New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, led by Vinod Rai and comprising former India cricketer Diana Edulji, have decided that like the Polly Umrigar Award (Men’s International Cricketer of the Year), an International Women’s Cricketer of the Year award will also be given at this year’s BCCI awards. The decision has been taken by the CoA and made known to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri over mail. This despite the presence of a committee to decide on the awards — comprising of the acting president, acting secretary and N Ram.
Despite the presence of the designated committee, Johri then went ahead and asked GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim to nominate a woman for the award, based on statistics. The CoA’s refusal to follow protocols has not gone down well with the board members. Rai has in fact written to Johri to start with the best woman cricketer’s award this time and in the future have corresponding awards for women for every award handed to the men across all age-groups. Surprisingly, the CoA met on April 12 and had a discussion on the upcoming BCCI awards night, but there was no mention or proposal of awards for women cricketers.
BCCI members feel that being a team, the board has always functioned in a democratic manner and called for the opinion of its members before taking a decision, through its respective committees. But they feel that the CoA is looking to break that style of working and is looking to be authoritative in their style of functioning and that is detrimental in the long run for the board and its members.
Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said: “You have a committee that is in place to take policy decisions on the awards. You had a CoA meeting on April 12 where the awards night was discussed. But after all that you decide to take a decision on the women’s award in this ad-hoc manner. Processes and protocols surely don’t have much place in the CoA’s dictionary it seems.
“Over the years the Board has functioned in a manner that every proposal has been passed in a meeting before being implemented. But clearly, the CoA has a problem with that. How else does one explain the committee’s move to ask Johri to start an award for women cricketers over mail and the CEO then going forward and asking Saba Karim to pick a player he deems fit for the award?
“This is total breakdown of systems and processes as the committee has asked Johri to choose players for awards and the CEO in turn has passed the responsibility to Saba. What is the need for the awards committee then? This is surely not the way the BCCI has been run by members over the years.”
The CoA in its mail to the CEO, in possession of CricketNext, wrote: “It is observed that while there is an award for Men’s International Cricketer of the Year (i.e. the Polly Umrigar Award), there is no corresponding award for women. Please include an award for Women’s International Cricketer of the Year and decide the awardee based on the relevant criteria. In future, please also ensure that for every award for men cricketers across all age groups, there is a corresponding award for women cricketers as well.”
This mail was then forwarded to Saba Karim by Johri to nominate a candidate the GM deems fit for the award. The BCCI awards are set to take place on June 12 before the historic Test between India and Afghanistan in Bengaluru from June 14.