The change in domestic tournament eligibility rules, given effect mid-season to bring the wards of government servants under the “local player” rule has been dubbed as “ unauthorised, unconstitutional and unprecedented in cricket history by the BCCI‘s acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary. It has no sanction from the Technical Committee, Tournament Committee, Apex Council or the General Body, he said.
As none of the BCCI office bearers were kept in the loop by the BCCI’s professional managers about the change in eligibility rules, Choudhary has asked the BCCI’s GM, Operations (Domestic cricket) Saba Karim: ‘Who is the author of the unauthorized, unprecedented, mid-season change of rule?’
In mid-October, Karim informed the BCCI members that “the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has relaxed the eligibility rules for wards of government employees, to enable them to be considered as a local player.” Choudhary wanted to know if it was CoA head Vinod Rai authored the rule change mid season. Diana Edulji is the other CoA member.
Choudhary, in a note to Karim, said: “It has absolutely no merit in singling out government servants for any benefits because service conditions with regard to transfers remain the same for all categories of employees anywhere. Besides, all citizens are free to choose their employer/place of employment. It is absurd even to suggest that Ranji Trophy players are not professional players, and therefore, cannot obviously be considered dependent wards.’’
Alleging that the change was meant to benefit only two players, Choudhary further stated: “The litmus test proving the spurious nature of the rule is best borne out by the tiny number of beneficiaries. As a convention/principle, any rule or change of rule, particularly one carried out with such urgency, must be accompanied by general good and not designed to benefit a miniscule two in a massive set of over 1100 players (supposing 37 Ranji teams with a short list of 30 each). Admittedly, there are only two beneficiaries.’’
Touching upon the outcome of the alleged sexual harassment case against a senior officer of the BCCI, Choudhary wrote: “The recent composition of the so called independent committee by just one individual with disagreement demonstrated even about its formation, the manner of its deliberations, the refusal of half of CoA (referring to Diana Edulji) to accept its recommendations establish beyond reasonable doubt that unfettered and wanton exercise of power without responsibility or accountability has not only taken hold at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, but has now become its hallmark.”