Chance for BCCI to regain its clout

Chance for BCCI to regain its clout

BCCI

These are tough times for cricket, as they are for other sports, with the Covid-19 pandemic bringing all activities to a grinding halt. But does this situation afford India the opportunity to set stall again as the flag-bearer of world cricket? 

Not too long ago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was the most influential voice in the International Cricket Council. But with the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) showing little acumen in dealing with the Shashank Manohar-led world governing body, it gradually lost its clout to the extent of being isolated from some of the major decisions.

The CoA’s indifference emboldened the ICC to consistently attempt to corner the BCCI over one issue or another. However, with a strong elected regime - headed by Sourav Ganguly - in the saddle, the unfolding of events due to Coronavirus may just help India regain their prime position in the ICC.

With international cricket comatose, most of the boards have been left cash-strapped. Even Cricket Australia has laid off 80 percent of its staff, while the England and Wales Cricket Board is mulling pay cuts. It is no exaggeration that smaller boards will struggle to even keep their heads above water. So, as and when the time is right to start playing cricket again, India have the chance to re-emerge as leaders. Even in the best of times for cricket, almost all boards were desperate to host India because of the revenue a series involving them guarantees. In the post-Covid scenario, India’s revenue-attracting status will be even more sought after.

Australia are hoping to convince India to agree to a five-Test series later this year Down Under instead of the traditional four-match rubber. 

Sri Lanka, who were to host India for a limited-overs series in July, are banking on their "cordial relations" with the BCCI to reschedule the same to a later date this year.

"India tours are important for us to earn revenue, and we are sure given the cordial relations between the two boards, we should have the Indian team visiting this year-end," said SLC President Shammi Silva.   

Former BCCI COO Prof Ratnakar Shetty, who is well-versed with international cricket affairs, felt it was indeed an opportunity for India to regain its clout.   

"Yes, it can certainly play out to India's advantage. But I don't see it as an opportunity to directly do something to get back your clout in ICC, that's just a by-product," he told DH. "If international cricket is to survive, then we are in an important position to do so. In the process, of course, you get your returns. What has happened in the last 3-4 years is we have spoilt our relations with other boards. So much so that in ICC meetings, we are isolated. So, by taking it as a moral responsibility to bail these countries out, we can mend our relations and that in turn will help us in the ICC in the long run," he explained.