Cricket has just a single controlling authority with a four-letter acronym
This is one bull run that no Indian cricket-lover can be proud of. Even the hardcore nationalists among us, even the tri-colour waving India-is-the-best sloganmongers would dread the day when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) becomes a global tyrant of such demonic stature that the world game, in all its aspects, is completely controlled by a single member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Some of you might question my sanity for projecting into the future what is already a reality. ICC? Didn't we all read its obituary sometime back? Cricket has just a single controlling authority with a four-letter acronym.
Then again, if there is any truth to a report that recently appeared in The Telegraph (UK), alleging that the 2023 World Cup was awarded to India “by decree, in a secret ceremony,” then the situation is rather alarming.
What does this do to the morale and self-respect of the other ICC members, assuming they still care about such things? And what does it say about ourselves, as a nation of passionate cricket-lovers?
Of course, even a teenaged fan will get his math right and confidently assert that a World Cup in India will be much, much more financially beneficial to all parties. And you might even argue that how the bounty is distributed by such mind-bogglingly corrupt nations such as Zimbabwe is none of our business.
But are cricket officials so egregiously avaricious that they would, without so much as a murmur of dissent, allow the BCCI to bully everyone into submission time and again?
What is more, the de facto controller of world cricket is a body whose style of functioning and ethical practices have come under scrutiny following the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
And few things that the Indian Board has done in recent times might offer you the reassurance that it has the long-term interests of the game — either at home or elsewhere — in mind.
Quite apart from the IPL spot-fixing mess and the various conflicts of interests issues that it has chosen to sweep under the carpet, it is obvious that the BCCI’s lowest priority is the game’s most beloved and classic version — Test cricket.
And against one of its finest practitioners, South Africa, the BCCI is hell bent on reducing an already short three-Test series into a ludicrous two-Test one.
Yet, almost every top official of the Indian Board misses no opportunity when it comes to making platitudinous promises about promoting Test cricket.
It is hardly a surprise then that for all their phenomenal talent, Indian cricketers have never been able to dominate the Test arena as the West Indians and the Australians did in eras past.
What sort of a message is it to youngsters when the men who run the game go by television ratings and rights contracts rather than simply by the long-term interests of the sport.
But then, if the allegations in The Telegraph report are proved, then every member Board of the ICC may be equally culpable.
Long live the Great Indian Bull Run. Anybody for fairplay?