“If it aint broke dont fix it” goes the saying, and one area the Justice RM Lodha Committee has left alone is that regarding the players.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel though suggested a three-man selection committee, which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not accepted.
As the board administration faces uncertainty with the Apex court due to pronounce its interim order on the Lodha panel’s status report demanding the removal of the BCCI top brass, the interesting question is whether the court will touch the squad chosen for the first three ODIs against New Zealand.
Had the court passed its interim order on Thursday, and ruled the selection committee illegal because it includes two players who have not played Tests as recommended by the Lodha panel, the team selection would have been in trouble.
However, that was not the case and it allowed the panel headed by former India stumper MSK Prasad to name the squad to be led by MS Dhoni for the first three ODIs of the series starting on October 16. The selection committee was one of the major areas where the BCCI chose to ignore the Lodha panel’s recommendation. The board picked the new committee on September 21 with only Prasad, Debang Gandhi and Sarandeep Singh ex-Test players. Jatin Paranjpe and Gagan Khoda have only played ODIs.
The BCCI, which had invited applications for the job, argued that the Lodha panel’s conditions forced bigger names to keep away.
So, will the Supreme Court order dissolve the selection panel, and by extension, the 15-member side picked?
Sports lawyer, Vidushpat Singhania, said the squad may escape the court’s axe though it had flouted directives by the Lodha panel.
“It is unlikely they will invalidate the team selection if it has taken place in the correct manner, but (I’m) not putting it out of the realm (of possibility),” he told HT.
A mitigating factor could be that the new panel was chosen nine days before the initial compliance deadline of September 30 given by the Lodha Committee. But Singhania pointed out that the panel had given the cricket board enough time to implement directives.
As the BCCI ignored the recommendation to select a three-member panel , “they (Supreme Court bench) could actually invalidate it (the chosen team,” Singhania said.
However, he felt such an order will be issued only as an extreme step. “If there is any gross violation, they may change a little bit, but otherwise they will just confirm it (the team). They would not want to hurt the momentum of the team.”
The Lodha panel wants more players to be involved in running the board. It has even recommended two player representatives to the Apex council, which it wants formed before the December deadline.
The cricket board has been involved in many controversies and court cases in the last two decades, but there has not been one as far as national team selection is concerned. That may be enough for the players to be spared embarrassment.