Allowing or disallowing WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends) on important foreign tours and competitions has always been an issue of debate in Indian cricket. However, in a major change in policy implemented by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that run the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the India captain and coach now have the power to decide on whether the wives and partners of the squad members can join them on overseas tours.
This is the first time that the captain and the coach have been empowered on this issue as it is the BCCI management that used to decide on such matters earlier. The CoA going by the board’s constitution suggested that the cricketing and non-cricketing matters and decision-making should be kept separate.
“The issue whether the authority to approve any visits from visitors outside the Visitor Period should vest with the Team India captain and Coach or with BCCI management was discussed. It was noted that the BCCI management had traditionally decided these matters. It was also noted that the BCCI Constitution requires cricketing and non-cricketing matters are to be kept separate,” the CoA said in the minutes of the meeting that took place on May 21 and posted on the BCCI website.
“After some discussion CoA decided that: (a) The authority to approve any visits from visitors outside the Visitor Period should vest with the Team Captain and Coach, and; (b) This should be reflected in the Family Clause of the Players’ Contracts,” it said.
Decision not unanimous
However, reports suggest that this decision was not a unanimous one by the CoA as only two out of the three members agreed with this idea.
“The Indian cricket captain has never had this sort of authority. We don’t know what kind of signal it will send. The CoA is appearing very weak in front of the Team India captain by this decision,” sources close to the CoA was quoted as saying by CricketNext.
A major question has come up if this move will see an unbiased turn of events since the captain is also a part of the touring squad and it is because of this reason that the BCCI hadn’t given such authority to the team’s captain and coach.
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“The BCCI allows for a reasonable amount of time for the wives and partners of the players to visit on overseas tours. This is done to ensure that focus of the squad is not diverted during the course of a series. The power to make any exception for the player has always vested with BCCI in the past, I don’t see any reason for that to change now,” former BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said in the same report.
The restriction on WAGs’ accompanying players came into force in 2014 following India’s disastrous tour of England. Current captain Virat Kohli, who was a member of the squad, had come under criticism for getting BCCI’s permission to travel to England with his then girlfriend Anushka Sharma.
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