Seeking clarity on the contentious ‘conflict of interest’ issue, the Committee of Administrators (COA) on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court in the wake of BCCI ethics officer D K Jain ruling that former players like VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly cannot perform multiple cricketing roles. Keeping the soul of the Lodha reforms in mind – one person one post — former Supreme Court judge Jain last month ruled that ex-India batsman Laxman and former captain Ganguly will have to choose one of the multiples roles they are performing at the moment including their commentary stints during the ongoing World Cup. After due deliberation in its meeting on Saturday, the COA decided on seeking Supreme Court’s guidance on the ‘conflict of interest’ issue.
Laxman is a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), from which he has offered to step down, mentor of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad and a commentator. Ganguly, who too is commentating in the World Cup, is a CAC member, Bengal cricket boss and advisor of IPL side Delhi Capitals. The order, if enforced, can potentially affect a host of former and active players who take up commentary assignments with their other cricketing roles. “It has been decided to approach the court to have some clarity. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define conflict of interest. While Justice Jain has simply gone by what is there in the BCCI constitution (one person one post), not allowing former players to commentate is a tad unfair on them,” a senior BCCI official, who was part of the meeting, told PTI.
“Taking the example of Laxman and Ganguly who may be required for CAC commitments only once or twice a year, they should not miss out on other assignments like commentary because of that,” the official added. In May, Jain dismissed allegations of conflict of interest against Sachin Tendulkar over his dual role as a CAC member and Mumbai Indians Icon. This was done after Tendulkar refused to be part of the CAC unless he is provided with agreeable ‘terms of reference’. However, he too is commentating in the ongoing World Cup.
The COA took the opinion of its legal team before deciding on the matter. Another official said that the current situation was bound to arise with complexities surrounding the conflict of interest clause. “As per the reformed BCCI constitution, it is pretty clear that you can’t hold more than one post at the same time. So Justice Jain has gone by that and made the right decision. At the same time, not allowing former players with multiple roles to do commentary is also hard.
“Mark Waugh was an Australian selector, yet he used to commentate. Where does conflict of interest begins and ends? It is pretty difficult to define,” said the official. Speaking to PTI last month, Jain had clearly stated that he did not bar anyone from holding any post, he just went by the BCCI constitution and the onus was on to the Board to enforce the order on Laxman and Ganguly.
Meanwhile, the potential conflict of interest over Rahul Dravid’s appointment as NCA Head of Cricket has been put to rest after the former India captain decided to take a leave of absence for two years from his employer India Cements.