Is BCCI Playing Cricket?

R Jayaraman

Author: R Jayaraman

Date: Mon, 2016-10-24 11:21

Shashank Manohar thought that he will play on a different pitch and hence decided to go to the nets at the ICC. The playing there may be easier, rid of the many bouncers that were getting thrown at the august body BCCI in India, from many quarters. The batting was becoming more and more difficult. To begin with many people were quarrelling with the bat which BCCI was wielding. Many thought that the cricket bat had been changed to a baseball bat, with all kinds of base practices, including stealing bases (this was an old practice in BCCI, nothing new) changing umpires at crucial moments, hitting the ball out of the ground and the dugout becoming a den where players and bettors were interchangeably mixing. Clearly this was not cricket, but perhaps Indian baseball, a new variation of the original.

The baseball diamond was not visible, but Surat diamonds were adorning many fingers of key officials. The great Sharad Pawar, who towered and powered about, for close to many decades had become a pale shadow of his original self. But the other power brokers like N Srinivasan, Shirke, Shukla, Suman Shekar, Ravi Shastri, Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle were still around. The CSK scandal was consuming the top batting order, in spite of the many no-balls being bowled by Srinivasan. This wily but able administrator, who was the first to bring some sunshine into a cobwebbed organisation, with archaic and opaque practices, began his innings as the Chief of BCCI with many fours and sixers.  He brought in the sharing of the booty that BCCI was generating day in and day out with old players, deserving ones, stalwarts who had distinguished themselves in the field and the long suffering cricket associations which were mere pitching mats and crease powder with the earlier dispensations.

However his Achilles heel was quite close to home in the form of Gurunath, his son-in-law, who unfortunately functioned outside the law. While betting was rampant in much of cricket with spot fixing, match fixing, ball fixing etc., it was given to Gurunath to bring down his mighty father-in-law. Even big fish like Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty escaped the batillotine, but the inexperienced and naïve Guru turned out to be a clueless and meek shishya, with the equally supporterless Srinivasan slowly losing his hold. The final insult was that Srinivasan had to be replaced by a person who was already on his bed, the wily long running horse – Jagmohan Dalmiya. He was woken up to head the world’s richest and perhaps most abused cricket organisation, and he had to be helped to walk to reach his office. However this arrangement lasted but a short time due to the sudden demise of the war horse from Bengal and Shashank Manohar was brought in.

By then, the opposition camp had smelt blood and baseball, and went for the middle wicket by petitioning the SC. The opposition camp led by the media and some sports correspondents affiliated to TV channels pushed ahead for the kill and got the Lodha committee appointed through the SC, in spite of no balls called by Manohar and company. The decision of the committee put paid to many of the shenanigans for which BCCI had become famous for by now. For example, to keep out Sharad Pawar, a rule was proposed that no person above 70 could be an office bearer. As yet BCCI has not come out with something innovative. This move by the Lodha committee is a straight lift from the Tata book when Russi Modi was ousted.

That was when Manohar played a googly, he eased himself out of the fracas by slithering into the ICC and leaving the BCCI boat in troubled waters. In stepped Anurag Thakur, a brave soul, but a battle scarred veteran, at a very young age. The SC is, as of now, not playing ball, with BCCI and the two locked in a fierce bouncing wicket which could take a turn for the worse soon. Anurag Thakur and gang could be spun out, could be run out, or could be clean bowled and new batsmen and bowlers called for when the SC comes out to bat for a new innings. Till then we will have a tea break.

 

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Enjoyed reading your synopsis of the drama between the BCCI and the Supreme Court thus far. What has transpired is worthy of a prime time saas-bahu show and your take on it using cricket terminology made it all the more interesting and humourous. Underneath all the gloss however, as you may well agree, is a dark and twisted organization which is in charge of one of the most of powerful sports (country) boards in the world. The irony however is palpable; allow me to explain: The BCCI is an independently run autonomous board which is not under the purview of any government body which controls the national representation of the sport. A country in which bribery and corruption is rampant at the government level, running the BCCI as an independent organization was lauded by all and sundry except a few naysayers who were quickly silenced. What no one accounted for is that the problem is so deep rooted in our culture that once the BCCI reached a position of power and influence they began operating exactly like the demon they were originally set up to avoid. The intervening of the Supreme Court in order to bring parity and order to the administration of the sport is testimony to the fact the the BCCI literally answered to no one. While the SC has recommended an array of changes to be implemented by the BCCI this may or may not improve the functioning of the organization. Unless there is absolute accountability for any misgivings that may occur, merely changing the line-up will not change the mentality of the team nor the outcome.

That was quite a cricket-ic writing Sir. Tea Break is over now and the in the first over itself Mr.Thakur is retired hurt. Night watchman Mr.Rai hopefully will be in crease for sometime. But no doubt that team BCCI has been the overcoming all bouncers and yorkers to be still the richest sporting body in the country. Probably the only sport in India, which gives the best of facilities and remuneration to players. When it is true for most sports what Shah Rukh's said in Chak De, "players are playing to get a job in sports quota". Cricket is not so. Cricket is an earning profession by itself in India. BCCI deserves credit for it despite all the controversies around.

A summary of the current affairs at the BCCI and what a mockery it has made of cricket administration in the country has been explained by way of intriguing commentary by Professor R. Jayaraman. The BCCI is the richest cricket administering body in the world and also a can of worms when it comes to deceit, corruption, and scandals. The head of the BCCI be it Shashank Manohar or the once so powerful N Srinivasan have both played a part in leaving the operations of the board in tatters. Take for instance the IPL spot-fixing scandal which threw up the murky details of what happened in the dugouts of the teams wherein the players and the bookies were sharing space. Fixing has been a part of Indian cricket for decades now in different forms such as match fixing, spot fixing etc. but the BCCI through the ages has not been serious in its resolve to clean up the game. It is this lack of will which has emboldened the perpetrators over the years and the complete lawlessness at the BCCI which has corrupted the gentleman’s game to such an extent that today, when we watch wickets tumble in a heap or the bowlers bowling loose deliveries or easy catches being dropped the first thought that comes to mind, is, am I watching a fixed encounter? The current scenario at the BCCI is that the Supreme Court appointed Lodha committee had asked for a slew of changes in the functioning of the board which have barely been implemented and amidst the showdown between the BCCI and the Supreme Court it is the game of cricket that seems to suffer and that is the biggest fear in the mind of every cricket fan across the country. We as ardent followers and lovers of the game want it to be played and run with the most honest of intentions and no malice at all.

Sir .. you have neatly crafted this blog with right cricket shots . It’s a beautiful description of the happenings in BCCI with well timed shots. BCCI the god father of international cricket has used its power to gain major decision making rights in the International Cricket council and thus muscled other cricket bodies towards itself. The sheer arrogance of the BCCI is direct reflection of the people who control it .People like N Srinivasan have abused the system towards their needs and gained massively upon it. The Indian Premier league format was twisted according to the needs of certain teams like Chennai Super Kings,which was owned by the same company N Srinivasan served as the chairman. I always wonder how such a big conflict of interest in which the chairman of BCCI is owning a team and controlling the board as well was not questioned. Thus it leads me to a suspicion whether the whole system was corrupt and everyone was working only on maximize their own self interest .Unfortunately the loyal fans and the players were made a fool out of it in this drama This is an organization that has grown to this level only because of the crazy fans and now this very same organization has the audacity of reject RTE application of the concerned fans, who wanted to know the functioning of the BCCI I appreciate the Supreme Court for their measures taken in removing corrupt people like N Srinivasan. We need to install a mix of people with administrative and sports background to improve the functioning of BCCI .

The states of affairs at BCCI is in shambles. It has seen unprecedented ups and downs over last couple of years owing to internal conflicts and BCCI has no one else to blame. It was kind of coming and they refused to look at it for far too long. They became greedy and greediness crept into entire structure of the BCCI. BCCI became the whoes of who of politicians and everybody seemed to enjoy the slice of the pie for far too long. The international scenario was not so different too. BCCI had a long history of arm-twisting smaller boards and had dominance over the administration of work cricket. Some experts believe that it the BCCI to blame for the sorry state of internationalization of the sport, which BCCI never found profitable and did not allow other boards to pursue. The supreme court intervention comes as a welcome sign. It has tried to establish some sense of sportsmanship that was missing for long. The SC should look at some practical way to deal with the inherent problems with any sport. For example betting can be bought within the purview of the government. This will generate revenue & will bring this market within the overview of the government. Players have to be monitored & their performances evaluated to ensure least effect from the betting world. BCCI has to be brought under the preview of Judicial & vigilance overview. On similar lines, much more can be done to better the game. I am hopeful that cricket will be truly global sports one day!

Today, by the late 21st century if we talk about cricket it has just became a business, where winning or losing has just became a business deal. Nothing to be generalized, but there is no such player or team which is completely playing for the spirit of sport. Ultimately we all here to make money, no matter what it may count but the ultimate goal of our career is to strengthen your bank balance. BCCI being an autonomous ruling body over the game of cricket can be held as a reason for all this disruption. During the early 50-60 when cricket was known as the sport for a gentlemen has now turned into business for gentlemen. There is not much changes in the rules of playing but there has been lots of changes in the goal of playing the sport. Now it is not only the question of winning or losing. Things started changing after India held its first world cup in 1983. Many cases have been registered of players being booked during games for deliberately making their teams face shameful defeats. Bribing and corruption has always been the first priority in any sector for India, whether it is politics, sports, business anything at some or the other place people face corruption. In India where nothing works bribing or corruption has been the easiest option for making your work done. In addition to it, the emergence of Indian Premiere League has taken the game of cricket to a gambling stage where a surplus amount of money is smuggled and the match is fixed till the very last ball.

Nothing indeed beats the thrill of watching your favourite team go all out in order to clinch that title securing victory in a game of sport. But when one realizes that those intense moments were just a display of state-of-the-art acting skills, then one does lose faith over the sport that he loves. Thank you Sir for writing this article, as I strongly believe that the biggest cause of concern for a sport can be the fact that its administrators are more in the limelight than the players and the sport itself. The word play on display throughout this article with references such as the Surat diamonds case has made this an interesting read, gripping the reader throughout the article. This phenomenon is not entirely Indian though, the BCCI has just glocalized it. Examples are galore from Sepp Blatter to Bernie Ecclestone to Chuck Blazer. The root cause of this problem, I believe is that sport regulatory bodies or any position of responsibilities in any sporting organization are not being governed by former sports stars themselves. Not being too harsh on them, but the impetus that has lead the professional sports administrators to raise the sport to its present stature has also been the reason for its downfall as well, as it has always been money dominating the game rather than the players themselves. For when administrators with business backgrounds or political backgrounds head sport bodies, they look at the sport itself from a bird’s eye point of view and the money pouring in from sponsorship into their players’ pockets is looked at with massive intensity. What each sport needs today are individuals who have played the game themselves, who know what goes on inside a player’s mind, and what emotion each fan goes through while backing their team. It needs people who love the game more than anything else, and who are willing to go that extra mile in order to maintain the dignity of the sport. The mere decision to induct cricketing legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman into the advisory panel of the BCCI, was met with great cheer throughout India. Mr. Gavaskar who had become the interim president of the BCCI for IPL, received a warm welcome by both players and fans. The fact that there have been so many players who have now become successful managers of football clubs in Europe, and successful coaches of national teams in international cricket, go on to show that such players can indeed take up the post of a sports administrator, despite having a lack of experience in the business field. Players who have struggled from the bottom-most level, in order to rise to the very top, know the difficulties at each and every stage, and thus should be given the equivalent, if not superior, authority to oversee and rectify such problems. All that the tea-break, mentioned in the article, should do is, allow the new set of players to take the field for that is where they belong rather than have administrators like Mr. Anurag Thakur and Mr. N Srinivasan run helter-skelter when the Supreme Court decides to wreak havoc with the ball.

The Champions Trophy was just round the corner when murmurs about the next coach of the Indian Cricket Team started doing the rounds. Pundits were busy professing their preferred candidates and media coverages were rife with rumors on who all are in line to apply for the post. However, on the other side of the spectrum, there was a silent observer, a common cricket lover, pondering what the fuss was all about. After all, the existing coach had enabled the team to win virtually every tournament it had played during his tenure and the fortunes of the team were said to be on the ascendancy. But the silent observer would not have stressed on the question for long if he had been following Indian Cricket for a while. Cricket in India has been wrought with a star culture both on and off the field. A system where people in power call the shots beyond the scope of their KRAs and often, their discretion serves as a testimony of what is the ‘right thing to do’ in the system. They are used to having their way in matters and opposing questions are seldom raised. If at all a lunatic well-wisher of cricket crops up to share alternative viewpoints or decides to stand up to hegemony, he/she is soon shown the door. Ask Harsha Bhogle or Ramachandra Guha and they might have a thing or two to share. With such a culture in place, it should come as no surprise that cricket administration in India has been under a cloud over the last 18 months. With accusations against the Who’s Who of Indian cricket such as Anurag Thakur and Sharad Pawar, conflict of interest between players and their professional alliances, fixing allegations against the owners themselves of domestic cricket teams, and resistance to changes suggested by the highest court of the land; the dire state of affairs is evident. After much resistance to the suggestions by the Lodha Committee, though they were finally implemented and a new crop of administrators took over, allegations against the new panel started surfacing, suggesting that it may not be the people, but the system which makes everyone follow suit. And worse, the shoddy affairs have also come out in the open for the world to see as visible in ICC meetings which have also seen discussions on the turmoil amidst the BCCI. The issue has been profusely outlined by Mr. R Jayaraman through a sarcastic, article as he successfully brings out the incompetence of our system through cricketing terminologies ensuring the content is light, yet effective. Looking back at the quest for India’s cricket coach which began a couple of months ago, the existing coach at the helm was eventually replaced by his predecessor who had been well known for his allegiance with the captain of the team. Hence, though a number of applications were received for the position, it has been well reasoned that the predecessor was bound to return owing to the favorability of the captain and difference in opinion between the existing captain-coach combination. And again, it was evident that much like the perplexity in cricket administration, the on-field helm of the game was also discrete and in the hands of a select few. The silent observer could keep frowning upon the lack of rationale behind the ouster of a successful coach, but his experience in watching Indian cricket would suggest him to take this in his stride at the cost of being a little ignorant and to just enjoy the game as visible on the field.

A very well written article Sir, I would like to put forward my thoughts on the same. Cricket has now become the national spirit game of India. Any irregularities in its functioning hurt a billion People. Fixing Scandals associated with the Game has increased massively in recent Years. With possibility of fixing matches is quiet open. Now Fixing has moved from Spot or Match Fixing to “Pitch-Fixing”, Recently Pune Pitch Curator was sacked after being accused of agreeing to Tamper Pitch upon request from Reporters posing as Bookies during New Zealand Tour of India. BCCI has been administered by Politicians since it’s Inception. Cream Positions are enjoyed by Close aides. This has led to deteriorating affairs of Functionality of BCCI and every representative has misused their Positions to Milk the Cash cow. Going through the past, which highlighted dark side of the BCCI Supreme Court Intervention in matter of BCCI Functioning and accepting recommendations Suggested by Lodha Committee is really a Prudent Step . Supreme court Judgement helped in bringing Transparency & accountability towards it’s functioning. It had minimized patronage from Political circuit and Top bureaucrats to the Board and state association. Not only Administration, BCCI should the Shun the prevalent superstar culture in Indian Cricket. The way in which coach (Anil Kumble) - Virat Kohli (Captain) episode was not properly handled by the BCCI. Players should not decide who the coach should be or someday they may seek a role of appointment for close aides in BCCI. Another incident of Players flexing their muscles to intimidate media so that no one posed with Uncomfortable questions was the Harsha Bhogle removal from Indian Premier League commentary Team as he was being Over Critical of the Players. Indian Cricket should learn to take criticism without taking it personally. We as cricket Lovers can hope & pray the Beautiful game go on in all fairness & Purity.

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