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Virat Kohli & Co. show results are not related to bad governance

Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team, with their victories on the field, including the big win against Sri Lanka national cricket team in the ongoing Test series, has junked the idea that sporting excellence and good governance are related

cricket Updated: Aug 03, 2017 09:00 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
Indian cricket team,BCCI,Ranji Trophy
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (2L) celebrates with teammates during the first Test match against Sri Lanka national cricket team at Galle International Cricket Stadium last week.(Getty Images)

That Virat Kohli’s team is at the top when the BCCI is at its lowest validates Geet Sethi’s theory that success is more difficult to explain than failure.

Read more | Sri Lanka vs India 2nd Test, Day 1, live updates

The Indian team has also junked the view that sporting excellence and good governance are related. At present, governance at the BCCI is critically weak.The BCCI is not in control of itself let alone cricket. Under attack from fans/ media/courts, its position is that of a boxer lurching in the ring waiting for the referee’s whistle to end the bout.

Engaged in a ‘life or death’ battle, Indian cricket has taken a step back. The domestic structure--the foundation on which rests all else---needs reform. On wickets and umpiring, factors key to raise quality,there is no clarity.

Needs reform

Ranji Trophy remains an unloved child, neglected and directionless. Fortunately, last season’s ‘neutral venues only’ arrangement has been abandoned but player welfare issues remain unaddressed. The misery of first-class players is like that of poor farmers who face acute financial insecurity and don’t know when/ whether /how much they will be paid.

This despite the recession-proof nature of India’s cricket economy as confirmed by rising values for its commercial properties.The paradox is puzzling: money is not in short supply but Ranji players exist on the edge, close to the poverty line.

Contrast the crumbling governance structure with the spectacular success of Team India. Last season, Kohli and Kumble knocked over everyone and the victory march continues except for the the glitch at the Oval.With Jadeja batting at 9, five openers fighting for two slots and Karun Nair (who has a Test triple ton) not worthy to be in the dressing room, this is a seriously good Indian team.

Observers tracking recent developments insist that on-field success is unrelated to sound structures and efficient governance. Pakistan has consistently demonstrated this and the Indian team is now making a statement that players create their own destiny. Indian cricket’s success is not system generated, instead it is produced by individual brilliance. Ambitious players have come through without any help from the system.

Virat Kohli is not a product of DDCA - he ‘made’ himself. Pujara’s career is a tribute to the devotion of father Arvind.

The BCCI at best lends a helping hand and plays a supporting role. The BCCI hardly provides access/coaching/guidance to young cricketers and its role at the grass-root level is next to zero.What it does admirably is create a robust tournament structure where Kohli and Pujara can perform and display their talent . In a twisted way, the disconnect between BCCI and Virat’s team is a blessing because mis governance doesn’t hurt the team. Even if Lodha takes another ten years to implement,Virat can keep winning !

(Amrit Mathur is a former sports administrator who worked with the BCCI as media manager. Views expressed are personal)

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 09:00 IST