The overdrive the BCCI has gone into to project itself as a victim of its own success may make sense to its followers, but one also presumes they are aware of the phrase “the lady doth protest too much methinks”. William Shakespeare may have used these oft quoted lines in a different context in Hamlet, but its meaning remains very clear. It is an insincere articulation, a poor defence of something which may not have a convincing explanation.
They may have reason to feel aggrieved that how is Indian Premier League to be blamed for one of the worst droughts India is facing. They may even be justified in their grouse why cricket alone is being targeted and why not the golf courses, swimming pools and many other ventures which are water-guzzlers, but are not being asked to stop functioning. Why do the courts want to curb only the IPL’s extravagant ways and overuse of water to maintain grounds and pitches in times of drought, is the question BCCI officials are raising.
Implicit in this lament is a sense of frustration that comes more from it being the target of the judiciary which is forcing it to mend its errant ways and implement the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations . The BCCI is resisting these recommendations, which in general perception are nothing but pragmatic and transparent ways of how a sports body should function for the betterment of the sport it governs.
Since the individuals who are at the helm of the association feel they would be the victims of this radical change in its functioning, they are bound to confuse self with the Board.
They have told the court in no uncertain terms that the Supreme Court lacks the authority to force this change. The Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, has been pulling up the Board at each of its hearings, but they are still defiant.
Since the Lodha panel recommendations have vast public acceptance, the Board is very careful not to be overtly critical of these recommendations, choosing just one or two points to criticise in public.
It obviously feels that since IPL is extremely popular, it can use the court ruling in Maharashtra against holding of matches there to ram in the point that cricket and its administrators are being targeted for being successful. They have even gone to the extent of saying that if this continues the Board may be forced to shift the IPL to a foreign country.
The Board officials are so insular and cut off from the ground reality that they don’t realise that on issues like drought, that too as severe as this one, where human lives are concerned, they need to be seen as more sensitive and caring. The IPL may not be the reason for the drought, but to use the court ruling as a blackmailing tool to portray itself as a martyr seems callous.
True or not, if the IPL has come to symbolise excesses, who has to share the major portion of the blame? Who takes the blame for the Board being seen as an opaque body resistant to any change for the good of the game and the image of the administrators?
Instead of blaming the media and the courts, the Board officials should do a genuine introspection, only then will they realise why the cricket-crazy public applauds each time the Supreme Court reprimands them.
(The views expressed are personal. The author tweets @pradeepmagazine.)