Indian cricket is basking under the sunshine from playing fields but the stench from its boardrooms could give a pigs’ colony a fair name.
Ask if you can the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) of whom only two are left – Vinod Rai and Diana Eduljee, why a Rahul Dravid can’t coach an IPL franchise team while Ricky Ponting, an assistant T20 coach of Australia, is coming over as coach of the Delhi Daredevils outfit.
Or why a Ravi Shastri, the voice of IPL, must not be allowed behind a mic even though Mark Waugh, an Australian selector, is a regular in a commentators’ box during the T20 Big Bash.
A Sunil Gavaskar must shut down the players’ wing of his pioneering Professional Management Group (PMG) if he wants to commentate on IPL and could only look in envy at someone like Michael Vaughan who runs a talent management company and broadcasts on the game unhinged.
The same is true for the support staff of Indian team. Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun, R. Sridhar etc, who can’t be a part of IPL even though trainers and masseurs associated with other national teams are allowed to ply their trade in the T20 showpiece.
For heaven’s sake, ask the CoA how they can stop a Sunil Gavaskar from speaking to media even as they cut him in half in the name of “conflict of interest.” Or what the “conflict of interest” is when the Indian team’s masseur is massaging the soft tendons of a player during the IPL.
The CoA can’t think beyond the perceived “moonlighting” of its stable. Who are we to tell them that while the world would come over and discuss, learn, share, prepare a dossier on everything related with Indian cricket and cricketers, our very own would be twiddling their thumbs and munching popcorn in front of TVs for two months.
Who are we to tell these foggies that India has a demanding tour of England immediately after the IPL and that the final frontier of Australia beckons in its wake. That the year 2018 could be a defining make-or-break year for a young captain and his young team. Or possibly for Indian cricket for the next decade. That being out of step with technical and technological advancements in a rapidly evolving professional sport, two months could be a lifetime of opportunity lost.
And if we may ask these chumps how there is no “conflict of interest” when a COA Diana Eduljee extends a purse of Rs 15 lakhs to her sister whose achievements are laughable compared to those ignored among Indian women cricketers, as coach Purnima Rau went away alleging.
Why there is no “conflict of interest” when a Sourav Ganguly could head the Cricket Administration of Bengal (CAB) and still be a part of governing council of IPL? Ganguly was commentating during the Champions’ Trophy in England last summer and soon thereafter was interviewing his fellow commentator Virender Sehwag for Indian coach’s job!
Trust me, someone like James Sutherland, CEO of Cricket Australia, would be laughing his guts out for he had his son Will Sutherland represent Australia as a vice-captain in the recent Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand without this nonsensical “conflict of interest” hanging over his head.
The Supreme Court last January appointed CoA to implement Lodha Reforms in BCCI within six months but it’s twice the time over and the bull hasn’t stopped dancing on the shards of a china shop it destroyed in the first place.
The architect of this whimsical and convenient interpretation of “conflict of interest” was no other than anglophile fake historian Ramachandra Guha who was also a part of the CoA appointed by the Supreme Court before he quit last year. Guha, as a rule, runs contrary to the interest of Indian heritage and polity and now has left Indian cricket scarred too.
It’s this supine meekness towards “whites” still running world cricket which stops the CoAs to empathize with our very own. Barring Gavaskar, one couldn’t find any other Indian commentator during the recent Test series in South Africa whereas we bring them over by truckloads in our own domestic tourneys. Every time Indian team comes over to field before play in South Africa the giant TV screen would only unspool their dismissals and humiliations. The Wanderers’ pitch was clearly manipulated on the final day of the Test but not a word of protest has followed from the Indian board. No questions why the Newlands Test wicket wasn’t pulled up by the ICC when the match was over inside three days. One was an eyewitness to the frustration of the Indian team with the practice strips in the lead up to the Wanderers Test a fortnight ago.
The CoAs could swoon at all the zeroes of an IPL broadcast deal overrunning a piece of paper but they would be hard put to explain why its own anti-corruption unit chief accuses BCCI of having no “concern or interest” in fighting graft and corruption in Indian cricket.
You would’ve known the world’s richest cricket body’s website was down for failing to renew their domain of a few hundred rupees this week but you wouldn’t know why you couldn’t watch Indian women, World Cup finalists, thump South Africa in Kimberley by 88 runs in the first of the three ODI series on Monday. There was no live coverage on television or online; no live commentary portals or links to live streams from the match. This while a member of the COA has earned her stripe and present position for being a former Indian women cricketer.
Indian cricket presently is a rudderless ship awaiting the fate of a Titanic and it’s only a matter of time before PILs start crowding the desk of our judiciary seeking redemption.
The Indian cricket is a headless chicken at the moment. Those at the helm have exceeded their brief and tenure and no end is in sight. Going back to the old system appears impossible now. Supreme Court may have had laudable intentions but chaos presently lords over Indian cricket.
The question no longer is that Who RUNS Indian Cricket. Albeit, Who RUINS Indian Cricket. And please don’t ask prizes for guessing.
Author of “How United States Shot Humanity”, Senior Journalist, TV Presenter