Former captains Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev today said a few of the recommendations made by the Lodha Panel were too harsh, such as one vote for one state and the cooling off period of three years for administrators.
Gavaskar and Kapil’s comments echo that of another former skipper Ravi Shastri, who had advocated a dialogue between the Lodha committee and the BCCI to sort out a few contentious issues.
The two stalwarts felt BCCI has a different structure to control and work with and hence all the recommendations made by the panel may not be beneficial.
“I have the greatest of respect for three gentlemen who formed the panel and gave their recommendations…I feel the thing about one state one vote is a little bit hard on associations that are founding members of the Board. If you go to England, you will find that not every County plays the English County Championships. Not every state plays in Australia’s first-class championship (Sheffield Shield). Therefore, to have every state play Ranji Trophy is going to dilute the level of cricket and not help us at the international level,” Gavaskar reasoned.
“What is being done at the moment where teams play junior level is if you do well you get promoted. Like Chhattisgarh did well at junior level, therefore they have been promoted and that is the way to go. You just can’t have states giving direct entry into Ranji Trophy,” he added further when fellow commentator Sanjay Manjrekar sought his viewpoint on the Lodha panel recommendations during the ongoing first cricket Test between India and New Zealand here.
Kapil, on his part, feels it was a “teething a problem” and said while he found many recommendations reasonable, a few were still harsh.
“Some things that I come to know, delight me. There is an age (limit) for everybody. There is one year left for me to be a selector, fine because it says 60 years. But I could not understand that Maharashtra can have only one vote. How can a place like Mumbai which has done so much for cricket can vote only after three years?
“The mindset need to open up. You can’t say this is my thing; this is ours. We have to take the game much ahead of the time and then it will be better. If you are stiff with ideas, it won’t help anybody. They should sit down and discuss what is best for cricket,” India’s first World Cup wining captain said.
“Some of the recommendations, I feel is too much. Lets’ not take anything away from the BCCI. They have looked after this game for 60-80 years. I think one has to be more calm and easy and see what is best for the game. I don’t believe in hire and fire,” Kapil said.
While talking about the tenure and cooling off period, Gavaskar said like cricket, a blend of youth and experience is required in an administrative set up.
“We have seen, that over a period of time in Indian cricket there have been 3-4 senior players and 1-2 junior players inducted into the team. I think the recommendations from what I read in the papers, where you must also have situations where you want people who have been there for a long time. Kapil Dev has retired. I have retired from the game. That is something the administrators need to look at. If I am not having a designation and I am still going, it is not the way to do it,” Gavaskar argued.
The legendary opener also said that the tenure restrictions do not serve any purpose since it may deprive the deserving administrators progress.
“What is the pinnacle in an administrator’s career? It is becoming the President. You don’t just become the President in three years. You are the President because you serve some terms as Vice-President. Once you come to that level, you become President. Once you have done that, you don’t come back as the representative of your association as how are the new ideas going to come? How are contemporary ideas going to come? Once you do that, we should say thank you very much. Let us now have somebody else representing my association. That is the kind of thing that will help.
“Also if you look at the current Board and their recent history, there is constant change at the top level, President and Secretary have changed and their fixed term. I think state associations should be given time and they can also see how the system works at the BCCI.”
Kapil commented that the selectors should have a “minimum of a five-year term”, considering that India is a vast country.
“Three years is too quick. Things are happening and before you know whether you should do it or not, the time is over. Running such a big organisation is not a small thing. May be 30 years back it was different. Back then we didn’t have coaches and management. Now you have professional people to help. Today, the Board has changed.
“From Doordasrhan, today the Board has its own production. We should feel proud about that. What does the constitution say of the Board? It says improve the game in India. We need to take that effort. We should not forget the people who have run this game for so many years. We should respect them, but at the same time, change is required and there is no harm,” he said.