There is a lesson in the BCCI tale. Other sports bodies now need to be watchful
Between July 2016 and January 2017, the hunter Justice Lodha pursued the quarry BCCI relentlessly, but to no avail as the errant zamindars and jagirdars continued to play truant. Their thinking predicated on playing a waiting game. Waiting for chief justice T S Thakur’s retirement on January 3. Finally, in the Thakur versus Thakur moral chess game, TS bushwhacked Anurag on the last day of his tenure.
The process of cleansing Indian cricket after the shenanigans and rampant jiggery pokery during previous BCCI president N Srinivasan had thus been completed. The shameful display of arrogance and personal aggrandisement displayed by the Chennai Super King during his tenure had brought infamy and disrepute not just to the game but to the cricket control board. By not listening to anyone and continuing in his egotistical and hubristic ways, he brought down the cathedral of conspicuousness — BCCI . In the process the board lost control over cricket in India forever. Which at one level is a pity for it must be said that several people in the board turned the sport into a high profile lucrative commerical success. Madhavrao Scindia and before him NKP Salve, the dynamic duo of Jagmohan Dalmiya and IS Bindra and then Sharad Pawar and Lalit Modi smartly sliced and diced its commercial apparatus to monetise the game in a way that nobody could have ever imagined, turning it into a billion dollar establishment.
But success brings greed, which brings envy and once Lalit Modi appropriated all power, then N Srinivasan, already an industrialist of some repute, thought he could do it better. For him, it was my way or highway and he engineered the demise of Lalit Modi, turning him into a fugitive. Srinivasan shut everyone’s mouth with cash — ex cricketers, state associations, office bearers, selectors and whoever else was part of the cricketing eco system. In the process, there were excesses which went beyond the pale — spot fixing, match fixing, betting, criminal investigations, player involvement — and then the last straw, his own son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan team principal, one of the lynchpins of the scandal. Even then the teflon man distanced himself from everything, refusing to accept that the innards had been deeply infected.
The Supreme Court petitioned by an unforgiving and vengeful Lalit Modi’s stalking horse BCA’s Aditya Verma began to turn the screws, its long and eventful culmination coming under Justice Lodha’s tutelage. January 19 is when a decision will probably be taken on who will administer the game from hereon. Saurav Ganguly and Brijesh Patel, two former cricketers turned administrators are in the hunt for the big job, they will have to channelise their inputs and work in tandem with CEO Rahul Johri to bring back sanity to the set up in India.
Ego as we know is an extremely combustible commodity and it has tripped many a man. Srinivasan’s cricket field sized ego has brought the entire edifice of BCCI down, nurtured by landlords and rent seekers for generations. There is a lesson in this tale. Other sports bodies now need to be watchful, this culture of cronyism is dead.