The two most powerful men in the BCCI - board president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke - have told the Supreme Court of India that the Lodha Committee does not have the "expertise" to administer cricket in the country.
Thakur and Shirke also said removing office bearers at both the BCCI and state-association levels, as proposed by the committee in its latest status report, will "paralyse" cricket administration and create "chaos" in the game.
In separate affidavits, albeit with similar content, filed in the court this week, Thakur and Shirke said the committee was not interested in meeting the pair despite the court asking for the same in its last order, issued on October 21.
Thakur said that the committee's secretary, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, informed BCCI CEO Rahul Johri in an email on November 29 that the committee will offer "further instructions" to the board, following the court's next hearing. The court was scheduled to hear the case on December 5, but had to defer it to December 9 after TS Thakur, the Chief Justice of India, part of the three-judge bench hearing the case, was absent on the 5th.
Thakur said in his affidavit: "The Lodha Committee has not complied with the directions of this Hon'ble Court and its inaction has had a crippling effect on the BCCI and has hurt India cricket and the BCCI tremendously. The present status report also underscores the fact that the Lodha Committee does not want to interact with the BCCI or its office bearers in order to understand the complexities of Indian cricket administration. The said status report in fact acknowledges that the Committee does not have the expertise to administer Indian cricket."
With the committee not providing the required guidance to the BCCI, things had come "to a grinding halt" and had "tremendously hurt" the image of Indian cricket, according to Thakur.
In its third status report, submitted on November 18 in the court, the committee highlighted that the BCCI and the state associations had failed to implement various decisions approved by the court in its July 18 judgement. The committee mentioned that many ineligible office bearers continued as administrators in clear defiance of the court order.
In his affidavit, Thakur objected to the committee's stance. "It is denied that the BCCI has not complied with the directions of this Hon'ble Court. The efforts made by the BCCI office bearers to effectuate compliance have already been set out."
Thakur and Shirke also disagreed with the eligibility criteria listed by the committee in its November status report. The committee had stated that an office bearer would be disqualified if he or she was not a citizen of India, was 70 years or older, was a minister or a government servant, held any office or post in any other sports association, or had been an office bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of nine years.
The BCCI bosses have said that these criteria were not part of the original Lodha report, which was released in January. "Removal of democratically elected office bearers of the BCCI or State Cricket Associations who have been elected in accordance with the statute governing their elections will not result in any benefit to the game of cricket and shall instead paralyse administration immediately creating great chaos in the game," Thakur said.
"It is further submitted that the disqualifications proposed by the Committee in para four (of the status report) are not a part of the memorandum of either the BCCI or the State Cricket Associations in totality. In fact some of the recommendations set out in para four of the status report are not there in the memorandum proposed to be adopted by the Lodha Committee and have only now been added."
According to Thakur, removing the office bearers of the BCCI would also have a direct and adverse impact on India's standing in global cricket, specifically at the ICC where the BCCI has been regarded as a powerbroker over the last 15 years. "The recommendations made by the Committee do not appear to be in the interest of cricket. These shall have the impact of severely weakening the cricket administration all over the country and shall make the BCCI a weak organisation that is not able to represent itself in international forums," Thakur's affidavit said.