Along with Edulji, former India opener, late Pankaj Roy will also be awarded posthumously. Edulji had played 20 Tests and 34 ODIs in a career spanning over 17 years, taking 63 and 46 wickets respectively.
She played at a time when the game was run by Women's Cricket Association of India (WCAI) which was mostly cash strapped and couldn't arrange for international matches.
While Edulji's contribution as a pioneer of women's cricket movement in the country is unquestionable, the murmur in the BCCI corridors is about the timing of such a recommendation when she is a part of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) running Indian cricket.
The three-member panel that send the recommendations comprised eminent journalist N Ram, acting president CK Khanna and acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary. CoA chief Vinod Rai was asked if this is a case of Conflict of Interest.
"The committee is headed by Mr N Ram. I didn't even know the recommendations. It doesn't come to us at at all," said Rai. When the acting secretary was contacted, he refused to divulge the names.
"I will never divulge the names recommended by our panel," Choudhary said.
"However if you want to know my take on Conflict of Interest, I can tell you what I think. If the committee is not influenced by any outsiders when it takes a decision, I don't think there's any Conflict of Interest," Choudhary added.
While last year when Shantha Rangaswamy got the award, Edulji and COA members were party to the decision unlike this time. In fact, Edulji was part of the panel that recommended the names alongside Ramachandra Guha and N Ram.
A veteran BCCI official said: "No one can ever question Diana's contribution towards growth of women's cricket in India. After Shantha, she is a logical choice as there aren't too many great women cricketers of yesteryears.
"But she is being recommended at a time when she is one of the figure heads of BCCI. Conflict of Interest is not about direct conflicts but about perceptions.
"Whenever I see these situations, I feel bad for Roger Binny, who was dumped from selection panel as his son Stuart is an active cricketer. Roger also used to recuse himself when Stuart's name would come up," the official added.
Meanwhile Pankaj Roy's son Pronab, himself a former Test player, was ecstatic to hear the news.
"Dad would have got emotional had he been around. We as a family always felt that my father always got his recognition late. But better late than never. My mother will be overjoyed to hear this news," he said.
Roy played 43 Tests scoring 2442 runs with five hundreds. He will always be remembered for his world record opening stand of 413 runs with Vinoo Mankad against New Zealand in Chennai (Madras) in 1956. The record stood for 52 years.
The BCCI Annual Awards will be held before the historic Test between India and Afghanistan in Bengaluru.
The list of recommendations (year-wise) is as below:
Pankaj Roy (2016-17) - Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
Anshuman Gaekwad (2017-18) – Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award
Diana Edulji (2016-17) - BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award (women)
Sudha Shah (2017-18) - BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award (women)
Abbas Ali Baig (2016-17) - BCCI Special award
Naren Tamhane (2016-17) - BCCI Special award
Budhi Kunderan (2017-18) - BCCI Special award
First Published: April 28, 2018, 5:06 PM IST