A famous saying goes thus, 'justice delayed is justice denied'. It has been nearly three weeks since the infamous episode of Koffee With Karan featuring cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul aired. Yet the impasse on the quantum of the players' punishments has not been resolved.
The Pandya-Rahul controversy has once again, in no uncertain manner, pointed a finger at the rampant incompetency in the cricket administration in India.
On the January 6 episode of the talk show hosted by Karan Johar, Pandya and Rahul made some remarks that were rightly deemed to be "sexist" and "misogynistic". The cricketers faced immense backlash for their derogatory comments and reacting to the outrage, the CoA suspended the players. They were sent back home from Australia, publicly shamed and even lost certain brand endorsement contracts.
Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Vinod Rai suggested that the players be handed a two-match ban and here is where the problem started. Diana Edulji, the second member of this two-member committee -- like she always does -- disagreed. She involved BCCI's legal committee in the matter but they reported said that the matter fell beyond the purview of the board's code of conduct.
The matter thus went to the Supreme Court and now a tentative date for the hearing has been set to February 5. In this time, the players are to miss a total of 8 matches and depending on the outcome of the hearing, the punishment could be worse. While it is certain that the behaviour and remarks of the players warranted disciplinary action, putting their young careers at a standstill is definitely overstepping the mark.
Pandya's absence is hurting the Indian cricket team but more than his absence, the uncertainty regarding his future has put the preparations for the World Cup in jeopardy. The all-rounder adds invaluable balance to the team as the third seamer. His presence allows India's prime weapons – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – to play together. He also adds an X-factor with the bat in hand.
While his on-field contributions are no justification to his off-field demeanour, he and his fellow cricketer does not deserve to be casualties of an administrative clash that needs immediate intervention. In fact, more than Pandya or Rahul, Indian cricket needs to do away with the CoA.
This is not the first time that the CoA has adversely affected Indian cricket. The body was formed with the primary goal of reforming BCCI by electing fresh office bearers as per the recommendations of the Lodha Committee. But all they have done is dissolve every committee of the BCCI and replace it with tales of their in-fighting.
During the Mithali Raj-Ramesh Powar controversy, Edulji worsened the situation by leaking confidential information about a player who regarded her as a confidante. She also interrupted the selection of a new coach by bringing up an out of context precedent. The disagreement between Rai and Edulji has been so fierce that emails containing confidential information have often been leaked to the media and on each occasion, no intention of unanimity was visible.
A two-member committee that was supposed to bring transparency to the world's premier cricketing body has instead made a mockery of the game's superpower and the only ones suffering are the players.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Business Times, India.