Farcical drama

The outcome of the BCCI working committee meeting in Chennai on Sunday has turned out to be a huge disappointment for Indian cricket.

The BCCI has tainted itself further by agreeing to a compromise formula under which president N Srinivasan will merely step aside from his position for the duration of the inquiry into the spot fixing and betting charges. There was a clear case for Srinivasan’s resignation as the investigation is directed against his son-in-law  Gurunath Meiyappan who is under arrest. He not only refused to resign but also dictated terms to the BCCI. Srinivasan’s stepping aside will not make any difference because officially he will still continue as president and the new man in charge of the day to day affairs of the BCCI, Jagmohan Dalmia, is his own selection. Dalmia himself has faced corruption charges in the past which were later withdrawn when Srinivasan was in office. Though there will be the fiction of Srinivasan keeping a distance from the BCCI, he will continue to wield influence.  This is actually a more unsavoury situation because he will now have power without any real responsibility.

The members of the governing body of Indian cricket have failed to uphold and protect the interests of the game and acted in accordance with narrow personal and political considerations. Neither the need for adherence to accepted norms nor public opinion had any impact on them. The management of the country’s most popular game has been reduced to a private arrangement between individuals, most of them not even cricketers. They have abdicated their responsibility with their deal with Srinivasan and exposed the body to further discredit and disrepute. By refusing to take action against a person under a serious cloud and to enforce the minimum standards of fairness in governance, they have shown that they are also unfit to continue in their positions.

Our politics is characterised by cynicism, corruption, love of money and power, indifference to public interest and lack of a sense of fairness and morality. They rule the thinking and actions of our cricket administrators too. Cricket has become big business in India. While there are clear rules to regulate business, there is none to regulate the business of cricket. It is no surprise that many of the administrators are politicians or  businessmen or are closely linked to them. The grip of politics  and business on cricket administration has to be loosened for the good of the game.

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