Kolkata: Noted historian Ramachandra Guha in his resignation letter to the Committee of Administrators (COA) had stated various reasons that led him to quit the job. Among other things, he had also cited one reason as being that of the, ‘conflict of interest’ in the BCCI, and indirectly took a jibe at former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, who is the coach of both the India U-19 side and Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Daredevils.
Guha, in his letter hadn’t directly mentioned Dravid’s name but held that coaches and support staff or any staff of the NCA having IPL contracts was, “contrary to the spirit of the Lodha Committee.”
Rahul Dravid’s tenure as the coach of the Indian junior teams began in June 2015, and he had asked the BCCI as to whether him performing the same role for an IPL team would be an issue or not.
Sources in the BCCI say that the legendary batsman was told that there wouldn’t be a problem of ‘conflict of interest’ as there were Sanjay Bangar and R Sridhar ahead of him who like him were involved in dual contracts with the BCCI and the IPL. Dravid’s lawyers also assured him there wouldn’t be any problem.
“It’s 10 months for BCCI work and two months for the IPL,” said a BCCI official. He also added, “Dravid’s contract is no different to anyone else’s. It is not like he has got a special dispensation.”
He further stated, “The debate over whether it is a conflict or not is a completely different issue. There are very good cases on both sides and it is up to the people in power to decide what works for them and what they feel and clarify that,”
Under the current structure of the BCCI, the coaches and support staff of the senior and junior national teams are offered ten month contracts that run till the the end of March after which they are allowed to sign a two-month deal with the IPL franchises. Apart from Dravid, R Sridhar too has an IPL contract with IPL team Kings XI Punjab and Andrew Leipus, who is the chief physio at the NCA is also involved with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Dravid, who hadn’t made any response till now after Guha’s letter surfaced in the media, said that he wrote to the CoA saying that he had followed all the ‘conflict of interest’ rules and regulations and also called for a greater need for clarity, in case of rule changes.
In an interaction with ESPN Cricinfo, ‘The Wall’ said, “Yes, I have written to the CoA explaining my position and explaining the background against which this perceived conflict of interest has happened,”
He also added, “By the BCCI’s conflict of interest rules, I was absolutely not under a conflict of interest. If the rules have changed midway through the contract, then I think it is unfair to criticise me for breaking the rules or twisting the rules to suit my convenience.”
He also called for a clarity in such cases as this, where people made their own interpretations without having much knowledge of the rules and the background.
“My simple point is that, not only me but there are five or six of us who are in the same position. There needs to be clarity. If there is clarity, we will be in a position to take an informed decision. It is disappointing the way this got played out in the public without much understanding of the background,” he said.
The CoA is looking ahead in having a broad framework of rules regarding the issue of, ‘conflict of interest’ while having discussions of having a fresh contract in place for Rahul Dravid in a meeting on June 12. A BCCI official told ESPN Cricinfo that it wasn’t a response to Guha’s letter.
“”It’s not that this has suddenly cropped up today. Nobody is against resolving any of these issues,” said the official. “You have to do it in a holistic manner and that’s a work in progress. And certain things have a certain process. You will have to figure out what the right framework is. It is not a situation-specific thing. You need to develop a framework that addresses conflict based on principles,” he added.
The official said that the availability of quality coaches has to be kept in mind while making the rules. “That (increasing remunerations) is the point we are considering, in terms of increasing the contracts for Test players to the extent that it has to be something that is reasonable even if somebody does not get an IPL contract..We have to think through what the framework is for coaches and support staff.”
The official added further, “There are pros and cons that need to be weighed appropriately and then a decision has to be made based on who’s available for these things. Not that there are unlimited number of people available or quality people available, so all that has to be kept in mind.”
(With inputs from ESPN Cricinfo)