We the People of India treat cricket as our fifth Religion after Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam & Christianity, or fifth Veda.  Cricket is the unofficial national sport of India and is celebrated as a festival.  The game has often been used as a bridge between two nations, as seen in the recent India-Pakistan series.  The country comes to a stop when a cricket match is being played – the roads are deserted, parties and weddings are postponed, operations in hospitals are rescheduled, parliament goes in for early closing.  north-south, east-west, rich-poor, men-women, rural-urban, Hindu-Muslim - a craze bordering on madness unites the nation when it comes to cricket.  Such is the passion for the game of cricket amongst millions of Indian cricket fans.  I dare say that without the support of these millions of cricket fans, not only in India but Indians living abroad, the game will die.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (hereafter BCCI), a non-profit body, discharges public duties in administering the game on behalf of its most important stakeholders, the fans of Indian cricket.  In the aforetitled writ petition, while deciding the preliminary issue of maintainability, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi (DB-I) vide its order dated October 4, 2004 [2005 (I) AD (Delhi) 486] has held:


“In short, organized cricket in India at all levels – junior, senior, state, zonal, national or international, is fully and solely controlled and administered by the BCCI.  Some of its members such as Railways Sports Control Board and Services Sports Control Board appear to be governmental/semi-governmental bodies.  No player dreaming of playing for its State or Zone or India can be outside the sweep and control of the BCCI.  It, by itself or through its arms, select teams, appoints umpires and referees, organizes matches, tournaments, imparts coaching, provides funds to needy players through benefit matches, etc.  The team that it selects to represent India is known as the Indian team and wears the Indian logo.  Likewise, teams selected by the member associations for say the Ranji Trophy are known as State teams (except for railways and Services)……………………..  A player who plays for India with pride, would have only a fraction of this pride left if he were told that he does not play for India but for the BCCI XI.  ………………………  The teeming millions regard it as the national team, the players feel that they are playing for India and the opponent teams, be they from Australia or Pakistan, all know that they are playing against India.  The BCCI ought to take pride in the fact that they all this achieved not on the basis on any statutory power but because it has arrogated this to itself and the Government has let it do so and of course, most importantly, because of general public acceptability.  There is nothing wrong in this.  The only point that we are emphasizing is that the BCCI discharges these functions which normally ought to have been discharged by the sovereign state.  Many of these functions are clearly in the nature of public functions.  Insofar as the public functions are concerned a writ petition would be maintainable against the BCCI………………….”        (PARA 12)


“……..……..  The BCCI which is the sole repository of everything cricket in India has attained this “giant” stature through its organization, skill, the craze for the game in India and last but not the least by the tacit approval of the Government.  Its objects are the functions and duties it has arrogated to itself.  Many of these are in the nature of public duties and functions.  Others may be in the field of private law such as private contracts, internal rules not affecting the public at large, etc.  Therefore, BCCI cannot be said to be beyond the sweep of Article 226 in all eventualities for all times to come.  That is the certificate that BCCI wants from this court.  We are afraid, we cannot grant that.  Consequently, this petition cannot be thrown out on the maintainability issue……………...”                              (PARA 17) 


The aforementioned view of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has subsequently been affirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its majority decision (3:2) dated 02.02.2005 in Writ Petition (Civil) 541 of 2004 titled M/s. Zee Telefilms Ltd. & Another versus Union of India & Others, wherein it has observed:


Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that the Board does discharge some duties like the selection of an Indian cricket team, controlling the activities of the players and others involved in the game of cricket.  These activities can be said to be akin to public duties or State functions and if there is any violation of any constitutional or statutory obligation or rights of other citizens, the aggrieved party may not have a relief by way of a petition under Article 32.  But that does not mean that the violator of such right would go scot-free merely because it or he is not a State.  Under the Indian jurisprudence there is always a just remedy for violation of a right of a citizen. Though the remedy under Article 32 is not available, an aggrieved party can always seek a remedy under the ordinary course of law or by way of a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution which is much wider than Article 32. 

Right from its very inception in 2000, the petitioners’ writ petition has focused on the transparency, accountability and integrity of the BCCI’s administrative functioning and elections, amongst other issues.  With a new television contract set to dramatically increase (almost 2 times 2004-05 gross income, 4 times 2002-2003 gross income, and roughly 6 times the previous yearly television rights fee) the revenue earned by Indian cricket, the BCCI must install stronger checks and balances in its governance structure to safeguard the interest of its stakeholders.


The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi vide its order dated 13.04.2005 was pleased to direct the Petitioners to hand over a set of suggestions to Respondent No. 2, the BCCI.  The BCCI was in turn directed to examine the same and inform the Hon’ble Court whether they find the Petitioners’ suggestions acceptable.  The Petitioners and the BCCI both readily agreed with the Hon’ble Court’s proposal and resultant order. This submission contains the Petitioners’ suggestions made on behalf of the fans of Indian cricket.


I                     PRINCIPLES


The suggestions contained in this submission arise from the following principles:


A         The BCCI should share as much information about its operations with the public as possible, except where particular disclosures would impede the effective administration of the game.  Such transparency would:


1           Produce enhanced expert and popular feedback, as in our democracy itself, which can present the BCCI with new ideas and perspectives.  Fans will be more able to assess the effectiveness of BCCI policy.


2           Deter corruption through enhanced scrutiny.  As Indian cricket’s gross revenue will increase dramatically in the coming years, such public oversight will grow in importance.


3           Enable the BCCI to build trust with fans.



B          The BCCI should acknowledge the limits of its existing constitutional and managerial structure.  The Board should establish sustainable management structures that can help the nation achieve its cricketing dreams.  Such an acknowledgment would include recognition of:

1           The necessity of restricting voting in its State Association elections to individuals fully focused on the game and conversant with the current realities and complexities of cricket administration.


2           The need for enhanced professional management in light of the current and growing complexity of modern cricket administration


3           The advantages of a formal consultative role for players via a union or players’ association or other professional negotiating entity.


4           The opportunity to work jointly with municipal / local bodies to create recreational authorities to introduce and maintain cricket pitches for developing players across India.



II                  Election Reforms


A         Voter eligibility for State Association elections


Already highly complex, cricket administration promises only to become more challenging in the coming years as growing budgets must be deployed effectively.  Electors for State Association offices must be sufficiently connected with and focused on the game to ensure proper governance over State Associations. 


In Australia, elections for State Associations are primarily decided by the representatives of local cricket clubs, with some former cricketers given individual membership.  Our State Associations in India have electorates comprised of members of social clubs, many of whom are not directly involved on a day-to-day or even week-to-week basis either in a local cricket club’s administration or the State Association’s administrative functioning.  As a result, elections have become an exercise in vote bank politics and gift-giving, as opposed to referenda on cricket policy within a state or region. 


The BCCI should therefore mandate that following criteria be implemented by State Associations in their constitutions:


1           Only representatives of local clubs and, if a state association wishes, former Ranji / national / international level cricket players may vote in a State Association’s elections.


2           Abolish proxy voting and encourage the electorate to vote in person.


B          Voter eligibility for BCCI elections


1          At least three months before the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting, the BCCI should require each State Association to nominate an official representative who will vote on its behalf at that AGM.


2          The BCCI must develop guidelines to choose between multiple nominees from the same State Association in cases where the State Association’s Constitution gives no guidance.  Where, for whatever reason, multiple nominations have been received from the same State Association, the BCCI should appoint an arbitrator to determine the rightful nominee based on the State Association’s Constitution and, if necessary, the BCCI’s guidelines. 


The BCCI must forward the dispute to the arbitrator early enough so that all state association representatives for its AGM are known at least one month in advance.


C         Anti-corruption requirements for BCCI officeholders


The BCCI, in its effort to eradicate corruption from cricket, should establish in its mission statement that every officer of the Board and every cricketer in the country shall not only be expected to be clean, but he should also be seen to be clean.  To that end, the following rules should be added to the BCCI Constitution:


1           The BCCI must ensure that every player and officer of the BCCI or a State Association, prior to the time of election or upon selection, officially declares to the Finance Manager of the BCCI  both personal assets as well as assets belonging to the player’s or official’s family.  This declaration should include a statement of assets and income tax returns for the most recent five years.  For every succeeding year, the BCCI must also require all officers and players to submit copies of their income tax statements to its Finance Manager for scrutiny. 


2           Any player or officer of the BCCI or a State Association found in possession of undeclared assets or in possession of assets disproportionate to known sources of income shall be immediately suspended for a period of three months.  Adhering to the principles of natural justice, a show cause notice should be issued within 15 days of his suspension, and the player or official shall be banned for life if found guilty.

3           Any player or officer of the BCCI or a State Association credibly accused to have indulged in betting or to have inappropriate contacts with any agent of betting syndicates, such as bookmakers, punters, and betting institutions, must be immediately suspended for a period of three months.   Adhering to the principles of natural justice, a show cause notice should be issued within 15 days of his suspension, and the player or official shall be banned for life if found guilty. 


D        Expand the term of elected officers from one year to two years


1           Annual elections unnecessarily steal valuable time and energy from the officers of the BCCI and its State Associations.  The President and other BCCI officers should be elected to terms of two years instead of one year.  This would allow officers more time to focus on cricket policy decision between elections.


2           The BCCI constitution should limit officers to at most two consecutive terms in office, and no officer should hold the same office for more than four terms or eight years in total.


3           The BCCI should require State Associations to hold elections on or before the expiry of their statutory period and have office terms of greater than one year.


E         Income generated by hosting an International match should be allotted to a pool and distributed equally so that the match allotment – voting nexus can be eliminated, both in fact and appearance.


For international matches played in India, the BCCI should allocate local revenue (gate receipts, boundary advertisements, etc.) to the BCCI’s general gross revenue pool.  The BCCI would then distribute these funds among all State Associations, along with existing grants, in the year earned.  With revenue sharing, State Associations would receive a smooth, predictable stream of income for use towards cricket development. 


III               Professional Management of Indian Cricket


A         Putting day-to-day operations in the hands of professional managers


The BCCI is a large profitable entity, it runs a massively popular sport, it has several high value legal and commercial contracts with TV companies and sponsors, and it stages matches watched by tens of thousands requiring coordination with the police, traffic control, and other administrative bodies.  It also has several other challenging responsibilities such as promoting and developing cricket throughout the country, discovering and coaching young talent, investing surplus funds, continually creating itineraries and travel schedules, and promoting health and fitness.  It is time the BCCI recognizes that its responsibilities have grown faster than its administrative capacity.


Among those heading various State Associations are individuals of great experience and acumen such as Mr. Ranbir Singh Mahendra in Haryana, Mr. Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav in Bihar, Mr. Arun Jaitley in Delhi, and Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya in West Bengal, among others.  While they may be qualified, each has a demanding full-time job requiring their continued attention.  Mr. Dalmiya, for example, runs a large business empire in Kolkata, while Mr. Yadav and Mr. Pawar are managing important ministries in the central government.  Doesn’t Indian cricket deserve full-time, fully-focused day-to-day managers?


Beyond top management, the BCCI along with many of its State Associations don’t have a proper office staffs or official work times (e.g. 9 to 5 or 10 to 6) and rarely have marketing and finance professionals.  Indian cricket, valued at more than Rs. 1500 crores and growing, deserves a dedicated team of talented and highly qualified professionals. 


In order to strengthen its administrative capabilities, the BCCI should:


1           Hire a full-time, professionally qualified Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with outstanding management skills.  The performance of all employees of the BCCI, including the CEO, should be reviewed annually. 


The cricket boards of Australia and England are headed by CEOs with strong corporate experience. 


2           Hire cricket operations, cricket development, marketing, legal, finance, and public relations managers.  These managers, along with the CEO, should be full-time employees responsible for the day-to-day affairs of Indian cricket administration.  The responsibilities of various existing BCCI committees should be adjusted accordingly.


3           Establish a new, state-of-the-art head office for its expanded professional staff.

The CEO and managers of Indian cricket operations, along with all other permanent administrative employees of the BCCI, should function out of a new head office.  The BCCI’s current head office is in a ramshackle state, containing just three computers and no proper toilets.  In the cramped office sit eight huge steel cupboards used as a dumping ground for official records and trophies, rarely if ever retrieved once stored. 



In comparison, Cricket Australia’s head office near the Melbourne Cricket Ground houses nearly fifty (50) full-time employees (source: Cricket Australia 2002-03 Annual Report, see www.cricket.com.au).  Further, two of Australia’s state associations, Cricket Victoria and the Queensland Cricket Association, each have a head office with over forty (40) employees. 



While the size and location of the new office should be at the discretion of the elected officers of the BCCI, a space of around 10,000 square feet in either Mumbai or Delhi seems appropriate.


4           Hire a full-time team manager and media manager to accompany the national team both at home and on overseas tours.


As the media is the link between the BCCI and the players and the public, the BCCI should appoint a full-time media manager to brief the media on the activities of the Board.  This would enable the public to stay informed about any and all of the BCCI’s activities.


International-level players are ambassadors of the country.  Therefore, the new media manager should also ensure that players are periodically given training in social and media management skills so that they present the best possible image in their public interactions.    


Both positions should be full-time jobs with a fixed tenure of greater than one year.  At present, the BCCI has no media manager and team managers are appointed on an ad hoc, tour-by-tour basis. 



B          Corporate Governance


1           The Working Committee of the BCCI should be responsible for long and short-term cricket planning and policy making.  The Working Committee, in addition, would be responsible for oversight and governance of the BCCI’s CEO and other professional managers, as in other for-profit and non-profit entities.


2           The Working Committee of the BCCI should prepare and publish a vision document defining their short-term and long-term goals.  This document would serve as a living business plan for Indian cricket and therefore should be updated at regular intervals.


Periodically, (perhaps after every World Cup), the vision document should be submitted to a broad-based panel of experts including cricketers of standing and repute, management and finance experts, and former administrators.  The panel’s comprehensive analysis and comments should be disclosed to the public as a separate report.  The report would include a summary of BCCI and State Association spending, progress made since the last commission report, challenges faced by Indian cricket, and the committee’s assessment of cricket administration in India with plaudits and suggestions for change.  The Working Committee of the BCCI would then be free to incorporate those panel suggestions it finds helpful.


3           The Working Committee of the BCCI should also create internal procedures to ensure fair and transparent employee hiring and contractor relationships.


The minutes of the BCCI’s annual general body meetings reveal that appointments of managers and other support staff are extensions of a patronage system to persons who curry favour with the officers of the BCCI.


In addition to proper and transparent hiring procedures, the BCCI and all of its State Associations must ensure transparency when giving contracts to stalls vendors and in-stadiums advertisers, as well as in the collection of gate money.  To ensure highest level of transparency, tenders for purchases of amount more than Rs. 5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakhs Only) should be floated by the BCCI and State Associations prior to the acquisition of any material required during any addition / alteration / renovation / construction of a cricket stadium and for any other cricketing expenditure.  All such tenders should be disclosed to the general public through publication in at least three prominent local newspapers, etc., to ensure the widest possible spectrum of bidders.

4           The Working Committee of the BCCI must ensure that the issue of sale of television rights is handled with utmost care and transparency. 


While the Working Committee would, of course, retain final approval authority over any deal and enjoy close communications with the CEO, the negotiations should be handled by the CEO and the professional management team employed the BCCI. 


The BCCI should conclude television rights negotiations at least 6 months before the beginning of the first series covered by the rights, and therefore invite bids from prospective broadcasters more than 6 months prior to that date.   The BCCI should announce all relevant details to the public in a time-bound manner.



IV                Domestic Cricket and Cricket Development


A         The BCCI must invest all surplus funds, outside of a contingency fund and amounts for operating expenses and benefit payments, into cricket development


The financial pattern of the BCCI must be restructured by an expert committee comprised of eminent officers of the BCCI and legendary cricketing personalities.  The BCCI should maintain a contingency fund of at least Rs. 50 Crores in a centralized account plus professionally prepared estimates for operating expenses and benevolent fund and pension requirements.  All other money, to the last rupee, must be ploughed back into the game to constantly improve infrastructure and coaching from the grassroots level up.  The governing principle should be that the game earns the money and it is only fair that the money be used to better the game.


B         The BCCI should take ultimate responsibility for cricket development and domestic leagues throughout India.  The BCCI should therefore monitor State Associations closely, and intervene where necessary.


As the main funding source for State Associations, the BCCI can influence the governance structures of these associations.  In its monitoring role, the BCCI should:


1          Identify areas under State Association control, which affect players from other states, such as the quality of pitches in a state’s grounds.  The BCCI should condition financial assistance to State Associations on the ability of the BCCI to intervene if a State Association’s performance is not adequate in one of the specified categories.


For example, BCCI should immediately identify five underperforming pitches and appoint professional curators to rehabilitate those grounds.  Here the BCCI’s role is to ensure that the quality of pitches at the first-class level is improved so that cricketers can be prepared to play on good pitches at the international level and not be surprised when they come across different kinds of pitches when on overseas tour.  Even at the junior level, quality of pitches ought to be improved drastically so that cricketers can be prepared to play on good pitches when they graduate to the senior ranks and not find this transition from lower to the higher ranks almost impossible to cope with.


The BCCI would provide all necessary equipment and the curator would train the existing State Association grounds staff.  The project, to be evaluated by the BCCI after three years, would improve the identified pitches while ensuring that existing local staff members receive training.


Another example is potential doping among domestic or international players.  The BCCI should have random drug testing for all domestic and international players with immediate effect. 


2          Encourage states to adopt governance practices including transparent hiring and contracting procedures, the periodic maintenance and publication of a vision document, and the bifurcation of oversight and day-to-day management between an elected board of directors and permanent managers such as a CEO.


C         The BCCI should accelerate infrastructure improvements throughout the country


1          In order to upgrade infrastructure facilities in the country, the BCCI should allocate a sum of Rs. 100 crore (Rupees One Hundred Crore) to be shared equally between all its affiliated State Associations.  This amount would come from the BCCI’s corpus, for years idle instead of spent on improving Indian cricket.


Further, the BCCI should distribute at least 30% of its yearly gross revenue equally (preferably based on population) between all affiliated State Associations.

2          The BCCI and State Associations must ensure that the nation’s existing cricket stadiums truly support both the game and its fans. 


At all stadiums, the BCCI and State Associations must ensure spectator convenience, particularly with reference to information booths, on-site medical assistance, adequate shelter from the elements, separate hygienic rest rooms for men and women, free clean drinking water, refreshment stands, sale of 90% of match tickets to ordinary cricket lovers employing audited ticket sales with details of purchaser and time of sale records, sale of tickets on the official website of host State Association, numbered seating facilities, safety and fire exits, special arrangements and priority to handicap and senior citizens, etc. 


Each facility should have adequate practice and playing facilities, lush green outfields, super suppers for effective drainage of grounds, well equipped dressing rooms, state-of-the-art media centers and, where appropriate, flood lights, electronic scoreboards, and giant replay screens. 


A task force comprised of former cricketers should be empowered to periodically visit stadiums across the nation and report on conditions for both fans and players.  Adverse reports shall entail penalties ranging from fines to immediate suspension of a guilty State Association from the cricket calendar.  The BCCI should complete an initial review of stadiums, including public disclosure of committee reports, within two years.


3          The BCCI should strongly encourage State Associations to establish dedicated teams responsible for creating extensive networks of cricket fields and subsidiary stadiums to allow as many cricket players as possible to play on the best possible surfaces.  The State Associations should work with parks and recreations departments of local governments to jointly introduce and maintain these fields and pitches. 


4          The BCCI should establish a central Research and Development wing to research domestic production of artificial pitches, next-generation artificial grass for outfields (e.g. Field Turf), bowling machines, as well as video analysis and biomechanical analysis hardware and software.  Domestic production would allow these devices and advances to spread affordably throughout Indian cricket.


D         Central Cricket Academy

1          At present the BCCI runs a coaching academy, the National Cricket Academy (NCA), on an ad hoc basis.  Based in Bangalore, it does not have all facilities of its own but uses those of the Sports Authority of India and the Karnataka State Cricket Association. 


At first glance, the NCA seems to be on par with any other academy in the world.  Certainly, it has state-of-the-art facilities – gymnasium, bowling machines, video analysis, indoor nets – and some of the biggest and finest cricketing minds of our country are involved from time to time.  But is it a winning venture? 


The NCA is now five years old, and, given its resources, it should have taken Indian cricket to a different level altogether by now.  The supply line to the national team continues to be erratic and unstable.  It has been noticed that many players who represented India in all age groups over the past few years and entered the NCA are nowhere today.


The main problems with NCA are its short duration, the academy only operates for 5 months in a year, and an inadequate system to monitor players after they leave the academy.  So while the NCA has acted as a springboard for many aspiring cricketers and almost six out of every 10 playing competitive cricket, at various age levels, have had a taste of the academy at some point, much of the NCA’s work is wasted once the player leaves the NCA.


2          The BCCI should immediately acquire a large area of land of its own, whether through long-term lease or purchase, with the help of the State Government concerned, and erect a full-fledged Central Academy on that land.  The academy should be complete with residential accommodation for staff and at least 60 players, indoor and outdoor practice facilities, state-of-the-art coaching and physical training equipment, and an in-house medical center to deal with any all sports-related injuries.  The BCCI should hire a professional, qualified person to head the academy, in addition to hiring past cricketers of merit to serve as specialized coaches for batting, pace and spin bowling, fielding, and all other aspects relating to player development. 


The Central Academy should be operational throughout the year, i.e. all 12 months.


3          The BCCI must ensure that the Central Academy closely monitors each cricketer’s progress after a player returns to a State Association.  Coaches at the Central Academy must interact with State Coaches to ensure follow-up action and that the player is given consistent guidance. 


The BCCI must ensure that its affiliated State Associations provide players who leave the Central Academy with comparable standards at the local leagues, both in terms of resources available and fitness and training requirements.


4          The Central Academy must be fed by State Academies.  The structure should be as follows: each State Association must maintain, with funding partly from its own coffers and partly from the BCCI’s central treasury, a State Cricket Academy, where training should be imparted to promising players of the school, college and league levels.  Outstanding candidates belonging to the State Academies should then be passed on for advanced training to the Zonal Academies, of which there must be one per zone viz., five in all.  The most promising of the zonal candidates should in turn work upwards to the Central Academy, which must serve as the feeding ground for India, India A and India Age-Group level teams.


5          The BCCI should ensure that the coaches of the Central Academy are responsible for identifying, recruiting and interacting with coaches at the State and Zonal level academies.  Further, the coaches of these academies must formulate a common basic program in order to ensure continuity of thought as candidates are passed up the ladder. 


The BCCI should also ensure that coaches at the state level interact with coaches in the various schools and colleges in the region, passing on coaching techniques and general encouragement.


6          The BCCI should ensure that the Central Academy hires fitness experts, physiotherapists, microbiologists, yoga experts, etc, to maintain the team at peak fitness throughout the year.  These experts must in turn recruit and interact with fitness experts, etc. at the Zonal level, who themselves should then pass on their knowledge to their juniors at the State level.


7          The BCCI should ensure that the academies at the State, Zonal and Central level purchase the latest in video graphic and biomechanics equipment, to be operated by trained professionals, for use in training.  In time, the BCCI should further extend this infrastructure throughout the country so that aspiring cricketers anywhere, at any level, have access to such resources.


8          The BCCI should enter into bilateral agreements with similar boards in the advanced cricketing countries, whereby its players will be enabled to regularly travel to coaching centers abroad.  Further, academy coaches should be required to visit academies abroad to update their own knowledge of coaching skills and techniques.


Further, the BCCI and the Academies should ensure that the India A team and the Age Group Teams spend at least 6 to 7 months of the year traveling abroad.  The BCCI should schedule regular tours enabling the hopefuls to experience first hand stiff competition in varying international conditions.  The BCCI should also ensure that other international A teams and age group teams regularly tour India.


E          The BCCI should schedule international cricket to maximize the participation of international team players in domestic tournaments.


1          The BCCI must play a minimum of 12 Tests and approximately 25 One Day Internationals in a season, thereby ensuring that there is no clash between the domestic and international calendars and players are available.


During the period September 1997 to 2000 only Bangladesh, which debuted in November 1997, played fewer Tests than India.  Even a country like Zimbabwe, which does not get the same response from the top nations when it comes to scheduling, Test tours played more.  India’s record of 24 Tests played over the said three year period falls well short of the ICC’s norm of 36 @ 12 per year.  Among the top nations, South Africa (38 Tests) has exceeded the quota, Australia (36 Tests) is bang on target as per the ICC norms, and England (35 Tests) and Pakistan (35 Tests) are short by just one Test.  During that three-year period, India played 129 ODIs – 54 more than the ICC norms and 18 more than the next highest total (Pakistan with 111 matches) and far more than the tally for Australia (89 matches) and South Africa (96 matches).   


Of course more ODIs mean more money for the BCCI.  Statistics prove that a short trip of Indian cricketers to play a few matches at Singapore is more rewarding to the BCCI than a long trip to any other cricket playing country, regardless of what is more valuable to the players as regards learning and experience.  Such trips expose players to betting syndicates in non-regular venues such as Sharjah, Toronto, Singapore, Kenya, etc.  The BCCI has stopped taking the national team to many of these venues, and the BCCI should continue to forego such tournaments.


2          The BCCI must ensure that no Indian team ever returns from a tour unsuccessful because of faulty scheduling.


The BCCI must construct tour schedules that allow for sufficient warm–up games before the various Tests, as well as necessary travel and recovery time.  The BCCI should also insist that whenever the Indian national team tours abroad, host nations provide adequate practice facilities, net bowlers, etc.  Such conditions must be incorporated in the BCCI’s tour agreements. 


3          The BCCI should seek input from coaches and players before scheduling fixtures.


The BCCI must ensure that the players or their representatives (Players Association) are made an integral part of the cricket management.  Thus, the coach should be co-opted members of various committees dealing with pitches and grounds, scheduling of home and away fixtures, etc. 


No fixture, either home or away, should be finalized without the approval of the coach, who in turn must present the draft schedules to the team members for discussion.  Schedules must be drawn up by the BCCI with due care being taken to space the tours out.  The BCCI must maintain the balance between home and away tours, the overall objective being to ensure that in a four-year span of time, the national team meets all other Test playing nations in Test and ODI series, at home and away. 


The BCCI must not schedule cricket to be played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka between April and August due to extreme weather conditions.


4          The BCCI must ensure that national players play in the domestic fixtures when not on national duty.  This would enhance the quality of domestic cricket and make it more competitive.


According to the rules of the BCCI, it is mandatory for national cricketers to play for their respective affiliated State Association(s) or Zone when they are not on national duty.  However, due to the extremely busy schedule charted out by the BCCI for the national players, the latter hardly get any time to participate in domestic cricket.  This has led to a decline in the standards of domestic cricket, as a result of which hardly any players of international standard are being thrown up.  The off shoot is that the reserve strength of the Indian Bench is weak when compared to countries like Australia who can put up a world class side from their reserve strength itself.  If Sachin, Sehwag, Saurav, Dravid, Irfan, Harbhajan and Kumble were to be struck by some virus tomorrow and find themselves hors d’combat, who will the BCCI pick to fill those seven slots?


The BCCI must make all contracted players give an unconditional undertaking that they will compulsorily and without fail play in ALL major domestic tournaments when not on national duty.  The BCCI must follow Australia in this regard and ensure that young, upcoming players are properly tested against the established ones. 


In such a scenario even the selectors will be better placed to see who is ready to make the leap to the next stage, greatly enhancing the quality of recruitment to the Indian National Team.  Moreover, presence of international cricketers in the domestic cricket will undoubtedly encourage junior cricketers and attract crowds to domestic cricket.  I have reason to believe that the players would welcome the contest as much as the selectors.


If, however, any national player fails to participate in the domestic cricket when not on national duty then BCCI must take immediate action by suspending the defaulter player for at least five international matches and in case of any subsequent default, the player must be suspended / banned from participating in any international match for a period of one year.


F          The BCCI should provide at least 15 percent of its total annual earnings to develop and nurture cricket at the grass root viz., school and college level.  It is here from where the likes of Gavaskar, Kapil, Tendulkar, Kambli, Kumble, Jadeja, Srinath, etc., were spotted and it is at this level that the future of Indian cricket shall arrive.  To achieve this goal, the BCCI must have a long term strategy of providing schools and universities across the country with special grounds, coaching, equipment, facilities and arranging inter-school and inter-college tournaments.


G         Re-imagine Domestic Cricket

On paper, India has a more structured domestic cricket set up than most other nations.  Nevertheless, the Indian domestic structure alarmingly fails to throw up fresh talent in sufficient numbers.  This clearly indicates that there is something terribly wrong with the domestic structure, impressive though it is on paper.  Today a domestic champion, fed on soft bowling on dead tracks, finds himself at sea when he plays at the highest level.  The BCCI Working Committee should establish a committee or empower its professional managers (CEO, etc) to re-imagine domestic cricket in India.  The committee or managers would explore what changes or new domestic cricket structures can create a highly competitive, international standard league that will allow players to properly develop before they reach the international stage. 


The Petitioner needs more time to fully develop suggestions along these lines.  If desired by the BCCI, the Petitioner can in 3 to 4 months provide a comprehensive document containing a new domestic league proposal. 


V                  Selection of International Team


A         Rather than five selectors, one from each zone, the BCCI should have a selection committee chosen by merit, regardless of place of origin or residence, with the current coach of the national team included as a voting member. 


Zonal bias is one of the greatest evils of the selection process today.  The present system encourages bias viz., choosing of selectors not on merit but on their willingness to lobby on behalf of players from their zone.  While choosing a touring side, perhaps the first ten or eleven places are uncontentious, but the remaining five or six are subject to a process of intense bargaining, with selectors ganging up in twos and threes to make sure that their men are chosen.  The BCCI, however, must recognize that it is imperative to avoid even the appearance of bias. 


The BCCI should install a pyramidal structure, which follows the same procedure at all levels, from the bottom (the state) up.  Each selection committee – State and Central (BCCI) – must comprise of TWO full-time professional selectors, aided by the coach who should be given full voting powers.  Each committee therefore would have THREE total voting members.


A potential candidate to qualify to become a selector must have experience of at least 20 Tests or 50 Ranji Trophy matches (as against the present norm which says any first class player, of whatever experience, can become a selector).


Further, the BCCI must ensure that any player, present or past, having business dealings with it or any of its State Associations is disqualified from being a part of the three-member selection committee.  So also must former players who run their own cricket academies be disqualified.



B         Members of the selection committee should have fixed terms, e.g. four years from World Cup to World Cup, greater than the one year they are currently accorded.  The selectors should be full-time employees of the BCCI and paid accordingly.



C         The BCCI should expand the support staff allocated to selectors.  The selection committee should have the use of:


1           A video library of all domestic and international matches for use by selectors and their supporting coaches. 


To the extent adequate video for domestic matches is not provided by the BCCI’s broadcast partners or the host cricket State Associations, the BCCI must employ a video team to film those matches.  The video team must be employed full-time and sit with the coaches in either the head office of the BCCI or the Central Cricket Academy.


2           The selection committee should be given a budget to hire coaches to watch and edit video of domestic matches.  Those coaches would produce compilations, on their own initiative and on specific requests by selectors, to help selectors understand the strengths and weaknesses of players.  These coaches would, along with a video archive of domestic seasons, sit in either the BCCI’s head office or the Central Cricket Academy.


3           A team of field talent scouts, perhaps one per zone, whose brief will be to watch all first-class games in that particular zone, and send periodic updates about the form and caliber of various players to the committee for evaluation.


VI               Corporate Responsibility

A         The BCCI must discharge its corporate responsibility by contributing 10 per cent of its annual revenues to a central pool of the Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs, Government of India, which in turn must be equally distributed amongst all the recognized sports / disciplines of India.  This amount of 10 per cent should be paid in lieu of the tax exemption status being granted by the Government of India to the BCCI despite being the richest private sports body performing important public functions.


Even though the BCCI is the richest cricketing body in the world and has accumulated reserves worth hundreds of crores in its bank accounts, the BCCI has been granted tax exemption under section 10(23) of the Income Tax Act which states that “exemption under this section is to be allowed if and only if the association or institution applies its income or accumulates its application, wholly and exclusively, to the objects for which it has been established.”  An analysis of the accounts of the BCCI and its State Associations such as the DDCA clearly reveal that most of their income is not being applied for the objects for which they have been set up, namely promotion and development of cricket in India but in fact is being applied on ever mounting establishment expenses, committee meeting expenses, traveling expenses, purchase and sale of liquor, cigarettes, playing cards, etc.  This is mainly due to the fact that, for most of the officers of the BCCI, running the Board is an end in itself and the future of cricket is only incidental.


In case the BCCI accepts the suggestions mentioned herein, it may be exempted from paying Income Tax by the Government of India.  However, the BCCI must contribute 10 per cent of its annual revenue towards a central pool of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of India.  That amount must be equally distributed by the Ministry of Sports amongst all other duly recognized sports in India for their development.


B          The BCCI should adopt and fund women’s cricket in India.


VII            Full disclosure of operations and performance details


A         The BCCI must make its annual report along with a financial statement, duly audited, publicly available and publish the same on its website.

Disclosure of the BCCI’s finances does not hinder its operations, nor does disclosure hurt Indian cricket.  Non-disclosure must be based on whether disclosure aids or harms Indian cricket. 


Annual reports with financial statements are available at the websites of the ICC and various cricketing boards viz., Australia, England, and New Zealand.  Financial information is also available at the websites of the boards of South Africa and Sri Lanka.  Disclosure by the BCCI using an internet presence (official website) would allow interested fans to access the information at minimal cost.


It should be a primary goal of the BCCI to instill maximum public faith in the Indian cricket administration.  This would help followers of cricket in India and abroad to form an independent, educated opinion on its performance and on the state of cricket in India.


Full disclosure of financial information, along with details of BCCI tenders, offers and purchases can help deter corruption through enhanced public scrutiny.  The BCCI should make available detailed accounts information, including all revenue and expenditure details grouped into general categories in the annual report, available at its head office for any member of the public or media to inspect.  As Indian cricket’s gross revenue will increase dramatically in the coming years, such public oversight will gain in importance.



B          The BCCI and all its affiliated State Associations must create their own website.


The BCCI and its State Associations should create websites that contain, among other things, the BCCI and State Association Constitutions, the BCCI and State Association vision statements, current and past year BCCI and State Association annual reports and financial statements, a comprehensive directory of cricket officials in the BCCI and State Associations including links to State Association websites, information on how parents should help children who want to learn cricket, information on all domestic players, updates on the current activities of past stars, a comprehensive list of domestic and international matches with ticket information allowing online ticket purchases, a comprehensive summary of all district leagues in each state as well as domestic cricket tournaments including match times / locations / coverage and player details / statistics, as well as a summary of the academy structure and activities.


Australia, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka all have websites containing annual financial reports.


C         Full-time media manager and published vision documents (suggestions outlined above)


D        National archive and museum


The BCCI should create a comprehensive archive of cricket history.  It should strain every nerve to ensure that the museum houses every cricket book ever published and the video of every cricket match that has ever been filmed. 


The national archive must be maintained for the benefit of the players and the fans.  Any citizen should be free to make use of the available material, for reference, at any time, within the operating conditions laid down by the institution.  The cricket videos will serve as an invaluable learning tool for aspiring cricketers of all levels and would be shared with the Central Academy, State Associations, and local coaches.


The museum must also house all the shields, cups and trophies won by the Indian team right from its inception till date, including the Prudential World Cup won by India in the year 1983.


VIII          Player Management


A         The BCCI should recognize the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) as a bargaining agent for domestic and international players in India.


The BCCI must recognize ICPA, as the ICC recognizes FICA.  The BCCI must negotiate with the ICPA, instead of with a few chosen players.  A more professional interaction will ensure that active players can concentrate on their game without room for distrust and disharmony.


The BCCI must ensure that its affiliated State Associations negotiate with the ICPA as well on all aspects of cricket only with players, be it at the school, university, domestic or international level.


B          The BCCI should increase the amounts paid through its pension plan.


While the decision to give a monthly allowance of Rs. 5,000/- was a welcome beginning, this amount should be enhanced to Rs. 10,000/- for the 172 recipients.  This would only increase the budgetary outlay by a mere Rs. 8,60,000/-. 


C         The BCCI must treat former players with respect and honour.


The BCCI must ensure that the past greats of Indian cricket are honoured.  It must also make optimum use of the skills and experience of these great cricketing personalities in every way possible for the benefit of their successors.


It is common for legendary Indian cricketers to not even be members of the State Associations which they so proudly represented at the Ranji level.  As such, the BCCI must ensure that every state and national player of repute must be honored by his respective State Association with honorary life membership and voting rights. 


The BCCI must implement a policy whereby players, present and past, especially international cricketers and former captains of India and of State sides are given the respect they duly deserve at all Test Centers.  The BCCI and State Associations must ensure that these eminent personalities as well as their spouses and dependents are called as special invitees and issued passes to VIP enclosures. 




Apart from the aforesaid suggestions, the BCCI pledged in the year 2000 to do whatever it takes to achieve the goals and fulfill the commitments made in its May 2000 vision document within a period of 5 years.  However, it is shocking to see that in these 5 years the BCCI has made little effort to follow the path it so laid down for itself.  Some of the key actions, amongst others, which the BCCI itself planned to undertake between 2000 and 2005, but has not even begun to address, are stated herein below: -


(a)                Creation of website for the Cricket Board;

(b)                Introduction of Video Feedback System;

(c)                 Nomination of medical panel to determine the fitness of players;

(d)                Nomination of medical panel to determine the age of the players of Junior Cricket;

(e)                 Prepare wicket of International standards;

(f)                 Issuing code of conduct – more emphasis on ethical values;

(g)                Appointment of Committee for dealing with illegal deliveries;

(h)                Re-schedule itineraries to enable cricketers to participate in domestic cricket;

(i)                 Issuing of guidelines to Staging Associations for improving standard of the game;

(j)                 Introduction of Captains Report on Umpires for the matches in Junior Tournaments;

(k)               Discussion on Observers’ Report in the Standing Committee;

(l)                 Establishment of a museum on cricket;

(m)              Long Term planning for 2002 (now 2007) World Cup to start immediately;

(n)                More emphasis on Junior and ‘A’ Teams;

(o)                Strengthening of the BCCI’s Office;

(p)                Construction of Head Quarters for the BCCI;

(q)                Paying for National level tournaments to be made mandatory;

(r)                 Improvement in physical fitness standards through introduction of Fitness Instruction, Physiotherapy, Sports Medicine and Nutrition Programme throughout the country;

(s)                 Improvement in mental toughness through Psycho Analyst;

(t)                 Each State Association to employ professional Chief Operating Officer (CEO) as Executive Secretary;

(u)                Each State Association to create at least one ground international standard with complete fitness facilities;

(v)                Establish National Coaching Council with Coaches at the National, Zonal and State level;

(w)               Establish National Umpiring Council with Umpires at the National, Zonal and State level.


The Petitioner has relied on the thoughts, feedback and contribution of numerous present and former cricketers, cricket administrators and others intimately involved with the game. This document is submitted as a humble attempt to help improve the game of cricket in India and is no way comprehensive.