Cricket in Jammu & Kashmir has slipped into a fresh crisis. A severe monetary crisis may force the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) to withdraw its team from the forthcoming season of the Ranji Trophy.
JKCA secretary Iqbal Shah had approached the BCCI in July this year requesting it to issue a letter to the J&K Bank so that the state association could regularize its frozen account and utilize approximately Rs. 34 crore in its coffers. The Committee of Administrators (CoA), however, referred the matter to the general body of the board. It also asked for an administrator to run the JKCA after it elected Jammu and Kashmir sports minister Imran Ansari as its president, and Mehboob Iqbal as chairman of the association in violation of the Lodha reforms.
The JKCA’s account was frozen by the judicial authorities following allegations of financial misappropriation. The association has been marred by two groups fighting to assert their authority. Following a scam, the BCCI has not disbursed the state’s annual share to the JKCA since March 2012. For the last two seasons, the board reimbursed JKCA and even booked hotels for its Ranji Trophy teams.
J&K’s veteran seamer Samiullah Beigh told TOI on Monday: “As players, we’re very worried as our careers are at stake. Being a senior player, I have written a detailed e-mail to Vinod Rai (CoA head) requesting his timely intervention, before we lose this season or miss out on some of the matches. The situation here in JKCA is grim as no pre-season preparatory activity has started yet.”
As per the Supreme Court order, the BCCI will only issue annual grants to a state association when it submits an affidavit to implement the Lodha recommendations. The JKCA, according to Shah, has already agreed to implement the Lodha Committee reforms. “I’d filed a compliance affidavit in SC in July that we’ll implement the Lodha reforms, but we’ve a practical problem. There’s a membership dispute here. The judgement says that in case of a dispute, an ombudsman, who should be a retired SC judge or a retired chief justice of High Court, should be appointed. We did that and mentioned it in the compliance affidavit,” says JKCA secretary Iqbal Shah. “Now, the CoA is saying that my compliance affidavit is wrong. I can’t understand why? We can call for a meeting to implement the reforms only after settling the dispute. The reforms can’t be implemented in one shot. And, if it was wrong, we should’ve been informed about it much earlier, rather than in September. This is being done deliberately to us.”