The BCCI's opposition to the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) is grounded in its fear of being exposed as an inefficient organisation, feels legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi.
"The BCCI cannot ban players for playing in the league. Suppose you are working for a company and join another after some time, your former employers cannot stop you from earning your livelihood. That's illegal," Bedi said on the sidelines of a book release function in New Delhi last night.
"Cricket is not their personal property and they have no right to stop anybody from joining this league. Actually the Board is scared that if the ICL turns out to be a well organised event, then their own failures would be exposed," he added.
The rebel series, scheduled in October, has invited the ire of the BCCI which has threatened to ban players who align with the ICL from representing the country.
Bedi felt though the ICL organisers are only trying to mint money out of the country's obsession with cricket, players cannot be barred from being a part of the league.
"I don't think it is something on the lines of Kerry Packer series, so there should not be any objection in the first place. I don't know whether this league would be good for the game in the long run but there is no harm in allowing it to take place," he said.
Bedi also came out in support of National Cricket Academy chairman Kapil Dev, who has been threatened with a sack for joining the league. "I don't think it would be appropriate to take away his job on this ground," he said.
The former captain, however, made it clear that he would not become a part of ICL in any capacity as the league was a money-making exercise.
"I will not join ICL for the simple reason that I don't think I would be able to fit into this bunch of vultures," he remarked.
Speaking on recent incidents like the jellybean controversy and pacer S Sreesanth's antics in the second Test against England, Bedi said the menace had become rampant and Indians were "no lambs" when it came to having a go at the opponents.
"Cricketers may be perceived as demi-gods but let me assure you, most of them are pretty daft at sledging. The Indians are no lambs," he said.
Drawing comparisons with the on-field behaviour of cricketers during his playing days, Bedi said wit instead of obscenities was used to unsettle the opposition. "We were never sledged by obscenities," he said.
A part of the legendary Indian spin quartet, Bedi attacked the BCCI for looking for a foreigner to coach the national team.
"The BCCI is telling us that no Indian is fit to become our team's coach and that is why it is looking for a foreigner. Such a statement from the board shows lack of self esteem. I wonder where their self respect is," he said.
"They would once again bring in a foreigner and that fellow would also show us the finger like (former coach) Greg Chappell did. We'll soon complete 60 years of our independence but let me tell you, we are still slaves of the white skin," he quipped.
He criticised Indian skipper Rahul Dravid for trying to cover up for Chappell after the Australian's obscene finger gesture to Kolkata fans last year.
"Chappell was being booed rightly on that occasion. When I asked Rahul about the entire episode, he said Chappell was only showing an injured finger. I told him 'don't defend an act which was an insult to the entire nation'," Bedi recalled.