Whether N Srinivasan makes a comeback to the post of BCCI President or Jagmohan Dalmiya becomes permanent, whether Sharad Pawar makes a comeback or not, nothing fundamentally changes the way the BCCI will be run.
A look at some of its problems…
1. Too less cricketers: Most of the state cricket board chiefs are politicians like Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah and even Narendra Modi! If it’s not the politicians then its industrialists like N Srinivasan and Lalit Modi.
Where are all the cricketers? The cricket administration in India is grossly underrepresented by the very people who matter. The only exception is the Karnataka State Cricket Association, which has former Test cricketers Anil Kumble as its President and Javagal Srinath as its secretary.
2. Conflicts of interest: Politicians and industrialists becoming administrators will invariably lead to a conflict of interest. That much is clear. But the problem is that the concept of “conflict of interest” is totally alien to India itself.
Politicians have business interests. Politicians have media interests. It’s very difficult to reform cricket in this aspect if the Indian political structure is such.
In fact forget the administrators; even Kumble and Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni have been involved in conflicts of interests themselves.
3. Zero transparency: Where does all the money come from and where does it go? Where are all the detailed balance sheets? The BCCI calls itself a private club, but thousands of crores of Rupees are involved and it has to open itself to scrutiny like any other corporate body.
Why were most posts honorary till recently? If it is the richest sports body in India, then why not pay a handsome salary for all its officials and bring in a high degree of accountability?
The BCCI does not follow proper procedures and even had no website of its own till it was taken to court.
4. Too less accountability: By and large everyone gets away in the BCCI. Captain M Azharuddin got a life ban in 2000, but he’s back with a bang. Head honcho Jagmohan Dalmiya was also ousted once, but he’s back at the helm of affairs.
N Srinivasan finds himself at the centre of one of the biggest fixing scandal and his own son-in-law was held by the police, but he is still calling the shots. One won’t be surprised if one day even Lalit Modi, who was ousted from the IPL, makes a comeback into the BCCI.
5. Too much commercialization: There is too much money coming into cricket and where does it go? The international calendar is packed and not much thought is spared for injuries and important training camps.
The biggest example of this was that the IPL began immediately after India won the ODI World Cup in 2011 and that may have led to fatigue and our 0-8 overseas Test drubbing.
6. Too much power: Till the 1990s, England and Australia had total control over cricket and even a veto power. India did admirably to break the duopoly, but has now turned into an arrogant power centre of its own.
Chucking. A packed international calendar. IPL clashing with international tours. DRS…
These are some pressing issues in international cricket which have to be amicably sorted out by all the nations, but the BCCI just takes a stubborn stand and sticks to it without coming out with a lasting solution.
7. No player association: India is one of the very few top cricketing nations in the world which doesn’t have its own player associations. Once Australian great Ian Chappell was asked this question and he said that the BCCI just made sure its superstars were happy and didn’t bother about the rest of the players.
In fact, the monetary conditions of some of the Ranji players hasn’t been that great and sometimes the conditions they play and stay under while on tour leave a lot to be desired. Luckily at least the IPL has brought in monetary benefits for a huge number of young domestic players.
8. Match-fixing: If you look at all the match-fixing scandals, then you’ll notice that the BCCI is more reactive in nature than pro-active. All the fixing scandal stories have been broken by the media, sting operation and police.
The ICC has its own unit to spot fixing, but very rarely will you hear of the BCCI uncovering a plot by itself in the dressing room. The reaction is always the same. The moment a scandal breaks out, the BCCI bans the concerned players and refuses to investigate further by itself.
It is amazing that despite all of this, the BCCI is still the richest and most powerful board in the world while the Indian cricket team is probably the most successful of the last six odd years!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/