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Regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

High-speed chase, India’s dominance & Raman contract

Woorkeri Raman is caught in the heavy crossfire between Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji

Lokendra Pratap Sahi Sydney Published 04.01.19, 10:55 PM
Woorkeri Raman

Woorkeri Raman The Telegraph file picture

A dramatic high-speed chase across five suburbs involving security personnel and a man with “mental health issues,” who eventually killed himself, was the talking point outside the SCG.

At the revered SCG, it was all about Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and India. There’s no way now that Virat Kohli can be denied the honour of becoming the first India captain to win a Test series in Australia.

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Australia’s ‘best’ moment on Friday was actually at the end-of-play Media conference when captain Tim Paine took a call intended for a careless journalist who hadn’t put his phone, placed on the table, in the silent mode.

Back home, strictly cricket-wise, the focus was on Woorkeri Raman, caught in the heavy crossfire between Chief Administrator Vinod Rai and his colleague, Administrator Diana Edulji, who too is a Supreme Court appointee.

Rahul Johri, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO, and GM Syed Saba Karim are on Rai’s side even though the Chief Administrator does not have the automatic right to veto anything proposed by Diana.

Very late in the day, The Telegraph got to know that Raman’s contract as the India women’s head coach had, indeed, been inked.

What couldn’t, however, be confirmed is whether it is on the lines of what had been proposed by the BCCI’s CFO, Santosh Rangnekar, after discussions between Johri, Saba Karim and Raman himself.

The proposal, opposed by Diana on the grounds that Raman got selected in violation of the Board’s Constitution by an ad-hoc committee with no legal status, read:

  • Rs 1.75 crore for the first year, from January 1-December 31, 2019.
  • Rs 2.00 crore for the second year, subject to a “performance evaluation.”

On Thursday night, via an email to Rai and the others, Diana again questioned the need to appoint a full-time women’s head coach not chosen by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman.

Excerpts from Diana’s email, accessed by this Reporter, are significant: “The CEO & yourself have, in the past, changed/extended timelines for an individual who eventually became the head coach of the men’s team.

“How is it then that you have suddenly found it difficult to give time to the CAC, which comprises of legends, or to extend the contract of Ramesh Powar?

“Please recall the time when the men’s team went to the West Indies without a head coach (after the 2017 Champions Trophy) and the late Dr M.V. Sridhar was asked to be with the team, as the timelines were extended and the CAC allowed to complete its process of selecting the head coach.

“We could also have appointed W.V. Raman as the interim head coach as he is already a coach at the National Cricket Academy.”

Diana, who has been on the front foot for the past few weeks, ended her email by writing: “... There should be no new contract and, if the CEO, CFO and the GM-Cricket Operations in-charge of women’s cricket, do issue a contract, then they will have to be liable for financial damages to the BCCI.”

That was preceded by a direct attack on Rai: “To discuss prevalent cricketing matters in my absence, advising the CEO to take action without my approval, knowing that you do not have veto powers... It is evident that, time and again, violation of rules & regulations, protocol and the Constitution have been carried out.”

Clearly, the general issues raised by Diana, a former India captain, cannot be brushed aside disdainfully.

The email from Diana was in response to one from Rai, where (among other things) he stated: “The appointment of a full-time head coach is no longer an option — it has become a necessity.”

Rai’s email concluded with a directive to Johri: “The CEO will do so immediately.” That, of course, being finalising Raman’s contract.

With no preparatory camp scheduled, Raman will have to formally introduce himself to the India women cricketers at the airport before departing for New Zealand! Hardly ideal.

The tour is from January 24-February 10.

Meanwhile, one learns that acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has opened up another front, challenging Rai on his objection to Rajiv Singh’s appointment as legal advisor.

While Diana (or one-half of the Committee of Administrators) gave her approval to a request from Amitabh, Rai said ‘no’.

As the BCCI’s new Constitution spells out that it can sue and be sued only in the name of the secretary, Amitabh’s point is that he requires legal advice.

Targeting Rai, Amitabh has, in an email, minced no words.

Either there is a:

“(A) Conscious, deliberate and ‘informed' determination to prevent the secretary from discharging his functions.”

Or...

“(B) No understanding of the law.”

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