Niranjan Shah, the former Saurashtra Cricket Association secretary, has been added to the BCCI’s new committee to identify the difficulties in implementing the Lodha recommendations even though he is 73 years old, and as such over the age cap (70) suggested for BCCI office bearers. A board official, however, clarified that Shah was brought in as “an invitee” – which meant – “he will deliberate in the committee, but won’t have a vote in case it comes to it”.
Shah joined a panel led by Rajiv Shukla, which also included BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, vice-president TC Mathew, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, Nabha Bhattacharjee, the secretary of the Meghalaya Cricket Association, Jay Shah, the joint-secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association and Sourav Ganguly, president of Cricket Association of Bengal and the only cricketer out of the eight.
Shah’s presence is understood to be a shot in the arm for the old guard of the BCCI which has resisted the reforms. According to sources, he, along with fellow disqualified office-bearer N Srinivasan, who isn’t a part of the committee, will look to check the influence of Shukla and Choudhary, who are seen by some members to be in favour of adopting the Lodha reforms.
“Now that Niranjan and N Srinivasan are on the same page, the opposition to the Lodha report at the SGM gained momentum,” a senior state association official from the south zone had told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday. Another official from the west zone said that Srinivasan had suggested the inclusion of a few members to the committee at the SGM. “Apart from Shah, he wanted the likes of Ranjib Biswal to be added to it”.
The committee is set to have its first meeting on July 1 – the same day the Committee of Administrators, which has been overseeing BCCI affairs, has scheduled a meeting of their own. With Shah joining in as an invitee, it is expected that there will be considerable debate over at least two stipulations the BCCI is unwilling to adopt – the age cap of 70 years for office bearers and the tenure cap of nine years with cooling-off periods in between. Shah is understood to be opposed to both.
The board’s new committee has to submit its report on July 10, with the next hearing of the Supreme Court case involving the Lodha recommendations on July 14.