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India Captain & Coach to Decide WAGs Visits Outside Approved Period on Tours

Devadyuti Das |July 18, 2019, 3:00 PM IST
India Captain & Coach to Decide WAGs Visits Outside Approved Period on Tours

In a major change in policy decisions implemented by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) recently, the Indian team’s captain and head coach now have the power to allow or disallow visits from wives and partners (WAGs) of members from the playing squad on overseas tours.

For the first time this power has been passed on to the captain and coach because only the BCCI management used to take a call on approval of such matters.

“The issue whether the authority to approve any visits from visitors outside the Visitor Period should vest with the Team India captain and Coach or with BCCI management was discussed. It was noted that the BCCI management had traditionally decided these matters. It was also noted that the BCCI Constitution requires cricketing and non-cricketing matters are to be kept separate,” the CoA noted in the minutes of the meeting on May 21 posted on BCCI website.

“After some discussion CoA decided that: (a) The authority to approve any visits from visitors outside the Visitor Period should vest with the Team Captain and Coach, and; (b) This should be reflected in the Family Clause of the Players’ Contracts,” the CoA instructed.

CricketNext has found out that this decision was not a unanimous one in the CoA. Only two out of the three members agreed with this proposal.

"The Indian cricket captain has never had this sort of authority. We don't know what kind of signal it will send. The CoA is appearing very weak in front of the Team India captain by this decision," sources close to the CoA informed CricketNext.

This is a major deviation from the past rules as Indian captain is not an unbiased decision-making authority in this case since he is a part of the touring squad and hence the BCCI management didn’t offer such authority to the captain and coach of the team.

“The BCCI allows for a reasonable amount of time for the wives and partners of the players to visit on overseas tours. This is done to ensure that focus of the squad is not diverted during the course of a series. The power to make any exception for the player has always vested with BCCI in the past, I don’t see any reason for that to change now,” former BCCI Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ratnakar Shetty told CricketNext.

"This is the prerogative of the Board in all countries and clear guidelines are in place on these matters after discussion with the player representatives. Decision such as these cannot be left to captain.

"Honestly there is no clarity on the rules and regulations hence these interpretations which are changed time and again. I think this will continue till an elected body is in place," Shetty added.

The restriction on WAGs stay came into force back in 2014 after Indian team’s disastrous tour of England, losing the Test series 3-1. There was a lot of criticism in the media when Kohli got BCCI permission to travel with his then girlfriend Anushka Sharma on England tour.

The BCCI wanted to follow example set by the England Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) who have a fixed slot for the visits from WAGs.

In fact, in a May 3rd meeting of the CoA, the committee with Vinod Rai, former women’s captain Diana Edulji and Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Ravi Thodge had denied one member of the World Cup squad permission for his wife to accompany him earlier than otherwise permissible.

“The CoA discussed that one of the players from the men’s senior team had made a request for permission for his wife to accompany him to the World Cup earlier than otherwise permissible,” the minutes of the meeting read.

“The CoA was informed the matter is being discussed with the concerned player and that it may not be advisable to grant this request. After some discussion, the CoA decided that it will not accede to the above request from the concerned player,” CoA decided.

Skipper Kohli, vice-captain Rohit Sharma and wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni were some of the players in the World Cup squad who were accompanied by their wives and family during the World Cup.

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