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Diana Edulji to get BCCI’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Mumbai: A three-man BCCI panel has recommended former India women’s cricket team captain and current CoA member, Diana Edulji, for the prestigious CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.

Former India opener Late Pankaj Roy will be awarded posthumously.

Edulji had played 20 Tests and 34 ODIs in a career spanning over 17 years, taking 63 and 46 wickets respectively.

She played at a time when the game was run by Women’s Cricket Association of India (WCAI) which was mostly cash-strapped and couldn’t arrange for international matches.

While Edulji’s contribution as a pioneer of women’s cricket movement in the country is unquestionable, the murmur in the BCCI corridors is about the timing of such a recommendation when she is a part of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) running Indian cricket.

The three-member panel that sent the recommendations comprised eminent journalist N Ram, acting president CK Khanna and acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary.

CoA chief Vinod Rai was asked if this is a case of Conflict of Interest.

“The committee is headed by Mr N Ram. I didn’t even know the recommendations. It doesn’t come to us at all,” said Rai.

When the acting secretary was contacted, he refused to divulge the names.

“I will never divulge the names recommended by our panel,” Choudhary told PTI.

“However if you want to know my take on Conflict of Interest, I can tell you what I think. If the committee is not influenced by any outsiders when it takes a decision, I don’t think there’s any Conflict of Interest,” Choudhary added.

Last year when Shantha Rangaswamy got the award, Edulji and CoA members were party to the decision, unlike this time. In fact, Edulji was part of the panel that recommended the names alongside Ramachandra Guha and N Ram.

A veteran BCCI official said: “No one can ever question Diana’s contribution towards the growth of women’s cricket in India. After Shantha, she is a logical choice as there aren’t too many great women cricketers of yesteryears.

“But she is being recommended at a time when she is one of the figureheads of BCCI. Conflict of Interest is not about direct conflicts but about perceptions.

Edulji
Pankaj Roy (left) and Vinoo Mankad returning to the pavilion after their world record opening partnership of 413 runs, Madras, 11 January 1956; their record stood for 52 years

“Whenever I see these situations, I feel bad for Roger Binny, who was dumped from selection panel as his son Stuart is an active cricketer. Roger also used to recuse himself when Stuart’s name would come up,” the official added.

Meanwhile, Pankaj Roy’s son Pronab, himself a former Test player, was ecstatic to hear the news.

“Dad would have got emotional had he been around. We as a family always felt that my father always got his recognition late. But better late than never. My mother will be overjoyed to hear this news,” he said.

Roy played 43 Tests scoring 2,442 runs with five centuries. He will always be remembered for his world record opening stand of 413 runs with Vinoo Mankad against New Zealand in Chennai (Madras) in 1956. The record stood for 52 years.

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