Amarnath quits committee working on players’ association

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Indian cricket team head coach Anil Kumble delivers a ball during a practice session at the Warner Park stadium in Basseterre, Saint Kitts, on July 8, 2016. Indian cricket team is on a seven-week long tour of West Indies, where they will play four Tests and two practice matches. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD

Former India batsman Mohinder Amarnath has quit the steering committee tasked with the responsibility of forming the players’ association.

Amarnath is understood to have left because of his commentary assignments. “He wants to do [those assignments]. He can’t do both,” a member of the Committee of Administrators told ESPNcricinfo.

With two other members of the steering committee – Diana Edulji and Anil Kumble – already having recused themselves, the committee is now down to one; only its chairman, former union home secretary GK Pillai, remains. While Edulji opted out because of her role as a member of the CoA, Kumble withdrew after he had taken over as India coach.

The CoA will now approach the Supreme Court for direction. “There is no steering committee as such as of today. We will be approaching the court to see what needs to be done,” the official said. “We will mention this in our status report that will be submitted to the court. Whether another sub-committee is created or the CoA is entrusted with the task, it is up to the Supreme Court to decide”.

The steering committee was established in early 2016 to oversee the formation of the players’ association in accordance with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee. It was asked to “identify and invite all eligible ex-cricketers to be members, to open bank accounts, receive funds from the BCCI, conduct the first elections for office bearers, communicate the names of BCCI-player nominees to the board”.

The Lodha Committee felt it was important to give the players “a voice” to express their concerns but barred them from forming a “trade union of any sort”. The committee also recommended the need to advance the welfare of players, including insurance, medical and other commercial benefits. While there was strident opposition to the recommendation initially from the BCCI, the board later “unanimously” accepted it at its special general meeting on October 1.

The official said the CoA had also established a sub-committee to look into the registration and regulation of player agents. The Maharashtra Cricket Association’s Abhay Apte and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri are understood to be in the sub-committee, which has three members at the moment. Two more members will be added on later, comprising representatives of the players’ association. “The sub-committee of three members will carry out the duties till the players’ association is formed,” the official said. “Once the players’ association is formed two of its members will be drafted into this panel”.

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