Of clean-ups and clean-chits

The BCCI's officials continue to keep their interests and ambitions ahead of the game as the latest addition in the list of their cover-ups shows.

The BCCI needs to be accountable to the game and the public at-large.


It's probably what they’d planned for, anyway. If you believe the events of Sunday, the 28th July, you’d be coerced into thinking that all was indeed fine with Indian cricket. That nothing happened, a couple of months ago, when the IPL spot-fixing/betting scandal first surfaced. It was then described rather eloquently as the “worst crisis to hit Indian cricket”, with three cricketers, including a World-Cup winner, being masqueraded as petty criminals and locked up in prison.

What ensued later, was an elaborate attempt at power-play, resulting in two officials quitting in protest, the President of the BCCI caught with his pants down, thanks to an errant relative and instead of putting propriety over personal ambitions, the sheer shamelessness in holding on to the job meant he’d stepped aside than resigned.

The mandate, in early June was clearly for a thorough clean-up of Indian cricket. The public demanded better of our board, of our officials. Instead, they chose to look the other way. Typical, BCCI.

They chose to brush things under the carpet, almost as if the carpet didn’t exist in the first place. They chose to let things play out, let a few on-field victories pacify the fans, and in doing so “restore the faith of the game” in the public’s eyes. They were right, for Dhoni’s men did exceedingly well, given the distractions of the outrageous events that were shadowing the corridors of power.

But as you probably know by now, the President kept his seat warmed up for a quick return with a sham of a probe/private inquiry, which in discharging its duties came up with the all convenient clean-chit.

Though the Bombay High Court deemed the probe illegal, the level of hutzpah has, quite crossed acceptable limits that the  order we’re told isn’t legally binding on the BCCI, and its president can return to his comfortable throne. In short, it's business as usual.

Sorry to disappoint you, but this was never going to be a thorough job.

FARCICAL "CLEAN-UP"

It never has been, as the excellent Prem Panicker notes in this excellent piece, where clean chits have been handed out pretty much as doles by BCCI-appointed probe panels in the past, almost without the relevant “quasi-judicial” procedures that ought to be followed.

The “clean-up” itself was a well-orchestrated farce of the highest order. It was confined to corruption in the IPL, undoubtedly topical and urgent, given its implications on the BCCI’s coffers and the public’s trust. N Srinivasan doesn't want to let go of the power that comes with being BCCI president.Let’s call this bad corruption, for now.

The good corruption however, seems to be left out of their brief because everyone’s got their fingers in the proverbial dirty, not just IPL franchises. It would have meant digging deeper, going back to the basic unit of the Board and its very existence - the state associations, that one vote that could change your career from an also-ran to an all-powerful man. It would mean breaking away from the dirty shackles of alliance, power play and factional politics. It would mean unsettling aspirations and dismantling the very fiefdoms some of them have bred, carefully nurtured and expanded over the years into an alternate source of power.

CESSPOOL OF CORRUPTION

It would have meant losing out on that all-important vote - the value of which is unmatched in Indian cricket.

It is that vote which more often than not prevents the much needed reform of the sport. It is that vote which indirectly encourages corruption, especially when the authorities turn a blind eye towards those you might need on your side. Else what stops the current BCCI dispensation from taking on the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, which today stands accused of embezzling Rs. 25 crores, which the Board gave it for cricket development?

Let’s up the stakes a bit. What stops the BCCI from taking on the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association, which by the way stands indicted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, after former India cricketer Kirti Azad alleged financial irregularities in that association?

Why are other associations, the likes of Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan and Hyderabad allowed to go scot free? The BCCI in essence is a cesspool of corruption. Its associations, typically, the theatres of how meticulously its fearlessly practiced.

GOVERNANCE, NOT A PRIORITY

Solutions within the BCCI are hard to come by, and unfortunately, we may never be witness to an all-encompassing clean-up, a thorough structural audit, where firstly, the state associations are accountable to the BCCI and importantly, the BCCI, accountable to the public at-large, whom it considers to be an important stakeholder in the game.

Governance, unfortunately, has never been the priority both within the board and its member associations - barring a few who’ve done exceptional work, but given the way the BCCI functions, even they’re up for grabs when it comes to the temptations of power-play.

Recently in Bangalore, I met an official of a state association from the East Zone, who candidly told me this. “You’re an idiot if you expect a thorough clean up. It is never going to happen in mine and probably your lifetime.”

It’s hard to reconcile to this, but one wonders if Indian cricket will ever be clean. Or do we, as stakeholders, accept it as something so matter-of-factly and move on. The latter sounds more plausible.

ANYTHING FOR POWER

Even today, as I write this, the President is seeking re-election for a third year in office, as part of his term, and in doing so playing the good old hardball.

There are intense back-room negotiations going on between his camp and a particular association, which has been requested to delay its election, so that his rival doesn’t get a shot at the Presidency.

The president of that association, also a BCCI official, has budged for now, citing reasons that range from a court-case involving a member of that association to accounts not being fully audited for the delay in convening the Annual General Meeting. It wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect more such moves in the coming days, as September beckons. A lot is at stake for these gentlemen.

In my two decades of following this sport, I presumably love (and keep falling out of love with), and half a decade of covering/writing about this sport, I’ve never seen the BCCI so brazen and contemptuous, and out of touch with what the people actually expect of them.

There’s almost a surreal sense of normalcy and routine about everything we’re witness to today, and the fans helpless at best. Yes, the public per-se don’t care about who runs Indian cricket as long as India keeps winning cricket matches on field, but that's exactly what the suits want.

They feed into that very detachment, that vacuum, that ever-widening gap that gives them the license to do what they want and get away with. We deserve better, don’t we? And yes, we are all idiots.


[TAG:CYCSPL]

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »