India’s new head coach Ravi Shastri should have been allowed to pick his own support staff rather than having it imposed on him, according to Vikram Limaye, the outgoing member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Committee of Administrators.

Banker Limaye, who stepped down from the COA to take over as the chief executive of the National Stock Exchange, said that the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee, which picked Shastri over five other candidates, were not supposed to pick the head coach’s support staff.

The CAC, comprising former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, also appointed former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan as bowling consultant and former captain Rahul Dravid as batting consultant for overseas tours.

Limaye said that the head coach should have been involved in the decision to appoint consultants. “[The] advisory committee’s main task was to pick the head coach,” he told The Times of India in an interview.

“The brief given to them was not to pick the support staff,” he added. “The rest was their recommendation. Ultimately, it is the head coach who should have a say in who his support staff should be. Whether he needs permanent coaches or additional consultants for specific tours or conditions, the head coach can only recommend. The head coach is well within his rights on these matters. You cannot decide arbitrarily who the head coach’s team should be without the head coach’s involvement in that decision.”

Limaye also said that the whole interview process for head coach and its aftermath has been “sensationalised beyond reason” in the media. After the CAC took the interviews, Ganguly had told the media that they were holding back the announcement until they informed captain Virat Kohli. However, the following day, reports surfaced that the COA was unhappy with the decision and had asked the CAC to announce their decision within a day.

The next day, it was leaked in the media that Shastri was the new coach, before the BCCI denied it, only to announce it themselves hours later. “...we had put a process in place which was very clearly laid out,” Limaye said. “There was a credible committee in place that was tasked with the responsibility and the outcome should be respected instead of being sensationalised. The committee said they wanted to talk to Virat and there was nothing wrong with that either. There is no reason why captain should find out who the coach is through press. There were various channels and people saying this is a farce and Virat was making the decision, which is not correct.”

‘Mismatch in understanding’

With Limaye’s exit, the COA, which initially had four members when it was formed in January this year, is now down to only two. Former member and historian Ramachandra Guha had resigned from the panel in June citing various concerns regarding its functioning. The COA is now left with only its chief Vinod Rai and former cricketer Diana Edulji.

Limaye said that there is “a mismatch in expectations and understanding” because “I don’t think people understand what COA is able to do and not able to do”. He added, “The expectation is that COA is completely empowered to do whatever they feel is appropriate for Indian cricket. That is not the mandate given to COA. [The] mandate is to implement the [Justice Lodha panel’s] reforms and supervise the management and administration of BCCI.”

The COA is not empowered to overrule any decision of the BCCI’s general body, Limaye said, as that can only be done by the Supreme Court. “Many of the decisions that need to be taken for implementation of [the] reforms are general body decisions and COA cannot unilaterally enforce them. Ultimately, it is for [BCCI] members to vote and if they choose not to, then it is not possible for us to get the reforms implemented.”

Limaye also disagreed with the view that the COA could have done more in these seven months. “We put a model constitution in place two months after being appointed, which was challenged in court,” he said. “Following that, we went to the court seeking clarification. This was somewhere around March end or early April and the SC gave a date of July 14 to opine on these matters and clarify. So when people say COA should have implemented reforms, there’s a mismatch in understanding.”

He added, “Now the court has said that it will look into these matters on September 5. So, in the interim, whatever has to be done in terms of adoption of the constitution cannot be enforced by the COA. Either the [BCCI] members have to agree to do it on their own or the court has to enforce it. Beyond a certain point, the COA cannot do much.”