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Former BCCI Chief Anurag Thakur Hails Leader Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who on Wednesday stepped down as India’s One-Day International and Twenty20 International (T20I) sides captain, was hailed as “one of the finest leaders” by former BCCI president Anurag Thakur.

Thakur was joined by noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle and 2012 Olympic bronze medal-winning shooter Gagan Narang in highlighting Dhoni’s achievements as India captain.


Former cricketer Mohammad Kaif said that India was blessed to have Dhoni as captain for nine years.

For former hockey star Tushar Khandker, it was a shocking news:


Anurag Thakur

Himachal Cancels Pact With Thakur-Linked State Cricket Body

Shimla, Jan 4 (IANS) In another setback to dethroned BCCI President Anurag Thakur, the Himachal Pradesh government on Wednesday cancelled an agreement with the state cricket association administered by him to build a stadium.

The Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh decided to cancel the agreement with the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) for constructing an outdoor stadium at Nurpur in Kangra district in the state, an official statement said.

The state’s Youth Services and Sports Department had leased the land to the HPCA for the construction and running of the stadium, an official told IANS.

An agreement to this regard was signed on May 5, 2012. At that time the BJP government led by Anurag’s father Prem Kumar Dhumal was at the helm in the state.

The HPCA had plans to spend Rs 6 crore in the first phase for its construction, a senior HPCA functionary told IANS.

So far only levelling of the stadium ground was carried out, he added.

The HPCA has to its credit the development of five stadia, including the world class showpiece stadium in Dharamsala, and one cricket academy in the state capital.

The Rs 100-crore ($16 million) stadium in Dharamsala first figured on the international cricket map in 2005 when it hosted a warm-up tie between the touring Pakistan team and the Board President’s XI.

After the Congress formed the government in the state in December 2012, the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau had filed a case of cheating and misappropriation against the HPCA, including its President Anurag Thakur and his father Dhumal.

The government also alleged wrongdoing in the allotment of land to the HPCA for constructing a residential complex for players near the Dharamsala stadium, some 250 km from the state capital.

Cases are still pending in various courts.


Balwinder Singh Sandhu Praises ‘Good Administrators’ Ajay Shirke And Anurag Thakur

Former India cricketer Balwinder Singh Sandhu has praised Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke for their administrative work. Thakur and Shirke were removed from the post of BCCI President and Secretary respectively by the Supreme Court after being found guilty of not following the apex court’s order to comply with the Lodha Panel recommendations in order to introduce administrative changes within the cricket board.

However, Sandhu has little doubts over the duo’s administrative abilities.

Speaking to Mid-Day, the World Cup-winning bowler said:“Ajay is a good administrator. He always did good for the game of cricket and stood out with his no-nonsense approach.”

Sandhu was Maharashtra’s coach when Shirke began his career in cricket administration.

“He changed cricket in Maharashtra in a way and ensured the game was looked after better than earlier at the district level. I reckon he did a good job with Maharashtra and Indian cricket. Remember, he resigned (as BCCI treasurer) on principle when the spot-fixing scandal broke out. Ajay was very approachable and if you disagreed with him, you could tell him so on his face,” Sandhu added.

Speaking about Thakur, he said:“Anurag too is a good administrator. Unfortunately, he got into the mess of BCCI politics. He had to support his colleagues.”

Earlier, the decision was hailed by legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi. He had said:“This is a very important decision for Indian cricket and for all sportspersons. This is not a happy moment as we should not have been in this situation at the first place. A few people had made cricket their own property.”

Meanwhile, the upcoming limited-overs series has been put in limbo due to the decision. The BCCI, as well as the state bodies, are in a state of confusion following the verdict and there are dark clouds lingering over how state associations will organise the games.


Sunil Gavaskar Bats For Sourav Ganguly As BCCI Chief

Former Indian cricketer-turned-commentator Sunil Gavaskar has urged former national side captain Sourav Ganguly to take up the top post in Indian cricket governing body – Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“BCCI has got a very good bench strength to take up the bigger roles and one name that comes to my mind is Sourav Ganguly,” said Gavaskar to reporters when asked who should join the board on an interim basis.

Gavaskar was briefing media persons on Tuesday after the Supreme Court sacked board president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke on Monday.

On recommendations of an apex body-led Justice R M Lodha Committee, the court verdict came after a long-standing tussle and several court battles which saw a paradigm shift.

Gavaskar has also stated that the former left-handed batsman will be the best in business to handle every difficult situation.

“Remember, in 1999-2000 when Indian cricket was gripped by the match-fixing saga, Ganguly was given the Indian team captaincy and he turned it around,” he told NDTV.

While coming down heavily on the country’s cricket body, the-67-year-old Gavaskar has criticised the functionaries after failing to implement the recommendations of the Lodha committee.

“Once the Supreme Court gives the order, that has to be accepted. The BCCI has lost face internationally after this entire saga. We are in for a completely new era for Indian cricket,” exasperated looking Gavaskar said.

For India, 44-year-old Ganguly has appeared in 113 Test and 311 One-day International matches which included 16 hundred and 22 tons respectively for India.

The Kolkata-born has scored 7212 runs in Tests and 11,363 in ODIs in his 15-year cricket career.

Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar would lead the race to be the next president of BCCI.

Five Candidates to Replace Anurag Thakur As BCCI President

The news that shook the cricketing world on Monday was sacking of BCCI president Anurag Thakur from his post by the Supreme Court of India. Ajay Shirke, the honorary secretary of the board was also shown the door by the apex court, leaving BCCI handicapped and in a dire situation to deal with.

The verdict of the court came after Thakur was warned of perjury, as current ICC chairman and former BCCI boss Shashank Manohar revealed in public about Anurag seeking ICC interference into the Lodha Panel matter, which counts for a criminal offence and a jail term for around seven years too.

A three-member Lodha Panel, who were constituted by the Supreme Court to bring changes in the functioning of BCCI on recommendations of Justice Mukul Mudgal, which were supposed to be implemented by the board to accept the due date, which intentionally or unintentionally wasn’t undertaken by the board. Hence they had to suffer such a punishment.

Of the many recommendations suggested by the Lodha Panel, no one above the age of 70 years holding a post in the board was one, in order to part ways with any form of conflict of interest, which counts of not holding more than one position in BCCI at a time.

Supreme Court, after bringing BCCI to their knees asked Fali Nariman to be a member of an eminent panel of personalities, to choose an interim president of the board in the meanwhile. However, Fali refused to take on the responsibility saying, ‘he represented BCCI in 2009 as a lawyer and would want to avoid any conflict of interest’. The apex court then replaced him with a senior advocate Anil Divan, who will now make a call on a selection of the temporary boss of BCCI by January 19.

As the post of the chief in BCCI is vacant for now, Sportzwiki looks at the five contenders who could replace Anurag Thakur as the president of the board.


Supreme Court Ruling Puts India-England Series In Limbo

A ruling by the Supreme Court of India did not just shelved BCCI top officials from their post but also put India v England in a limbo as now the state associations are now barred from doing any business transactions and there is utter confusion in state boards and BCCI as no one knows what to do next.

Yesterday, The Supreme Court of India sacked Anurag Thakur from the post of BCCI President and also removed Ajay Shirke from the post of the board’s secretary. That decision has left BCCI is confusion. With the England team set to land in the country on Thursday to play three ODIs and Three T20Is, no state association has any idea from where to get funds to organise the games as earlier there have been the tussle between Lodha Panel and BCCI for the distribution of the funds.

Now, it will be quite difficult for a President sans BCCI to organise the games without funds, “With all state associations forced to comply with the recommendations, most of the senior state officials stand ineligible to operate. Eventually, a match is hosted by the local association and all of a sudden you don’t know who is in charge.The entire board is in a state of confusion,“ a top BCCI official told TOI on Monday.

“Everything was going fine so far. The England team is due to play India `An’ on Jan 10 and Jan 12 in Mumbai. The first ODI is in Pune on Jan 15. And both the associations don’t have their heads in Sharad Pawar and Ajay Shirke. So many people will lose their signing authorities which are essential to host international teams. We will now have to rearrange everything and see what can be done,“ added the official.

The future of the India and England series is in a limbo and there remains a question that how state associations will organise the games. Lodha Panel is now in charge to organise the matches and it will be interesting to see that how the panel will tune in with the state board and organise the games.


It Wasn’t A Personal Battle, It Was A Battle For The Autonomy Of The BCCI: Anurag Thakur

Anurag Thakur, who was expelled from the post of BCCI president on Monday, took to Twitter to say that his decision to oppose certain Lodha Panel recommendations was not personal but to maintain the autonomy of ‘the best-managed sports organisation in the country’.

Thakur along with Ajay Shirke, who was the BCCI secretary, were removed from their post by the Supreme Court for failing to comply with the Lodha Panel recommendations in order to introduce administrative changes within the cricket body.

Thakur said:“I had the honour of serving Indian cricket. Over the years, Indian cricket saw the best in terms of administration and development of the game. BCCI is the best-managed sports organisation in the country with defined procedures. India has the best cricket infrastructure in the world, built and maintained by the state associations with the help of BCCI.

Thakur also welcomed Supreme Court’s decision and wished them luck to run the BCCI ‘under retired judges’.

“India has more quality players than anywhere in the world. For me, it wasn’t a personal battle, it was a battle for the autonomy of the sports body. I respect the Supreme Court as any citizen. Supreme Court judges feel BCCI can do well under retired judges. I wish them all the best. I’m sure Indian cricket will do well under their guidance. My commitment to the best of Indian cricket and the autonomy of the sports will always remain.”


Bishan Singh Bedi Hails Supreme Court’s Order To Sack Anurag Thakur And Ajay Shirke

Former India spinner Bishan Singh Bedi has hailed Supreme Court’s decision to remove Anurag Thakur from the post of BCCI president and Ajay Shirke from secretary’s post. The duo were found guilty of not following the apex court’s order to comply with the Lodha Panel recommendations in order to introduce administrative changes within the cricket body.

Accusing Thakur and Shirke of making cricket their fiefdom, Bedi told reporters:“This is a very important decision for Indian cricket and for all sportspersons.”

“This is not a happy moment as we should not have been in this situation at the first place. A few people had made cricket their own property,” the 70-year-old added.

The Lodha panel was formed by the Supreme Court in 2015 after Justice Mukul Mudgal committee recommended reforms in the BCCI. The committee was given the responsibility of looking into the affairs of the cricket board after 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting charges. The Supreme court-appointed panel made some recommendations to bring administrative changes in the board. However, the reforms have now gone down too well with the board and as a result, they have been reluctant to implement several recommendations, most importantly the age and tenure restrictions for top officials, as well as not allowing them from serving successive terms.

On the other hand, the apex court has accepted the majority of recommendations made by the three-member panel in July and ordered the cricket to implement them. The court had already warned the BCCI officials of dire consequences in case they did not follow the orders and the BCCI president and secretary finally paid the price for flouting the orders.

“Legally and in prosecutional terms, the decision was much needed and we are indebted to them (Supreme Court) for taking the bold step. I hope Indian cricket will be benefitted from this decision and clean-up will be possible now,”  Bedi concluded.

Gokaraju Ganga Raju is the president of Andhra Pradesh State Cricket Association and also the senior Vice-President of BCCI.

We Would Implement Lodha Reforms In Totality With Immediate Effect: Gokaraju Ganga Raju

Hours after Supreme Court sacked BCCI president Anurag Thakur and honorary secretary Ajay Shirke from their respective posts, Andhra Pradesh State Cricket Association and one of five BCCI’s vice-presidents, Gokaraju Ganga Raju said he will make sure Lodha reforms are being implemented in totality with immediate effect.

The Monday morning wasn’t a pleasing one for Anurag Thakur, who suffered a punishment for not implementing Lodha Panel reforms and breaching the criminal code of conduct by seeking help from cricket’s governing body ICC into the matter earlier on.

“There is no confusion as Supreme Court has passed it verdict. As the president of Andhra Pradesh State Cricket Association, we would implement Lodha reforms in totality with immediate effects. If it means we ha to go into a cooling period, so be it. Indian cricket should move forward.”

Now, with Anurag Thakur being sidelined from the top post of the organisation, there might be a good chance for Gokaraju to cement his place at the top. When asked about his thoughts on the same, Raju said he isn’t clear about the matter and would take up the job with utmost honesty and sincerity if been thrown at him.

“Look, I still need some clarity on the matter. Mr CK Khanna of DDCA is also a senior VP. But in any case, it will be a temporary post as I will also have to go through a compulsory cooling off period. But if such kind of responsibility is entrusted to me, I will perform my duties with utmost honesty and sincerity.”

Raju, however, didn’t deny that not just BCCI but even state associations were opposed the reforms. Later, he admitted that there is no point of creating chaos as the decision of Supreme court is already out and that he has been the part of BCCI for a while now and knows the ways to handle things up.

“It was because everyone was together. But now when the verdict is out there is no question of defiance. We have been in BCCI long enough to know how to run the administration. Andhra has 19 cricket grounds owned by association and a second International stadium is coming up. We would do a good job”, he concluded.

Ajay Shirke said he is absolutely fine with the decision of Supreme Court to sack him from the post.

I Am Completely Fine With Sacking And Have No Regrets: Ajay Shirke

Following his sacking from the post of BCCI’s honorary secretary on Monday by the Supreme Court of India, Ajay Shirke said he is completely fine with the decision and holds no regret. Ajay Shirke and Anurag Thakur, two of the top office-bearers, President Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, of cricket’s governing body in India were dismissed from their positions following a verdict on the future of the BCCI in India.

Shirke, after being to asked to walk out from the board, hoped that the decision made should not hamper Indian cricket’s integrity on the International stage.

“I have no reaction to that (to his sacking). If that is the Supreme Court order, I cease to be secretary. It cannot get any simpler than that. My role in BCCI is over.”

BCCI and its president Anurag Thakur were under scrutiny for not accepting all the recommendations laid down by the Lodha Panel and faced the consequences right away. Also, the apex court warned Thakur for Perjury, which is an criminal offence and could lead him to serve jail sentence for up to seven years.

When the question was asked to Shirke about what all steps he and Thakur could have taken to avoid such a shocker, he said BCCI isn’t about individuals and decisions are made with the consent of all state members and further strongly stated that he holds no regrets from walking away from the post.

“At the end of the day, the BCCI comprises of members. It is not about me or the president. It is about the members. I have no reason to go into history. History can be judged by people differently. I have no personal attachment to the post. In the past also I have resigned and I have lots of other things to do. I came back to the Board as there was a vacancy and I was elected unopposed. Now it has come to this (the Supreme Court). I am completely fine with it and I have no regrets.”

Sacking, a hard pill to swallow for anyone, did not seem to have affected much on Shrike as he seemed calmed and relaxed after the verdict.

He said the working off the board should be in the safe hands and hoped that the decision does not hamper team India’s domination in all formats.

“I hope the new dispensation continues the good work done by the BCCI. Hope the board doesn’t lose more face globally. I also hope the Indian team is able to maintain its supremacy in all three formats of the game.”

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