BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke on Thursday told Outlook that he was mentally prepared to resign from his post if the Board fails to get any relief from the remedies still available with it while opposing some of the Lodha Committee recommendations.
And in a lighter vein, Shirke, who also lives in England, said that if he eventually resigned he would have more time to play with his dogs and, who knows, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) might co-opt him and gain by using his experience gained as a cricket administrator.
Shirke, 58, had once earlier resigned from the BCCI, as treasurer in 2013. That was after the outbreak of the IPL betting-fixing scandal. At the time, he didn’t agree with the policies of then BCCI president N. Srinivasan and quit 16 days after the IPL scandal broke on in May. Then BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale had also resigned along with him.
On Thursday, Shirke, also a successful businessman, said of resigning in a particular context – on the failure of the BCCI’s review petition/curative petition it is going to file in the Supreme Court against its last month’s judgement on the Lodha Committee recommendations.
Maharashra Cricket Association president Shirke let his mind known when told that even some lawyers, who had intervened on behalf of BCCI’s state associations opposing the Lodha Committee recommendations, felt that the chances of a review petition’s success was slim. If the review petition fails, the BCCI can then go for curative petition, its very last option.
“The context in which I am saying that I’ve prepared mentally to resign must be mentioned. You said that one of the lawyers felt that there were slim chances of success of the BCCI’s review petition. If whatever remedies, available to the BCCI, don’t work, and if we eventually hit a dead end, I’m saying I’ve made up my mind to resign in that situation, in September,” Shirke told Outlook.
“I am saying September because we have been given time [by the Lodha Committee] till September 30 to implement some of the reforms in the Board. I am prepared mentally for that [quitting]. In fact, I don’t even need to prepare mentally for that,” he said.
Then, in a lighter vein, he said: “If I have to resign at all, I will look for an auspicious day in September to do that.”
The Lodha Committee on August 9 gave the BCCI two deadlines for implementation of the wide-ranging reforms in the organisation – September 30 and October 15. And by August 25, the BCCI is supposed to submit with the Lodha panel a status report on implementation of reforms. It is gathered that the BCCI has convened a working committee meeting on August 22 to discuss the raging issues.
On his possible resignation, the Pune-based Shirke also clarified that he was speaking only about himself. “I am not talking about anybody else in the BCCI,” he emphasised.
“It is not that if I resign it will make some changes in my life. I will instead concentrate [more] on my business and pursue my hobbies. If I remain in the BCCI it is good; if I am not there it is even better,” he said.
Shirke, who shuttles between Pune and London, where his business interests are, also threw in some humour. “I will probably get to play more with my dogs,” he quipped.
The articulate Shirke didn’t end there. “It [resignation] could be a blessing in disguise for me. And, who knows, since I live in England, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) may co-opt me and my BCCI experience might come in handy for them, provided I go out of the BCCI,” he said and laughed. “India finds me unacceptable, but maybe the ECB would find me a good adviser. But that is if I want to work for cricket. Actually, I don’t require it.”
Shirke sounded a warning for Maharashra Cricket Association and Gujarat, two states which will have to rotate the full membership of the BCCI among the multiple associations they have, as instructed by the Supreme Court.
“If – and ‘if’ is a very important word because until all our remedies are exhausted being hopeful is not wrong -- the Lodha Committee recommendations are implemented in Maharashtra and Gujarat, their officials will, never in their lives, have any say in the working of the BCCI,” Shirke said.
“I am saying so because they [officials from the two states] will have only one-year tenure, as per the Supreme Court judgement, while the BCCI office-bearers will have three three-year terms with cooling off periods. Therefore, officials from Maharashtra and Gujarat officials can neither become BCCI office-bearers nor get into the BCCI Apex Council [as suggested by the Lodha panel]. So, it is more worrisome for Maharashtra and Gujarat,” he explained.