These are tumultuous times for the BCCI as nothing seems to be going right for them. At a time when the board has had to deal with controversial selection of tainted players, national player injuries and feud within the board, charges of alleged corruption in exams for umpires has further worsened the crisis.
CricketNext had reported of an anonymous mail from a domestic umpire to the CoA and BCCI officials hinting at the corruption involved in the selection process of domestic umpires. Adding that the exam in 2017 was also rigged, he claimed to have complete knowledge of the ‘racket’.
The Times of India has now reported that out of the six members of the umpires committee — Bhupinder Singh Bhatti (Vidarbha), Rajiv Risodkar (MP), Shavir Tarapore (Karnataka), Ganesh Iyer, Vilas Bandivadekar and Ajit Datar (all Mumbai) — three are actively involved in training umpires for the examination.
Barring Tarapore, others in the committee hold big posts in state associations, which adds to conflict of interest. Iyer, Bandivadekar and Datar train individuals for umpiring in Mumbai. That could only mean that the instructor of a coaching class sets the paper for these exams. It just brings out the irony that the umpires who are given the responsibility of taking fair decisions on the field, engage in such practices off the field.
In the mail accessed by CricketNext, the domestic umpire had spoken of this and said: “Sir, umpiring exam questions and answers are known to candidates beforehand. Happened for June 2018 exam. Had happened in 2017 exam. Please give appointment. I can tell names of people involved and people benefiting or have criminal investigation done by police or CBI. I will be first to tell names of people involved. Those who are around people setting the paper.
“Candidates also know answers beforehand. For them, the preparation before exam is by-hearting answers of 30 to 35 questions which will come in the exam. Lots of malicious activities going on. Please step in soon else this racket will destroy umpiring.”
The CoA has shown no sense of urgency in addressing the issue and only one of the four officials, to whom the mail was addressed to, has written back to the ‘whistle-blower’.
Earlier, a BCCI official had told Cricketnext that this was a direct result of keeping the umpires’ sub-committee out of the loop.
“This is a direct fall out of keeping the umpires' sub-committee out of the loop. The committee used to take calls on all matters pertaining to umpiring. The structure was such that the professionals taking these decisions were unable to influence the committee and the things were fair and equitable. Right now, those running the show are not even aware of the mechanics, the coteries etc that the umpires’ sub-committee would earlier deal with,” he had explained.
With the 2018-19 season set to see a whopping 2017 matches being conducted, time is running out as there is an acute shortage of the umpires in the country at the moment to officiate in domestic games.