Q: If a group of owls is called ‘Parliament’ (very apt name, isn’t it?), then what do you call a host of issues?
Don’t be surprised by that! BCCI has found itself entangled in countless issues - not for the first time and surely not the last.
When it comes to cricket…we are as passionate as a politician is for his kursi….and as obsessed as the opposition party is for disrupting Parliament sessions even if a Congress MP sneezes. And hence the latest imbroglio that Indian cricket finds itself is all the more frustrating and saddening! The credibility of the game is at stake and this has left all devotees of this religion called ‘Cricket’ with a deep sense of displeasure. All thanks to the appointed priests (read as BCCI). It’s not that Indian cricket hasn’t witnessed a deeper crisis or that it cannot recuperate from this, but just the sheer audacity of the administrators to cover-up the real issues is unnerving.
The real issue is that – we have a sports committee that is dictatorial (and we call ourselves a democracy), headed by the King of ‘conflict of interests’, backed by board full of politicians; just because they have a bright chance of being elected the next beneficiary and have a shot at minting money at the behest of the sport and its fans.
To explain that long sentence, here’s a blow by blow account of what has transpired in last few days…...
It started with the arrest of 3 Rajasthan Royal players accused of spot fixing and betting, at the fag-end of what has been the best IPL till date in terms of cricket. Immediately after, the BCCI Chairman (Please note, not the IPL Commissioner) addresses the media and claims that the ‘rotten eggs’ spoiling the party have been caught and the rest of the egg basket is still fresh and uninfected.
Little did he know that the poultry caretaker (India’s second most famous son-in-law after Robert Vadra and CSK owner - Mr. Meiyappan) is also infected by the same disease. The arrest of Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan had implications of possible termination of the most consistent IPL franchise and more importantly the danger of losing all the investment that India Cements made for past 6 years. Ironically, the head of this India Cements is the poultry farm manager (Mr. Srinivasan) and also cannot leave the caretaker to die as he is his son-in law.
That’s a really tight spot to be in for Srini! How does he wriggle out of it? Stage the greatest cover-up in the history of sport. India Cements issues a press release claiming Meiyappan was never the owner of the CSK team. This was like the Congress claiming Manmohan Singh is the greatest orator the party has ever seen!
Nevertheless, pressure begins to mount on the India Cements head...er…BCCI Chairman…er…father in law of the alleged CSK owner....(man this is really confusing. How does Srini remember which role is he playing at what time?) …to resign on the moral grounds and to ensure the probe against his son-in-law is fair. But as always is the case in India, it boils down to numbers and political clout. N Srinivasan bulldozed the call for his head by claiming that he has support of the BCCI members and he has done nothing wrong.
Even the leader of the opposition in Parliament - Arun Jaitley, who was very vocal in demanding the resignation of Pawan Bansal because his nephew was involved in a railway scam, could not find words demanding ouster of Srini; maybe because that could have weakened his position as the next BCCI chief.
Mr. Srinivasan…I sincerely think you should not resign on moral grounds for what your son-in-law has done. Instead you should be sacked from the BCCI, not only because you tried to cover up the entire mess but you had the audacity to lie blatantly in front of the entire nation on National television. 2 shameless lies!
First…you claimed that no one from the BCCI has asked for your resignation. The very next day head of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association demands your head. Shortly after, the IPL Commissioner Rajiv Shukla joins the list (in politically correct words albeit). Now the Goa & Assam associations have also urged you to step down. Was it not a lie then? If not what has changed from that press conference and now?
Second…you claimed that your son-in-law was just a cricket enthusiast. Wow! I hardly knew that an ‘enthusiast’ can be part of CSK dugout, in team meetings, auctions and discussing team composition & strategy! Sir, there is enough evidence in the media to refute this claim. If you still disagree, check Lalit Modi’s Twitter account! If Meiyappan was a JUST cricket enthusiast then, Harshad Mehta was only a stock analyst and Ajmal Kasab was a tourist who wanted to see the CST station!
What’s more you justify your actions by saying that the public is with you and the sold out IPL Final is an indication of this. What about the jeer you were greeted with by the 61000 fans who bought these tickets?
The events listed above indicate the brazen attitude of BCCI only in the recent spot fixing case. (The real stories behind DRS, ICC Technical Committee elections, sponsorship withdrawals of Sahara, DLF etc., termination of IPL franchises etc. have not even been considered).
What we are witnessing over the last few days are a few simple techniques at work -
- Retain your position by hook or crook and keep making money and more money under the pretext of performing administrative duties or serving the masses.
- No one from the mutual fraternity will oppose because they are also waiting to get a bite of the same pie.
- If rules disallow you to directly mint money, change the rules or get your relatives involved in it.
- Set up a committee to probe the issue in order to appease the public and ensure the probe report is never out
- Public memory is short. They will slowly forget the issue and return to their normal chores (watching and enjoying cricket in this case).
Don’t these techniques look familiar? Haven’t we seen these at work time and again? Yes, our so called politicians are the most prolific exponents of this art. In fact, they are the one who have perfected this technique. They can and should apply a patent for this technique called ‘How to stay in power and maximize profits’.
BCCI in many ways is just a mirror image of the power hungry India we are living in. In all facets of politics, media, government, municipal corporations, welfare schemes etc. we see these techniques being functional and highly effective. Rules are bent, loop holes are exploited, relatives are favoured and constitutions are modified only to suit the well-being of the power holder rather than the public. The aam aadmi is the last thing on their mind.
BCCI affairs are just a subset of the how Indian Parliament operates. It is just a reflection of how cronyism has become a part of every national body in India! Expecting the BCCI to clean up its act on its own is as wishful as expecting Sajid Khan to make good films! As always the fans will have to conceal their disappointment with the joy that the game gives them. Similar to how the aam aadmi gets back to his chores in spite of a shoddy government that it never deserves!
P.S. - Just read a news article where Sharad Pawar has severely criticized Srinivasan. Maybe now he regrets accepting Srini’s bid for the CSK franchise in spite of the obvious conflict of interest. Maybe he now feels that he could have asked his nephew to bid for the franchise instead!