The first informal glimpse of the BCCI's future power structure has been revealed with a group of the most senior and experienced heads in Indian cricket, led by former BCCI president N Srinivasan, meeting in Mumbai on Friday night and seeking an early end to the supervision of the board by the Committee of Administrators (CoA). The reason, they say, is that the BCCI's working has been hamstrung by the long-running, deep, and public rift between Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, the two CoA members.
The meeting comes barely a week before the Supreme Court is expected to pass orders (on January 17) on the way forward for the administration of the BCCI, possibly including a timeline for elections.
It is understood that close to 20 current and former BCCI members attended the meeting, including Sourav Ganguly (president, Cricket Association of Bengal), Anirudh Chaudhry (current BCCI treasurer and former secretary, Haryana Cricket Association), Jay Shah (president, Gujarat Cricket Association), Niranjan Shah (former secretary, Saurashtra Cricket Association) and Ajay Shirke (former BCCI secretary and ex-president, Maharashtra Cricket Association).
The board has been run by the CoA - currently comprising Rai, the former Comptroller & Auditor General of India, and Edulji, the former India women captain - since January 30, 2017. The CoA and the BCCI's members - the state associations - are both in favour of elections, and they are likely to be held at some stage in the next few months; what yesterday's meeting called for was elections as early as possible.
The associations will seek to impress that on the court when it reconvenes next week; the court is expected to address not just their reservations about certain reforms listed in the new constitution, which was registered last August, but also the eighth status report submitted by the CoA, which had asked that a deadline to conduct fresh elections be announced.
When the CoA was appointed the BCCI's supervisory authority two years ago, Rai had said its tenure would be akin to that of a nightwatchman while it implemented the new BCCI constitution as per the court-approved reforms instituted by the RM Lodha Committee. The CoA is still around, even though, as some members said on Friday, it had the power to hold elections even without the court's express direction.
There is a view even among those BCCI seniors who weren't at yesterday's meeting that the CoA's decision-making process, especially on cricket-related issues, has been slowed down by the friction between Rai and Edulji. Some of the concerns discussed on Friday by various members were listed by BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary in a separate email sent to state associations earlier this week. Ganguly, too, has been critical in the past of the BCCI technical committee (of which he is the head) not being kept in the loop over cricket-related decisions.
The statement also referred to Edulji's complaints on several occasions that she was being overruled by Rai even though he had no legal status to do so.
"The members expressed shock at the manner in which… the decisions and views of one member were being ignored and the decisions of the other were being executed irregularly despite there being a deadlock in decision making on such decisions," said a media release issued after Friday's meeting. "The members decided they would bring forth certain points before the Hon'ble Supreme Court in order to ensure that democracy is restored in decision making especially on cricketing matters so that Indian cricket does not suffer."
The members at Friday's meeting also expressed disappointment over the BCCI's professional management not involving them while finalising key decisions related to conduct of domestic cricket. It has only led to "deterioration" of domestic cricket, they said.
"The members expressed shock at the statements being made in order to portray the purported success of the 2018-19 domestic season while nothing could be further from the truth," the media release said.
The lack of infrastructure, personnel and video equipment in the face of a huge volume of both men's and women's cricket across age groups has been skewed, the members said. Other cricket-related concerns included the introduction of ad-hoc qualification criteria, and the qualification criteria in the Ranji Trophy where the top five teams from the Elite groups reach the knockout stage.