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Board can ignore fans at their own risk

It is a cliché to say setbacks are opportunities to move forward, but after the disastrous tour of England, it seems the moment of reckoning has arrived and Indian cricket must not spill this chance to step up.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2011 23:06 IST
Amrit Mathur

It is a cliché to say setbacks are opportunities to move forward, but after the disastrous tour of England, it seems the moment of reckoning has arrived and Indian cricket must not spill this chance to step up.

Strangely, it is the fans, the civil society of cricket, which is pushing for reform. The fans helped create the financial empire of the BCCI by driving up values of its commercial deals. The same fans granted fame and riches to top stars and elevated them to God-like status.

Now, post England, with faith shattered and feeling betrayed, the aam aadmi is not just disappointed and disillusioned but angry. He is asking questions.

Put simply: fans want to know why we went so horribly wrong and whether this failure is a temporary stutter or an indication of a more serious, long term problem.

Seeking answers
Some still retain their faith, confident that when international cricket resumes in India shortly, success will return. Others, far less optimistic, seek reform to ensure national humiliation is not repeated by a system that needs urgent repair. They demand the system delivers responsible governance that addresses issues concerning players and the game.

There is a growing realisation that fans, the major stakeholders, will be increasingly assertive about more openness and accountability in the management of cricket. As in politics, this is the time of the aware and enlightened who will ask tough questions.

Sentiment counts and people's power is paramount. We have seen enough examples of this, and also the implications of ignoring it. In a sense it is fitting the fans have a larger say because cricket is of national interest, it impacts the wellness, mood and morale of the country.