Board apathy totally shocking

Associations without stadiums of their own dont deserve big games

Board apathy totally shocking

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni with the trophy after India won the one-day series 1-0. AFP

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been insisting for some time now that associations must have their own infrastructure in place to host international matches. But it’s a policy followed neither in spirit nor in letter. How else can one explain the allotment of the opening and final matches of the just concluded series to the Kerala and Goa cricket associations, neither of which has its own stadium?

Both the associations are based out of football stadiums in their respective states, and are given possession of the ground only a few days before the match. Since they are basically football grounds, having a proper drainage system is one of the least priorities as you can play the game even during rain. But not so with a complex game like cricket, where extraneous factors play as much of a role as any other aspect. It’s no mere coincidence that these two venues saw matches being called off while Visakhapatnam, which too witnessed heavy rains in the run-up to the second tie, managed to have a full match. That the Andhra Cricket Association has one of the finest stadiums in the country shouldn’t be lost on the powers that be. The three matches were supposed to be part of India’s preparations for the World Cup, beginning less than five months from now in the sub-continent, but what we have got is a meaningless series, thanks to the Board’s rotation policy which not surprisingly is bereft of any logic and common sense. No top Test-playing country in the world has such a botched-up approach towards the game and its supporters. Like millions in front of their TV sets, over 60,000 paid spectators -- without whose fanatical backing the BCCI wouldn’t be what it is today -- in Kochi and Goa had to return home disappointed, but can the board care less?

Most of the stadiums in India are notoriously inconvenient for fans, right from buying tickets to finding their seats. There is no proper hygiene and no protection from sun and rain, while food and water come at a premium. Throw in rude security personnel, police or otherwise, and their misery is complete. The least a fan deserves is some cricket after enduring all these difficulties. There is no point in being the richest and the most powerful cricket Board in the world when you can’t get an affiliated association to host at least a truncated tie even after two days of bright sunshine. Can you imagine such a situation in countries like Australia, England or South Africa?   

Undoubtedly, the BCCI is the most professionally run sports body in the country, but it’s not entirely above board. The Board, which flexes its muscles to have its way in every situation, falls flat on its face when it comes to setting its own house in order.

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