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Amicus curiae in favour of five-member selection panel, vote for Railways – WSAIGO Sports
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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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Thisara Perera’s all-round heroics down Dhaka Dynamites

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Comilla Victorians 153 for 8 (Shamsur 48, Tamim 34, Shakib 3-24) beat Dhaka Dynamites 146 for 9 (Russell 46, Thisara 3-14, Afridi 2-18) by seven runs

How the game played out

Comilla Victorians pulled out a sloppy, see-saw affair by seven runs thanks to the all-round heroics of Thisara Perera. Though the final margin might indicate that the game went down to the wire, Victorians actually sealed it quite comfortably in the final three overs when the Dhaka Dynamites tail was left stranded following the dismissal of captain Shakib Al Hasan.

The match was far from a crisp contest, with a series of missed chances on both sides that served to keep it interesting. Deep square leg and deep midwicket were high-traffic areas throughout the day and the Victorians’ ability to seize more chances on the boundary paid off in the end.

Turning points

  • With Liam Dawson struggling to get bat on ball at one end, the red-hot Thisara Perera clattered three sixes in his 26 off 12 balls before he was run out in the final over in a mix-up trying to steal a bye.

  • Thisara removed a rampaging Andre Russell for 46 in the 15th over to defuse the Dynamites’ chase with a slower ball pulled to deep midwicket.

  • With 36 needed off 25 balls and with five wickets in hand, Shakib pulled a full toss from Shahid Afridi straight to deep midwicket.

  • Thisara followed up Shakib’s dismissal with two more via the short ball in the 17th, effectively snuffing out the Dynamites chances

Star of the day

Thisara Perera not only continued to be the Victorians’ sensational spark plug at the end of the innings with the bat, but silenced the Dynamites at the death. Not only did he take three crucial wickets, but he conceded just a single in the 19th over, leaving 19 runs to get off the last six balls, which wound up being too tough for the tail.

The big miss

Shakib got an absolute meatball from Afridi that should have been hit out of the ground. He stood motionless at the wicket once he realised he didn’t get the elevation to clear the man on the boundary and even though the required run rate was just nine per over for the last four, Dynamites’ last recognised batsman was gone to turn Dynamites from favorites to underdogs.

Where the teams stand

Victorians joined Dynamites on 10 points at the top of the table in a three-way tie for first place with Chittagong Vikings, but the Vikings have two games in hand.



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Dhoni, Dhawan should have played domestic cricket before Australia ODIs – Gambhir

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Gautam Gambhir believes that the likes of MS Dhoni and Shikhar Dhawan should have been asked to play first-class cricket before joining the Indian team for the ODI series in Australia, so that they could have hit the ground running. He was also sceptical about Rishabh Pant’s chances of making it to the World Cup squad, and said playing in the IPL before the World Cup could be a blessing in disguise for India’s players. Gambhir was speaking at an event in Bangalore. Excerpts:

On playing domestic cricket before the Australia ODIs:

I was a little disappointed because some of the guys should have played first-class cricket. The selectors should have pushed them to play first-class cricket. Because it’s a World Cup year, you’ve got to be in prime form. Whether it was MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu (Rayudu retired from first-class cricket earlier this season)… all those guys who went to Australia.

Why do you skip it? Because ultimately you will get confidence by scoring runs, not by hitting the nets. You can’t be thinking, ‘I’m going to come back into form just by playing international cricket.’ The only way everyone has done it is by playing domestic cricket and scoring runs. It’s a World Cup year, so I think the selectors should have made everyone play domestic cricket.

Does Rishabh Pant have a place in the ODI squad?

I don’t think so. They’ve got MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik. He can wait for his opportunity. Obviously he has done well in Test cricket. He’s doing all the right things. But if you’ve got Dhoni, who got [the] Man-of-the-Series award, he deserves to be there now. And it’s so close to the World Cup, you need someone like Dhoni. Karthik has been in decent form as well over the last four-five months. The good thing is, Rishabh is keeping them on their toes as well, which is always a good sign for Indian cricket, that youngsters are pushing the seniors.

On players potentially skipping the IPL to rest before the World Cup:

I think playing the IPL is a fabulous opportunity for most of those guys to be in peak form. Because you’re only bowling four overs. It’s not like there is a lot of physical burden on you. Plus you’re going to be bowling in difficult conditions as well, whether in the first six overs or the last four. So that will keep you in good shape. You don’t suddenly miss the IPL and say ‘I’ll go to the World Cup fresh and raring to go.’ That is only from the physical point of view, but from the skill point of view, to be at the top of your game, you’ve got to be playing a tournament like the IPL. And if you do well at the IPL, it’s going to keep you in very good stead in the World Cup. Imagine Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling well in the death overs, how confident they would be going into the World Cup. Or some of the middle-order batters finishing the game for their franchise, they’ll go to the World Cup thinking, ‘We can finish from any situation’. So I think the IPL can be a blessing in disguise. I think MS Dhoni made a very good point when he said that it’s going to be a great opportunity for most of the players to be in prime form from the skill point of view.

On how Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s potential absence could affect the team:

One person does not change anything. The core still remains the same. KL Rahul wasn’t even there in the playing XI because we had Rayudu who did fabulously well against West Indies, so he deserved a chance before Rahul in the one-day format. Yes Hardik Pandya [might have made a difference], but you’ve replaced him with Ravindra Jadeja, who again is an allrounder. We only have, what, ten ODIs left before the World Cup? So we should maintain consistency and give people who are going to play the first game of the World Cup these ten games and see how they deliver.

On the journey from sharing his Player-of-the-Match Award with Virat Kohli when the latter made his first ODI hundred, to Kohli sweeping all the ICC awards:

It’s his hard work. I shared it because it was his first international hundred. I wanted to make him feel special because it was his first international hundred. Irrespective of how many you get, I remember my first international hundred till now, even when I’m retired. That always stays close to your heart, it’s a feeling that can never be replaced, even if you get 100 international hundreds, or how many ever. The first is always special, your debut is always special. Whenever he sees that trophy he should remember that. And whatever he’s achieved is all because of his hard work. I hope he continues this form because it’s going to be an important year for Indian cricket.

On what makes Jasprit Bumrah difficult to pick:

People ask me this about Sunil Narine as well, what made him so difficult to pick – and I just said, ‘quality’. Mystery can be solved over a period of time, but he had the quality. People can keep talking about Bumrah’s action, but he’s just a quality bowler. The action can only help you in one format, probably T20 where you have to go after the bowling. But he’s been so successful in Test cricket. He’s probably the best bowler in the world right now in all three formats.

On which spinners India should look at for the World Cup:

I think both wristspinners have done a fabulous job for Indian cricket over the last one year. But I still feel that R Ashwin is someone we should look at. A quality spinner is a quality spinner, irrespective of whether you’re a wristspinner or a fingerspinner. Look at what Nathan Lyon has done in the Test series. He’s probably the best offspinner in the world and he’s a fingerspinner. So I feel we should not differentiate that there’s a wristspinner so there’s no space for a finger spinner. Someone like Ashwin, we should always consider. Looking at the conditions in England during that time of the year, the wickets could be dry and a fingerspinner could have an important role.



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Hasan Ali’s counterattacking fifty hauls Pakistan to 203

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Pakistan 203 (Hasan 59, Sarfraz 41, Phehlukwayo 4-22, Shamsi 3-56) v South Africa

Only a check of the schedule would tell you it’s an ODI, much less that it’s being played at Kingsmead. The first innings today took Pakistan back to the Test series, where the short ball was an unconquerable demon, and Duanne Olivier and Kagiso Rabada invincible tormentors. A series of dismissals when the ball was pitched short saw Pakistan hampered in their innings early on, before an inspired performance from Tabraiz Shamsi, deputising for Imran Tahir, helped reduce Pakistan to 112 for 8. The left-arm wristspinner, fighting for a World Cup spot, ended up among the better bowlers, taking three wickets, and at one point appeared to have set up his side for a seemingly straightforward chase.

It required the most delightful joie de vivre sort of innings from Hasan Ali – a character who matches that description to the fullest – to keep Pakistan in the contest. They were 59 of the most uncomplicated runs that saw Pakistan recover to 203. Hasan was responsible for 59 of the 90 runs which came in a ninth-wicket partnership with Sarfraz Ahmed, and was last man dismissed after Andile Phehlukwayo returned to remove both Sarfraz and Hasan in the 46th over.

Hasan’s innings remained in spirit the typical knock of a have-a-go hero, but the sweet timing of the strikes against legitimately world-class bowling gave it the air of conventional classiness you might not expect from Hasan. At any rate, it gave Pakistan more than a fighting chance. It was only thanks to career-best figures from Phehlukwayo that it wasn’t even more, his 4 for 22 including those vital last two wickets that finally put paid to Pakistan’s innings.

Faf du Plessis had won the toss again, this time deciding to let Pakistan bat first after much criticism around his side’s failure to pace their innings well. Pace was never a problem for his fast bowlers, though, who accounted for Pakistan’s top four in the first hour with deliveries that grew big on the batsmen. Imam-ul-Haq mistiming a pull shot off a Rabada ball was a harbinger for what was to come, and Babar Azam was dismissed cheaply much the same way. Then came the now-customary Fakhar Zaman dismissal off a short ball, when Olivier got one to rise towards his grille, the batsman fending it off to gully.

The middle overs might have been an opportunity for rebuilding, but Shamsi had other ideas. Brought in to replace Tahir, he had big boots to fill, and he acted like it. The first ball of his spell drew an edge from Malik that first slip would have pouched had one been placed, and off his fourth delivery, he snared fellow spinner Shadab Khan. It wasn’t long before debutant Hussain Talat, curiously promoted ahead of Sarfraz, fell to perhaps the ball of the innings. An exquisite stock ball beat Talat’s outside edge, drawing him out of his crease while Heinrich Klaasen deftly removed the bails.

Sarfraz, who has been shy of batting too high up the order since becoming captain, finally came in at No. 8. While Pakistan fans might have hoped for a valuable partnership with Shoaib Malik to rescue the side, injudicious shot selection from Malik soon left Pakistan eight down. It was after that that Pakistan’s finest moments in the innings were to arrive, thanks to a refreshingly straightforward innings from Hasan. He threw off the shackles, attacked every bowler he faced, seamer or spinner, his 59 coming off just 45 balls. It included five fours and three sixes, taking Pakistan past 200 where once they looked like they might struggle to reach 125.

South Africa still may be expected to chase this; 203 is, after all, well below par. But where once this looked like it might be headed for an early finish, there may now be a contest to be enjoyed after all.



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