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Having resigned from BCCI in May last year following following criticism of its handling of corruption issues in IPL, Maharashtra Cricket Association president Ajay Shirke tells Joe Williams Sunil Gavaskar brings great experience and has clean image which augurs well for BCCI.
What do you think about this ‘gentleman’s game’ being pulled to the judiciary?
I’m deeply saddened by the fact that the Supreme Court had to make such strong observations on the conduct of the board. I have always maintained that if the betting and match fixing controversy was handled in a better way, things would not have come to this state. What we have here, is two enquiries that were conducted on the same issue. One by a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed enquiry committee, and the other by the Justice Mudgal Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court. Both of them had a very similar mandate of enquiry, but they came out with quite different findings, and that according to me is very damaging to the board, even more than any individuals or their actions. The interests of the institution should always be completely above any individual’s or even all the individuals together who run the institution and I think that did not happen.
Your reaction to Sunil Gavaskar appointed as the BCCI president?
Sunil Gavaskar has been involved in performing various roles for the BCCI right from being the chairman of the NCA to being on the governing council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in its formative years. So he brings great experience and has a clean image which augurs well for the board in the current times.
Will there be stability in the functioning of the BCCI after Srinivasan asked to cool his heels?
The stability of the board is entirely in the hands of the members and their conduct. So it is for the members to take that call with their conduct and actions. The members within the board are capable of handling the situation, if they all come together and act in a manner befitting the need of the hour and strictly work to cleanse the whole system by taking strong decisions where and when needed … and more importantly implement them ruthlessly.
There are rumours that you might be back in the board, any comments?
My coming back has nothing to do with the tasks ahead, as I am sure members will put their heads down to the tasks before them, and work to restore the glory of our beloved sport and restore confidence of all cricket lovers in the country, both in the sport and in the BCCI. I have already said my goodbyes to the board and it is unlikely that I will reconsider that decision. I feel that I resigned at the right time. One of the senior members of this august body made a remark at the last BCCI meeting I attended in Chennai “that Shirke has resigned to get media applause”. I clearly cannot have any truck with individuals whose thought processes are so distorted. And if I did it for media applause why did they also not join and share some of that applause with me and Sanjay [Jagdale] At least that would have lent a spine to the board.
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