In chess, the king and the pawn go into the same box after the game. But in cricket, King Khan and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wouldn’t even watch a match sitting in the same box. Why else should the Bollywood superstar find himself at the centre of a controversy after a senior board official reportedly accused him of attending matches merely to “promote” his films? Media reports speak of the BCCI’s Ratnakar Shetty taking offence to Mr Khan’s latest film Om Shanti Om being discussed during a chat with TV commentator Rameez Raja at the Jaipur ODI between India and Pakistan. Surely, Mr Khan couldn’t have been expected to refuse to answer questions just because it happened to be a ‘much bigger platform’ than a private TV station?
Starting with the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa early this year, Mr Khan has been a regular at several cricket matches involving Team India. He even celebrated on field with the men in blue after India’s famous victory against Australia. So much so that many commentators consider him India’s lucky mascot, as the team invariably wins every time he cheers it on. So it’s very unfortunate that the BCCI should have involved him in this needless flap.
The richest cricket board on the planet obviously takes itself too seriously, the way it is so finicky about who watches matches. There is no other plausible reason for such exaggerated jitters about someone — who also happens to be a celebrity — with a ticket sitting in the stands. In any case, if the board is so allergic to famous personalities sitting in the gallery, why does it look the other way when infamous ones like, say, the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, watch India-Pakistan matches abroad?