Anurag Thakur (left) and Justice RM Lodha © IANS
Anurag Thakur (left) and Justice RM Lodha © IANS

When two powerhouses fight, there are chances of someone getting caught in the firing line and taking the bullet. But on Tuesday, the one who got caught in the firing line in Indian cricket was the sport itself, which rarely has had men who would put their personal interests aside and take it forward. The murky episode which began on May 16, 2013 when an international cricketer from India and two of his teammates were arrested by Mumbai police for bringing disrepute to the sport is not ending anytime soon, and the contest has long left the cricket fields to end up into the alleys of various courts and the notorious BCCI. ALSO READ: BCCI vs Lodha Committee: A timeline of events

When the scandal broke in the middle of the sixth edition of IPL, no one could ever think that matters will go out of hands so badly that a bilateral series between India and New Zealand three years later will be used as a trump card by one of the warring parties. By putting the India versus New Zealand series at stake if the Lodha Committee did not unfreeze their bank accounts, BCCI has made it amply clear to everyone in the world that the Indian cricket governing body is ready to go to unimaginable lengths to keep its nose ahead. And if BCCI still wants to maintain that holding Lodha Committee to ransom with Indian cricket’s reputation at stake was the only option, this can be the day cricket fans can give up their hopes on those who are in power.

The BCCI was handed out a long list of recommendations by the Lodha Committee, and the Indian cricket board was expected to carry out the necessary modifications to the way they function. While some of the recommendations were spot-on, such as the formation of a representative body for the cricketers as well as registration of their representatives, some suggestions made by the Lodha Committee were too tough for the BCCI to implement; one of these was almost certainly the one-state-one vote policy. ALSO READ: BCCI cannot run Indian cricket without money: Anurag Thakur

The one-state-one-vote policy has certainly made matters complex for the Indian cricket board. There are three cricket governing bodies in each Gujarat and Maharashtra. Taking away voting power from two of them will come with complications. Again, to attract the states in the north-east, the Lodha Committee recommendation looks spot-on — as it will certainly bring the ones who have been ignored all these years into the centrestage. Their participation in cricket as well as matters concerning the governing of the sport will finally see daylight.

BCCI and the committee appointed by the apex court in the country technically have the same objective in mind: to do the best for Indian cricket. Or at least that is the ultimate motive that looks from outside. But for either of the bodies to flex their muscles, keeping aside Indian cricket’s well-being, will be an example of walking away from the primary responsibility. This is exactly what the BCCI tried doing on Tuesday by threatening the committee appointed by the highest court in India, telling them that unless they do not back down and unfreeze their bank accounts, the ongoing bilateral series against New Zealand will be done away with immediate effect.

Unfortunately, in the battle between two of these powerhouses, cricket is the one which is caught in the firing line. The Indian cricket team has just reclaimed the No. 1 spot in ICC Rankings, and it is imperative for them to keep winning as many matches possible out of the 11 Tests scheduled at home. If the New Zealand series had been cancelled with immediate effect, neither BCCI nor the Lodha Committee would have lost anything. The only loser in this battle would have been Indian cricket.

However, by attracting focus on this series, BCCI has proved that they are ready to take the battle to the goriest of levels and the Supreme Court-appointed committee has expectedly taken the foot off the pedal. If the Lodha Committee and BCCI were cricket teams playing a match, the former ended Monday on a high, thinking they have got their opposition reeling on their knees. But before the world could even realise what happened, a storm hit the Indian cricket on Tuesday morning with the board threatening to pull the plug, and the committee surrendering to its opposition’s demand. Even before many could realise what was happening, the India versus New Zealand series nearly got cancelled, and within a few hours, everything was back to normal.

The cricketers, in case if they are following the matters outside their arena were observing, would certainly have been left amused and clueless. But then, may be, they can express their feelings to their confidantes within the camp or perhaps to their families. But who will speak on behalf of cricket? Who will stand up and say that a sport so beautiful does not deserve any bad politics which sees it being used as one of the trump cards?

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)