Accounts freeze ruined BCCI reputation, says Thakur

MUMBAI: The reputation of the Indian cricket board (BCCI) has been ruined by the freezing of its bank accounts, its president Anurag Thakur said on Tuesday, after a Supreme Court-appointed panel blocked it from making two payments to its state units.

The panel asked two banks to halt the disbursements after the board ignored some of the panel recommendations for reforming the world's richest cricket board, which has been criticised for a perceived lack of transparency.

Thakur said the board would take a decision by the evening on the fate of the ongoing home series against New Zealand, which still has a test and five one-dayers left.

"Without the funds how do we play? How can we function, how can we make payments to the players and the various stakeholders?" Thakur told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We don't even take money from the government and it's our own funds. Our accounts have been frozen without even communicating with us.

"Is this how you treat the world's richest cricket body which has run the sport so efficiently? It has completely destroyed our hard-earned reputation."

Sources in the Bank of Maharashtra and Yes Bank, who operate the BCCI accounts, confirmed the accounts were frozen on Monday night as they waited for more clarity from the panel which was formed last year to assess BCCI operations.

The banks have now lifted the ban on the accounts after former chief justice RM Lodha, the head of the panel, clarified the BCCI is otherwise free to use its funds for routine expenditure.

"There is no question of cancellation of any game or series," Lodha told Reuters TV.

"The directive, which we issued to BCCI yesterday in our email, is confined to disbursement of large funds to the state associations.

"And banks have been directed to ensure the compliance of that, nothing beyond that. Routine expenses for matches, games, cricketing activities and other administrative matters, they are not at all restrained.

"There is absolutely no prohibition, there is no constraint, the accounts of BCCI have not been frozen."

A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said they had heard nothing from the BCCI and were preparing to play the third test at Indore from Saturday.

India sealed the three-test series 2-0 on Monday with a 178-run victory in Kolkata.

The BCCI on Saturday said it would incorporate some of the Lodha panel's recommendations but ignored several key measures aimed at reforming the board, which is run largely by politicians and industrialists.

In their report, Lodha and two colleagues recommended age and tenure restrictions for top officials, as well as banning them from serving successive terms.