BCCI caboodle must bow to top court diktats

The BJP may even have been unhappy that the embarrassing leak from Lalit Modi-Sushma Swaraj emails may have come from the BCCI-authored hacking.

A visit to an Australian vineyard was revealing when the host inadvertently said Indians own most of the land, hinting at connections with Indian cricket. Our legends of the arena and administration have been up to so much that even whispers seem to assume a deep meaning. An admin legend used to charge the BCCI about 800 dollars a day as tour allowance while he stayed with a spinner when abroad. Yet another may have routed a BCCI payment for a clandestine operation through a relative. The BJP may even have been unhappy that the embarrassing leak from Lalit Modi-Sushma Swaraj emails may have come from the BCCI-authored hacking.

These are, however, small shenanigans which would normally have escaped notice if not for the admin legends had accepted at any stage that there were things going on in cricket which needed to be checked. Compared to the principles the admin legends breached in running the game, their little secrets were unlikely to give India’s smooth operators sleepless nights. But it was the great uproar caused during their run-ins with the Supreme Court which brought about this decisive blow to the BCCI. There is no fury like top court judges scorned, which another legend associated with cricket and who spent an enormous time in jail would testify.

The whole BCCI caboodle deserved to go for their cardinal sin of converting the board into a personal fiefdoms and acting like Mafia bosses would in marking and then cornering their territory. Their democratic way of functioning would last only until they got through the peculiar electoral system of zone-wise rotation, which made it easy to create little monopolies that would fetch the larger kingdom. There were too many neon gods being worshipped by the players of the game too. And Mammon played a large role too in all this abandoning of pristine principles in a game that was supposed to be a metaphor for fair play.

“It’s not quite cricket” could be said of the big charade that BCCI ran after the IPL betting scandals were outed and they involved players, team owners and key officials.

The law of Omerta ruling by which a former president used to swear was not sufficient proof against judicial probes, which tend to get to the bottom of the matter. Such was the opaqueness of BCCI that all cricket admin matters were thought to be top secret and no one had any business asking questions. Cricket must be glad then that a few good men did stand up and ask questions and demanded answers. The top court judges who ran the probes into the betting and further into the BCCI itself knew what they were doing.

The lawyers who believed they could run rings around the Supreme Court were in for a rude shock even though it doesn’t truly affect them since their fees amounting to crores of rupees will be paid anyway.

What the reforms thrust upon a reluctant BCCI should bring about is a new cricket board that should be transparent and accountable. The court can only show the way to the BCCI on how it should be administered in a professional manner. It is now upto the board to find the right personnel to run the cricket on the ground while all the bigwigs still eligible to be ‘honorary’ administrators can take their policy decisions and give directions. This would mean there should be a change of heart among them too about their being lovers of the game who are expected to act in its best interests rather than aspire to become the next dons of Indian cricket.

It appears the era of the dons is over an world cricket is probably better off for it too because gone is the unfair and unequal system of revenue sharing that was introduced by a marketing genius whose thinking may have been picked up in Harvard where the oil sheikhs once learnt about supply and demand. Was there a place for such strikes against equality in cricket of which it was said that had only the French played the game there would have been no Revolution. So great an equalizer was the great game! Let us bring it back to its halcyon days.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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