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June 25, 2001

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The Rediff interview / Kishore Rungta

'The BCCI is the best-run organisation in the country'

Board of Control for Cricket in India treasurer Kishore Rungta has been elected member of the International Cricket Council's marketing and finance committee. Son of former BCCI president P M Rungta, Kishore's business acumen is indisputable.

"It is more or less similar to my job in the BCCI though I haven't had a look at the duties Kishore Rungtaexpected of me yet," he says.

Rungta recently spoke to Cricket correspondent Faisal Shariff about the functioning of the BCCI, and the proposed contract system for players. Excerpts:

You were amongst the first people from the board to oppose the contract system for players. What is the reason for your reluctance to accept the system?

It is untrue and a clear case of misquote. I did not, at any time, oppose the contract system. My main grievance with the contract system is that it confines the selection to a couple of players. Outside blooding gets difficult. We have 31 associations, and by limiting players we will fail in unearthing real talent.

Look at Australia, with the contract system, they have been limited in picking players. They have to make do with over-age players. We should not get caught in the same tangle. I am of the opinion that we should not rush into anything but instead we should study the system and analyse it. We should also look at the insurance policy for players whereby they will be covered for injuries.

You asked the players to share their endorsement money with the board. Haven't you?

I haven't. My statements have been pulled out of context. All I said was that the system is promising and like any other system it has pros and cons. There is no denying the fact that the players will get security against injury and illness. The endorsement values are greater than what the players are paid by the board. There is no way on earth that I will ask them for any such thing.

Why is the BCCI such a controversial outfit? The most recent imbroglio is the Income Tax report, which faults its members of misusing funds.

The BCCI is the best-run organisation in the country. The way cricket has prospered in the country is unbelievable. No one can raise a finger of doubt on the accounts of the board. We have the best auditors in the business -- Billimoria and Sons -- auditing our accounts. Our balance sheets are clear. It is the press that has been highlighting the board meetings and pinpointing on the expenses. Like any other organisation, meetings are an integral part of our set-up and it is likely that some money will be spent on them. As for the IT report, I would not like to comment on it since the matter is subjudice.

All I want to say is that the board has decided the traveling and dearness allowances rules and adheres to it. The accounts for the same are available in the books. The whole thing is transparent in the books. The board money has never been misused for non-cricketing affairs.

Some years ago [Jagmohan] Dalmiya stated that he had argued in detail about irregularities in investment of the board's money by P M Rungta, and that he demanded a thorough investigation in the functioning of the Working Committee. He had reportedly said P M Rungta used the money in the stock market through badla trading. Wasn't that misusing board funds for non-cricketing matters?

Yes, that was a one-off incident. And it had been sorted out. And, anyway, that investment reaped profits and it was not a huge amount. It was a small amount of rupees 4-5 lakhs [Rs 400,000 - 500,000]. I think the whole issue was blown out of proportion.

Another sore point is the payment of players. Why are the players paid the logo money every six months? Why does the board sit on the money for so long?

That is a misnomer. We raise bills after every six months for the logo sponsors. We make payments immediately and up front without holding back any of the amount. We raise the bill after every match, the payment for the match is made immediately, and the logo money comes to us once every six months. I fail to understand where all this miscommunication stems from.

Maybe it is time we had a media manager...

But there is [Jaywant] Lele. He is the person in charge of distributing information.

Why is no young blood being infused in the board?

Of course, there is. I am young and have been in the forefront. I suggested to the board to have a graded payment scheme. I also supported the appointment of a foreign coach. It is wrong to say that the board does not have young blood.

The Rajasthan Cricket Association is always shrouded in mystery. Why are so many controversies dogging the association?

Money came into cricket only after 1992. Right from 1947 to 1992 the entire association was run and funded by the Rungta family. For the past 46 years, I would like to ask who has been spending the money? The Rungta family. There were fees for patron members and we had barely five members and 13-14 cricketers. Nobody was forthcoming. These allegations of a family ruling the association are all trash. We have been looking after the association for the past 46 years simply for the love of the game. There was no money interest. We have had elections, and just because there is a stay order by the courts on holding elections we haven't had them this year. My father, P M Rungta, has taken care of cricket in Rajasthan all his life.

And talking of cricketers being given a chance, the Mumbai cricket association has always been in the forefront advocating that cricketers be involved in administration. I would like to ask them how Wadekar could lose to a politician like Sharad Pawar or Manohar Joshi?

The Rungta family has links with anti-social elements is another allegation...

Nonsense! No anti-social element has ever attended an association meeting. Mohammad Ayub Ghori is the person the CBI report mentions who is linked to our family.

When you stage an international match, you deploy people to control the crowds. Let me tell you that we directly don't deploy them. A former colonel, who is in charge of the deployment, decides on that. The security clearance of every person deployed is taken from the police department. The police cleared Ghori because he did not have any case against him then. He was in charge of gate control of the East stand of the ground. He was later charged of some irregularity and was subsequently exonerated.

What has been the Rungta family's contribution to development of Rajasthan cricket?

Rajasthan is a backward state. Despite that we have been Ranji finalists on nine occasions. We have been zonal champions, beating teams like UP, Railways and MP. Our U-19 team has won all their games this season. We have 11 district tournaments. Round the year camps are organised. Ninety-seven per cent of the association's expenses are on cricket. We, the Rungta family, have never asked the RCA for travel or dearness allowance.


Mail Cricket Editor