Calcutta: The Sharad Pawar regime had no reservations in awarding the sixth ODI against England to the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).
Less than two months later, though, JSCA president Amitabh Choudhary is persona non grata: The senior Indian Police Service officer wasn’t allowed to attend Thursday’s Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Board in Mumbai.
There was, in fact, no seat for Jharkhand.
If that’s strange, to say the least, what’s the status of Mahendra Singh Dhoni' It’s fair to say that Jharkhand’s unofficial brand ambassador has been ‘orphaned’.
For now, the Board has appointed a three-member committee (Union minister Pawar is as fond of panels as most predecessors) to look into the Jharkhand versus (undivided) Bihar issue.
The committee comprises vice-president Shashank Manohar, treasurer N. Srinivasan and former Union law minister Arun Jaitley, the Delhi supremo. It will give its report within a month.
Whatever the technicalities raised now, Jharkhand (not the ‘new’ Bihar) was granted affiliation at the SGM held in Chennai some 21 months ago.
That was done unanimously and the state has been fielding teams in Board-run tournaments, most notably the Ranji Trophy.
Then, last November, Supreme Court-appointed observer (for the Board’s AGM) T.S. Krishnamurthy upheld Jharkhand’s affiliation.
Choudhary, Team India manager on the controversial tour of Zimbabwe in early 2005-06 and who recently thrashed challenger Sudesh Mahto (actually his boss, the state’s home minister) in the JSCA elections, told The Telegraph “all options” would be explored.
Jharkhand, obviously, is having to pay for Choudhary being seen as a Jagmohan Dalmiya supporter. The latter is the present dispensation’s No. 1 target.
Former India player and selector Ramesh Saxena, by the way, also turned up in Mumbai. He’s in the anti-Choudhary camp.
Bihar’s case was pleaded by a representative of Union minister Lalu Prasad, successful World Cupper and former MP Kirti Azad and another gentleman.
Neither was given a seat but Pawar’s ruling, which hurt the JSCA and Choudhary, must have come as a moral victory.