The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken a lot of flak over the past two weeks. The spot-fixing scandal has trained the spotlight on the Board’s methods of governance and its willingness to punish erring players. In this exclusive interview to The Hindu, N. Srinivasan, president, BCCI, says that the Board is playing it straight and the players cannot be policed by the BCCI all the time.
What is your view on the spot-fixing controversy?
I never expected this really. It is easy to slam the BCCI as it is being done. We took all possible precautionary steps. BCCI appointed the same body that looked after anti-corruption measures at the World Cup. All the teams were properly briefed on dealing with all kinds of people, on dealing with people who approach them. The players were told how the approach can be made. It was explained in detail. If someone still wants to commit a mistake, how much can BCCI control?
How will you go about it now?
We have our rules to be followed. These rules have been in place for years. Even the Supreme Court has said that we should take action according to the BCCI rules. We did what we could. We have initiated an inquiry and once the report comes we will take action. The report will go to the Disciplinary Committee which will recommend what action we can take.
Should not the BCCI become stricter with the players to prevent a recurrence of spot fixing scandals?
This is IPL 6. Over the years there has been a gradual shift away from the cricket part, in the sense there is entertainment too. We have sought suggestions from various quarters and will take steps to improve our monitoring of the players when they are participating in the IPL. We will definitely become stricter, but then the players also need some space. On our part, we take necessary steps to curb activities that bring disrepute to the game.
It is generally felt that the IPL has given rise to corruption in cricket and during the tournament the players literally become slaves of the franchisee.
To a large extent it is true that the players play for the franchisee during that period. But then the teams have a manager, coach, and they all stay together, travel together. They follow a certain schedule. To that extent, they function like a team.
But does not the BCCI lose control of the players because they become accountable only to the team owners during the IPL period?
I don’t agree that the BCCI loses control of the players. One thing for sure is that the players play for their franchisee for six weeks. But that does not mean they are lost to BCCI.
Is not IPL responsible for most ills plaguing the game?
It depends on what you think are the ills of the game. Match fixing and spot fixing had happened in the past in other forms of the game. We have to understand that if the person decides to behave badly he will. You can’t stop him. When they are not playing the cricketers are free, not in our control. We can’t police the players during the time they return home.
What course of action is open to the BCCI?
I am waiting for the report [from ACSU chief Ravi Sawani]. We will take a slew of measures, concrete measures.
We have had a detailed discussion with the anti-corruption officials. There are many areas we will be addressing in terms of discipline.
Personally, how do you view the happenings in the last few days?
The electronic media has been indulging in IPL-bashing for some time.
They have been attacking me personally. But look at how people are coming to watch the IPL matches.
The enthusiasm of the fans has not been diminished.