Recent revelations have left cricket shaken and stirred. Ordinary fans, the key stakeholders, are outraged by the brazen deception and cheating; purists are distressed by the naked greed of players and the serious threat to traditions.
Sponsors are concerned about the possible erosion of commercial value. Whether cricket corrects itself and emerges stronger from this crisis will depend on the level of governance.
Even in normal times, governance is a challenge because sport is fundamentally dynamic — it is always evolving, changing, growing and in the context of T20, running away from tradition.
That is why it is essential to have a long term vision and a clear road map. Goverance is about leadership and direction, it can’t be reduced to just making arrangements that keep things running.
The governance challenge is tough in India because its place in cricket’s universe is unique — no other country has such a big fan-base, nor such strong commercial and media support.
Issues apart from corruption also need to be addressed. Administrators have to sort out the balance between the three formats of cricket, take steps to maintain the supremacy of Test matches, respect the fan who buys a ticket and turns up to watch, and ensure young players are trained to cope with the demands of professional sport.
People governing the game have a call to make: Do they react to what has happened and put in tougher laws to punish those who are in breach (as happened after the Delhi rape case) or look ahead and pass legislation hoping it will encourage change.
One reason why the present issue is serious is people are watching and the media is judging. Indian cricket needs answers and action that sets ground rules and draws lines that should not be crossed.
The writer is a franchisee official