Delhi cricketers body on the anvil

Another attempt to streamline Capital’s cricketing affairs

With Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad in the forefront, once again a Delhi cricketers’ association — rather a “ movement” — is about to be launched and its aim would be to “ overhaul” cricket administration in the national capital and the selection process.

The move comes ahead of the already- due elections of the sports committee of the Delhi and District Cricket Association ( DDCA) and also of 16 of the 24 members of the executive committee, including president Arun Jaitley’s.

The tenure of the sports committee expired on April 20. And the term of the office of the 16 members — eight DDCA officebearers and eight directors — technically got over on March 31, but selection can be deferred up to six months by rule, i. e. up to September 30.

However, the prospects of Jaitley, who first became DDCA president 13 years ago, and most of the DDCA office- bearers going to polls look bright, as of now, say neutral observers within the DDCA. They say Jaitley, who defeated Bedi by 2,246 votes on December 31, 1999, to enter DDCA, should be re- elected without much ado while pointing out that it’s premature to say anything with certainty.

“ As of now, there’s no candidate worth challenging Jaitley. It’s, however, a different issue that the two dominant groups, who have been supporting him all along, have a change of heart closer to the elections. That’s something highly unlikely,” an official said.

It’s important for Jaitley to be re-elected as DDCA president because he’s reportedly keen to head the BCCI when the president’s post will be contested in September next year, after the expiry of N Srinivasan’s term.

Irrespective of those issues, Bedi and Azad are going ahead with the formation of the players’ association.

Azad said about 20 players met recently. “ And 60- 70 players will again be meeting on May 12. We’ll hold proper elections to form the association. Bedi has come out in open, supporting the formation of the association, and players like Rajinder Pal are with us. We’ll also invite Chetan Chauhan [ a DDCA vice- president],” Azad told MAIL TODAY . “ I have requested players that banana ke liye aana, banne ke liye nahi ( come to make something, not to become something),” he said, aware of the failures of previous attempts to sustain cricketers’ bodies. “ The aim of the association will be to ensure cricket is run properly and there’s no favouritism in picking players.

We’ll also ensure proper selection panels. And Delhi still doesn’t have an academy.” Bedi sounded confident of the success. “ It’s not an event; it’s a movement. Jump into it if you’re convinced, as Delhi cricket needs overhauling. There’s no pressure on anyone. But I’m hopeful that we’ll all gel as a unit,” Bedi told MAIL TODAY . “As for the name of the new body, it may be called the NCT Cricket Association ( NCTCA), thus reviving the one by the same name and formed in 1998,” say sources.

Interestingly, Azad, then an MLA, was NCTCA’s president, but the association has largely been nonfunctional since.

The main grouse of Azad, a member of Parliament, is alleged manipulation in selection of various teams — an issue that Virender Sehwag too openly raised in an interview with MAIL TODAY in August, 2009 — and anomalies in DDCA’s financial dealings.

Azad is also eagerly awaiting the outcome of an inquiry by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office ( SFIO), which recently concluded checking the financial books of the DDCA. The report is apparently ready and Kirti has written to Sachin Pilot, minister of state for Company Affairs, to share the same with him.

Also, many people will be keenly waiting on Thursday for the outcome of a court case related to the previous DDCA election, held on December 21. Elections of six members of the executive committee were questioned on a technicality by one of the two groups.

The DDCA has made an appeal in Delhi High Court and the case comes up on Thursday.

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