Sound of absence in return for insult

Stung by language of official invitation, majority of state bodies show unity by staying away from annual function.

Published: 09th March 2017 02:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2017 02:40 AM   |  A+A-

Virat Kohli, recipient of the Polly Umrigar Trophy, at the BCCI annual awards function in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The citation for the best association at Wednesday’s BCCI annual awards function was reserved for Mumbai. But there was nobody at the programme in Bengaluru to receive the award based on the performances of an association’s teams in BCCI tournaments.

As reported earlier, offended by the language of the invitation letter sent by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, most of the 28 state associations stayed away from the function also featuring the Pataudi Memorial Lecture delivered this time by Farokh Engineer.

Almost all these associations are still to furnish letters saying that they comply with Supreme Court orders on Lodha recommendations. Notable was the presence of Vidarbha and Tripura, the two associations to have implemented the guidelines.

Sharmila Tagore after the MAK Pataudi
Memorial lecture | BCCI

“Mumbai is gettng the best association award. It’s for us to decide who we send to receive the award or attend the function. By mentioning in the invite that only those deemed eligible as office-bearers by the SC order will be allowed, people who wrote it insulted us. That’s why several associations are not attending the function,” a Mumbai Cricket Association official told Express.

The awards function is the BCCI’s exclusive event, for only about a 100 guests. The list includes former BCCI office-bearers, state unit officials and former cricketers. If the awards coincide with a Test match, like in Bengaluru, the teams are also invited. This was the first time in over a decade of the awards that a host of former office-bearers and almost all state unit officials boycotted the event.

Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke — dismissed as BCCI president and secretary by the court — were also invited as former office-bearers, with others. None of them showed up. Nor did joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhary or treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, seemingly because of their lukewarm relationship with the court-appointed admninistrators (COA) running the board.

“A day before the IPL auction, there was a meeting of the IPL governing council. CK Khanna was invited as senior vice-president, his tickets and hotel booking were done by Johri’s office. On reaching, Khanna was told he wasn’t invited. A lot of former BCCI officials didn’t attend the awards function because they did not want to face similar embarrassment,” said a former official.

Divided on issues pertaining to leadership over the last few years, BCCI members have been united in opposing Supreme Court orders on initiating reform.

Johri’s invitation letter seems to have brought them under one roof again, as the decision to boycott the awards function was taken after discussion. If not anything else, this indicates the process of the COA obtaining compliance letters from them will see more complications.


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