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The curious case of Anurag Thakur, the cricketer

The curious case of Anurag Thakur, the cricketer
Every time the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) files an affidavit in the Supreme Court, it comes up with a shocker.
Thursday was no different when the BCCI's 60-page affidavit was heard by the special bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla. The cricket body has clubbed its secretary Anurag Thakur with the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Brijesh Patel and Shivlal Yadav, all former greats, now involved in the administration of the game.
Well, there is no dispute over whether Thakur has played cricket at certain level or not. But to actually club him alongside Indian greats can put BCCI in the dock over how the game of cricket is being run by some selfish administrators for their own greed.
Thakur's story is a curious one...
It was soon after becoming president of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) in June 2000 that he found ways to climb up in the BCCI ladder.
He was only 25 at that time, the youngest to become president of any state cricket association in the country. To be eligible for a post in BCCI's junior selection committee, a plump post in itself, he needed to have been a Ranji Trophy player.
So, one fine day in the month of November, Thakur just walked into the dressing room of Himachal Ranji team and announced himself captain for this match against Jammu & Kashmir.
As it would have happened to any other administrator in India, Thakur got a 'big zero' as batsman but managed to get two late-order wickets.
Cricket in Himachal was hit for a six by the son of state's chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. But it didn't matter to BCCI or for that matter to Thakur. It was important for this young upcoming lover of the game to get into the BCCI junior selection panel. The BCCI's rules allow only first-class cricketers to be made national selectors.
With Ranji Trophy certificate under his belt, Thakur went on to become the Indian junior selector in subsequent years and now BCCI has put him alongside some of the Indian cricket greats who are serving the game for the love of it.
The method used by Thakur to become a national selector was not new by any means. He was only following the footsteps of former HPCA secretary SC Nayyar, who also led Himachal in its first ever Ranji game, at the age of 46 in 1980s.
There have been several instances in the past where administrators or their close relatives were pushed into various teams by virtue of their proximity to powers that be.
BCCI, only recently, realised that senior Team India selector Roger Binny should part ways with selection committee as his son Stuart Binny has been picked by fellow selectors, is just one example of how players' selections have been manipulated over the years.
Former Team India chief selector Krish Srikkanth was lucky enough to get away without a question being raised over the selection of his son Anirrudh Srikkanth during his tenure.
Flip flop on Bihar
The BCCI also took a U-turn on Bihar on Thursday. The page 22 of BCCI affidavit clearly says that "since there is tussle between various groups in Bihar and the matter is pending before the apex court, it is awaiting the outcome of said matter".
dna report on February 21 highlights how BCCI is likely to face the Court's wrath after showing its eagerness to award associate membership to Bihar Cricket Association, controlled by former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. It was only then that BCCI realised its mistake and now secretary Thakur has changed stance in the apex court. But it has only come after BCCI allowed one BCA member to attend the Special General Meeting held on February 19.
More than that, with BCCI now permitting the representative of the BCA to attend the next meeting it means nothing but the contradiction of its own admission in the apex Court that "neither faction of the BCA is recognised by the board".
The BCCI in 2014 (Sanjay Patel) and 2015 (Thakur) filed separate affidavits in the apex court, stating therein that the grant given by the board of Rs 50 lakh to BCA in 2009 had been misappropriated and criminal cognizable offences may have been committed.

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