The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a new look to it. It has a new President, a newish set of office bearers and a new website — http://www.bcci.tv!
BCCI’s website was launched quietly during the week. Incidentally, BCCI, the worlds’ richest cricket board, is the last of the ICC member country cricket boards to get its own website! It is actually quite an informative website, if one has an interest in State cricket associations and the like. Yesterday, the site had quite a few glitches. These seem to have been sorted out. For example, West Zone was declared as the zone “Abutting the Arabic Sea”. Arabic? Today, it reads, “West Zone: Abutting the Arabian Sea”. What has a butt got to do with it? I have problems with arcane english usage, I guess! It presents the Memorandum of Association of the BCCI, if one is interested in such matters. The landing page has video clips from “The Greatest Series”. No prizes for guessing that this features Australia in India in 2001! Good for a read and about time too.
Shashank Manohar, a self-proclaimed “benevolent dictator” is the new BCCI President. He steps in as Sharad Pawar steps up to take on the ICC Presidency when David Morgan vacates that chair soon.
Kris Srikkanth has assumed control of the new “paid” selection committee as its chairman. He is joined by Yashpal Sharma (North), Raja Venkat (East), Surendra Bhave (West), Narendra Hirwani (Central), with N. Srinivasan as Secretary/Convenor.
Fortunately, we will stop receiving sound bytes (bites) from Niranjan Shah. Now in case you missed his last pearl, I reproduce it below! Just 2 days prior to handing over the reigns to Srinivasan, Niranjan Shan dropped this beauty on us unsuspecting souls when urging Team India seniors to announce their retirement plans to BCCI! Shah said:
“The senior players, who can be phased out in two or three years, should make their own (retirement) plans and inform the BCCI or selection committee. Like Rahul (Dravid) had done when quitting India captaincy. Like Anil (Kumble) did when retiring from ODIs.”
That statement was somewhat harmless, given that it came from Niranjan Shah! However, he did not disappoint us with his usual foray into clanger-territory! He proceeded to say that it was not practical in India for the selectors to ask a player about his retirement plans. That’s right! It was not practical! The exact quote:
“It’s not possible in India for the selectors to ask players about their retirement plans which may lead to arguments.”
Phew! Now that is the reason then! Clearly we need selectors that love arguments then!
For those that thought that we had seen the last of Niranjan Shah, there is, however, some bad news. He is going to stick around. Niranjan Shah has been named Vice-Chairman of the now-influential IPL Governing Council! While Lalit Modi has been retained as Chair of the IPL Governing Council, there are suggestions that Niranjan Shah is there to hover around as a shadow in case the young turk gets too far ahead of himself! All of these speculations are fuelled by Modi’s recent generosity towards the visiting Australians. Modi, a good friend of Guru Greg Chappell, invited the Australians to use the extensive and impressive training facilities at the Rajasthan Cricket Association a full week before the official start of the Australia tour of India. This has set the proverbial cat amonst a colony of some confused pigeons who don’t quite know what to do! The easiest thing to do was, presumably, to aim and fire at the host who extended the generous hospitality.
Another pointer to a suggestion that Lalit Modi has been slapped on the wrist is that Sharad Pawar has assumed chairmanship of the influential Marketing Committee, a post that Modi had held with some panache.
Will any of this make a dent in India’s chances against the visiting Australians? Will any of this make a difference to cricket in India? We don’t know, but if past committees are anything to go by, I will not be holding my breath in a tearing hurry!