Chennai: Historian Ramachandra Guha, who was on Monday named in the SC-appointed panel to run the BCCI, has been a vehement critic of the Indian Premier League. A self-proclaimed purist, Guha has never attended an IPL match and strongly believes that the glitzy league “brought out the worst of Indian society — corruption and cronyism.”
In front of a select audience that included the likes of Kapil Dev here last August, Guha, a club and college-level cricketer, showed his disdain for the IPL. “When it started I was disgusted by it and I’m still disgusted by it. I have never gone to an IPL match and part of the reason was Vijay Mallya who ran the Bangalore team. He is a crook,” he had said.
As Guha will be part of the panel that is likely to take key decisions regarding the 10th edition of the IPL, it will be interesting to see how the historian goes about his job.
In his speech, Guha had even compared T20 cricket to “arrack sold down the road side.” “Test cricket is like a single malt scotch because you remember every sip — the aroma, taste, nuance and everything. ODI is like Indian-made foreign liquor as you remember a few good things. All that you remember after a T20 is that you got smashed,” Guha said.
As Guha kept voicing his opposition to the IPL, the BCCI even tried to win over the influential author “about the beauties of the league.”
Professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, Stefan Szymanski, who was roped in by the BCCI to draw the IPL schedule, met Guha in Bengaluru.
“The professor wasn’t successful (in persuasion) though. At the end of the conversation, he gave a present pulling out a bottle of single malt scotch from his bag!” Guha said.
Guha, worships the likes of G.R. Viswanath and Erapalli Prasanna, is also biased towards Karnataka though he traces his ancestry to Tamil Nadu. “I don’t really care whether India win or lose; I want my team friends’ Cricket Club in Bengaluru and Karnataka to flourish,” he said.