Is BCCI sitting on a ticking time bomb?

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jagmohan-dalmiyaThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is gradually degenerating into a ‘Board of Chaos and Confusion in India’. The reasons are quite obvious. The BCCI, which hardly wastes an opportunity to flex its financial muscles in cricketing matters, is presently struggling to put its house in order. To add to the board’s woes , the demise of its president Jagmohan Dalmiya could not have been more ill-timed.

His poor health has been a cause of concern for a while, as he had been unable to discharge the duties as the BCCI president. Dalmiya’s death has put the BCCI in a quandary, forcing it to seriously mull over the future course of action.

The present situation raises many questions, which the board officials would struggle to answer. Why did Dalmiya remain in the top post despite being in a poor state of health?

Ironically, it was the Supreme Court which first questioned Dalmiya’s continuation as the BCCI president. A panel, comprising former chief justice RM Lodha and retired apex court judges Ashok Bhan and RV Raveendran, found Dalmiya in a bad shape while interviewing him.

The panel was appointed by the apex court to decide on the quantum of punishment for former BCCI president N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra after they were found guilty of betting in the IPL 2013. The Justice Lodha headed panel after finding Dalmiya’s response incoherent, questioned who was managing the BCCI’s affairs. It was Dalmiya’s son Abhishek Dalmiya, who was interpreting his father’s answers.

The committee was aghast at the silence of BCCI mandarins over Dalmiya’s poor health. It prompted them to remark, “If this is the physical and mental condition of the BCCI president at present, did those who elected him three months back not know about this? If the physical and mental status of the president has deteriorated so much in recent times, then who is running the affairs of the richest cricket body in the world.”

Ashish Shukla , a senior cricket writer, tells Tehelka, “The board has actually done a disservice by not giving (current director) Ravi Shastri a two-year extension. How many coaches have won a three match Test series abroad after losing the first? India do not need a head coach as Shastri and the present support staff are doing just fine. In the Lankan heat when even the local players wilted, Indians showed admirable grit. Rahul Dravid is good and wants responsibility. Young players consult him. He can suggest anything to the board and the latter would oblige willingly.”

It was BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, who were calling the shots in the cricketing matters given Dalmiya’s indisposition. A lot was expected of Dalmiya when he took over as president in March this year. However, he was a failure on all counts. Rather than sitting over the raging issues concerning Indian cricket, the IPL and Dalmiya’s poor health, BCCI officials should also have been a bit more proactive and nipped the problem in the bud. However, situation has worsened with the death of Dalmiya. Now, they will have to find a new BCCI president to run the day-to-day affairs and start everything from a scratch.

There was an air of excitement over Dalmiya’s appointment initially. Ashok Malhotra, former India player and national selector tells Tehelka, “Dalmiya is a seasoned administrator and players love him. His tenure will be a good one for Indian cricket.”

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