The old hands are out, done in by the Lodha reforms. N Srinivasan, Niranjan Shah, Anurag Thakur, Amit Shah, Parimal Nathwani and Chirayu Amin are no longer part of the BCCI/cricket administration, because the new cricket board constitution has made them ‘ineligible’. But as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) demits office on the day of the BCCI general body meeting on October 23, among the new faces will be progenies, siblings and/or family members of familIar names.
Rupa Gurunath, the daughter of former BCCI and International Cricket Council president N Srinivasan, is the new Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president. At the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), the new president is Jaydev Shah, the son of Niranjan Shah, who was its secretary for over four decades. Former BCCI and Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur’s brother Arun now helms the state body, while Union Home Minister and erstwhile Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) president Amit Shah’s son Jay is the state association’s nominee at the BCCI AGM. The GCA also has Rajya Sabha MP and ex-state association vice-president Parimal Nathwani’s son Dhanraj as its new vice-president.
Going by the book, this is perfectly legal, though there is apprehension that this means the old guard, that has been running the Indian cricket administration years, will continue to do so.
CoA chairman Vinod Rai said he had nothing to say on the matter. “Our job is purely clinical. Because our job is to fulfill a certain mandate given to us by the Supreme Court. I have no views on this issue at all. Who wins the election, I’m agnostic about it.”
A rung below the heavyweights, former BCCI vice-president Chirayu Amin’s son Pranav is the new Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) president, while the late Jaywant Lele’s son, Ajit, has become the secretary. At the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA), former BCCI president and current ICC chairman Shashank Manohar’s son Adwait has been holding the office of vice-president for five years. At the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA), Yadhupati Singhania is the new boss after his father Gaur Hari’s almost two-decade-long reign. In Chhattisgarh, ex-Cricket Sangh president Baldeo Singh Bhatia’s son Prabhtej now helms the state body. State associations like Mumbai, Goa, Odisha and Nagaland, too, have embraced family connections.
TNCA Secretary R Ramasaamy said there was no question of any influence in the cricket association. “Because she (Rupa Gurunath) is quite capable of taking her own decisions. She runs a big business. Our president is not going to be influenced by anybody… It’s not that our ex-president (Srinivasan) has nominated her. Our members have unanimously decided that she is going to head the association.”
Jaydev Shah cited his cricket record — he led the Saurashtra Ranji team in 110 matches — to argue that his coming into the administration would only help players. He added, “What’s there in a surname? What can I do if I’m born in this family? In democracy, anyone can contest elections.”
At the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), president Sourav Ganguly’s uncle Debashish is the new treasurer and his elder brother and former Bengal Ranji cricketer Snehasish is an Apex Council member. Avishek Dalmiya is the state association secretary, but to be fair, he came into cricket administration only after the death of his father Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2015.
Former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said the above appointments defeated the spirit of Lodha reforms. “I’m no longer directly involved with the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA). But we don’t have any family connection there. It’s a generation change now, as the Lodha Committee recommended. It’s a fresh team at the MPCA.”