Indian cricket's tryst with controversies saw another chapter added to it when historian Ramachandra Guha, who quit the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Thursday, in his resignation letter questioned Mahendra Singh Dhoni's getting a Grade A contract from the cricket board in spite of quitting Test cricket. The news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) released a series of tweets said that the noted historian had also said that the conflict of interest issues between the working of the Indian team and the Indian Premier League (IPL) had not been addressed properly. He also questioned former India captain Sunil Gavaskar's role as commentator and his player management company managing Shikhar Dhawan. He has also taken a dig at India captain Virat Kohli in his role in the Anil Kumble issue.
"Conflict of interest issues related to working for Indian team and IPL not addressed, @Ram_Guha in resignation letter to Vinod Rai," PTI said in a tweet.
"Sunil Gavaskar's role as commentator and his player- management agency managing @SDhawan25 questioned by @Ram_Guha in his letter," it added.
"MS Dhoni getting Grade A contract despite quitting Test cricket questioned by Ramachandra Guha in resignation letter: news agency PTI."
According to media reports, the letter also conveys Guha's unhappiness about how some other issues are being handled.
"...the BCCI has accorded preferential treatment to some national coaches, by giving them ten month contracts for national duty, thus allowing them to work as IPL coaches/mentors for the remaining two months," Guha writes in his resignation letter. "This was done in an adhoc and arbitrary manner; the more famous the former player-turned-coach, the more likely was the BCCI to allow him to draft his own contract that left loopholes that he exploited to dodge the conflict of interest issue."
One of the coaches who has a BCCI contract is Rahul Dravid, who coaches the India A and India Under-19 teams. He is also the mentor of the Delhi Daredevils franchise in the Indian Premier League.
Guha lists the unprofessional manner in which the issue of India coach Anil Kumble's contract. Guha was upset that Kumble was under scrutiny despite his excellent record. The timing, on the eve of ICC Champions Trophy, was also a source of unhappiness.
Guha has directly questioned Kohli's "veto power" on deciding matters like appointment of a coach and even the commentators' panel. It also makes it clear that Kumble-Kohli rift is a reality.
"If indeed the captain and the Head Coach were not getting along, why was not this attended to as soon as the Australia series was over in late March? Why was it left until the last minutes, when a major international tournament was imminent, and when the uncertainty would undermine the morale and ability to focus of the coach, the captain and the team, adds PTI.
"And surely giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country," he adds.
In a veiled dig at Kohli, Guha writes that today, players are interfering in matters pertaining to appointment of coaches and commentators (Harsha Bhogle was removed for on-air criticism of Virat Kohli), tomorrow it may well be that they would like to have a say on office-bearers.
"Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?"
Guha also mentioned the Committee of Administrators' (CoA) "total neglect of domestic cricketers and huge gap in their match fee as compared to international players" as also the CoA silence on the disqualified officials attending BCCI meets.
Guha also did not agree with the absence of a male cricketer on the committee, with the proposed inclusion of Javagal Srinath on the list.
Guha had moved Supreme Court on Thursday and said that he has resigned from the court-appointed panel. He wants Supreme Court to relieve him from the CoA. The court will hear the matter on July 14. Guha told the Supreme Court that he has tendered his resignation to Vinod Rai, the Chairman of the Committee of Administrators appointed by the top court. The historian has reportedly cited personal reasons for the resignation.
The CoA however cannot accept the resignation till the Supreme Court hears the matter on July 14.
A vacation bench of Justices M.M. Shantanagoudar and Deepak Gupta was informed by Guha's counsel that he had tendered his resignation on May 28 to Rai.
The court said a special bench was seized of the matter and the petition should therefore be filed in the registry.
(With inputs from A. Vaidyanathan and PTI)