With cricket boards across the world battling financial storm in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, BCCI reportedly is reviewing the position of its GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim who could be let go.
Karim’s contribution is being questioned and in addition what may also work against him are the several “unattended issues” and the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to news agency IANS, BCCI is holding discussions around areas that need attention so that cricket comes out without much damage from the current health crisis.
“These are unprecedented times and we are all aware that you really have to think out of the box and you have to be clinical about it,” IANS quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying. “We need to ensure that the we come out of this pandemic with the least amount of damage to the game. We have been holding a lot of discussions amongst the executives and the office bearers have been having their own discussions. In our discussions on the areas that need attention, sadly his contribution has not been up to the mark.”
Karim has apparently also not offered anything constructive regarding the domestic calendar and his behaviour is also an issue. “This isn’t the only issue. When it comes to the domestic calendar, we don’t have anything constructive as yet and we might later see our office team having to put in extra hours to make up for lost time. Moreover, the issues that his team members have raised in the past with K.V.P. Rao going to the extent of refusing an appraisal, do not inspire too much confidence in him. A few state cricket associations have also raised issues about his brusque manner,” the official claimed.
Karim’s role may have also been diluted after the recent appointments.
“When it comes to the National Cricket Academy, it now has Rahul Dravid and KVP, who has been given the responsibility that Saba earlier had. The umpire’s academy, which Saba had been responsible for, is as good as dead. So at a time when people are doubling up and taking on multiple responsibilities, those who aren’t will face the brunt as one cannot afford dead weight anymore. Ultimately it is about what you bring to the organisation and not how much you take from it.
“Finally, the current regime is very clear when it comes to professionalism and you obviously expect that when you have the former India captain at the helm. Things are only getting tougher as you have seen across the world. Cricket Australia and ECB among others have already made some tough calls, and as professionals, the onus is on us to perform. We’d rather have a situation where people are talking about our work and not our salaries,” the official pointed.
Opening up on the issues involved, another BCCI functionary said the women’s cricket team. support staff and outgoing members of selection committee have raised concerns regarding his behaviour and interference.
“The women’s team, support staff and the outgoing members of women’s selection committee have time and again complained about his behaviour and interference. We understand that he is a former selector but he needs to understand that he presently is not a selector and he cannot be weighing in on selection matters anymore.
“In fact, a complaint (by a CoA member) was made against him for violating BCCI constitution in appointments with regards to the women’s team. There was also at least one written complaint over his appointment as the said employee claimed that his candidature was not eligible for General Manager’s post as per the selection criteria which had asked for a post graduate degree, which he allegedly did not possess.
“There have also been serious questions with regards to the appointment of the NCA staff overseen by him and some believe that there have been tweaks made in eligibility to accommodate certain candidates and there is a clamour for a proper investigation into the matter and that the scope of the investigation must include their scope of work and their decisions as per the scope in the NCA roles,” the functionary said.
Recently, Kevin Roberts resigned from his position as the Cricket Australia CEO after questions were raised over his handling of the financial crisis arising due to the coronavirus situation. CA also parted ways with head of female engagement Sarah Styles as part of cost-cutting measures.
In England, board officials and cricketers have taken voluntary paycuts.