The COA is going beyond its brief by meddling with cricketing matters

S Kannan
S KannanMar 18, 2018 | 10:38

The COA is going beyond its brief by meddling with cricketing matters

The SC-appointed committee’s job was to implement the Lodha Panel reforms.

Talk of flexing muscle. The Committee of Administrators (COA), appointed last January by the Supreme Court for Indian cricket, is going beyond its prescribed limit. On March 18, India and Bangladesh play the Nidahas T20 tri-series cricket final in Colombo. The man who has come to be identified as the face of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Amitabh Choudhary, has been stopped by the COA from flying to Sri Lanka.


Developments over the last few days clearly suggest the COA has on its own assumed huge powers. This, certainly, was not the brief for Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee, the only two survivors who are calling the shots in the COA. Last January, when the Supreme Court put in place the COA, one thought they would make sincere efforts at ensuring that the Justice RM Lodha panel suggestions would be fully implemented.

Women’s team skipper Mithali Raj getting an inferior contract compared to some of the domestic male players has been cricticised. Photo: PTI
Women’s team skipper Mithali Raj getting an inferior contract compared to some of the domestic male players has been cricticised. Photo: PTI

The prime purpose for which the COA was constituted was to ensure the BCCI and state cricket associations ensure compliance and form bodies according to the prescribed guidelines. Instead, what the COA has done is get itself involved needlessly in cricketing matters. To borrow a cricketing phrase, they have repeatedly overstepped the crease in several instances.

One is not sure why the COA wanted to get directly into running day-to-day cricketing matters. Going by the emails leaked to all and sundry and the latest response from acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, it’s clear the caretaker office bearers of the BCCI have tried to do their bit. Choudhary has written in his email that if 13 state units of the BCCI have fallen in line on most clauses, it is thanks to his efforts and not the COA. Status reports have been filed in the Supreme Court and Indian cricket has continued to do well.


Yet, what has come as surprising on several occasions is how the COA has tried to control matters pertaining to administration. Last year’s incident is still fresh in mind, when the COA got into the coach hiring issue. Rather than letting the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) do its job, the COA tried to poke fingers, which did no good.

To be sure, with skipper Virat Kohli having his own preference and Anil Kumble making way for Ravi Shastri as coach, there was nothing much for the others to do. What has been more glaring in recent days is how the COA got involved in handing out central contracts to the cricketers. It’s well known that with an acting body in place in the BCCI, they were in a better position to deal with these issues. After all, pure cricketing matters come under their domain.

Trouble arose when the two-member COA, along with its two paid employees, a CEO and the CFO, started taking more interest. Word has it that even in the case of the Indian women cricketers, skipper Mithali Raj getting an inferior contract compared to some of the domestic cricketers among the men was a poor decision. One is not sure whether the selectors, coaches and other people concerned were involved in this.


Agreed, the women cricketers do not play as much as the men but they have grabbed eyeballs with their recent performances, not to forget their appearance in the World Cup final. Had these matters been left to the BCCI, there could have been a better scenario. Back to Amitabh Choudhary, he was very much liked by the COA till the fourth status report was filed. After all, he was seen as the man who was doing a good job. All of a sudden, he went out of favour and the COA decided it could on its own deal with cricketing matters.

Looking back over the last 14 months, since the time the COA was put in place, it can be said with certainty that they have not delivered. Their main job was to implement reforms. That seems to have taken a back seat as the COA is now like a super administrator which has suspended the BCCI. To tell the three office bearers they have no powers is bizarre.

In coming days, Messrs Amitabh Choudhary and company can possibly seek legal recourse. Whatever decisions they were taking pertaining to cricket was subject to approvals from the COA. To render them toothless needs explanation. When Indian cricket administration was in the dumps and dirt needed to be shoveled out, the COA had its chance. Looking back, the COA has largely failed in bringing the much needed reforms.

The good thing is, Indian cricket has continued to do well in virtually all formats. And for that, Team India skipper Virat Kohli and the boys deserve credit, not the COA. In a few weeks’ time, the high profile IPL (Indian Premier League) will be starting. Sounds strange that there will be no BCCI officials to deal with cricketing matters and even IPL Commissioner Rajeev Shukla may soon be out.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: March 18, 2018 | 10:38
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