off.

The five national selectors of the senior men’s team will meet in Mumbai on Sunday (July 21) for the first time after India’s World Cup semifinal exit earlier this month to pick the squad that will travel to the West Indies.

One of the burning issues was linked to the selection of former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the limited-overs leg of the tour but that puzzle has been solved by the wicketkeeper batsman, who has decided that he will not be available for selection on Saturday.

There are other prickly issues as the selectors have to chart a way forward for this Indian team to the 2020 World T20 first, and then the 2023 50-over World Cup. CricketNext breaks down the matters that will potentially be debated at the selection meeting on Sunday morning.

No. 4 Conundrum

The No. 4 spot in the Indian ODI line-up was its biggest weak point at the ICC World Cup. Since Ambati Rayudu was discarded by the selectors and the team management, it has been a case of musical chairs at the No. 4 position.

KL Rahul started at the position, to be replaced by Vijay Shankar and was finally followed by Rishabh Pant. But none of them could make that position their own.

Vijay’s injury mid-way through the World Cup did not help. The Tamil Nadu batsman is still not fully fit yet and might not be up for selection for the Caribbean tour.

Impressive performances on the India ‘A’ tour of the West Indies have slightly opened the door for the likes of Manish Pandey, Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer to lay their claims for a middle-order berth.

Man behind the stumps

With Dhoni sitting out the entire West Indies tour, it provides a golden opportunity for young Delhi stumper Pant to seal the position in all three formats for India. Pant, who was billed as the X-factor, didn’t set the World Cup on fire with his display with the willow, only tallying 116 runs from four matches at an average of 29 and a top-score of 48.

The selectors are likely to give Pant a longer rope starting with the series against West Indies. Bengal’s Wriddhiman Saha, who was No. 1 wicketkeeper for India in Tests till his shoulder injury, has regained full fitness and part of the India ‘A’ squad as well, the selectors will look to keep him on as the back-up keeper for the two-Test series.

Opening dilemma

Delhi opener Shikhar Dhawan has only just started to bat at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) a couple of days back as he continues his rehab from hand injury. In Dhawan’s absence, Rahul may be called to partner childhood friend and Karnataka teammate Mayank Agarwal at the top of the innings in the Test series.

Rahul should continue to open the innings with Rohit Sharma in the ODIs and T20s. Mumbai’s Prithvi Shaw is still not 100 per cent fit as he recovers from the hip injury he suffered during the Mumbai Premier League T20 tournament.

Gill, who has been opening the batting for India ‘A’ against West Indies and opens the innings for Punjab in Ranji Trophy as well could be a choice for back-up opener.

To rest or not to rest

The selectors led by MSK Prasad would be tempted to give the likes of skipper Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah rest from at least the limited-overs series. Kohli and Bumrah are two players who represent India in all formats of the game and apart from performing in the World Cup, they had a long and hard IPL-12 season as well.

While Bumrah will definitely be rested for the T20 and ODI leg, it remains to be seen if skipper Kohli will also opt to put his feet up for a couple of weeks before joining the squad for the two Tests which are part of the World Test Championships.

Pace bowling arsenal

Along with Bumrah, pace bowlers Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Hardik Pandya might also be rested for the series. It would give the selectors a good opportunity to test India’s pace bowling bench.

The likes of Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar might be tried out through the series to give the selectors enough options to choose from if needed.

Return of the specialists

The usual suspects like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja should be back for Test duties. Pujara is itching to get back in the Test arena after a man-of-the-series performance in his last series in Australia to lead India to a historic victory.

Rahane, too, has been in impressive form in county cricket after a mixed IPL-12 season along with Ashwin, who has been biding his time patiently in county followed by TNPL now.

It should certainly be an interesting morning for the five selectors in Mumbai on Sunday.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni made the task of the Indian selection committee somewhat easier on the eve of their meeting to pick the squad for the West Indies in Mumbai on Sunday (July 21). The former India skipper made himself unavailable for the limited-overs matches in the Caribbean as he would be serving his paramilitary regiment for a couple of months.

Dhoni met a senior BCCI official in person a couple of days back and explained his inability to tour the West Indies. The official has now communicated the same to the chairman of the selection committee MSK Prasad on Saturday (July 20) afternoon.

“Dhoni met a top BCCI official in person and explained why he cannot go on the tour of West Indies. Dhoni is a honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the parachute regiment of the territorial army. He had made a commitment to reserve the regiment for a couple of months even before the World Cup,” BCCI sources informed CricketNext.

Ever since India exited the ICC World Cup after a loss in the semifinals to New Zealand earlier this month, there has been a lot of speculation regarding the availability of Dhoni in international and whether he will be considering retiring from all forms of cricket.

“This is just a two-month sabbatical and not a decision to retire in any way. He hasn’t made any decision regarding his future as yet. The decision has been communicated to the chairman of selectors as well,” the source added.

Dhoni was in the eye of the storm during the World Cup as well when he sported the ‘Balidaan’ badge of the Para Special Forces on his wicketkeeping gloves in the first match against South Africa at Southampton. He subsequently had to hide the logo on his glove after the International Cricket Council (ICC) raised an issue.

Earlier, on Thursday, Dhoni’s friend and manager Arun Pandey had said that the wicketkeeper batsman did not have any immediate plans to retire from international cricket.

“He has no immediate plans to retire. The constant speculation over the future of a great player like him is unfortunate,” Pandey told PTI.

India’s next limited-overs assignment will be a three-T20 series against South Africa in India from September 15.

While the national selectors remain unclear about MS Dhoni’s international future after India’s exit from the World Cup, they are planning to rest him in any case for India’s next international assignment – a tour of the West Indies starting on August 3 with three T20 internationals. The team is also scheduled to play three ODIs and two Tests. CricketNext has also learnt that several other players including skipper Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah as well as all-rounder Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar could also be given a break.

The selection committee will meet in Mumbai on either July 17 or 18 to pick the squads. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad will be returning to Mumbai along with the rest of the Indian squad on Sunday (July 14).

“Dhoni has been playing non-stop cricket for the last three months, starting with leading Chennai Super Kings in IPL-12. He had been struggling with his back but didn’t let that affect his performance and then carried a finger injury in the second half of the tournament as well. In fact, Dhoni has injured the hand again off delivery he was run out against New Zealand. The selectors will look to give him some rest, looking at the packed international calendar for next year,” a senior BCCI official informed CricketNext.

“Kohli and Bumrah might be rested for the limited-overs series and possibly even the Test matches. A call on their availability for the Tests will be taken later,” the official added.

In Dhoni’s absence, the selectors are likely to stick with Rishabh Pant. The Delhi wicketkeeper was in fact part of India A’s tour to West Indies, before he was called up as replacement for injured Shikhar Dhawan. Pandya was struggling with a hip injury in India’s semifinal against New Zealand on Wednesday (July 10). He went off the field to get some treatment before coming back to complete his quota of overs as well as bat in India’s chase. Paceman Bhuvneshwar was also struggling with a hamstring injury which ruled him out of three games in the World Cup.

“The selectors have enough back up options in the form of Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini or even Deepak Chahar to replace Bhuvneshwar,” the official added.

If Kohli is rested for the entire West Indies series, Rohit Sharma is expected to lead the side in ODIs and Ajinkya Rahane might be asked to captain the Test side. The selectors will speak to the team management including Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri before taking a final call.

New Zealand are preparing themselves for a fourth appearance at the ICC World Cup semifinals and only once — 2015 — have they managed to win a last-four clash. The last time the World Cup was held in 1999 was one of those occasions when the Blackcaps reached the semis but were thoroughly outclassed by Pakistan in a nine-wicket defeat.

This time around the Kiwis are facing another tall order as they took on 2019 World Cup league leaders India at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester on Tuesday (July 9). Although they are the 2015 World Cup runners-up, the Black Caps will be head into this encounter as the underdogs.

“It’s right that India go in as the favourites. They have earned that right and I don’t know if New Zealand have earned the right to be here. Looking at their performances in their last few games, they have gone off the boil or maybe haven’t delivered,” former New Zealand captain and all-rounder Dion Nash told CricketNext ahead of the semifinal.

“If they had won two out of their last three matches it would have been different. But having lost all three they are going very much as underdogs,” he added.

The last three games resulted in three massive losses for New Zealand against Pakistan (6 wickets), Australia (86 runs) and England (119 runs). From group leaders and an unbeaten side till a couple of weeks back, Kane Williamson’s side have just managed to scrape into the last four — only pipping Pakistan on the basis of net run-rate.

Nash believes that New Zealand have lost the opportunity to fine-tune the combination of their playing XI and seem in disarray in the lead-up to their clash against India.

“New Zealand have frittered away the opportunity to look at their team with greater depth. They were pretty close to semis berth prior to the Pakistan match and that was a great opportunity. There is question mark over Mitchell Santner and he can’t be playing together with Ish Sodhi,” the 47-year-old from Auckland said.

“They should have given Sodhi two games on the trot and if he failed they could have brought Santner back. They missed a trick there,” Nash, who was part of the team that lost in 1999 World Cup semis, added.

Another area of concern is their openers with Martin Guptill only tallying 166 runs and Colin Munro being dropped after scoring 125 runs in six games. Munro’s replacement Henry Nicholls hasn’t done any better, scoring only eight runs in two games.

(Image: AFP)

“They should have stuck with Guptill and Munro at the top. They picked those guys, in a way they haven’t made most of the last three games. They have succumbed to pressure of the media with regards to top-order batsmen

“Munro and Guptill are still very dangerous, if you asked any Indian bowlers they would say the same thing. India know what the two of them can do if they get them on the wrong pitch on the wrong day,” Nash said about the Kiwi openers.

Nash, who played 32 Tests and 81 ODIs for the Kiwis, believes the pitch and toss will play a big role in the semifinal.

“Pitch and the toss will be important. Everyone has been going on about ‘win toss, win the game’ and I believe the pitch would definitely be better. The next three games of the World Cup have seen the best pitches of the tournament. The weather should be getting warmer in England, conditions might be more suitable to types of ODIs we are most accustomed to.

“If that happens I think it plays more into the hands of India. Having said that if there is a bit of bounce in the wicket and a touch of swing, if NZ have to create an upset here, they need to get stuck into the Indian top order. Trent Boult has to play out of his skin, Lockie Ferguson has to bowl with real pace and accuracy and everyone needs to chip in.

“If they can bowl India out, I think it could be one way we can see them beating India. In the end you can’t control if you bat or bowl first. If they bat first, they need to put India under scoreboard pressure which will only happen if they can post a total in excess of 300. In that sort of a match anything can go wrong while chasing,” the former all-rounder said.

Finally, asked his choice between Tim Southee and Matt Henry as Boult’s new-ball partner, Nash said, “Don’t think Southee has played enough cricket. They should have played him against Pakistan and then he could have been exposed to 2-3 matches. I don’t think he’s match-fit.

“Even though Henry has been hot and cold, he has been doing a very good job. He’s (Henry) a good bowler and asked to do a lot of tougher jobs, to my mind he has bowled well and won’t let you down,” he added.

BCCI Ethics Officer Justice DK Jain is adamant in his stance that former India cricketer VVS Laxman can continue in only one of his current three roles to meet with the requirements of the new BCCI constitution that clearly mandates ‘one person, one post’ for any person working with the board. Laxman is currently a member of the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), a mentor with the IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad as well as a TV commentator.

Jain is not prepared to change his mind over the matter despite the BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators’ (CoA) best efforts, that included asking amicus curiae PS Narasimha to convince the Ethics Officer to reconsider the matter.

In his order passed on June 20th, a copy of which is available with CricketNext, Jain makes it clear that Laxman will have to choose. Point 26 of the order states:

“In the instant case, having regard to the afore noted stand of Mr Laxman, that if it is found by the Ethics Officer that his presence in the CAC has resulted in a ‘conflict of interest’ situation, as envisaged in Rule 38 of the Rules, he may be provided an opportunity to resolve the same. I declare that in the present case the ‘conflict of interest’ is tractable (easy to deal with).

“Further, notwithstanding the fact that Mr Laxman was obliged to otherwise disclose the requisite information as stipulated in Rule 38 (2) of the Rules, but bearing in mind the fact that the Rules have come into existence only after August 2018, I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Mr Laxman that perhaps he may not have realized that his occupying the aforesaid multiple posts did involve ‘conflict of interest’.

“Accordingly, I direct the BCCI to ensure that Mr VVS Laxman relinquishes his interest, which give rise to ‘conflict of interest’ and does not continue to occupy more than one post as enumerated in Rule 38 (4) of the Rules at any given point of time, within two weeks of receipt of this order.”

In the CoA’s meeting in Delhi last week, they had said that the BCCI legal team were studying Jain’s order and exploring how they will go about implementing it. The BCCI, on their part, in their declaration to the Ethics Officer has said that ‘conflict of interest’ pertaining to Laxman could be resolved by ‘recusing’ himself from any discussions or directions with the CAC where any individual being considered for selection is or has been associated with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

While the board felt that the matter dealing with his conflict as a TV commentator could be resolved in a ‘fair and transparent’ manner if Laxman maintained strict ‘confidentiality’ with regards to the matters that have come to his knowledge in his capacity of being the member of the CAC and/or matters discussed in CAC meetings.

However, the argument has cut no ice with Jain. Point 22 of his order stated:

“A conjoint readings of the provisions as also the Rules of the BCCI leads to an irresistible conclusion that one of the basic ideas behind the introduction of Rules, especially the definition of ‘conflict of interest’ in Rule 1(A)(g) and the provisions of the Rule 38 of the Rules was to implement the principle of ‘one man, one post’ in the larger interest of the game of the cricket. Evidently, it is aimed at avoiding concentration of power in few hands and also for ensuring larger participation of the persons having vast knowledge and experience in the game of cricket.”

The ‘conflict of interest’ case against Laxman was filed by Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) life member Sanjeev Gupta.

It is widely believed that Ambati Rayudu’s sudden decision to retire from all forms of cricket including the IPL was due to being overlooked twice when spots opened up in the World Cup squad despite him being among the designated standbys for the tournament. However, in his email to senior BCCI officials, accessed exclusively by CricketNext, Rayudu hasn’t made any reference to the decision made by the selectors. Rayudu has thanked the BCCI for the “honour and privilege” of representing the country and thanked the various captains he has played under.

“I would like to bring to your kind notice that I have come to decision to step away from the sport and retire from all forms and levels of the game,” Rayudu’s email reads. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BCCI and all the state associations that I have represented which include Hyderabad, Baroda, Andhra and Vidharbha. I also would like to thank the two IPL franchises MI and CSK for their support. It has been a honour and privilege to have represented our country.

“I would like to thank the captains I have played under, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and especially Virat kohli who always had shown great belief in me throughout my career with the Indian team. It has been a wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought up on for the last 25 years at various different levels. Finally I would like to thank my family and all the wellwishers who have been with me throughout this wonderful journey.

Thanking you sir,

Yours sincerely

Ambati Rayudu”

After confirming his participation for the Global T20 in Canada that starts on July 25, the recently retired Yuvraj Singh is also likely to feature in the Euro T20 Slam which will be held in Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands from August 30 to September 22.

Former Australian Cricketer Dean Jones, who is among the board members of Euro T20 Slam advisory committee, also expects a few more Indian cricketers to sign up for the tournament.

“There are a few things going on in Indian cricket and since BCCI is not giving permission to take part in foreign T20 leagues, some Indian cricketers are announcing retirement so they can be free to play anywhere they want,” Jones told CricketNext. “Yuvraj Singh is one of them and he’s confirmed to us his interest to join the Euro T20 Slam.

“India is going to be big market for us. It’s T20 cricket and who can be a bigger draw than Yuvraj Singh in this format. We are hoping to sign up a couple of more Indian players in the next couple of weeks before the drafts for the league takes place in London on July 18. Keep watching this space,” Jones added.

Yuvraj’s former Punjab teammate Manpreet Gony also announced his retirement this week, confirming participation in the Global T20 Canada.

Yuvraj will not be the only international star joining the Euro T20 Slam. Top draws like AB de Villiers, Andre Russell, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir have also committed to the league. Jones is not worried that Steyn and Russell are currently sidelined with injury and were forced to return home from the ongoing World Cup, saying he expects them to recover in time.

“Steyn and Russell will be part of the league. The games in the league will not get underway till end of August. That is enough time for the both of them to recover from their respective injuries. That’s why both of them will be available for the drafts,” Jones said, adding that the six franchises will be able to pick five foreign players for their team.

South Africa’s De Villiers, who announced his retirement from international cricket last year but offered to return to the fold before the 2019 World Cup, has also committed to the league.

“De Villiers’ intended deal with the Big Bash League didn’t go through but for now he has committed to this league. He has his commitments with Middlesex for England’s T20 league but he will be available for Euro T20 slam as well,” Jones, who is in Mumbai currently working with the World Cup’s official broadcasters, said.

Apart from these big names, England ODI captain Eoin Morgan along with Shahid Afridi, Australia’s Shane Watson, former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum and Afghanistan’s T20 sensation Rashid Khan are icon players. A total of six team will be taking part in the league — two each from Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands.

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) issued a notice for all former cricketers in India — both men and women — to register with the BCCI through their respective state association so that the process of forming the first Indian Cricketers’ Association can begin.

The Players Association takes prime importance under the new BCCI constitution which is based on Justice RM Lodha’s reforms. Rule 14 (2) of the constitution states: “The Apex Council will consist of nine councilors of whom five shall be elected Office Bearers as per Rule 6 and the remaining 4 shall be: (a) One to be elected by the Full Member of the BCCI from among their representative; (b) Two to be nominated by Players’ Association from among themselves, one male and one female; © One to be nominated by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India from among serving senior functionaries of the CAG’s office, co-terminus with the nominee’s tenure.”

To fulfill this requirement to eventually form the Apex Council once the BCCI elections are held on October 22nd this year, the CoA is keen on forming the Players’ body as soon as possible.

“The Indian Cricketers’ Association (“Association”) being a not-for-profit company aimed at conserving and advancing the welfare of former players is presently in the process of incorporation,” the notice for the Cricketers’ Association by the CoA on the BCCI website read.

“The membership criteria for the Association is as follows: (i) Male and female ex-cricketers, who have played at least one International Cricket Match in any format of the game at the senior level; (ii) Male ex-cricketers, who have played at least Ten First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level; (iii) Female ex-cricketers, who have played at least Five First Class Matches in any format of the game at the senior level; and (iv) Differently-abled ex-cricketers, who have played either International Cricket or first-class cricket, where such cricket is recognised as such by the ICC or the BCCI and is organised by the BCCI or a body recognised by the ICC or the BCCI,in any format of the game at the senior level,” the notice says.

Apart from a position on the Apex Council, the Players’ Association will also nominate a member to the IPL Governing Council, two members of every state association and one member to governing council of state associations’ premier league.

“All former players who meet the above mentioned eligibility criteria for membership to the Association may within 20 days from the date here of write to the State Association of the state they hail from expressing their interest to apply for membership of the Cricketers Association. The said communication should enclose relevant proof of the former player meeting the above mentioned eligibility criteria and also mention the date of the former player’s retirement,” the notice said.

“Within 40 days from the date hereof, every State Association shall provide the BCCI with a list of the names of former players from whom a communication/application has been received along with a copy of the said communication/application(and enclosures),” the notice added.

However, BCCI’s ‘one person, one post’ applies in this case as well. Any former cricketer holding an administrative position with the BCCI will not be eligible to be nominated by the Players’ Association to any of the above position.

“Former players like Diana Edulji or Sourav Ganguly already hold administrative positions, with the CoA and Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) respectively. They will be have to resign from these position before the BCCI elections if they want to be part of the new Apex Council through the Players’ Association,” a BCCI state association official informed CricketNext.

A Players Association in this country was long-awaited and finally through the Supreme Court as well as CoA’s efforts, the sport will have enough representation on the cricket board through their former players.

The judgement passed by BCCI Ethics Officer and former Supreme Court judge DK Jain in the ‘conflict of interest’ case against former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman could have a major impact on all cricketers in this country — both active and retired. Justice Jain, who is also the BCCI Ombudsman appointed by the Supreme Court, made it abundantly clear to the BCCI as well as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that Rule 38 (4) of new BCCI constitution should be followed in totality which clearly state ‘one man, one post’.

Rule 38 (4) stated in the BCCI constitution is: “It is clarified that no individual may occupy more than one of the following posts at a single point of time except where prescribed under these Rules: (a) Player (Current), (b) Selector/Member of selection committee, © Team official, (d) Commentator, (e) Match official, (f) Administrator/office bearer, (g) Electoral officer, (h) Ombudsman & Ethics officer, (i) Auditor, (j) Any person who is governance, management, employment of a franchise, (k) Member of a Standing Committee, (l) CEO and Managers, (m) Officer bearer of a member, (n) Service provider (legal, financial, etc), (o) Contractual entity (Broadcast, security, contractor, etc), (p) Owner of a cricket academy”.

According to the above rule, former India Ganguly is conflicted because he is a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), a commentator with Star Sports and official with Delhi Capitals franchise. In case of Laxman, he is also a member of CAC, a commentator and mentor with Sunrisers Hyderabad team.

“I have only tried to interpret the Lodha committee recommendations correctly. Ganguly and Laxman are clearly conflicted looking at Rule 38 (4). ‘One man, one past’ is at the heart of Lodha recommendations and it should be implemented in totality,” Justice Jain told CricketNext.

“Even the commentary duties of the former cricketers comes under this purview. I cleared Tendulkar of any conflict of interest because he had given up his position on the CAC and was only a mentor with the Mumbai Indians,” Jain added.

However, since then Tendulkar has also joined the commentary team of broadcasters Star Sports. The complainant, who bought the cases of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman to the Ethics Officer, Sanjeev Gupta of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) has now urged BCCI to follow the judgement passed by Justice Jain in this matter.

“In compliance to BCCI Ethics Officer Sir order dated 20.06.19 in Complaint number – 4/2019 , in conflict case of Shri VVS Laxman , I hereby humbly request to ponder & execute henceforth following to ensure that Not a single disqualified /conflicted individual/s is/shall be given/ Appointed / Elected / Nominated at any post, whatsoever by BCCI , State Associations, IPL Franchise & TV Broadcaster/s , in compliance to Apex Court Approved BCCI Constitution,” Gupta wrote in a mail to the CoA and the BCCI, a copy of which is with CricketNext.

“BCCI Shall take affidavit from every existing post holder that the said post holder is not occupying any other post in BCCI / in any State Association / IPL / TV Broadcasters & the said individual is also not disqualified under Rule 6(5), 14(3to 9 ) or under rule of the BCCI Constitution. The said affidavit shall be at once uploaded on the BCCI website,” Gupta wrote, effectively asking the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman to make it clear that they are working as commentators in addition to being mentors or officials with IPL franchises.

“I have only tried to interpret the BCCI constitution and Rule 38 (4) to the best of my knowledge. The judgement has been passed on to BCCI and it’s up to them to decide how to go about implementing the rule,” Jain said.

Jain also added that active players such as Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan doing commentary during the World Cup could constitute as ‘conflict of interest’ according to the new BCCI constitution.

“No player is barred from commentating. I have only interpreted what ‘conflict of interest’ means as per the BCCI constitution,” the former Supreme Court judge added.​