The Board of Control for Cricket in India does not take very kindly to change. In fact, its obsession with maintaining the old order has likely led them to a point of almost no-return where they could even face contempt of court proceedings from the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court.

That they were unhappy with the Justice Lodha panel’s recommendations was not really surprising. But the sheer obstinacy on display from the cricket body was unparalleled. Even after a Supreme Court order arrived in July, asking for the reforms to be implemented within a six-month timeframe, the Indian cricket body continued dragging its feet, not following the reforms and at takes, taking pot-shots through various proxies.

Undermining the Supreme Court

And hence, Wednesday’s status report, which the Lodha panel filed to the Supreme Court, was hardly surprising. The status report was crisp, to-the-point and provided a detailed analysis of how the cricket body was transgressing the court’s orders by not implementing the recommended reforms.

“...the BCCI has repeatedly taken steps to undermine the Committee and this Hon’ble Court, with several statements and actions, which are grossly out of order and would even constitute contempt,” said the report. “With as many as seven of the timelines to be compiled with by 30.9.2016, it is now clear that the BCCI is in no position to ensure that the timelines mandated to be laid down by the Hon’ble Court are complied with.”

In its report, the panel noted that several emails from them went unacknowledged by the BCCI, while the Indian cricket body also floated a tender for media rights for the India-West Indies Twenty20 International series in August without providing any details of eligibility or qualification, which went against the SC judgement. It also took strong umbrage against remarks made by Justice Markandey Katju, who has been appointed as a legal counsel for the BCCI and president Anurag Thakur, against the SC ruling.

But, BCCI’s Annual General Meeting held on September 21 seems to have ruffled the most feathers. At this meeting, the Indian cricket body took a number of decisions which were completely contrary to the Lodha panel’s directions. Despite the committee directing that the AGM be restricted only to routine matters concerning the year 2015-’16, various key decisions were taken at the meeting, including the appointment of a five-member selection panel (the Lodha panel had stipulated three), the appointment of Ajay Shirke as secretary and the nomination of Anurag Thakur as BCCI representative to the International Cricket Council.

According to the status report, the minutes of the meeting were not furnished to the committee and they learnt of these developments only through a Media Advisory on the BCCI website. These decisions, according to the status report, “frustrates the implementation of this Hon’ble Court’s judgement”. And as a solution, the panel has sought the judiciary to “supersede” the present office-bearers of the BCCI with immediate effect and appoint a panel of administrators in their place.

‘We know how to get our orders implemented’

The trouble for the BCCI is that the Supreme Court seems to be listening to the Justice Lodha committee. After the status report, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur provided a biting response to the cricket body, while giving them till October 6 to respond.

“BCCI thinks it is law unto itself,” said Thakur, according to The Indian Express. “We know how to get our orders implemented. BCCI thinks it is the lord. You better fall in line or we will make you fall in line. The conduct of the BCCI is in poor taste.”

All eyes are hence on BCCI’s special general body meeting on October 30 where frenzied activity is likely to take place. A report in the Indian Express suggested that the meeting could see the resignation of BCCI President Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke.

“We have no option left we are helpless. Sab khatam hogaya [Everything is over]”, said an unnamed senior board functionary in the same report, indicative of the sombre mood within the cricket body.

Unfortunately, the Indian cricket body really has no one to blame but itself. As Justice Lodha pointed out in an interview with the Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika, the body was given a fair hearing and has no cause for complaint. Yet even after the Supreme Court passed its order asking for the recommendations to be implemented, the BCCI continued to be defiant, showing no mood for a compromise and even making statements that could potentially qualify as contempt of court.

The endgame seems in sight now, except if the BCCI can throw an unexpected googly. They have filed a new application calling for the Supreme Court’s order to be “suspended”, till their curative and review petitions are heard. But even then, that might just only serve to give them some borrowed time. The end could well be very near.