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Azhar, Lalit Modi Jr emerge as new players

Plans to rule Indian cricket by proxy commence in states

Gulf News

Dubai: Senior cricket officials, who had to step down following Justice R.M. Lodha’s panel recommendation of barring administrators from holding office for more than nine years, have commenced their plans to rule the state associations by proxy. This has paved the way for former Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi, who was ousted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on charges of corruption, to chalk out a plan to rule his state association in Rajasthan by proxy.

In a stunning move on Wednesday, Modi has fielded his 22-year-old son Ruchir Modi for the post of the President of Rajasthan Cricket Association. Modi junior will represent the Alwar District Cricket Association, where he was elected as president through Lalit’s influence.

Ruchir Modi has no experience as a cricket administrator except that he is the son of Modi, who was once the vice-president of the BCCI and suspended from the organisation on the grounds of indiscipline and financial irregularities as IPL chief.

In the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), former BCCI president N. Srinivasan, who wields extensive clout among the district associations, is working out a plan to continue to rule the association, too. Most of the state association chiefs who had to step down hold a power base in their respective associations due to their years in power and the benefits bestowed by them to the various districts associations that elected them.

TNCA is also keen to make things difficult for BCCI and has reportedly refused to host the Under-19 Test matches against England. Similarly, Hyderabad Cricket Association is willing to host the one-off Test match against Bangladesh in February only if the BCCI is willing to adhere to their financial demands.

Interestingly, some new faces are also planning to wrest power from the ousted administrators’ group. Leading the pack is former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin, who has filed nominations to contest for the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) President’s post. The present president of the HCA is former Indian cricketer Arshad Ayub, a good friend of Azhar, who will now step down as per the Lodha panel recommendations.

Azharuddin was banned for life by the BCCI for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, but is understood to have garnered enough support to win the election. Azharuddin had fought a long legal battle and managed a favourable order by the Andhra High Court in 2011 stating his innocence; but the BCCI never formally lifted his ban. Incidentally, he has not even been paid the pension that former India players are entitled to.

Azharuddin, who was once elected once a Member of Parliament, will now be eyeing a prominent role in the BCCI administration, if elected. He will be the second Indian captain to be in the BCCI after Sourav Ganguly who represents the Cricket Association of Bengal.

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