Finally justice! The arrogant, self-serving Indian cricket officials have been delivered a body-blow by the Justice RM Lodha committee's verdict which has suspended the most powerful IPL team, the Chennai Super Kings for two years along with the Rajasthan Royals from playing the tournament.
It is a judgment that the BCCI officials may not have seen coming, given how thick-skinned they are when it comes to looking within. So far they have been a law unto themselves, neither caring for public interest nor the game of cricket.
The custodians of the game are busier in furthering their own personal interests, than caring for the image of the sport and its well-being. What should have been a simple disciplinary matter for the IPL governing council in deciding punishments for the two teams and its owners, became a matter of prestige for N Srinivasan and his coterie in saving his face and his team from action.
It took the Supreme Court to finally intervene and highlight the obvious conflict of interest inherent in Srinivasan's role as Board president and the owner of an IPL team, forcing him out of the Board.
And now comes the verdict which should leave Srinivasan's position as ICC chairman untenable. Despite all the charges against him and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who has now been banned for life from taking part in any cricketing activity, the Board still thought it prudent to retain him as India's representative in the ICC. This is the best reflection of the incestuous manner in which the Board functions, that Srinivasan, despite having lost out to the Anurag Thakur group in the power stakes, still retained the trust of the Board and even the ICC to continue to function as its chairman.
This is why one should not believe that the purge in Indian cricket from all its unsavoury elements has taken place with today's verdict. If one may say so, this is just the beginning.
The real mission of the Justice Lodha panel will be completed once they come out with a detailed blue-print of the administrative reforms, which the SC has mandated them to undertake.
The Indian Board's constitution is a relic from an amateurish past with 'might is right and what is good for us the officials is good for the game' being their unsaid preamble and the governing principal.
The conflict of interest, the root cause of the present ailment which has in its grip not just the administrators but the players as well as their agents, needs to be rooted out of the system.
Justice Lodha was speaking for millions of Indian cricket fans, when he said that while thinking of the players of the two suspended teams, he was guided by only one thought: "the game is bigger than any individual."
Yes, it is and one is sure to see some drastic and sweeping suggestions from the panel when they announce what steps the Indian Board has to take to function under a principled, transparent system, where the interest of the sport and not an individual will be paramount.
Today was just the beginning; we will be eagerly awaiting the final outcome. Till then, more power to the Lodha panel.
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