Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided that any player request to have a partner accompany him outside the visitor period of a tour has to go through the office-bearers. Earlier, the coach and captain were vested with this authority, in accordance with a decision taken by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) last year. “Any individual request will have to come through the office-bearers. It’s not a big matter, but this is clearly the best way to do it,” a top BCCI official told HT on the much-debated ‘family clause’ pertaining to cricketers’ WAGS (wives and girlfriends) on tour.
The CoA had taken this decision in a meeting on May 21, last year. “The authority to approve any visits from visitors outside the Visitor Period should vest with the Team Captain and Coach, and this should be reflected in the Family Clause of the Players’ Contracts,” read the minutes of that meeting.
The decision stirred a debate because many players were uncomfortable with the captain getting involved in an administrative policy decision. It was perceived to be an ill-thought one that could potentially lead to unrest within the team. During the World Cup in England last year, the CoA had refused permission to a senior player for his family to be allowed outside the permissible visitor period.
CoA member Diana Edulji was the sole dissenting voice in the meeting that had given authority to captain and coach. She welcomes the change. “These issues can become complicated in a team environment, and these decisions are best left for the administrators to take. The captain and the coach should be allowed to focus on cricket and the manager keeps tab of these things on tour. With the BCCI run by office-bearers again, they should take the call,” she said.
With the team set to depart for New Zealand later this month, any deviation from the visitor-period for partners will now be vetted by board officials again. Families usually accompany players for two or three weeks in the latter half of a tour.