05 November 2018 last updated at 12:35 GMT
 
BCCI commentators may have to give up writing columns
Monday 13 November 2017

A few months ago, Sunil Gavaskar was forced to shut down his player management agency after the BCCI ruled that it conflicted with his role as a commentator contracted by the Board. Well, if the BCCI adopts the Lodha Committee's recommendations on conflict of interest issues, the batting legend could be in for a bigger blow as he may be asked to choose between commentating for the BCCI, or writing sponsored columns and participate in sponsored awards/rating programs.
According to the minutes of a meeting of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which happened on October 24, the CoA has decided that "the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/ rating programmes."
Apart from Gavaskar, the BCCI's other contracted commentators are former India cricketers Sanjay Manjrekar and Murali Kartik, and cricket expert Harsha Bhogle. Like Gavaskar, Manjrekar and Bhogle too write sponsored columns for newspapers, and eventually be asked to choose between that and commentary. Gavaskar is a cricket expert on a news channel, and is involved with a private firm which rates and awards cricketers.
"As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can't have another source of income. We've become very strict with conflict of interest issues - recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women's team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association. The CoA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed Ombudsman, as and when he's appointed by the apex court," a top BCCI official told TOI on Sunday.
Interestingly, this ruling, as and when it becomes applicable, won't apply to the Hindi commentators, since they are contracted with Star Sports, and not the BCCI. It means that batting greats VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag can continue to write sponsored columns (Laxman) and air their views on private news channels (Sehwag). Before the India-Australia series in March this year, the Board had sent out conflict of interest guidelines to its commentators, but it's learnt that they were "old," and not as per the Lodha report. For now, though, the BCCI commentators have a reason to rejoice as their "dearness allowance" has been increased from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 a day. The Board has also decided to send the conflict of interest disclosure forms, which had earlier been sent to its staff, to the national selectors too. Another person who could be under the scanner for conflict of interest is the BCCI's acting president CK Khanna, who owns the Chand Khanna cricket club, affiliated to the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), in Delhi.
It should be noted here that former Hyderabad opener MV Sridhar, who expired recently, had to quit as GM cricket operations after he failed to disclose income from the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) due to his cricket clubs in Hyderabad.
The CoA has approved the release of Rs 25 lakhs each to the cricket associations of Mumbai, Bengal and Punjab for winning the "best pitch and ground award" for the 2017 IPL.
Atits meeting on November 2, the CoA has decided that from now on, both the senior India men's and women's teams, along with their respective head coaches, will only be booked in "business class" while traveling by air. The decision was taken after the Board's acting president, CK Khanna, wrote a mail to the CoA asking for the same for Virat Kohli & Co. Recently, the Indian team had complained to the Board about being mobbed by fans while travelling in 'economy class,' during flights, and thus wanted its status upgraded.
To provide further boost to the Indian women's cricket team, the Board has decided to hire a physiotherapist and trainer on a contractual basis, like it's done in the case of the men's team, at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The side will be accompanied on all tours by a permanent manager, who will be recruited in the same way (bringing out an ad mentioning, among other qualities, minimum number of years of cricketing experience) that was used to hire Sunil Subramaniam for the men's side.
After hearing the claims of all the three parties who claimed to represent cricket in Pondicherry, the CoA has decided to grant associate membership to the Cricket Association of Pondicherry.

A few months ago, Sunil Gavaskar was forced to shut down his player management agency after the BCCI ruled that it conflicted with his role as a commentator contracted by the Board. Well, if the BCCI adopts the Lodha Committee's recommendations on conflict of interest issues, the batting legend could be in for a bigger blow as he may be asked to choose between commentating for the BCCI, or writing sponsored columns and participate in sponsored awards/rating programs.

According to the minutes of a meeting of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which happened on October 24, the CoA has decided that "the contracts between the BCCI and its commentators should be examined to see if they permitted BCCI commentators to 1) write sponsored columns for newspapers, and or 2) participate in sponsored awards/ rating programmes."

Apart from Gavaskar, the BCCI's other contracted commentators are former India cricketers Sanjay Manjrekar and Murali Kartik, and cricket expert Harsha Bhogle. Like Gavaskar, Manjrekar and Bhogle too write sponsored columns for newspapers, and eventually be asked to choose between that and commentary. Gavaskar is a cricket expert on a news channel, and is involved with a private firm which rates and awards cricketers.

"As per the Lodha Committee guidelines on conflict of interest, those employed with the BCCI can't have another source of income. We've become very strict with conflict of interest issues - recently, a physiotherapist with the Indian women's team had to quit her job because her brother is an official with a state association. The CoA will have a look at their contracts, but the final call on this issue will be taken by a Supreme Court-appointed Ombudsman, as and when he's appointed by the apex court," a top BCCI official told TOI on Sunday.

Interestingly, this ruling, as and when it becomes applicable, won't apply to the Hindi commentators, since they are contracted with Star Sports, and not the BCCI. It means that batting greats VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag can continue to write sponsored columns (Laxman) and air their views on private news channels (Sehwag). Before the India-Australia series in March this year, the Board had sent out conflict of interest guidelines to its commentators, but it's learnt that they were "old," and not as per the Lodha report. For now, though, the BCCI commentators have a reason to rejoice as their "dearness allowance" has been increased from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 a day. The Board has also decided to send the conflict of interest disclosure forms, which had earlier been sent to its staff, to the national selectors too. Another person who could be under the scanner for conflict of interest is the BCCI's acting president CK Khanna, who owns the Chand Khanna cricket club, affiliated to the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA), in Delhi.

It should be noted here that former Hyderabad opener MV Sridhar, who expired recently, had to quit as GM cricket operations after he failed to disclose income from the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) due to his cricket clubs in Hyderabad. The CoA has approved the release of Rs 25 lakhs each to the cricket associations of Mumbai, Bengal and Punjab for winning the "best pitch and ground award" for the 2017 IPL.

Atits meeting on November 2, the CoA has decided that from now on, both the senior India men's and women's teams, along with their respective head coaches, will only be booked in "business class" while traveling by air. The decision was taken after the Board's acting president, CK Khanna, wrote a mail to the CoA asking for the same for Virat Kohli & Co. Recently, the Indian team had complained to the Board about being mobbed by fans while travelling in 'economy class,' during flights, and thus wanted its status upgraded.

To provide further boost to the Indian women's cricket team, the Board has decided to hire a physiotherapist and trainer on a contractual basis, like it's done in the case of the men's team, at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The side will be accompanied on all tours by a permanent manager, who will be recruited in the same way (bringing out an ad mentioning, among other qualities, minimum number of years of cricketing experience) that was used to hire Sunil Subramaniam for the men's side.

After hearing the claims of all the three parties who claimed to represent cricket in Pondicherry, the CoA has decided to grant associate membership to the Cricket Association of Pondicherry.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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