Sports minister Ajay Maken is not known to be a staunch supporter of cricket but he presumably nodded with satisfaction at least at one aspect of the IPL auction. That Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh actively participated in the proceedings would have pleased the minister.
Batting for players playing a larger role in management, he wants this to be a ‘must-follow’ guideline. Contrary to public perception, cricketers have had a say in running cricket for some time. And, if player presence in management is a yardstick for judging modern governance, Indian cricket has reasons to pat itself. The BCCI has a sturdy tradition of leaving cricket matters, especially those of selection and technical in nature, to cricketers. This is a sensible thing to do but revolutionary when compared to the existing situation in other disciplines.
Many state units and key committees of the BCCI are directly managed by past players. This is good because they understand the mindset of players and have, over the years, learnt to cope with challenges that must be managed to run a cricket body.
But sceptics say that getting players involved does not always work. The dynamics of the boardroom require skills other than those needed to score runs.
Only occasionally do these qualities are found in one individual, and there are examples of top players shifting gears to move effortlessly into management positions. But there is a flip side which suggests that a star performer is inadequate when faced with off-field googlies.
So, it is good to have players playing a greater role in running sports, but what counts is ability and efficiency.
The writer is an administrator with an IPL team and the views expressed are his personal