BCCI can't keep quiet on officials

While the wise men in the BCCI have acted swiftly in “punishing” the cricketers, they have not shown the same sense of urgency when dealing with team owners who were alleged to have placed bets.

Chennai Super Kings team prinicipal Gurunath Meiyappan.

The BCCI knows how to keep even non-events in the news and that is why a certain degree of kite-flying was resorted to when a mention was made of the next IPL having to be shifted out.

Everyone knows that even today, the BCCI is struggling with the accounts for the 2009 IPL edition when it was held in South Africa because of the general elections at home.

Until and unless the Election Commission announces the dates for the polls next year, IPL will not know what to do as security agencies will be busy with more important work. I am convinced shifting the IPL to Sri Lanka or Bangladesh is not possible, mainly because of the paucity of grounds and how fixing has haunted the Bangladesh Premier League.

Talk of fixing brings us to the BCCI disciplinary panel’s recent decisions. It has worked hard to arrive at crucial decisions on players who were allegedly involved in the 2013 IPL scandal. Life bans on Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan are seen as good decisions, though Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi must consider themselves lucky they face lighter bans.

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Sreesanth has already talked of making a comeback and his confidence at this point of time is pretty high. I would have imagined that once a life ban is imposed, it’s the end of the road.

However, the maverick fast bowler, who has been part of India’s winning campaigns in the World T20 in 2007 and the ICC World Cup in 2011, looks composed.

So where does Sreesanth draw his confidence from? Like you and me, Sreesanth and his legal team appear to be aware of the life ban on Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and five-year bans on Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar.

What happened with T.P. Sudhindra last year is not that important as he was not a superstar like the others.

Jadeja was able to get relief when a Delhi High Court-appointed arbitrator struck down the BCCI decision, while former India captain Azharuddin got relief on a technicality from the Andhra Pradesh High Court after waiting for over a decade.

I have written repeatedly about the lack of laws in India to deal with the menace of fixing. The situation is again the same but, while BCCI needs to be complimented that at least it thought it fit to act — though it is also aware the banned cricketers can approach courts of law for relief — the lawmakers have not stirred.

When the ‘IPL fixberg’ broke out this summer, politicians made big promises — like in the past — that a law would be enacted to deal with the menace that has plagued us since the time the fixing scandal first rocked Indian cricket in 2000. Call it lack of political will or politicians from so many parties not showing any interest in making a law against fixing, sports cheats in this country can easily get away.

As of now, the careers of Sreesanth, Chavan, Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi go into cold storage. But just as the Delhi gang-rape case convicts can now appeal to the Delhi High Court against the death penalty imposed on them by a lower court in Saket, the cricketers may also seek legal help.

All this comes at a time when the BCCI makes news on two fronts — N. Srinivasan attending the disciplinary committee meeting as a member and confusion over India’s tour to South Africa.

Back to the BCCI and the 2013 IPL scandal, while the wise men have acted swiftly in “punishing” the cricketers, they have not shown the same sense of urgency when dealing with team owners who were alleged to have placed bets.

Mind you, when news first broke of how royal this mess was within the Rajasthan franchise, team co-owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan also faced the heat. Kundra had openly admitted to betting and the less said the better about Srinivasan’s son-in-law. Meiyappan is out on bail and Kundra has got away almost scot free as the Delhi Police is not dealing with his case.

Agreed, time and again, when ugly incidents raise their heads in Indian cricket, it is only the BCCI which is seen as a body which acts.

Larger public interest demands that with the credibility of the sport at stake, to project a clean image in the future, the BCCI deal with team officials who have reportedly breached the rules and regulations.

If the BCCI thinks by punishing cricketers everything will be forgotten, it is living in an illusion.

The heat is very much on Srinivasan as well, with the annual general meeting of the Board slated for September 29 in Chennai. He is bold and brazen, but what about the people who ask for transparency in the BCCI? The law may be an ass but not the Indian public as it needs to know how the BCCI will deal with the not-so-clean IPL team officials — and teams.

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.



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