The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators are clashing with one another over the choice of speaker for the prestigious MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture.
While the CoA feel that former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara should do the honors, BCCI, on the other hand, feel that players who played along with the great Tiger Pataudi should be given the chance to bring value and prestige to the occasion and gave choices of the likes of Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig.
According to CricketNext, BCCI Acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has made this clear in a strongly worded email to CoA chief Vinod Rai. Amitabh has taken a stand and asked the CoA to reconsider the decision and said that he is unable to agree to the proposal of the committee unless the ones named by him are disqualified for other reasons.
Amitabh wrote, “When the matter was discussed with me at Bangalore a couple of days ago I had suggested we also look for probable speakers amongst distinguished cricketers of yesteryears such as Nari Contractor, Chandu Borde, Erapalli Prasanna and Abbas Ali Baig. These cricketers have even the distinction of having played alongside Tiger Pataudi and if any of them agrees it could provide the much-needed perspective on how cricket has evolved from those years of challenge. Nari was the captain of the touring Indian Team to West Indies when he was struck by a bouncer and the brave man faced it all. This had resulted in Tiger taking over as the youngest ever Test captain having to lead a team of stalwarts such as Manjrekar, Borde, Nadkarni, Jaishima, and Umrigar.”
“Chandu Borde was one of the most prolific batsmen of the day while Prasanna became the fastest Indian to take a hundred wickets in Tests. Baig was the first ever Indian to make a century on debut on foreign soil and otherwise a very distinguished cricketer. It is these past heroes who led to the razzle-dazzle of today's cricket. Unfortunately, when the proposal came there was no mention of any of these past cricketers.”
“As I understand Tiger Memorial Lecture is not an elocution contest and reasonable communication skills are all that we should look for. It is meant to bring to the fore the evolution of the game, what it meant to play for the country in the old days, the hardships of the time, challenges of the future and the like. If that be the case, certainly once every few years an iconic cricketer of yore should find a place as the keynote speaker in the memorial lecture. Besides, the present heroes could always come in later as renowned cricketers of the past are a disappearing species,” Amitabh wrote to Rai.
Saba Karim, GM cricket operations had sent an email to BCCI and CoA members asking for suggestions for the lecture that will take place on June 12 in Bengaluru, before India play Afghanistan in their debut Test. The names of the speakers suggested by Saba were Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakkara, Kevin Pietersen and Nasser Hussain.
The topics were: A) Peace and sustainability through Cricket - Relevant since Afghanistan is a wonderful story. B) Behavior and conduct of international players in the modern age - Players perspective. C) Cricket as an Olympic Sport - Way forward.
Diana Edulji suggested the name of Sangakkara and Rai seconded it and asked Karim to speak to the former Lankan cricketer. The Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial Lecture was started by the BCCI on February 6, 2013. The inaugural lecture was delivered by Sunil Gavaskar on 20 February 2013.