Indian cricket reforms remain a distant dreams, even after ‘takeover’ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Indian cricket reforms remain a distant dreams, even after ‘takeover’

With BCCI technically under ‘President’s rule’, and officials subordinated to a set of administrators, there was hope of greater professionalism. Much cricket has been played from the time the BCCI was red-carded but a governance review since the ‘takeover’ shows little/no evidence of forward movement.

cricket Updated: Oct 19, 2017 11:07 IST
BCCI,Indian Cricket team,Board of COntrol for Cricket in India
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is currently being managed by Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators. (AFP)

It’s Diwali, but there is little to cheer for domestic cricketers --- the primary stakeholders of the game. Two rounds of Ranji this season are over but almost 1000 first-class cricketers are waiting for their match fees based on ‘gross revenue share’ from last year. Players haven’t been paid for matches in December 2016.

Fans, the other key stakeholders, are also wondering whether reforms mentioned in BCCI’s new constitution will be implemented. Stadium facilities are what they were. Claims of ‘fan-first’ policy remain hollow slogans, like election promises. Will complimentary tickets, as promised, be limited to 10% of stadium capacity? Will names of people receiving freebies be put on the website? The likelihood of either happening is as much as Ishant Sharma scoring a Test hundred.

READ | BCCI faces Supreme Court ire, top cricket officials in firing line for defiance

While there is no progress on substantive matters (even those that do not require court consent), there is admirable speed and eagerness to move things with PR/ media value. When Virat Kohli made a request that could not be refused, player fees and the value of annual contracts was instantly increased. Players were also given Rs 50 lakh for beating Australia, same for women cricketers after the World Cup.

With BCCI technically under ‘President’s rule’, and officials subordinated to a set of administrators, there was hope of greater professionalism. Much cricket has been played from the time the BCCI was red-carded but a governance review since the ‘takeover’ shows little/no evidence of forward movement. The promised reforms are a distant dream, like monsoon clouds in a rainless desert and the BCCI resembles a car trying to negotiate a climb but actually sliding back.

READ | Top BCCI officials in Supreme Court’s firing line

Like a scratchy batsman, the new BCCI has repeatedly played and missed, and there are plenty of edged shots. The India coach selection was a monumental fiasco, marked by a flawed process, silly press releases (one hilariously described the coach as a ‘buddy’) clarifications and retractions. All this resulted in humiliating Indian cricket’s legend Anil Kumble, a man of extraordinary dignity, and causing needless confusion about Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan.

What happened with Duleep Trophy was another tragedy as the premier domestic tournament was reduced to a farce --- first scrapped, then restored and scheduled at a week’s notice. Worse happened to Delhi and Rajasthan. Two frontline teams, one managed by BCCI, the other by a High Court nominee. In both states there was no off-season cricket. No tournaments, no matches, no practice nets.

READ | BCCI not functioning in coherent, cohesive manner, says Justice RM Lodha

The national domestic calendar was delayed and revised at the last minute to include a combined A and A (Associates and Affiliates) team in the draw. The BCCI named the wrong Chahar (Deepak instead of brother Rahul, the leg-spinner) for the Board President’s team and J&K’s under-23 game was halted (because of a court order) after 23 overs were bowled. The Hyderabad T20 day/night game against Australia was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled, even though not a drop fell on match day.

So, 15 months on after the Supreme Court ruling on BCCI, are we one stride forward or two steps back?

(Amrit Mathur is a senior cricket writer and has been involved with IPL in official capacity)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author