The BCCI has pressed the panic button again

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has pressed the panic button again. Now that its image has taken a beating, the bigwigs are hurriedly clearing the mess.

During the match-fixing controversy in 2000, the government threatened to take over Indian cricket and the BCCI president, A.C. Muthiah, and his senior team made a presentation to then Sports Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.

That presentation was titled ‘Indian Cricket Vision Statement 2000’.

With the recent controversy, the BCCI has again announced a 12-point ‘Operation clean-up’. We need to analyse certain promises made in that original Vision Statement.

What was promised: To preserve and protect the ethical values of the game. To enhance the entertainment values of the game through innovative measures.

My view: May we know what measures the BCCI took to preserve the ethical values of the game and enhance entertainment values, as none of us see any measures at work.

What was promised:  To preserve and promote the traditions of the game.

My view: The spirit and the tradition of the game were crushed when the Code Of Conduct was applied by the match-referees to all from under-15 to the senior players.

There was an alarming growth in indiscipline in domestic cricket and no effort was made to curb it.

What was promised: Players are obliged to report to team managers of any approach made by bookmakers, or the knowledge of any such approach made to any other player. Failure to make such reports is a punishable offence. 

If a player is found guilty of accepting money from a bookmaker, penalty, including suspension, will be imposed. All the players are told that betting and match-fixing are strictly prohibited. 

Warnings are issued to the players that bookmakers and betting syndicates might try to corrupt them and that they should be aware of the serious consequences of taking money from bookmakers. Where approaches are made to players, by or on behalf of bookmakers, local police should be informed to enable initiation of criminal investigation.

My view: These very six points remained in the presentation to the sports minister and one wonders whether the chief of the anti-corruption unit of the BCCI was aware of it.

When two players were banned from Pune Warriors last year, did the anti-corruption unit even care to turn over a leaf of the book of grand promises?

The chief had no clue about the owner-player-bookie nexus that took place recently till the Delhi police unearthed it. Do we need the incompetent anti-corruption unit?

What was promised: Spotting talent and imparting knowledge methodically. Provide online coaching with e-cricket pro (video feedback system using computers). 

Portray talent with fact to enable decision making for selectors. All participants of the academy have access to professionals and coaches all over the world. 

It adopts scientific and technology-savvy coaching methods.

My view: This one is the worst slap on the progress report as the entire coaching structure is in a terrible mess. The NCA and three special academies are running a parallel process of coaching, confusing every youngster who goes there in the hope of learning.

Can we also expect the treasurer of the BCCI, Ravi Sawant, to be transparent in releasing the status report of subsidy given to each association as there are allegations that at quite a few places it has been misused for personal gains?

And what’s the status of the promised museum which is yet to take off after 13 years.

Evidently, the statement was full of empty promises.  

So this time, perhaps giving a time-line for ‘Operation clean-up’ can be a good start — so that Indian cricket lovers all over the world don’t take another 13 years to realise that they have been fooled yet again.