As it tried to reform the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the Lodha Committee made many recommendations. One among them was that the BCCI should come under the purview of the Right to Information Act and that the board needed to be much more transparent in its dealings.

In an interview to in 2017, Justice Lodha said: “We found that the time has come that the BCCI should be run professionally, it should not have any monopoly of a family or of an individual. There should be full transparency in its action, the office bearers must be accountable and there should be good governance and the day-to-day management should be in the hands of professionals.”

Cut to December 2021 and with an appalling lack of transparency, the BCCI is showing just how unprofessional they can be. Surely, this couldn’t have been what the Lodha Committee had in mind.

The point in question is the manner in which the decision to sack Virat Kohli from ODI captaincy was handled and the BCCI’s approach to it.

Full text: Virat Kohli on ODI captaincy, communication with BCCI, equation with Rohit Sharma & more

This is how things have transpired: Kohli decided he wanted to give up T20I captaincy because of workload issues. We were later told by the BCCI that they didn’t want that to happen. Following India’s exit from the T20 World Cup, the selectors decided they didn’t want two white-ball captains. They gave ODI captaincy as well to Rohit Sharma and announced the decision with a one-line statement without giving any reasons. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly then weighed in on the issue after a day and said they had asked Kohli to not step down as the T20I skipper.

The selectors chose to stay silent – as they almost always do. There were reports that Kohli was given 48 hours to take a call. There were some reports of a clash between Kohli and the selectors. There was some talk about a dressing room rift. All of these reports were attributed to sources in the BCCI. Nothing official. No one, on record, stating anything categorically.

The BCCI, on its part, surely would have known that their silence would lead to more speculation. But they watched the drama unfold while making no official statement in the hours after announcing the change in captaincy. Reporters, of course, had to start contacting their sources in the BCCI and pushing out articles in the absence of a proper statement. No one is surprised anymore, because almost every BCCI development these days is conveyed to us first through a source.

Through this all, Kohli stayed quiet. He, too, did not make a statement on his various social media handles. He waited instead; waited for the pre-departure press conference ahead of the South Africa tour. As the Test skipper, he knew he would have a chance to clear the air and that is exactly what he did.

“I was contacted one and a half hours before the selection meeting on the 8th for the Test series and there was no prior communication to me at all,” Kohli said on Wednesday. “Before ending the call I was told that the five selectors had decided that I would not be the ODI captain, to which I replied, ‘ok fine’.” He also mentioned that he wasn’t told to not leave the T20I captaincy.

So does that then mean that Ganguly was lying? Sure, there is going to be some response from the board, but were things lost in translation? It is impossible to know the truth, at this point.

But as Kohli mentioned in the press conference, there is logic in handing over the captaincy to Rohit Sharma. He gets that. We get that, too. And the BCCI should have got it too. But instead, Ganguly, BCCI secretary Jay Shah and the national selectors chose to play a strange, unwanted game of cloaks and daggers.

What was the need for it? What was the need to push Kohli into a corner? The BCCI and the selectors could replace him as skipper. The decision was well within their purview. So why did they wait for the situation to descend into madness?

According to the new BCCI constitution, by now, Ganguly, Shah and Co should have been ‘cooling off’ for three years each after spending six years as cricket administrators in a state association or BCCI. Their terms officially ended around the middle of 2020 and we are now in the last month of 2021. They are still around, and there is increasing chaos in Indian cricket with every passing day.

Anyone who said that Ganguly will bring the understanding of a player, a former captain, to his job as BCCI president will perhaps now be itching to take that statement back. Because all we now see is an administrator who wants nothing more than to stay in the job. If we didn’t already have enough proof with how the BCCI handled domestic and women’s cricket, then his handling of the current mess is the cherry on top.

Reform and transparency seem like distant thoughts as far as the BCCI is concerned now. If you thought Kohli’s comments will help bring closure, as soon as the presser ended, we were told by various people, through BCCI sources, that this is not the end. It just seems woefully apt.

One can’t be sure who’ll have the last laugh in this but it almost certainly won’t be Indian cricket.