BCCI GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim’s position under scanner

Women's CricZone Staff
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BCCI GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim’s position under scanner

Saba Karim. © Getty

At a time when every cricket board is facing financial issues due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly reviewing the position of General Manager Cricket Operations Saba Karim. It is understood that his contribution to the board is being questioned and what may work against him are several ‘unattended issues’ and the financial implications of the pandemic.

Reportedly, the BCCI is holding discussions around areas that need attention so that cricket comes out without much damage from the current health crisis. “These are unprecedented times and we are all aware that you really have to think out of the box and you have to be clinical about it,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying to IANS.

“We need to ensure that we come out of this pandemic with the least amount of damage to the game. We have been holding a lot of discussions among the executives and the office bearers have been having their own discussions. In our discussions on the areas that need attention, sadly his contribution has not been up to the mark.”

It is also understood that Karim has not presented anything constructive about the domestic calendar and there were complaints about his behavior too. “This isn’t the only issue. When it comes to the domestic calendar, we don’t have anything constructive as yet and we might later see our office team having to put in extra hours to make up for lost time."

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“Moreover, the issues that his team members have raised in the past with KVP Rao going to the extent of refusing an appraisal do not inspire too much confidence in him. A few state cricket associations have also raised issues about his brusque manner,” the official claimed.

Karim has also been accused of not performing his roles in the specified areas he was assigned for. “When it comes to the National Cricket Academy (NCA), it now has Rahul Dravid and KVP, who has been given the responsibility that Saba earlier had. The umpire’s academy, which Saba had been responsible for, is as good as dead.

“So at a time when people are doubling up and taking on multiple responsibilities, those who aren’t will face the brunt as one cannot afford dead weight anymore. Ultimately it is about what you bring to the organisation and not how much you take from it,” he added.

“Finally, the current regime is very clear when it comes to professionalism and you obviously expect that when you have the former India captain at the helm. Things are only getting tougher as you have seen across the world. Cricket Australia and ECB among others have already made some tough calls, and as professionals, the onus is on us to perform. We’d rather have a situation where people are talking about our work and not our salaries,” the official further pointed.

Another BCCI functionary went against Karim saying the women’s cricket team, support staff and outgoing members of the selection committee have raised concerns regarding his behaviour and interference.

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“The women’s team, support staff and the outgoing members of women’s selection committee have time and again complained about his behaviour and interference. We understand that he is a former selector but he needs to understand that he presently is not a selector and he cannot be weighing in on selection matters anymore."

“In fact, a complaint (by a CoA member) was made against him for violating the BCCI constitution in appointments with regards to the women’s team. There was also at least one written complaint over his appointment as the said employee claimed that his candidature was not eligible for General Manager’s post as per the selection criteria which had asked for a post-graduate degree, which he allegedly did not possess.

“There have also been serious questions with regards to the appointment of the NCA staff overseen by him and some believe that there have been tweaks made in eligibility to accommodate certain candidates and there is a clamour for a proper investigation into the matter and that the scope of the investigation must include their scope of work and their decisions as per the scope in the NCA roles,” the functionary said.

Recently, Kevin Roberts resigned from his position as the Cricket Australia CEO after questions were raised over his handling of the financial crisis arising due to the coronavirus situation. CA also parted ways with head of female engagement Sarah Styles as part of cost-cutting measures.