I’ll quit whenever the SC asks me to: COA Chairman Vinod Rai

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• Last updated on Fri, 22 Jun, 2018, 07:09 AM

“I’m not seeking an election. Secondly, the Supreme Court asked me to do a job. I’m doing the job at the total behest of the SC.” © AFP

There’s been a lot of drama surrounding Indian cricket eversince the SCappointed COA started overseeing the daily affairs of the BCCI in January 2017. While the team itself has performed well, issues like Anil Kumble’s sacking, players failing yo-yo tests and India not opposing the scrapping of the Champions Trophy have made headlines. COA chairman Vinod Rai comes clear on all those issues and more in a TOI exclusive.


You’ll have filed eight status reports but SC hasn’t said anything on it …
Yes, that is because the court has given us and the learned Amicus the responsibility of taking into consideration the suggestions of all state associations, factoring it into a model (draft) constitution and presenting it before the court which we did last December.


You’ve turned 70. SC order calls for an age-cap. A BCCI member has been asking if there’s moral ground for you to continue…

It’s a valid question. The age-cap of 70 years applies to whom? It applies to anybody who is seeking an election (in the Board). I’m not seeking an election. Secondly, the Supreme Court asked me to do a job. I’m doing the job at the total behest of the SC. The day SC says ‘please quit’, I’ll be happy to quit at any point of time. If the Supreme Court, on July 5, says ‘OK, we didn’t know that you have crossed 70. Please quit, I’ll happily and obediently walk out.

SC order says CoA’s remit is to implement the Lodha recommendations and look into day-to-day supervision. But members allege CoA has gone about doing everything else except that …

The January 2, 2017 order of the SC says: ‘A Committee of Administrators (CoA) shall supervise the administration of BCCI through its CEO’. There is no scope for misinterpretation of that. Again, the same order says: ‘In addition to the function assigned above, CoA shall ensure the directions contain the judgement of this court dated July 18, 2016 are fulfilled and to adopt all necessary and consequential steps for that purpose’. Then, the same order says ‘Upon the CoA as nominated by the court assuming charge, the existing office-bearers who were allowed to remain by the court shall function subject to the supervision and control of COA’. Supervision means daily administration.


How did CoA go about player remuneration?
After the respective presentations by Deloitte and Anil Kumble on May 21, 2017, COA had referred the matter of player remuneration structure to the Finance Committee. However, the Finance Committee had asked that the proposal presented be re-worked and presented in the manner sought by the Finance Committee. A lot of back and forth happened. The CoA approved the revised structure. Player contracts were handed to the acting secretary for signature on March 22, 2018. However, till date, the acting secretary has not signed the player contracts.


How did the CoA go about appointing the head of ACU?
AN Roy, the former Maharashtra DGP and Mumbai Commissioner, was appointed and he, along with the CoA members, conducted interviews of the candidates on February 26. Ajit Singh was finalized for the post and the same was communicated to the CEO via e-mail dated February 28, 2018. The acting secretary refused to sign the final contract. In view of the same, the CoA authorized the CEO to sign the contract.


The CoA was managing the day-to-day supervision of BCCI when the Kumble-Kohli controversy erupted .There was so much drama and till date nobody has an idea of what really happened…

It was only on the inaugural day of IPL 2016 that CoA first got to know Anil Kumble’s contract was expiring. We didn’t have the foggiest idea because we had just taken over two months back. That is when we looked at his contract to see what it was all about. We were told that he had a one-year contract and he had been selected by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC). I believe the CAC had recommended somebody else who was not available and hence Kumble’s name was put there. We don’t know details.

Kumble had been recommended for two years but he had been given only a one-year contract. That’s what we were told. I saw the contract, which was for one year, and it did not have a clause for extension. CoA said ‘since there is no extension clause, we have to go through a process and that process involves calling for applications, inviting people or requesting people to put in their applications – whichever way you want to do it.

The set of applications were to be looked into by the CAC and the CoA categorically told the CAC that whatever their advice is OK by us. We didn’t go into ‘who has a problem with who and who doesn’t have a problem with who’ because it didn’t concern us. Why the CAC chose to talk to X and why they chose not to talk to Y is also something we did not go into. What the committee recommended is what we went by. Why the CAC chose XYZ and not ABC is something they must have factored in.


But did you ever get to know first-hand that all was not right between the coach and the team?
Does it matter? People who should know first-hand or second hand or third hand were the CAC members. Because they knew the players, they knew the coach, they knew the environment and were best suited to decide the future. If I had to interfere it would mean prejudicing that decision. Why should I?

So you’re saying this entire drama surrounding the appointment of the coach was the prerogative of the CAC…
The very fact that CAC had taken a decision (in 2016) to appoint a certain individual as coach means it was for them (CAC) to decide. I am not saying the CAC did not take the best decision because I feel that the decision has worked out very well for the Indian team.

A fitness test for cricketers after a team has been picked makes little sense. If the highest scorer of a tournament is match fit but fails some other fitness test, what does this indicate?

That’s a valid point. It should not happen. First principle of any selection is you decide the zone of concentration. In that, finish with the pre-qualification and then pick the best. You’re right in saying the cart was put before the horse. The yo-yo tests should’ve been done first and the team could’ve been picked from the bunch that has qualified. I asked the BCCI officials about this and they said they were constrained for time between the IPL and now. I also believe this is a one-off case but the principle that you have just spoken about is the one that will be followed in the future.