Even a dictatorial figure like Pervez Musharraf had to hold elections, setting up his own exile from Pakistan. This makes us wonder why the BCCI has been seeing unopposed elections year after year. Aren’t there enough suitors for the job of conducting the sub-continent’s most popular sport?
An election is an occasion let your constituency rate your performance and abilities. Unopposed elections mean the constituency is happy. This is odd, since the sport itself is messed up in more ways than one. [Y! Cricket has been highlighting these issues for long. Some links: Aakash Chopra on our out-dated domestic set-up; Harsha Bhogle on player burn-out; and your writer's attempt at pointing out how the BCCI has mismanaged its priorities.]
In the post-Dalmiya era, there hasn’t been one turbulent BCCI election. This can only mean that pre-election dealings settle matters even before the Annual General Meeting begins. Dissenters are given incentives to fall in line.
These things happen too smoothly for comfort. The fact is, cricket is run in a dictatorial, highly centralised manner, and the pretence of following democratic process is farcical.
N. Srinivasan is the new president, replacing Shashank Manohar. This means that now the BCCI, the IPL and Chennai Super Kings are being lorded over by one person. At the BCCI press conference today, a question was raised to him about the IPL. Srinivasan brushed it aside saying it is a matter for the IPL’s governing council.
This raises the all-important question — who was Srinivasan speaking as today? As the BCCI president? As the owner of an IPL team that stands to gain from Kochi’s exit? Or is he an IPL administrator who should care equally about all teams? And how does he so brilliantly get away with performing conflicting roles?
Mohinder Amarnath’s appointment as selector isn’t surprising. After being looked over during many appointments (most notably of the national team’s coach), Amarnath cosied up to the BCCI and took up an IPL governing council job when Tiger Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar left. He's come full circle since the time he'd called the selection committee “a bunch of jokers”.
He becomes a selector when it is imperative to apply scientific method to selection. Too often, players are picked on reputation, aren't looked after well, and are left by the wayside when they break down. This has to stop. The challenge for Amarnath is to be what he wanted selectors in his time to be — transparent. And he's part of a set-up that has proven itself to be everything but transparent.
Speaking Of Transparency...
Remember the BCCI's vision document of 2005 authored by Team Pawar? It had the following lines about transparency:
When the country is getting excited about the Right to Information Act, the Board is being ridiculed for its lack of transparency. Unless we believe in the free flow of information, particularly when millions and millions of rupees are involved, we are bound to be misunderstood. There can’t be a better start to the new-look board than resolve that everything we do from hereon will be transparent and in the game’s and public interest, be it election or allotting television rights or the team selection. The buzz world should be “Transparency.”
It's been six years. How far do you think we've come?