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Amicus curiae in favour of five-member selection panel, vote for Railways

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The Supreme Court of India is moving towards a final verdict over the BCCI’s delays in implementing the Lodha Committee recommendations and adopting a fresh constitution as drafted by its Committee of Administrators (CoA).

At its last hearing on May 11, the court had asked amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium to study and respond to the objections and suggestions from the BCCI’s member units, the state associations, regarding the draft BCCI constitution drawn up by the CoA. The states have also been asked to submit their responses to Subramanium’s observations before the court convenes for the next hearing, scheduled on July 5.

Following is the summary of the submissions made by Subramanium concerning the various recommendations the BCCI members had objections to or said they could not implement.

One state one vote

The issue: As per the Lodha Committee, and seconded by the CoA, each Indian state could have only one Full Member association that would have a vote at the BCCI table. In the case of Maharashtra and Gujarat, which have multiple state associations due to their cricket history, the vote would be rotated annually. These associations – the Mumbai Cricket Association, the Maharashtra Cricket Association and the Vidarbha Cricket Association in Maharashtra, and the Gujarat Cricket Association, the Saurashtra Cricket Association and the Baroda Cricket Association in Gujarat – have opposed such a move.

Subramanium’s response: The amicus curiae said he approved the Lodha Committee’s reasoning to allocate a vote to each state on a “territorial” basis. He also said the court had “mandated” that each of the three associations within the state would get a vote on annual basis, which “brings parity and fairness”.

Subramanium said the one-state-one-vote reform provided “democratic equality” which was essential. “Unless sufficient prejudice is shown that a member by annual rotation is not able to effectively participate in the affairs of the BCCI, the Amicus is unable to recommend deviation from the position adopted by the Hon’ble Justice Lodha Committee, and as modified by the Principal Judgment.”

Railways can have a vote

The issue: The Lodha Committee and the CoA had also determined that the member associations that were either run by the government or had limited participation in BCCI events – such as the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), the Railway Sports Promotion Board (“Railways”) and the Services Sports Control Board (“Services”) along with the National Cricket Club (NCC), Kolkata, and the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Mumbai – would lose the vote they had enjoyed under the old BCCI constitution.

Subramanium’s response: The amicus said Railways ought to be treated as an “exception” based on the fact that the institution provides “at least 90%” of the players who play for India women. “In view of the security of employment of the players from Railways as well as the ability to demonstrate playing skills and having regard to women’s cricket as an integral part of Indian Cricket, it appears necessary to consider this as an exception.”

Subrmanium, though, said that the person from Railways casting the vote at the BCCI table would need to be a former player and not someone “nominated” by the government. “Such a decision must be undertaken by an association of former players who belong to the Railways.”

The rest of the associations in this group – the AIU, Services, NCC and CCI – did not qualify for full membership criteria, Subramaniam said.

Selection Committee strength

The issue: The BCCI has argued that the vast volume of cricket it conducts and the number of teams and tournaments under its jurisdiction justify a five-member selection panel for all three categories: men’s, women’s and junior. The Lodha Committee and the CoA had instead felt three-member panels were good enough.

Subramanium’s response: The amicus has recommended that the selection panel strength could be “increased” to five. He has also set a fresh set of criteria for to be a national selector: the candidate should have played a minimum of: a) seven Test Matches; or b) 30 first-class matches; or c) 10 ODIs and a minimum of 20 first-class matches.

The amicus felt an enhanced selection committee was “imminent” to “relieve” the burden of the existing three-member panel. This enhanced committed, Subrmanium said, should be finalised by the CoA in consultation with the cricket advisory committee.

Cooling-off period

The issue: The office bearers and administrators in both the BCCI and the state associations do not want a cooling-off period of three years after every three-year term as recommended by the Lodha Committee. The break, the administrators say, does not allow them enough time to advocate and execute plans and could hamper continuity.

Subramanium’s response: Subramaniam noted that the thrust of the Lodha Committee – which was “distressed” by the continued presence of office bearers, some for decades – was to “militate against self-perpetuation.” Subrmanium said the court has allowed office bearers to serve nine years each at state and BCCI separately, which he found to be a “substantial “period. “A period of 18 years by any stretch of imagination is indeed a substantial period,” the amicus said. “It is necessary that the expression ‘cooling off’ must necessarily mean that after a period of 3 years, the person is not able to migrate to the other Association and occupy the position as an office bearer or occupy any other position in the same Association.”

Division of powers between general body and professional management

The issue: Under the existing system, the BCCI secretary informally carries out the role of the CEO and shares power with the board president. Under the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, and as part of the new constitution, the role of the office bearers would be diminished while the CEO would be granted significant independent decision-making powers. Many of the BCCI members are against ceding control.

Subramanium’s response: According to the amicus the general body, which comprises the state associations, needs to be separate from the nine-person Apex Council through which the board’s chief executive officer directs the professional management of the BCCI. “It is necessary that this recommendation of the Hon’ble Justice Lodha Committee, as reflected in the Constitution, must be maintained and the professional management must be undertaken by the Apex Council through the CEO (who is also the custodian of the interests of players and fans), CFO and such other instrumentalities who are recruited on a totally transparent and professional basis.”

Subramaniam also stated that it would be “appropriate’ for the Court to consider whether the current BCCI office bearers – acting president CK Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry – be asked to demit office as they had completed their “legally valid tenures of office”.



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How do you fit Ben Stokes back in the England team?

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Ben Stokes was added to the England squad for the third Test against India less than two hours after being acquitted of affray at Bristol Crown Court. From a purely cricketing point of view, England now have the dilemma of how to fit him back into the team after the success of Chris Woakes and Sam Curran. Here are the main options

Drop Sam Curran (or Chris Woakes)

It would be harsh on Curran just two games after a Man of the Match award, but as the least experienced of the attack he is probably the most vulnerable. However, Trent Bridge is known as a venue that favours swing bowlers – James Anderson’s stats are outstanding at the ground – and that is Curran’s strength. His left-arm angle has also caused the India batsmen problems. This does, though, appear to be the likeliest route for Stokes’ inclusion. What of the last in, first out route? Chris Woakes was Stokes’ direct replacement at Lord’s. Nope. After a maiden Test century and four wickets, that won’t be happening with Woakes.

No spinner gamble

Adil Rashid had one of the quietest Tests of the all-time at Lord’s. Trent Bridge has the highest average for England spinners of all their home Test venues so there could be an argument whether they even need a spinner. There is rarely, however, a situation where five quicks does not feel like an overkill regardless of the venue. The luxury that England have – due to their number of allrounders – is always being able to field a balanced attack, so it would seem counter-intuitive to move away from that.

All the allrounders

It’s the era of the allrounder for England so how about playing them all? Trevor Bayliss has more than once said how he believes Stokes can be a Test No. 5 – and he played that role in Auckland earlier this year. This would entail leaving out Ollie Pope or Jos Buttler. Pope showed promise on his debut while Buttler was named vice-captain at the start of the series, so is clearly inked in as part of the side. Buttler’s omission would also mean a further reshuffle in the slips and leaving out Pope would have Jonny Bairstow batting at No. 4 and keeping wicket. There is one way around that: give Buttler the gloves and leave Bairstow to be a specialist batsman. That, though, won’t be happening anytime soon.

Something really radical

Linked to the option of taking the gloves off Bairstow would be a significant shake-up of the batting order. Promote Bairstow to open – the position he holds in one-day cricket with such success – in place of Keaton Jennings who has yet to make a substantial score since his recall, albeit in some tricky batting conditions. That would, as with the previous option, allow Stokes to fit back into the middle while also retaining Pope and Buttler. However, opening in Test cricket is a much different prospect to the one-day game where the white Kookaburra barely moves. And there’s that wicketkeeping debate.

Leave him out

Just because Stokes is in the squad doesn’t mean he has to play. He has been through an emotionally draining period in court. No doubt Stokes will think he’s ready to play, but sometimes for the sake of a player the decision has to be taken out of his hands. The flip side to that is that, with his court case looming, he did not lose an ounce of focus at Edgbaston in a matchwinning performance.



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The third Curran – Ben – signs for Northamptonshire

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Ben Curran, the brother of England cricketers Sam and Tom, has signed with Northamptonshire, the club of their late father, Kevin, for the remainder of the season.

Ben, 22, a left-handed batsman, made his Northamptonshire debut in the T20 Blast against Derbyshire last week after a successful period in the 2nd XI where he scored 490 runs in six Championship matches having caught the club’s eye while playing against them for MCC Young Cricketers.

“I’m delighted to have signed for Northants. The fact that my Dad played here too it makes it even more special to be able to represent this county,” Curran said

“I hope that I can contribute in all three formats over the next few years and fingers crossed we can have a strong end to the season in both the Blast and the County Championship”.

Northants’ head coach, David Ripley said: “Ben has scored heavily in all formats for us in the 2’s as well as continuing to churn out runs for the MCCYC’s.

“He deserves an opportunity and we look forward to working with him over the next two seasons. He has a lot of competitive spirit and I know he will make the most of his chance.

“We are grateful to Steve Kirby and the YC’s for their cooperation in making this happen.”

Kevin Curran had a successful spell with Northamptonshire between 1991 and 1999



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Adam Zampa, Glenn Phillips keep St Lucia Stars winless | Cricket

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Jamaica Tallawahs 176 for 4 (Phillips 58, Powell 43) beat St Lucia Stars 175 all out (Fletcher 43, Sammy 36, Zampa 3-27, Thomas 3-39) by six wickets




© CPL/Sportsfile


Andre Russell’s captaincy career remains perfect while St Lucia Stars still have no idea what a win feels like, they’re now winless for 14 matches – a streak stretching back to 2016 when they were known as the Zouks. For the record, Jamaica Tallawahs recorded their second successive win courtesy a Glenn Phillips half-century and an 81-run stand with Johnson Charles in a 176 chase. They eventually won with two balls to spare, but the win was more comprehensive than that.

Double your curse: Zouks meet Sandpapergate

It’s hard to know which curse possesses a more powerful life force at the moment: the Zouks, who have hexed the St Lucia franchise since they were struck off the letterhead or those impacted by Sandpapergate or David Warner’s string of unlucky and unusual dismissals that started in King City during the Global T20 Canada.

Warner was the victim of one of the poorer lbw decisions of the DRS era on Saturday, struck outside off stump on the gloves missing a reverse sweep. On Wednesday, he was partially done in by lack of footwork, but even still his toe-drag drive against Oshane Thomas would have gone past leg stump on most occasions. Instead the ball caromed off Warner’s feet, then knuckled up into the air with the backspin grazing off the bails. All Warner could do was laugh as he walked off.

Another CPL matchwinning leggie

Russell intervened to break a 54-run stand between Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher that followed Warner’s early dismissal, but the major momentum killer in the Stars innings was Adam Zampa, who continued the trend of legspinners producing top notch performances in CPL 2018.

Fletcher was his first victim in the 11th over, aiming for mid-on to a delivery pitching on leg stump when sharp turn produced a leading edge long-off. Two balls later, another leg stump delivery accounted for Mark Chapman, but this one was a googly that beat Mark Chapman’s drive to crash into the stumps. His biggest blow came in the 16th when a quicker ball cramped Kieron Pollard for room on an attempted cut that floated to Ross Taylor at point. The tail wagged for 50 runs in the final five overs but Stars were well short of what they could have achieved before Zampa wiped out their big guns.

Phill your boots

Playing the last place team in the competition is a general invitation to make merry with bat or ball. Tallawahs keeper Phillips accepted the offer to top score with 58 off 40 balls, including a half-dozen sixes. The high number of dot balls was representative of a decent effort across the first five overs of the Powerplay by the Stars bowling unit to keep the run rate manageable, but that unraveled in the sixth over bowled by Qais Ahmad.

It actually started off quite well for Qais, who beat Phillips with a pair of ripping legbreaks on the first two deliveries that had Darren Sammy excited at slip. But Qais started bowling a 14-yard length to match the inevitable extension of Stars winless streak to 14 matches and the result was three straight balls heaved by Phillips over square leg for six, six and four. He eventually brought up his fifty off 34 balls in the 11th over before falling to Obed McCoy, caught uppercutting to third man where Kesrick Williams took a fantastic diving catch.

Sorry skip

Simmons may want to find a seat as far away as possible from Pollard on the Stars flight from Jamaica to St Lucia for the start of their home leg. The three worst fielding mistakes of the night all came courtesy Simmons, all three off his captain’s bowling.

The first incident happened in the 14th over when Andre McCarthy drove softly to Simmons who spilled a straightforward chance at cover. The next incident happened in the 18th over when Rovman Powell swung one to long-on where Simmons covered ground running right but shelled another chance.

The Simmons misfieldhat-trick was completed on the final ball of the match. Ross Taylor had just leveled scores on the third ball of the 20th over with a six over midwicket. Taylor drove the next ball straight to Simmons at mid-off. Perhaps aware that it was Simmons doing the fielding, Powell bolted from the non-striker’s end while Taylor stayed put only to see Simmons fumble the ball between his legs.

Taylor belatedly took off as Simmons eventually gathered the ball on the third attempt and still had plenty of time to relay to either Pollard or Sammy, who was running in from short midwicket to field a throw over the stumps. But Simmons fired a panicky throw well wide of the stumps that also shorthopped Sammy and gave him no chance to collect despite Taylor being five yards short. An exasperated Pollard shook his head, praying that his side’s fortunes will change over the next five matches at home in Gros Islet.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna


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