Mumbai, January 7
The selection of the Indian cricket team is always a talking point, but the discussions to pick the squads for the One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) series against England were overshadowed by a controversy that raged through the day. The selection meeting was delayed as Indian cricket ‘administrators’ wrestled for control at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters on Friday (January 6). The drama had already begun on Wednesday when Rahul Johri, BCCI chief executive officer wrote to Gopal Sankaranarayanan, the secretary of the Lodha committee, seeking clarification on whether the selection committee could go ahead and select the ODI, T20I and ‘A’ teams for the warm-up matches and the eventual series against England.
BCCI ex-administrators, who were asked to cease and desist office by a January 2 Supreme Court order, asked Johri to refrain from convening the selection committee meeting.
On Thursday, Johri received an email from Amitabh Choudhary, the BCCI joint secretary – who according to the Lodha committee reforms, does not qualify to continue in that position any more – stating that the selection committee meeting should be postponed from afternoon until evening so that he could convene and attend it. Johri once again sought clarification from the Lodha Committee on the matter, asking if Choudhary could convene the meeting, and was categorically told by Sankaranarayanan that by virtue of the SC order dated January 2 and 3, Choudhary stood disqualified and therefore the CEO should go ahead and convene the meeting.
The exchange of emails and the eventual clarification led to the national selectors, who were scheduled to meet at 12.30 pm on Friday, eventually beginning the process at 3.30 pm. During this time, the BCCI CEO said he received a flurry of calls from ‘sacked administrators’ questioning his logic in writing to the Lodha Committee and convening the selection meeting. Johri sought legal advice over the SC order on January 2, vis–vis a revised order on January 3, which says: A person who has completed 9 years as an office bearer of a state association would be disqualified from being an office bearer
of the BCCI. Powerless BCCI officials have been arguing that the order is not clearly interpreting the Lodha Committee reforms because the original order that had come out on July 18, 2016, says: A person who has completed 9 years as an office bearer of a state association and 9 years as an office bearer of the BCCI would be disqualified.
The difference in opinion over the cumulative years for which a person can be in office of a state association and the BCCI prevailed, despite Sankaranarayanan clarifying the same once again on Friday afternoon. Sankaranarayanan had clarified earlier in the day that any person who has completed 9 years as an office bearer of a state association would be disqualified. Justice RM Lodha once again clarified the same to the Times of India (TOI) on Friday evening.
Once the Lodha Committee gave the go-ahead for the meeting to take place, the selectors began the process of picking the four squads at around 3.30 pm.
Mumbai, January 7