The dark, threatening clouds looming large over the credibility of the sport and establishment’s connivance in letting things be, is one of the most sordid chapters in India’s cricket history. The sheer helplessness a fan feels at the apathy and disdain shown by N Srinivasan and Co at the charges levelled and even proved against them reflects the overall state of the Indian state.
Amidst all this pessimism comes the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel report, which is a detailed, serious indictment of the way cricket is being allowed to be corrupted by the greedy and power-hungry officials.
After president Srinivasan’s self-appointed panel absolved him and his son-in-law of any wrongdoings, the Mudgal report findings reveal how those in control manipulate power and former judges to take the sporting public for a ride.
Yet, nothing seems to have changed for the Board members, who include the who’s who of the Indian power elite — businessmen, politicians cutting across party lines, lawyers, bureaucrats and even a prime ministerial candidate in Narendra Modi.
Their homilies in the election rallies they are addressing sound so hypocritical in the light of their complete silence on this issue. It just goes to show that those in power or seeking it are in cohorts with one another. Their public face is a mask which they believe will fool all the people all the time. No wonder Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP are becoming a serious threat to the political establishment.
In the absence of a Kejriwal-like figure challenging the Indian Board, the Justice Mudgal report comes as a ray of hope that could lead to an overhauling of an effete officialdom which thinks they are accountable to none, not even to the courts.
The findings of the report, in which surprisingly even the Board representative Nilay Dutta has played an unbiased role in hinting at a nexus between bookies, officials and players, is a disturbing piece of document that needs immediate action.
The only official reaction of the Board so far has been that of the Congress party bigwig Rajiv Shukla.
Unbelievable as it sounds, his expression of happiness that the Supreme Court did not ban the IPL auction, sums up the concerns.
When the SC resumes its hearing on March 7, the whole of India will hope for a verdict that safeguards the interest of the sport and not of those whose only aim in life is to further their business and political interests, even if, in the process cricket gets damned!