One unlikely name which trended on Sunday ahead of India's third and final Twenty20I match against South Africa at Bengaluru was Rupa Gurunath, who is all set to become the first woman to head a state-level cricket body in India. This is a huge paradigm shift considering how the sport is governed and remained in perpetuating patriarchy even though the likes of Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Diana Edulji had brought a sense of 'belongingness' into it. (More Cricket News)
But as things turned out, or realised later, her 'election' to the top post of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) might well turn out to be just a proxy, a ploy to allow her father N Srinivasan to continue to maintain his stronghold over the association. As one Twitter user wrote, it's interesting "how people are triggered over Rupa Gurunath as" the head of TNCA, it will be indeed fascinating to realise that no one challenged the daughter of the strongman in the actual election.
According to reports, a decision to this effect (Rupa becoming the president) was taken during TNCA’s executive committee meeting held in Chennai on Sunday. It is highly unlikely that Srinivasan's daughter will face any opposition with the last date for filing nomination being September 24. And subsequently, she will turn up as the first-ever woman president of a BCCI affiliated unit during its next Annual General Meeting (AGM).
What's even more intriguing is the fact that Rupa's husband Guruanth Meiyappan, the tainted former Team Principal of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has been banned for life by the BCCI, for being involved in betting during the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) which was rocked by spot-fixing scandal. Meiyappan was in fact arrested by the Mumbai Police in midst of IPL.
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One thing which is certain is that the state association will remain under control of the Srinivasan family, as it has been the case for the better part of the last two decades. In fact, it's all in the family, like some dynastic politics which often played out in every aspect of governance in India.
But TNCA is not the one-off case. On Saturday, the Shah family of Rajkot maintained their control over Saurashtra Cricket Association with former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah's son Jaydev taking over as the president. Jaydev retired after 16 years of first-class cricket, the better part of which he captained India players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat.
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Another state unit where the family rule will continue is Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, where another former BCCI president Anurag Thakur's younger brother Arun will take charge from September 27.
It's pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court on Friday allowed the TNCA to hold elections to elect its office bearers. A bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao said that the election results will be subject to the final order.
It had been alleged that TNCA and four other state cricket bodies had not complied with the BCCI Constitution in its entirety. At this observation of the court, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) objected that the Tamil Nadu cricket body did not comply with the BCCI constitution.
On August 9 last year, the apex court had approved the BCCI's new draft constitution, effectively diluting its earlier order, to allow office bearers to hold office for six consecutive years instead of three and reinstated voting rights of four legacy cricket associations in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court-constituted CoA decided to move the deadline for the completion of elections of state associations from September 14 to September 28.
In a release issued by the CoA, it has said: "The date for BCCI election remains unaltered. The BCCI elections shall take place on 22nd October 2019; The deadline for completion of elections of state associations is extended from 14th September 2019 to 28th September 2019. No further extensions will be feasible beyond 28th September 2019 since the notice of AGM for BCCI elections has to be issued 21 days prior to 22nd October which is 30th September 2019. The State Association are required to send the names of their representatives to the BCCI for the BCCI election on 28th September 2019.
"All state associations who have not already (a) submitted their amended constitutions for approval to the Committee of Administrators; and/or (b) appointed electoral officer for conducting the elections; and/or (c) issued the notice for conduct of elections, are required to complete all of the aforesaid on or before 12th September 2019."
The top court, directing all state cricket bodies to adopt the new constitution in letter and spirit within four weeks, warned them of action for any non-compliance as envisaged in its earlier orders including in form of non-disbursal of funds from the cash-rich BCCI.