The BCCI’s emergent working committee meeting provoked angry reactions from many in the country’s cricket fraternity. “Sham, shameful, shocking,” was the refrain.
Former Board secretary Sanjay Jagdale expressed anguish at the fact that the real issue of spot-fixing was pushed to the background. “I left the BCCI because my conscience dictated,” he said. “I can’t speak for others and their conscience. But there is no doubt that guilty should be punished. But I am hurt that cricket issues were not taken up at this meeting. I am concerned about the credibility of cricket and cricketers. I pray the Board learns the lesson and takes preventive measures so that such incidents are not repeated. The ills that are plaguing Indian cricket have to be weeded out at the earliest,” said Jagdale.
Former Board president I.S. Bindra termed the meeting a “farce” and insisted the decision would not go down well with the public. “I am shocked that none, apart from Mr. (Ajay) Shirke, asked for Srinivasan’s resignation. The representative from Delhi (S.P. Bansal) sat without uttering a word. Indian cricket and its fans have been taken for a ride. I am not shocked. I know this Board well. But I am disappointed we have not learnt any lesson. We have just done window dressing. It looked a pre-determined decision.”
Sick and tired
Member of Parliament and former Test cricketer Kirti Azad was caustic. “I am sick and tired of these people who have been ravaging Indian cricket. What a shame that people who made all the noise chose to stay in Delhi. What a shame! These people are answerable to the cricket fans of India. The game and the image of the administrators has gone for a six. I have no words to describe this farce that was enacted in Chennai,” thundered Azad.
“Hats off to Srinivasan. He put these politicians in their place. They may make demands in Parliament but not in the Board where Srinivasan rules supreme. Cricket has suffered a huge dent and I feel sorry for cricketers because they have no voice to speak for them in this Board,” said Azad.
He found support from former Test batsman Chetan Chauhan, who agreed that Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla and Anurag Thakur ought to have been in Chennai. “Whatever has happened is not good for the image of the Board,” he said.
All in the same league
Former Test all-rounder Madan Lal said the meeting had not done anything to improve the image of the Board. “It is clear that they are all in the same league and just don’t want to lose their control. I am not surprised because this is the way the Board functions. I had heard of spot-fixing but meetings being fixed is something new.”
Former Board secretary J.Y. Lele minced no words. “You are either present (at the meeting) or you are not. What is this video conferencing? Never seen such a thing in 40 years of association with the Board. What can I say? Your son-in-law has been arrested and yet you continue to hold your post. He (Srinivasan) should have gone gracefully. He doesn’t deserve to be there. The working committee has no authority to make these appointments. It can be challenged legally but, pray, who will bell the cat?”
Mohinder Amarnath, who fell out with Srinivasan when, as National selector, he pressed for M.S. Dhoni’s removal as captain, had predicted that nothing earthshaking would happen. “They are all same,” he had remarked once. Some things just don’t change when it comes to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.