Australian umpire Daryl Harper stood down from India’s third Test against West Indies due to “unfair” criticism from Indian players © Getty Images
Australian umpire Daryl Harper stood down from India’s third Test against West Indies due to “unfair” criticism from Indian players © Getty Images


By Dhananjay Devasper


“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


The recent events in the IndiaWest Indies series and the selection of the Indian team for the Emerging Cricketers championship drives home the above saying. Add now we are greeted with the sorry news that a “powerful” politician in Vilasrao Deshmukh has defeated a cricketing worthy like Dilip Vengsarkar in the Mumbai Cricket Association elections.


The clout of the BCCI is a foregone conclusion. Haroon Lorgat may go to town downplaying any “arm twisting” by the BCCI or even dismissing the mere notion of it, but it is this inability to stand up to a board which has all the financial muscle in the world that has all of the cricketing world up in arms against India. Suddenly, a team which has almost every conceivable achievement in cricket in the last few years, has now become the most hated team in the world.


Umpire Daryl Harper was recently quoted in the media saying the Indian captain Dhoni attempted to intimidate him. There’s no doubt there were words exchanged between Dhoni and umpire Harper during the recently-concluded Test series in the West Indies, however if he is to be believed, then it indeed is a grave offence and an attitude that needs to be nipped in the bud. It also reeks of arrogance which surfaces, when one knows that there will be no consequences arising out of it.


A statement like the one Harper made, will also result in closer scrutiny of the captain’s conduct on the field, and has the potential to take away the attention from the game.


Supporters of the Indian team might well argue that since the shoe is on the other foot, the bite appears to hurt more. The example of match referee Chris Broad will be cited as case in point, wherein Asian cricketers were punished severely for indiscretions, while Australians and the Englishmen would be let off with rap on the wrists


However this does not take away the situation that world cricket finds itself in. The BCCI calls the shots. The most lucrative market for cricket is India. The most watchable and colourful cricketers also come from this region, whether it is Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag. The IPL pays more money to international cricketers for 30 days than cricket boards do for an entire year. The situation does not look likely to change over the next five years. The image of the BCCI and their selection committee has taken a beating, whether it’s their stand on the Decision Review System, or the selection of Anirudh Srikkanth into the Emerging cricketers team.


It’s probably time for the BCCI to take heed to a famous line in the movie Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility,” and conduct itself in a much more gentlemanly manner. Because it is a gentleman’s game, after all.


Stay tuned…


(Dhananjay Devasper is an “IT guy” by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)