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Anurag Thakur sacked as BCCI president: What next?

India Today logo India Today 03-01-2017
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After every hearing in the Supreme Court over the last three years and more the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would get together in a huddle and chart out their next course of action. The unity was paramount. The defiance resolute. And the self belief unbreakable.

But not anymore. The BCCI finally is a divided house. A broken institution, which, it must be said, has brought this upon itself. By allowing individual interest to take precedence over institutional benefit in the long term, it now stands crushed under the legal weight of the Supreme Court of India.

What next for the BCCI? Can it recover? Who will take over? How many of the existing set of officials are disqualified?

There are no clear answers yet. However, it is clear the professionals -- CEO and General Managers -- will run the game in the next few weeks. They are more than capable and will finally have a clear say in the running Indian cricket. For the longest time they have been treated with a degree of disdain by the officials. Unwilling to come on record, several of the key officials have mentioned the opaqueness in decision making. This had only increased in the last few months with the officials facing the judicial heat.

Secondly and more importantly, the old guard will finally give way. There is a sense 'it's all over' among the leaders and that's a first in the history of the BCCI. While most are awaiting a copy of the 25 page final order, resignations have already started to show on the radar. TC Matthew, the president of the Kerala Cricket Association, started the process and others like Ashirbad Behra in Odissa and Niranjan Shah in Saurashtra will soon follow. With no option left, this is the most acceptable route to follow.

Most state associations too will see the implementation of the Lodha reforms in the next few weeks. Sourav Ganguly is all set to do so in Cricket Association Of Bengal and is clearly the frontrunner for the BCCI president's job in the coming months alongside Brijesh Patel the boss of the Karnataka State Cricket Association. With credibility and stature, it is important Sourav steps up and does what he had done to Indian cricket as a player 17 years back -- restore credibility.

Clearly these are troubled times for the BCCI. But such times also offer an opportunity. A real chance to set the house in order and get ready for a much improved future. While the game on the field is in safe hands with Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin leading the way, it is important the professionals in Johri, Shetty and Sridhar take up the mantle off the field. And thereafter watchwords like accountability, transparency and good governance are actually put in place.

Finally, the reforms process cannot stop with cricket. It is a crying need to extend the Lodha reforms to other sports. These are now accepted principles and if a sports federation official appeals to the Supreme Court, there is every chance the apex court will give him or her a patient hearing.

This is also an opportunity for sports minister Vijay Goel to step up and give the clean up a real push. After a rather forgettable 2016 for him personally based on what happened in Rio, this is his chance to leave a real legacy behind. With an able sports secretary in Injeti Srinivas, Goel should now be prepared to go the full distance and complete the clean up.

The process has started. The key question is -- will the momentum be sustained?

Photos: Timeline — IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal

Indian cricketers and bookies, some with faces covered, are marched to a court after being arrested for spot fixing in cricket, in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 16, 2013. Police arrested Indian cricketers Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila over allegations of spot-fixing, involving performing in a pre-determined way at set times for the benefit of gamblers, during a domestic Twenty20 game. Timeline: IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal

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