India-England Rajkot Test set to go ahead despite SC's order to curtail BCCI funds
With the stand-off between BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee not appearing to abate any time soon, there were a few question marks surrounding the highly-anticipated Test series between India and England. However, Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has assured that the opening match at Rajkot will go on as scheduled despite the court order to curtail BCCI’s funds to its constituent state associations.
SCA Honorary Secretary Niranjan Shah insisted, “The apex’s court direction to BCCI to restrict funds to its affiliated state associations will have no negative impact on the first India-England Test match. The Test match or any international event cannot be canceled or postponed for want of funds.”
Earlier this month, the ongoing series between India and New Zealand had been placed under scrutiny ahead of the third Test at Indore. Amidst concerns regarding the Lodha panel’s decision to freeze BCCI’s bank accounts, the match as well as the subsequent tour proceeded as planned following assurances that payments to conduct the games, as well as those for day to day affairs were never halted in the first place.
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On Friday, Supreme Court had ceased BCCI’s funds to its state associations until board President Anurag Thakur and other senior officials undertook assurances to implement Lodha panel’s reforms completely. But, Shah played down financial concerns and went on to claim that SCA was ready to host the first Test even if funds from the sport’s national body would not be distributed to his association.
He reiterated, “Generally, BCCI’s affiliated associations do not depend on funds released from the board. They (associations) bear the expense and the reimbursement process is a day-to-day procedure. SCA would be able to bear the match expenses even if we do not receive the funds.”
The opening match of the 5-Test series will be played at Rajkot from November 9. Incidentally, this would be the first ever Test hosted by the city and should feature a couple of home-town players such as Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara. Currently ranked number one in the format, India will be hoping to continue their impressive form in the England series as well.
Meanwhile, the bids for IPL broadcast rights is likely to be delayed after the Lodha Committee sent an email asking BCCI to issue a letter guaranteeing their intentions to ‘unreservedly comply‘ with the Supreme Court order.