BCCI president Anurag Thakur has said the board is being “arm-twisted” on two fronts: as a result of the Lodha committee’s recommendations for structural reform, and due to the change at the top of the ICC, where Shashank Manohar has taken charge as the independent chairman. Thakur also took exception to Manohar’s remarks that his priorities lay with the ICC and not the BCCI. Manohar had suggested that it wasn’t his responsibility but that of the BCCI representative to look after the board’s interest at the ICC table.
“I think these [Lodha] recommendations and [the] change in ICC [regime] are arm-twisting BCCI both at home and at the ICC which is not good for Indian cricket,” Thakur said. “The situation of BCCI – a global leader till the recommendation of the Lodha committee… now with the new ICC regime they are trying to sideline the BCCI, one of the most important stakeholders in global cricket today. Just [because of] one recommendation, we are not taken seriously.”
Thakur, who is in Greater Noida to watch the final of the Duleep Trophy, told reporters that the BCCI, by virtue of being a “global leader”, had an obligation to look after the interest of smaller boards. He reiterated the BCCI’s concerns over the budget for next year’s Champions Trophy in England, which the Indian board felt was three times as much as what was allotted to India for the World T20 earlier this year.
“Yes, BCCI should look after its interests, but BCCI does not only limit itself to look after BCCI’s interests,” Thakur said. “If he [Manohar] is saying that he has got nothing to do with the BCCI, BCCI is one of the 105 members and one of the most important stakeholders of the ICC today. And, that is why we have raised the issue – when the others kept mum – that we want to go through the Champions Trophy budget.
“Compare the World [T20] Cup with the Champions Trophy – we had 56 matches, Champions Trophy has close to 15 matches; we had eight venues, they had only three venues; it was a 49-day event and the Champions Trophy is only a 20-day event. So the per-match cost is three times higher. Every single penny saved is every single penny earned, not only for BCCI but for 105 countries.
“When you talk about the two-tier Test system, BCCI could have got benefits by joining hands with those associations like Australia and England, but we stood by countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and to an extent like West Indies.”
Thakur questioned Manohar’s motives for amending the ICC constitution, which played a part in his being elected unopposed as the first independent chairman of the world body. He contended that Manohar hadn’t taken all members into confidence before the amendments were made.
“Mr Shashank Manohar was on the board to make certain changes, amendments. As the president of the board he should have taken into confidence all the BCCI members which he did not,” he said. “The amendments were made and he became the independent chairman. Once he has become the independent chairman, he left the BCCI when BCCI needed him the most.” (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)