What do Rudyard Kipling, the legendary English writer, German dictator Adolf Hitler, Greek philosopher Socrates, American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, English poet John Milton, and the late American president Abraham Lincoln have to do with Indian cricket?Also, were American architect Daniel Hudson Burnham, English novelist and dramatist Henry Fielding, poets Laine Parsons, Sir Henry John Newbolt, an 18th century Anglo-Irish writer, and Oliver Goldsmith ever associated with the sport in India?And are the Hindu scriptures Katha Upanishad and Atharva Veda related to cricket?The answer to these questions is ‘no’. Okay, to give the benefit of doubt, one or two of these personalities – especially the Britons – may have followed cricket, but they were certainly not associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which incidentally is holding its annual general meeting today in Mumbai.Still, over the years, all the names and works mentioned above have repeatedly found a mention in the annual report of the BCCI, a very interesting document, to say the least.BCCI mandarins have had this common habit of quoting from the works of foreigners, particularly legendary poets and writers, in their reports that are part of the annual publication.Some of the well-known personalities that have held top posts in the BCCI – including president Jagmohan Dalmiya, secretaries JY Lele, Niranjan Shah and SK Nair, and treasurers Kishore Rungta and Jyoti Bajpai – used to quote couplets/sayings of these great men every year in their reports.advertisementOften, they also quoted Rabindranath Tagore, Katha Upanishad, Atharva Veda, and even MS Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi group of hotels. Rungta even confessed in one of his reports that Oberoi was his hero.However, the great poets and philosophers have lately disappeared from the BCCI annual documents, as the present set of officials, led by N Srinivasan, have stopped using their quotes. They are now more to-the-point, rather mundane, as they recall the highlights of the year gone by in their write-ups.Niranjan Shah, currently the senior-most Board official who attended his first BCCI meeting way back in 1972-73, was the last office-bearer to quote from the works of a litterateur, Kipling, in the 78th BCCI annual report in 2006-07.Although Shah continued as secretary the next season as well, he did not include anyone’s work in the 2007-08 document – and with it ended a long-standing tradition.Present day officials stick to cricket, thus taking the ‘colour’ away from the pages of the annual publication, which contains the reports of the two secretaries and the treasurer, the balance sheet and a report on domestic tournaments.Same is the case with the 2011-12 annual report that will be tabled at Thursday’s AGM in Mumbai.The cover of the annual reports too has undergone a change. Until a few years ago, both the front and back covers used to be designed by an artist, who usually worked around bats, balls, and stumps.Now, the contemporary officebearers prefer photos of cricketers, preferably of the national team, senior or junior, which has won something. For the latest annual report, they have opted for the group photo of the Unmukt Chand-led India under-19 team that won the World Cup in Australia last month. Last year, the annual report cover carried the photo of MS Dhoni’s team that clinched the 50-over World Cup.Talking about photos, the 244-page 78th annual report of 2006-07 contained a whopping 35 photos of the then BCCI president Sharad Pawar.Journeyman coach looks for next prizeChandrakant Pandit.These are interesting times for Rajasthan cricket. Even though they lost the season-opening Irani Trophy to the Cheteshwar Pujara-led Rest of India on Monday, both Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s team and new coach Chandrakant Pandit could create different milestones.Rajasthan are chasing a hat-trick of Ranji Trophy titles, having won the national championship in the last two years. Pandit, who took over the reins from Amit Asawa – who was coach on both previous occasions – could establish a personal record if he guides Rajasthan to the title. He had earlier coached Mumbai to Ranji titles in 2003 and 2004 and if he is successful this year it could be his third national title as coach.Pandit, who was last year hired as Director of Cricket by the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and is now doubling up as coach, is hopeful that Rajasthan would complete an unprecedented hat-trick of Ranji Trophy titles.”Definitely, every team would like to achieve the same result. Most players have the confidence. The self-belief and unity between the players is much more now,” Pandit told Mail Today, probably on the basis of what he saw during the 12-day preparatory camp held at the RCA Academy in Jaipur, before the Irani Trophy.advertisementPandit, however, does not want to put pressure on the team before the Ranji Trophy championship starts on November 2. “They have to main their reputation by playing well. The results will follow if we play disciplined cricket. But there is no point in putting pressure on players,” he said. By signing for Rajasthan, Pandit has renewed his partnership with captain Kanitkar. They were together in the same coach-captain relationship for Maharashtra, when Pandit joined as coach in 2005 and Kanitkar was captain.”Kanitkar as captain is cool. He’d like to continue in the same vein [from last year]. All of us believe in [the] process. Now, we need to get confidence,” said Pandit, who knows the captain from his Maharashtra experience. Now, if he can help Rajasthan win their third successive Ranji title, it would be a personal record for him.Indian cricket stays dope freeVirender Sehwag recently had to undergo a ‘routine, random’ ICC drug test in Sri Lanka.While some of the other Indian sports federations are battling to control the doping menace among athletes, the BCCI can proudly claim that no cricketer has returned a positive result in dope tests since 2002, be it at home or at ICC-organised tournaments.This happy scenario is largely a result of the BCCI’s efforts to educate players about the ill-effects of doping, as part of its Anti-Doping Education Programs (ADEP). The Board has been organising workshops for players and support staff of the various teams, ranging from under-16 to the senior side, and also the women’s teams.Between July 11 and March 2012, a total of 874 players and support staff took part in the workshops organised by the Board under ADEP. The BCCI also organised workshops for education of IPL and Champions League T20 teams.126 cricket trophies in India’s cabinet and countingGuess how many trophies are currently in BCCI’s possession The answer is, hold your breath: 126. Yes, last month’s under-19 World Cup was the 126th trophy that has come India’s way, as per BCCI records. This list includes trophies won by men and women in bilateral exchanges as well as at junior levels. The three most outstanding trophies are the Prudential Cup, presented for winning the 1983 60-over World Cup, and the 50-over World Cup last year, and the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup.