Justice Lodha calls BCCI's bluff on pulling India out of next year's Champions Trophy
Amidst an ongoing tussle which is threatening to have a serious impact on Indian cricket, Justice (retired) Lodha has clarified on BCCI’s threat of pulling the national team out of next year’s Champions Trophy in England & Wales. With one of the panel’s recommendations directing a 15-day window prior to and after the Indian Premier League, board President Anurag Thakur had claimed that they would have to choose between the two tournaments if such a situation arises.
However, Lodha cleared the confusion by pointing to the scheduling which was done before their report was presented to the Supreme Court and called the BCCI’s bluff by warding off any fears about India’s participation in the tournament.
Speaking to India Today, he revealed, “There is some confusion in the reading as far as the cricket calendar, which is settled for 2017 and also relates to Champions Trophy, is concerned. The idea is not to stall the cricket matches which are international in nature. The idea is to provide longevity to talented national players, so that they can play for a long season.”
“You may have noticed that so many players are unfit or injured to play international matches after IPL. Champions Trophy remains unaffected because the schedule was prepared before we submitted our report and also before is was accepted by the Supreme Court.”
The issue arose when Thakur questioned the feasibility of the recommendation after convening a special general body meeting at BCCI’s headquarters in Mumbai. While the Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held from June 1 to June 18, the 2017 edition of the IPL is likely to finish in the latter part of May which makes the 15-day break impossible to fit in.
The 41-year old had insisted, “I don’t know whether India will be able to play Champions Trophy or not. If you go by the Lodha Committee report, you have to play either the IPL or the Champions Trophy. So, BCCI has to take a call on that. You have certain months to play in India. There is a window made available for IPL. So you have to take a call whether the world’s fastest growing league, which has showcased to the world how you can make domestic cricket more popular, and give birth to many other leagues like football, hockey, badminton, kabaddi and all that.”
Holding the third Test between India and New Zealand under siege, BCCI authorities also alleged that the panel had frozen their bank accounts. However, Lodha rebuked their claim as a misinterpretation of the email and funding to state associations were not stopped for day-to-day activities which would obliterate any doubts about hosting the Indore match.
The panel’s recommendation regarding the workload of the players has merit as even former coach Gary Kirsten had expressed unhappiness with the fitness of numerous team members in the aftermath of a hectic IPL season during his assessment of India’s early exit from the 2010 World T20. Already facing severe backlash for their reluctance to adopt Lodha’s reforms, the BCCI‘s handling of this entire situation has come under immense scrutiny.