The coming weeks will be important for Indian cricket. The battlefield is all set not only for the administrators of the game, on account of the BCCI election, but also for the players. We have the Champions League, the West Indies 'A’ tour and the Challenger Trophy, which will decide the fate of our established and upcoming cricketers.
Cricket is a sport that has continued flourishing in India during and after British rule. The ingrained characteristics and uncertainties of the game have somehow associated itself with the making of a gentleman. Thus came about the phrase "cricket is a gentleman’s game". The word gentleman in cricket is gradually fading, and the quicker this is redeemed, the better it is for the sport.
Indian cricket has had a fan following in victory and in defeat and, over the decades, has become the most important sporting pastime in India. The stars of the playing field have always been the darlings of the crowd.
The commercialisation of cricket, therefore, has been a much-deserved bonanza for the players, but this has led to making it a platform for politicians, rich and famous individuals and corporate entities to establish their personal brand and importance; an arena to showcase their strength.
The end of September always brings the BCCI elections to the fore. The fight for the seat of power, president of the BCCI — now the most important position in the world of cricket — is open for contest.
Toppling the incumbent is always difficult and a clear cut understanding could emerge at the Special General Meeting that is to be held four days before the AGM. A ban on Lalit Modi – a man some like and others despise -- will be the topic of discussion.
Although he did wonders for the coffers of the BCCI, Modi’s success made him pompous and brash. His fate seems to be heading in the same direction as Jagmohan Dalmiya’s was in the last decade, even though the Kolkata businessman is now back at the helm as an interim solution.
The Champions League is an exceptionally good tournament. Any cricket with international stars can bring excitement and interest, and watching unknown international cricketers competing with our own makes it a worthwhile watch for cricket lovers. The shortest format has made it even more enthralling because one can gauge the mental and physical attributes along with one’s cricketing skills.
India is the uncrowned ruler of the game of cricket at present.
With success comes responsibility, so it is imperative that the Board and its president act with humility and grace like a true ruler, and command respect from one and all.
(The writer is a former Test cricketer)