There are times when the relationship between the Committee of Administrators and the Board of Control for Cricket in India resembles that of Sunny Deol and the courts in the Hindi film Damini. All we seem to get after the various arguments are done is yet another tareek (date).

The promised revolution has descended into a carefully constructed chaos with the BCCI and its state association delaying proceedings with a calm that suggests a brutish confidence in their ability to bore us all to sleep.

On Tuesday, we witnessed another chapter in this never-ending story. The BCCI sent across a press release, another in a long line of press releases.

The BCCI, no stranger to committee-formation, was announcing a seven-member “special” committee. This committee, chaired by Rajiv Shukla, had been formed with “issues relating to the implementation of the judgment of the Supreme Court”.

Stop for a moment here and read that again. The “judgment” being referred to was pronounced on July 18, 2016.

Going around in circles

The Supreme Court gave the BCCI six months to implement the Justice Lodha Committee reforms. Amidst much hand-wrangling and legal manoeuvring, the BCCI did not implement the reforms. Finally in January 2017, the SC dismissed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke from their posts as BCCI president and secretary respectively and appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators, tasking them with the task of implementing the reforms.

And yet, six months later in June, we have another BCCI committee tasked with “issues relating to the implementation of the judgement” being formed, without a single COA member in it. Things clearly come a full circle in the BCCI much faster than they do elsewhere. In another world, this might be called simply going around in circles, but oh well...

The mandate for the COA was clear when they were appointed. Implement the Justice Lodha reforms. It seemed simple enough to do and with the backing of the Supreme Court, it should have been a breeze. The key words there are “should have”.

In March 2017, Vinod Rai, the head of the COA, clearly thought so too. He said that the reforms would be implemented in four to five months.

Yet, only a few months later, reports on Wednesday made the rounds that he was considering quitting in September. If that indeed takes place, the number of members in the COA would shrink to only one with Ramachandra Guha having already stepped down from the committee and Vikram Limaye on the way out, after being appointed the chief executive of the National Stock Exchange. What did they say about circles?

The state associations strike back

It is important to remember that before he was removed from his post, Thakur had told the Lodha panel in November 2016 that the BCCI were helpless in implementing the reforms as the state associations had opposed the move. When the COA first came to power, they started their work, seemingly with gusto, removing officials previously hired by Thakur and Shirke.

Yet, when it has come to dealing with the same state associations themselves, they have hardly managed to make much progress. They asked for compliance reports from the associations who held firm. They asked all the associations to provide their responses to a damning Deloitte Diligence Report about the financial condition of these bodies – but only six state units sent their replies by the first deadline, March 20. The COA were forced to put forward a second deadline, June 12 to receive responses.

And now more recently, it is the COA which is striking a more conciliatory tone. The committee mentioned at the beginning of this piece came into existence due to the administrators. On June 23, a day before the BCCI met for their Special General Meeting, the COA urged the state associations to identify points from Lodha recommendations which they were uncomfortable with and implement the rest, in the hope that that the Supreme Court would take into its consideration in its impending verdict in July.


“I told them when they still had the time, why don’t they think, and then the COA will tell the court that out of the, say, 20 recommendations, 18 are adopted,” said Rai, in an interview with ESPNCricinfo on May 11. “The court might just accede or may not, but at least you will give the court the impression that by and large you have accepted the recommendations”

And hence, after more than a year and half of legal wrangling (the original Lodha report was released on January 4, 2016), we seem to be back again where we all started.

Where does the COA stand after six months?

To give credit where it is due, the COA has helped steer the BCCI through troubled times. In particular, striking down an attempt by a section of the Indian cricket board to pull out of the Champions Trophy.

The committee has also shown a much welcomed degree of interest towards the previously-ignored women’s game, introducing the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Women (of which the first recipient was Shantha Rangaswamy) and starting an ex-gratia payment for the country’s women cricketers in April – though even that was caught up in legal wrangles later.

Unfortunately, the other bigger recommended reforms remain in limbo, mainly due to the stubbornness of the state associations. Though the COA stopped former president N Srinivasan from representing the BCCI at an ICC meeting in April, they could not clarify on whether Srinvasan was allowed to attend the SGM in June, despite being barred under the regulations, stating that it fell under the remit of the judiciary.

And in the entire ugly Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble fracas, the COA came out looking confused. When the reports of a rift first emerged, a report quoted an unnamed member of the committee criticising the Indian captain, calling him “a spoilt child” on June 1.

Four days later, Vinod Rai stated that the COA would not interfere in the selection of the next coach, only for him to state, on June 12, that Kumble would stay on as coach for the West Indies tour. Now, with the BCCI calling for a second round of applications for the position after Kumble’s’ departure, reports on Tuesday emerged stating that the COA was unhappy about the extension of the deadline.

“Whatever you say can be contested by the BCCI office-bearers or state associations. So I don’t really have any power,” said Rai in that ESPNCricinfo interview. “I have to keep running back to the court. We have to work with the BCCI office-bearers because there is no way we can be effective if we don’t work with them.”

And, of course, while that is true, there is nothing but a little sense of disappointment for the Indian cricket fans. Many would have expected that the saga of the Lodha reforms was finally coming to an end with the appointment of the Committee of Administrators.

But as the months have gone on, the expectations have given away to frustration. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Indeed, let’s call for another committee while we are at that.