<b>Close-in:</b> The Board games
Since the elite and secretive BCCI opened its doors for public scrutiny, it has been exposed to trials and tribulations, just like many successful business families have been uncovered in the past
There has never been a more crucial stage in the 90-year history of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). We have witnessed several battles for control and supremacy in the past, as we have seen high handedness and arrogance at different levels. But all the problematic issues between warring groups and individuals have somehow got resolved. Rather than making the fallouts a public spectacle, members in most past cases have stayed low to fight their battle on another day.
The BCCI has gradually evolved into a secretive committee of individuals locked together as a close-knit family. Things were not always rosy, as at times there were differences, but the members by large ensured that they remained together.
However, commercial success and the lip-smacking smell of money and power have now completely changed the DNA of the BCCI. Earlier, love for cricket was the prime motivator for powerful individuals to become part of the cricket administration.

Most of the BCCI members then, to popularise cricket in India, supported the game without worrying about the returns. The game required financial support and they wholeheartedly contributed towards it. Cricket has always been a very popular sport in India, which has grown further with the advent of television. Over the years, the BCCI too has transformed from a being financially struggling cricket body into a money-spinner.
Sadly, the true, selfless members of the days gone by were succeeded by individuals for whom cricket was not just a sport, but means to an end. For them, BCCI was a platform to rise into recognition and respectability. They got together and formed a group, which made them feel elite and royal. This coterie naturally attracted politicians, dodgy businessmen and bureaucrats in due course. Unfortunately, the list also involved some of our cricketers. They developed into a family where each one patted the other on the back and helped each other in availing undue financial gains. They started to believe that Indian cricket owed them for their presence and generosity. Seldom did they put their hands into their own pockets to support the game, or the players. They were, however, generous with the funds they received from cricket matches and, as recently indicated by the Deloitte report, from building cricket stadia. One wondered how many of the BCCI members had an idea about the history of Indian cricket or the achievements and records of the players.
Sooner or later, this had to stop. Once the elite and secretive BCCI opened its doors for public scrutiny, owing to its internal bickering, the board was exposed to trials and tribulations, just like many successful business families were uncovered in the past.
The BCCI is at a stage of complete revamp. This naturally is a Herculean task, especially with ninety years of history behind it. The structure BCCI’s existence and growth is a result of dishing out convenient memberships, especially in the last two decades. One has to understand that the BCCI has spread its branches without any specific constitutional similarity between them, as it was only concerned about the voters from the different associations. Vote alone was the calling card for all future benefits. Similar practice was followed at the district level, and in case of some associations, even at the club level. To cure this deep-rooted infection, one needed a committee of dedicated, no nonsense individuals at the association and district levels.
Fortunately, most of the member associations have accepted the reforms to the recommendations made by the Supreme Court appointed Lodha Committee. Still there are issues that need to be finalised. One of the major disputed issues for the Supreme Court to consider is the need to address the idea of ‘one state one vote.’ I personally feel that all the associations participating in cricket activities should have a say in the BCCI. Some of them have been there since the time of BCCI’s inception, and one has to respect the tradition, commitment and effort that each one of them make towards enriching Indian cricket.
While the issue of appointing three selectors instead of five is still debatable, having individual representatives rather than zonal representation is a wonderful idea. The appointment of selectors on a zonal basis was totally flawed and needed to be rectified. This was the main reason behind favouritism, leading to questionable selections from time to time.
Also, issues like the 70-year age cap for BCCI office bearers and ‘one term tenure’ were debated at length without much success at the court. Age, unfortunately, has always been an issue and a medical fitness test could be a solution to this. I also feel that a one term tenure of three years should be sufficient for all honorary positions. Individuals should realise that they are not the owners of their appointed positions, but just caretakers. The baton needs to be passed on to showcase continuity and progress.
One can now only hope that sanity prevails between all the Indian cricket stakeholders.
(The author is a former India cricketer)
Yajurvindra Singh