Saba Karim, former India and Bengal wicketkeeper who has been General Manager of BCCI’s Cricket Operations since 2017, has resigned from his post just under a month of reports emerging of his performance being scrutinised by the board. The news of Karim ‘s resignation came hours after reports emerged of a BCCI source telling the PTI that he has been asked to resign by the board mainly due to his inability to prepare any tangible action plan for domestic cricket in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the third high profile resignation to have taken place in the BCCI office over the last few days. Earlier this month, Rahul Johri left the office permanently after his resignation from the post of CEO was accepted by the board. The Board’s Chief Financial Officer Santosh Rangnekar had also resigned last year after the new office-bearers, headed by president Sourav Ganguly, took charge.
A board official was quoted as saying by the Indian Express, “We have received his resignation; he will serve his notice period. The board will look out for a new GM in Cricket operation. The Apex Council has given powers to office bearers to fill up the post.”
His inability to prepare anything tangible for domestic Cricket hasn’t been his only incompetency. Last month, a BCCI official elaborately explained Karim’s lack of contributions. He said,
“These are unprecedented times and we are all aware that you really have to think out of the box and you have to be clinical about it. We need to ensure that the we come out of this pandemic with the least amount of damage to the game. We have been holding a lot of discussions amongst the executives and the office bearers have been having their own discussions. In our discussions on the areas that need attention, sadly his contribution has not been up to the mark.”
“This isn’t the only issue. When it comes to the domestic calendar, we don’t have anything constructive as yet and we might later see our office team having to put in extra hours to make up for lost time. Moreover, the issues that his team members have raised in the past with K.V.P. Rao going to the extent of refusing an appraisal, do not inspire too much confidence in him. A few state cricket associations have also raised issues about his brusque manner. When it comes to the National Cricket Academy, it now has Rahul Dravid and KVP, who has been given the responsibility that Saba earlier had. The umpire’s academy, which Saba had been responsible for, is as good as dead. So at a time when people are doubling up and taking on multiple responsibilities, those who aren’t will face the brunt as one cannot afford dead weight anymore. Ultimately it is about what you bring to the organisation and not how much you take from it.”
“Finally, the current regime is very clear when it comes to professionalism and you obviously expect that when you have the former India captain at the helm. Things are only getting tougher as you have seen across the world. Cricket Australia and ECB among others have already made some tough calls, and as professionals, the onus is on us to perform. We’d rather have a situation where people are talking about our work and not our salaries.”
Karim was appointed as General Manager in December 2017. The former gloveman featured in a Test match and 34 ODIs for India, along with 120 First Class matches and 124 List A matches, in which he accumulated a total of 9,615 runs and claimed 448 dismissals.