A game ruined by its caretakers

June 06, 2013 12:25 am | Updated November 16, 2021 08:45 pm IST

What happens when the custodians of the BCCI get together? Nothing. ‘Emergency meeting’ is what their travel and dearness allowance (TA-DA) account will say. But the truth is that values such as integrity, credibility, commitment, and professionalism dissolved the moment the ‘custodians’ of Indian cricket converged in Chennai.

Viv Richards recently said he was bluffing bowlers when in fact there were butterflies in his stomach when stepping out to bat. These representatives of the associations too bluffed their way in the hotel at Chennai. They gave the impression that they were there for a change in leadership. Not a soul asked for the resignation of the BCCI president.

No answer

To many, the television coverage was entertaining, but to real cricket lovers, it was simply nauseating. Where is Indian cricket heading? No one had the answer. The ones who should answer are still silent. Can money make them silent forever? In coffee parlours and dingy bars, the issue was dissected with each news break but it didn’t stir those who attended the meeting.

Each one at the meeting pocketed Rs. 30,000 as TA-DA (one day prior and one day after the meeting at Rs. 10,000 per day), spent on accommodation at the five-star hotel, and flew in absolute comfort at their respective associations’ cost.

Forget taking the daring step of asking for the president’s resignation, they could have at least discussed how to restore the credibility of this noble game in the country.

The arrest of the BCCI president’s son-in-law blew the situation out of control, but is seeking resignation the only solution when the five-member committee has appointed a three-member panel with two retired judges to probe the issue? The BCCI bosses love such situations.

Politics and cricket

Since 1983, politics has dominated cricket administration in India. So much so that in 1983 at Bangalore, the erstwhile Maharaja of Baroda, Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad, walked out of the AGM because not a word about the game was discussed for more than an hour. He was fuming even when having a cold drink with us. That was the meeting in which sitting president Wankhede was dethroned while he was in a hospital in Mumbai.

Now Jagmohan Dalmiya has been entrusted with the responsibility of restoring the credibility of the game.

The man was painted a villain in 2006 and an FIR for embezzlement of 1996 World Cup funds was slapped on him when N. Srinivasan was the treasurer. And the man who filed the FIR was Niranjan Shah, who attended the Chennai meeting. What a farce!

What does the common citizen make of the fact that the man is being brought back by the same bunch of individuals who were pro-active in making the list of charges. Dalmiya won all the cases and proved it was nothing but a political vendetta. Are all these people in power just fooling cricket lovers by their circular blame-game and resignations and appointments?

Some of the politicians with no cricketing background — though one of them managed to play one first-class match because he was keen to be a selector — are damaging the ethos of Indian cricket because they lack knowledge of the game.

Going by what Dalmiya did when he took over the financially crumbling ICC, he has the knack of grasping quickly and acting swiftly. What we need to save Indian cricket, however, are the right hearts.

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