'It was a battle to save BCCI's autonomy'

Resigned to fate, Thakur takes a dig at verdict 

'It was a battle to save BCCI's autonomy'
Given the marching orders by Supreme Court, the sacked duo of BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke said they will abide by the directive even though they made their scepticism with the verdict quite apparent. Thakur and Shirke were told to quit office with immediate effect by an irate Supreme Court, which held that it was mandatory for the BCCI to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations on administrative reforms in toto.

Thakur took a subtle dig at the order saying that if the apex court feels the cricketing body will do well under the guidance of retired judges, “I wish them all the best”. “For me it was not a personal battle, it was a battle for the autonomy of the sports body. I respect Supreme Court as any citizen should. If Supreme Court judges feel that BCCI could do better under retired judges, I wish them all the best. I am sure Indian cricket will do well under their guidance,” said Thakur.

He reacted to the Supreme Court order by putting up a video clip on social media. “My commitment to the best of Indian cricket and autonomy of sports will always remain,” he said. Thakur was BCCI joint secretary and secretary before being elected president in May 2016. The BJP MP has also served as Himachal cricket boss for more than a decade.

“I had the honour of serving Indian cricket. Over the years, Indian cricket saw its best in terms of administration and development of the game. BCCI is the best managed sports organisation in the country with defined procedures. India has the best infrastructure built and maintained by state associations with help of BCCI. India has more quality players than anywhere in the world.

Shirke, on the other hand, said he is “absolutely fine” with the Supreme Court order but hoped that the Board does not lose its international standing owing to the administrative upheaval here. “I have no reaction to that (to his sacking). If that is the Supreme Court order, I cease to be secretary. It cannot get any simpler than that. My role in BCCI is over,” said Shirke shortly after Supreme Court removed him and president Anurag Thakur as the office-bearers of the BCCI.

The two faced the wrath of the Supreme Court after BCCI failed to implement the Lodha panel reforms under their leadership. When asked whether the situation could have been avoided had the Board implemented the sweeping reforms earlier, Shirke said there was no question of handling the issue differently. “At the end of the day, the BCCI comprises of members. It is not about me or the president. It is about the members.

“I have no reason to go into history. History can be judged by people differently. I have no personal attachment to the post. In the past also I have resigned and I have lots of other things to do. I came back to the Board as there was a vacancy and I was elected unopposed. Now it has come to this. I am completely fine with it and I have no regrets,” said Shirke from the UK.

Shrike hoped the Board does not lose its powerful position on the global stage. “I hope the new dispensation continues the good work done by the BCCI. Hope the Board doesn’t lose more face globally. I also hope the Indian team is able to maintain its supremacy in all three formats of the game,” he added.
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