By Sudatta Mukherjee
When the New Year had started, everything seemed to be going great for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). First, the Supreme Court held back Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) election polls, which appeared to block Lalit Modi’s return to cricket administration in India; then a new plan was chalked out in which India (along with Australia and England) would take greater control of world cricket as also the lion’s share of the revenue generated. One also heard N Srinivasan’s name making rounds for the chairmanship of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
All seemed well for BCCI. But then, all of a sudden, things started going awry for the Indian cricket board.
On January 19, Telegraph in England reported that ICC’s Financial and Commercial Affairs committee, chaired by Giles Clarke, had put up proposals which would give BCCI, Cricket Australia (CA) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sweeping control of world cricket. The division envisaged BCCI, CA and ECB keeping 75 per cent of the revenue, leaving the remaining 25 per cent for the other cricket boards. The plan also proposed a two-tier system in which England, Australia and India be exempted from relegation irrespective of how they performed.
The proposal initially found support from New Zealand, though the New Zealand Players’ Association criticized the move. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on the other hand, lashed back by opposing the proposal strongly. Cricket South Africa (CSA) followed suit as well.
CA Chairman Wally Edwards then came forward to defend the new proposal and hit back at Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) for not doing their duty properly till now. Sri Lanka joined forces with South Africa and Pakistan, following which even New Zealand changed their initial stance.
The Australian board then decided to negotiate with BCCI and ECB to remove Test relegation exemption from ICC proposal to cool down tempers. Quite clearly, and not wrongly, India was seen as a villain in the entire drama. Suddenly BCCI started to feel the heat; and it did not surprise anybody when a Bangladesh fan hacked their website and sent out an indirect message to the Indian board, asking them not to mess with world cricket.
BCCI suffered another blow when Lalit Modi, Srinivasan’s sworn enemy, got a foothold into their administration, when BCCI conceded Modi’s victory in RCA elections.
BCCI has acted high and mighty under Srinivasan’s regime. It has opposed the use of controversial Decision Review System (DRS) during India matches; prevented their players from playing in Bangladesh Premier League, Sri Lanka Premier League, Big Bash League and Caribbean Premier League; it has fought with CSA over fixture of India’s South Africa tour and had cut short the tour by inviting West Indies to play in India. Additionally, the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing controversy 2013 rocked the whole nation with Srinivasan in the centre of the storm. Angry cricket fans came out to show their disgust for the power-hungry board and its members.
Quite clearly, there are multiple forces working against the authoritarian regime of the BCCI. With Modi back in the thick of action, the Srinivasan-led BCCI’s regime is heading into rough weather. The two-day ICC Board meeting on January 28 and 29 will make things lot clearer.
(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)
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