Kirti Azad flays Asirbad; asks him to quit OCA chair

Cuttack: Coming down heavily on the long tenure of Asirbad Behera as the secretary of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA), cricketer turned politician Kirti Azad today advised him to step down from the post and allow others to look after the board’s affairs.

On the sidelines of attending a regional cricket tournament here, the acclaimed cricketer, who was part of the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup, told OTV; “I have respect for his 10-year tenure. But he (Asirbad) should quit the post after that period”.

“What type of adhesive is on his chair that he has got stuck to him? What benefit is he getting from it?” he asked.

Criticizing the functioning of the cricket board and the involvement of politicians in it, Azad said; “Cricket should be free from politicians. All kinds of indiscipline generally comes from politics. I do not have any problem if a politician cum cricketer is given the responsibility of a cricket boad. But those who never had any links with cricket have occupied important seats in the board for a long period.”

“A politician lacks time for his own constituency. How can he afford time for cricket?. So, a full-timer is needed, who can handle the entire affairs of cricket,” the former all-rounder said.

All indiscipline in cricket is only due to the involvement of politicians who always think about how they can extract the maximum commission and from which source. These people are ready to engage politicians and bureaucrats but reluctant to appoint the CAG to look after the financial affairs of the board, Azad pointed out.

However, he lauded the contribution of two politicians to cricket. “I have great respect for two politicians who have made great contribution to cricket. They are late NKP Salve and late Madhabrao Scindia, who used to refrain from administration and were busy developing the sports” he said.

The former all-rounder reiterated his demand for implementation of the Lodha committee recommendations while saying that reforms could be brought in cricket if the panel’s recommendations are implemented at the earliest.

“Chief Justice TS Thakur wants to implement the Lodha Committee recommendation but BCCI is protesting. I personally welcome the Lodha panel’s recommendations. Cricket has become religion in the country now-a-days. So, it should be brought to the bottomline to search for real talent from rural areas. It can be possible when the officials are changed at regular intervals,” Azad said.

When asked about the status of Odisha cricket and what is stopping Odia players from playing at the international level, he said if the Lodha committee recommendations are implemented, Odisha cricket would be benefited.

To check corruption in the cricket board, he said all officials of the boards should come under the scanner of forensic laboratory. Their accounts should be examined properly. “Thereafter, the root of corruption would come out,” the MP said.

Responding to Azad, OCA secretary Asirbad Behera said “I have been elected by OCA and have not pasted Fevicol adhesive on my chair. As I am opposing the Lodha panel’s proposal, he (Kirti) is giving such statement against me”.

“The Supreme Court will consider the matter. But I hope it will strike out much of the panel’s proposals,” Behera said.