BCCI: ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (Column: Close-in)
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) presently has a great resemblance to the popular western movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. It has gun slingers, gun fights and the pot of gold, “the money chest of the BCCI”.
The ‘Good’ is the way the Indian cricket team is progressing as a world-class performer. There is far more consistency in all the aspects of the game and they look like a champion side which is far better than any before. Their success has led to a commercial bonanza not only for the players but for the institution they represent, the BCCI. Cricket viewership through television and the mobile has grown by leaps and bounds, thereby, generating an interest for which the numbers were a dream a decade back. Growth such as this is never an instant formula and one has to give the BCCI and many of their stalwarts kudos in creating a sports body that has become such a huge success.
The ‘Good’ is also in the realisation that the BCCI needs to change to ensure a systematic development of cricket in India and to make the game a pleasant entertainment for the millions of cricket lovers following it. The BCCI needs a radical change to carry it through successfully in the years to come. The cricket body is now a full-fledged business corporate that requires professionalism and regulations to ensure complete transparency in their operations.
The ‘Bad’ is in the way, even with the intervention of the Supreme Court of India and their judgment three years ago to implement the proposal discussed and argued based on the Justice Lodha recommendations, the action to do so is still languishing without a clear-cut conclusion. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the Amicus Curiae’s appointment by the highest judiciary of the land, has unfortunately not been able to get things in order.
One does feel sorry for, as one could say in the western movie context, the Marshals and the Sheriffs appointed to eradicate and capture the bunch of gangs that controlled cricket in India and in their state associations. To do so they needed to be far more in command as the BCCI was being run by very powerful, rich and influential individuals. To topple and get some of them in-line would require much more than words and written communication. One can now finally see a stern command in the way the head of the COA Vinod Rai has called for the BCCI election, which must have been the result of years of frustration of not being able to do so even through friendship and an amicable relationship.
A firm hand was what was required as most of the people controlling cricket administration at every level, have only one distinct aim and that is one of “Kissa Kursi Ka”. The chair/throne is what gives and gave them status, fame, importance and the famous quote by Lord Acton suits them perfectly, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
The Bad need to be eradicated by the Good and prevent it from the ‘Ugly’ which is at present synonymous with how the BCCI is perceived. Each and every day, there seems to be some negative and controversial news of individuals and state associations opposing the COA and BCCI, with statements and court cases. The sharp shooters in this case are the legal luminaries who are raking in a fortune to keep the gang war sufficiently ignited. The BCCI is losing crores of money battling legal cases, money that could be spent for the betterment of the game of cricket.
The quicker the BCCI apex body is put into effect, the better it will be for cricket and the development of it at every centre. Presently, at most associations, ad-hoc appointments and committees are being formed by the king makers of yore.
The BCCI elections to be held on the October 22, will most likely not have some of the important big cricket centres of India partaking in it. The reason being that is they are still to complete registering their constitutions and some are also abstaining from doing so.
The CoA has made it amply clear that those state associations will not be invited to either participate or be funded by the BCCI in the future. Most of the state association leaders and gang members have been rooted firmly on their chairs or through some form of a committee for well over the 9+9 stipulated period. This makes them ineligible for a position either in the BCCI or in their respective associations. They have, however, still got clout to put their proxies in place. The gun fight will, therefore, be between the Good and the Bad. One hopes it does not turn out to be Ugly!
(Yajurvindra Singh is a former Test cricketer)