Who says Indian cricket players are no politicians?
New Delhi: The Committee of Administrators (COA) is supposed to facilitate implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee under the Supreme Courts oversight.
In fact, the Lodha Committee seems to have made sure that there is a permanent oversight agency to supervise the working of the board, thus preventing the elected board officials from functioning independently.
First the board officials ran to the Supreme Court for clarifications of the Lodha Committee recommendations, and once Supreme Courts accepted them with some key changes the high-profile COA came on the scene.
The COA, for all practical purposes, is the board today. It sets the agenda for the board secretary since the acting president is there just because he was at the right position at the right moment and nobody seems to take him seriously.
Even before board's Special General Meeting on Sunday the COA has asked the officials to go back and negotiate with the International Cricket Council (ICC) how it can increase India's share of the two-billion-plus-dollar revnue.
In other words the COA has strengthened the ICC's hands and the apex body of world cricket can now harden its stand knowing that the Indian board is toothless and under pressure to fall in line.
Everybody uses its bargaining power and strikes at the right moment. The Indian board is clear in its mind that it can use the Champions Trophy as a handle to armtwist the ICC. Call it trade unionism or its power to dictate, the Indian board could stretch itself for a good deal.
COA member Vikram Limaye, who knows a thing or two about corporate finances, while attedning the February ICC meeting, asked for more time to study the Shashank's method of revenue distribution. What does Limaye think of it now after studying the new agreement? He has gone silent.
It's baffling, despite COA having two men who know everything about accounting, they have nothing to say about India's stand. COA chief Vinod Rai talks of Vegetable market psychology of bargaining! He should have studied the report and advised the board instead of giving it homilies.
It is nobody's argument that India should pull out of the Champions Trophy as it will not serve the purpose of either India's or world cricket. At the same time India cannot be losing out to the tune of over 40 percent of what it should have got under the 2014 accord, even if it is called the Big Three agreement.
If ICC chief Shashank Manohar thinks that what India contributes should help other boards more than it is arguable, he should also know the size of India and its cricket now that the Lodha Committee has takn the game to areas in north-east, which have no infrastructure worth the name.
Yes, most state state associations have a shady record of spending money and maintaining accouts, yet many of them have rasied first rate stadiums, taking international cricket to far-flung areas. The board conducts various age-group tournaments, even if the selection process for the tournaments is not fair or transparent.
At Sunday's meeting the board will have to decide whether it can at least show some spunk in telling the ICC that it reserves the right to pull out of the Champions Trophy by revoking the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) it has signed with the world body.
The board is meeting with its hands tied at the back and the mouth taped after COA has instructed it to select the squad for the Champions Trophy (June 1-18) in England and Wales immediately. Four years ago India had won the trophy there.
The COA members use all platforms to air their views like book launch or social media, emailing and tweeting, instead of meeting the board members and impressing upon the board members the players' interests are paramount and they must be given the best chance to prepare and retain the Champions Trophy.
The COA chef has asked senior players to speak up on cricketing issues in national interest. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid publicly stated that they are in favour of India playing in the Champions Trophy whereas one of their teammates has established a direct channel of communication with the Lodha Committee first and now with COA.
The board members are obviously sore with both COA as well as those who are advising git at their back. Strangely, some people who milked the board before the advent the Lodha Committee are today are by the side of the new dispensation!
Who says cricket players are no politicians, they know which side the bread is buttered!