Lodha panel's surgical strikes on BCCI puts NZ tour in jeopardy

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 04, 2016 13:04 hrs

Barely hours after India dethroned Pakistan to become the No 1 Test side, the BCCI and the Justice Lodha Committee are at loggerheads.

There has been animosity between both the parties ever since the committee started interfering in the affairs of the cricket board and this time the fight is going down to the wire!

After the Justice RM Lodha led panel directed the banks to freeze the BCCI's accounts, the board hit back by threatening to cancel the ongoing tour.

The Lodha panel was though quick to clarify that they didn't direct the banks to freeze the accounts and that the BCCI could clear routine expenses.

But it is learnt that the two banks - Yes Bank and Bank of Maharashtra - that operate BCCI's accounts had indeed frozen the accounts on Monday as per the orders they received from the Lodha Committee.

After the BCCI threatened to cancel the tour, the Lodha committee though clarified that they didn't want the the accounts frozen.

"We have not frozen the accounts of BCCI, we have directed the BCCI to not disburse funds to the state association. Day to day affairs, routine expenditure, matches, games, that should go on. There is absolutely no prohibition," the committee said.

The BCCI, however, argued that state associations were dependant on the parent body for organising matches and these associations were unable to carry on functioning in the wake of the latest directive from the Lodha panel, affecting their preparations for the upcoming games in the ongoing series against New Zealand.

"The members are pained at the treatment meted out to them. They depend on BCCI's funds for organising matches. So far seven associations have communicated their inability to host games in the home season, while nine of them have inquired about the matter. If things are the way they are, the series (against New Zealand) could called off by today (Tuesday) evening," a senior BCCI official told PTI.

"There is too much interference at the moment. People need to realise India has become a cricketing superpower under BCCI's administration. We are the only sports body which has not taken a single penny from anyone including the government. We have created all the infrastructure on our own," he added.

Sify.com tried to reach the manager and officials travelling with the Indian cricket team. However, they were not in a position to comment.

The BCCI is currently on the backfoot. But they are still trying to land a few blows. The warning that the Test series might be called off and BCCI President Anurag Thakur's warning that Team India might also pull out of the Champions Trophy are but attempts in this direction.

Thakur's warning came after the Lodha panel suggested a 15-day window before and after the IPL to implement their clean-up measures. The BCCI President had this to say when asked about this: "I don't know whether India will be able to play the Champions Trophy or not. If you go by the Lodha report, you have to pick either of the two. Either you have to play the IPL or the Champions Trophy next year. So the BCCI will have to take a call on that."

The Champions Trophy is scheduled to take place from June 1-18, 2017 and the IPL is likely to end in the last week of May.

Justice Lodha offered a clarification to this too, making it clear on Tuesday that the recommendations won't affect India's participation in the Champions Trophy as the calendar has already been prepared a year back.

"If Champions Trophy calendar was already settled a year back, our recommendations won't affect that," the retired judge stated.

The next hearing of the committee is on October 6. But if the BCCI indeed cancels the ongoing tour to score a point before that, it will be India's cricketing stature that will take a hit.

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