Are we seeing the winds of change blowing through the corridors of the cricket establishment, or is one more facade being created in the name of rebellion, to preserve the status quo? Going by the power equations in the Board and the deep roots of the vested interests in the gravy train that is
Indian cricket, the older order has never given way to the new. Over the years the change has only meant exchange of masks and no meaningful effort has been made to overhaul the way the sport is governed in the country.
Yet there is no harm in dreaming, in believing and hoping that something good will come out of the wreckage left behind by the wide-spread conflicts of interests that have bedeviled the sport ever since the T20 came into existence.
The first stone in that direction was cast by Jyotiraditya Scindia, the first politician to stand up and say that Srinivasan should go in the best interest of the sport. His words galvanized others into action, though none has gone to the extent Scindia did in demanding what everyone feels is the primary step to build a new edifice.
It was no surprise therefore to see Sanjay Jagdale, the genial giant from Scindia’s home state, MP, find his voice and quit as the Board secretary. The rebellion gained in weight with Board treasurer, the Pune businessman Ajit Shirke too discovering his conscience. And what lies behind Rajiv Shukla’s resignation — embarrassment or his party’s diktat — no one is sure.
There is little doubt that behind the silence of the majority, there must be a lot many voices planning their moves to gain control of the board, the power of which seems greater than the Indian state itself. Given the way the Board functions and finally sticks to each other so that it can save itself from greater scrutiny, it would be foolhardy to expect that a revolution is in the offing.
But, I am sure the majority of the Board members do realize the gravity of the crisis facing them, where a corporate czar has for the last couple of years reduced them to mere pawns.
Those who straddle the corridors of Indian Parliament, thunder against the Prime Minister or dine with him, were so dazzled by the IPL that they chose to become his rubber stamp. They endorsed every move of his, howsoever unconstitutional it may have been, or even against the ethics of the very sport they were promoting.
Now is the time to make amends. If you look at the who’s who of the Indian Board, you will realize they are not only the high and mighty but also men of wisdom. All they need to do is put the interest of the game above their own interests. They need to have a relook at the Board’s functioning, its constitution and root out the various conflicts of interest they have created.
Today, the Indian Cricket Board needs to reclaim itself from its own clutches, free itself from the money power that the IPL has unleashed and put transparent governance above everything else. History rarely, if ever, offers a chance to correct the grave wrongs of the past. If the Board make the best use of this chance, the entire cricket-loving fraternity will be willing to forgive and forget. Removing Srinivasan should be the first step in that direction and not the last.