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Sight Screen

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pawar-speak

Mercifully, it seems a quiet day on the Indian cricket front -- mercifully, because it gives me time to get some work done :-)
The one story that caught my eye though is this interview, Anand Vasu with BCCI boss Sharad Pawar.
After the last AGM, I had said there was tremendous scope to improve the overall rules and term of the board. Having an election every year does not give stability to any organisaiton. It takes you two-three months to prepare for an election. If you are elected, two weeks or so to get organized and so you get hardly seven-eight months to work. There is no election procedure either. In any other election, there is a procedure, a voters list is announced, there is time given for raising objections after the list is finalized, time given to file nominations, so all the voters also know who the candidates are.

This touches one one of my pet peeves -- what on earth is the point of these annual elections anyways? The selection committee for instance depends on elections for their lifespan -- and if your life expectancy is 11 months, do you plan for your grandchildren's future?
I'd think if Pawar tried to reframe the constitution to ensure two or three year terms for the president, he'll have a tough time pushing it through -- annual elections mean more people get a chance to stick their fingers in the BCCI pie; depriving them of that chance will likely face stiff resistance.
But pick CEO-level paid professionals to handle cricket development (under which head will come grounds, selection committees and all else), cricket finance etc, reduce the role of the elected president to a guiding brief, and you have a stab at solving that problem.
There are certain things which we have to plan for as early as possible. Like the planning for the 2006 Champions trophy has to begin as is only ten months way. All the countries will be coming here. That entire preparation is the most important for our Board. Prior to that, my real worry is the functioning of the board. I have no personal complaints against any functionary but with the system which has been adopted in a number of years. The constitution says Mumbai is the headquarters. If you go to the BCCI office in Bombay, it is empty, nothing is there. When we ask for a particular circular or paper, we are told it is with the secretary who lives in another state and another place. So you have to contact him. Then the treasurer lives in another state. Whenever a new board takes over, the new finance committee chairman or treasurer transfers the entire finances of the board from one bank to another. This money is in fixed deposits where, if you interrupt deposits before maturity, you lose a lot of money. This is public money, it is not ours, we are just the trustees. I want to discuss this issue with my colleagues and convince them to behave as per constitution. Therefore set up a full-fledged headquarters in Bombay which is where the constitution says the head office must be based. Appoint a professional official to take care of day to day affairs and let the secretary and other office bearers visit from time to time. We have to introduce some discipline and some system for the day-to-day running of the board. I have to give first priority to that.

The points I found interesting have been emphasized in bold. Actually, this whole thing reminds me of an exercise we did on Rediff, way back when the CBI report on match-fixing was first released. The focus at the time, you remember, was pretty much on the players named; we thought, though, that the CBI's strictures against the Board's functioning (and the Board's responses) were interesting enough to examine in some depth. The result was this series, which helps underline just why the BCCI administration could do with a thorough, total cleanup.
Will leave you with this reading matter for now, and get back to work. Back with you guys later in my day.

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