On a ground on which he once performed a hat-trick, former Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen on Wednesday announced his two-fold goal as the newly appointed Administrator of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA): see Delhi become India’s best team again, and restore DDCA’s stature as a “great institution”.
A former pace bowler, Sen, who was recently appointed by the Delhi High Court as Administrator to oversee the amendment to the DDCA constitution on the lines of the Lodha Committee recommendations, and then hold elections, took charge from former justice Mukul Mudgal at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium.
“You can’t have an organisation like this which is breaking law,” 66-year-old Sen said sternly on his first visit in the capacity of Administrator to the Kotla, where he once performed the hat-trick.
Sen, who retired as a Supreme Court judge in December 2015, also met the Delhi team preparing for the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament and told the players and coaches KP Bhaskar and Amit Bhandari that his main goal was cricket.
“That is priority No.1,” he said, flanked by Mudgal and members of his own team. He told the players that if they wanted any facilities they could approach him.
The judge who handled many civil, arbitration and commercial disputes was stern in his assertion. “[The] only interest we have is that DDCA should have the top team and top organisation,” he declared. “You can’t have an organisation like this which is breaking law. It’s primarily a sports club, not a drinking club. If somebody wants to drink, it has to be within bounds, and foremost it that we are a cricketing club.”
Sen also warned drinkers, though the bar has been closed by the Delhi government after it served liquor on the Mahatama Gandhi’s birth anniversary a few years ago. “It’s primarily a sports club, not a drinking club. If somebody wants to drink it has to be within bounds, and foremost thing is it that we are a cricketing club,” he emphasised.
Mudgal and Sen go a long way, and both have been water polo players. “Justice Mudgal and I were joint water polo top scorers. There’s no sport that I have not played. I’ve taken a hat-trick on this ground and all three [batsmen] were bowled. I used to open bowling for St Xavier’s School [Delhi],” said Sen, who later graduated from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
Sen’s first task at the DDCA would be to ensure that the employees of the DDCA get their salary at the earliest. The 112-strong team of employees have not received salaries of December and January. It could not be paid for two reasons: the main one is that the DDCA is virtually bankrupt at the moment -- largely its own making -- and the other reason is that the BCCI can’t transfer the money to the state associations after the Lodha Committee passed an instruction to that effect before Vinod Rai’s committee took charge of the BCCI.
The DDCA employees informed Sen about their salary problem and he assured them that he would look into the issue.
Also, the DDCA is set to host Vijay Haraze Trophy all-India one-day tournament next month. And then seven IPL matches are to be played at the Kotla in April-May.
Sen took a round of the stadium along with Mudgal, members of his own team, accompanied by the DDCA administrators. The most interesting conversation Sen and Mudgal, who successfully organised many matches at the Kotla since December 2015, had was with the Delhi players and coaches while the team was training on the field.
The conversation went like this:
Sen: It’s a great institution; we want to revive it.
Coach KP Bhaskar: Are you taking charge today?
Sen: It’s a formidable task, after Justice Mudgal has done such good work.
Mudgal: I am again telling you -- he [Sen] is a far more capable person than me and has far more powers than I had.
Sen: That is the advantage I have.
Mudgal: And is taller in every respect [referring to his height].
Sen to Bhaskar: Why aren’t we the best team in India?
Bhaskar: We are, sir. Now, things will move, [now] that the right step has been taken.
Sen: [The] only interest we have is that DDCA should have the top team and top organisation.
Mudgal (interrupting): …and only deserving players should be selected.
Sen to Bhaskar: If you have any problems on that score, please let me know. If anyone is putting pressure on you or influence you…forget it.
Bhaskar: Don’t worry, don’t worry. Thank you so much.
Sen to players: If you want any [more] facilities tell me. That is priority No.1.