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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Take that, BCCI!

This article has also been published here on CricketCountry. I do not typically cross-post, but this somehow had to be posted.


Remember, BCCI?

The day when you thought that the IPL was a big thing? That auctioning players like cattle was a neat idea?

The day when that ostentatious opening ceremony at Bangalore took place, five years back, followed by Brendon McCullum's carnage?

You told everyone that IPL was "the greatest show on earth", or something on those lines, remember?

You thought cricket was about glamour, glitz, and loud music. You showcased female flesh outside the boundary lines to add to the appeal of the tournament. You organised lavish post-match parties and publicised them. You renamed sixes to DLF Maximums (and thought it sounded cool).

You thought everything was gettable if you had enough cash.

That man Shane Warne proved you wrong, remember? Along with the Rajasthan Royals management, Warne had hand-picked players he wanted on a shoestring budget by IPL standards, and went on to win the tournament on strategy, skills, commitment, and passion. And by passion I do not mean choreographed celebrations after taking wickets.

You possibly thought that it was a lesson for the franchises to learn, not the organisers. What you did not realise that though money is important, there are some basic things that cannot be tampered with.

The same holds for tournaments. Spend as much money as you can, glamorise it - do whatever you can. But do not tamper with the basics – the aspects of cricket that have made it the Queen of Sports. The basics are crucial. Warne showed you why, and how. But you didn't get the subtle message. It was possibly too subtle.

For heaven’s sake, do not compare this with the English Premier League or the Spanish La Liga. The sport of football is structured in a club format. Cricket thrives on international contests, not club competitions.

Do you know how it works in cricket? Have you ever seen Australia or England touring other countries during their home series or domestic seasons? You never will. The Indians go, of course. I’m not saying that India is the worst team of the three. I’m emphasising on the intent of the boards, BCCI – not the potential of the teams.

I know you will mention Kerry Packer. Do you know what Packer did? Packer had revolutionised the entire payment structure and levels of cricketers worldwide, and once the board agreed to him, he withdrew and made a truce, happy with his television rights.

He brought in coloured clothing and white balls and black sight-screens to the sport. Yes, I know they look ridiculous. But Packer's conflict was with the board – not with the sport. He did not ridicule the sport. He did not tamper with the basics. ICL did the same. Additionally, they also tried something different, like using the Jayadevan’s Method instead of Duckworth-Lewis. Neither did Zee try to prove that ICL was bigger than the game. They were taking on a board, not the sport.

Do you think you've gone the same way? You're not countering a board, BCCI, or standing up for some players' rights. You ARE the board. Not only that, you ARE the richest cricket body. You have enough power to ensure that DRS doesn't happen universally; or to make sure that a Bangladesh tour of India is the only possible tour that hasn't ever happened since the inception of Test cricket. Just because it wouldn't have generated enough revenue or interest.

You could have changed the world of cricket for the good. Did you ever try to do that? Don’t you think it would have generated enough revenue if you did?

Remember when you tempted Chris Gayle out of national commitments? Remember when it was because of you that Lasith Malinga quit Test cricket? Remember when it was because you showed the moolah that a legend of Ricky Ponting's stature came out of retirement to ridicule himself?

I don't blame you for all that, BCCI. Gayle, Malinga, and Ponting were lured by money, and their decisions were their own. But what you did not realise, BCCI, that though incidents like these were personal triumphs for you, there was always a flip side to it.

You did not realise that the players who can forego their national commitments for greed are very likely to go a step further: if you had bought them, they're quite likely to sell you out as well. You have created the greed in them. Punish them, ban them if you feel like, but the joke is on you this time.

You have made the cricketers realise that IPL pays them enough to make them less interested in international cricket. The day is not far when the bookies will pay them enough to make the same people have the same attitude towards you, BCCI.

What was that again? Hansie Cronje? Salman Butt? Or that teenager who was all set to become the next Wasim Akram? Or the others like Salim Malik or Mohammad Azharuddin?

They were stray cases, BCCI. Greed has, and always been there. Some people are born with it, some others are tempted. Match-fixing happens; they always have.

The difference between them and Sreesanth and co. is the simple fact that it was YOU who had sowed the seeds of greed in the hearts of these players, showing off your unabashed, perverse hunger for power. They would probably not have wanted more money if you had not shown them the way.

These cricketers have set the ball rolling. Dark days lie ahead of you, BCCI. Very, very dark days.


PS: My heart goes out to you, Rahul Dravid. You remain one of my heroes, and will remain one of the greatest cricketers and ambassadors of the sport. I know you feel betrayed. But then, if this is the beginning of a bailout of cricket from the ghastly clutches of IPL, I think you'll accept it the way expect their heroes to do.


  1. Woah! You've seriously bashed them up.

    1. Yes, and that has something to do with the fact that I'm seriously irritated.

  2. Sorry Sir, but I think its too early to be prophetic. I wouldn't generalize everything at the first instance of corruption, more so where you've doggedly avoided pointing any finger at Mr. Cronje and Mr. Malik. If those were stray(!) incidents, do you have enough proof that we'll get another Sreesanth regularly from now? Like every second Tuesday of the month? I know many people are hoping (and praying silently) for that to happen.

    Saying this, I do agree that IPL is killing cricket. But on the other hand, where else would a Sachin Baby be able to face Dale Steyn? And potentially hit him for a six over long on? IPL is giving an opportunity to the lesser mortals to get their 15 minutes of fame. But yes, the methods are wrong. People these days, are training to be ready for IPL, and not for Test cricket. And that, if not stopped soon, would kill Test matches certainly.

    And yes, I love people who spell Test cricket with a capital T.

    1. I'm not being prophetic. I was just happy that BCCI has got their own medicine, to an extent however small.

      Having said that, I'd love if more and more matches are fixed in future, and the general interest towards IPL reduces with time.

    2. Even so.
      IPL is just another format of the game. An entertaining one at that, just below tests. And if corruption seep into one format, they are bound to affect the others definitely.

    3. No. IPL is not another form of the game. It's an abomination. If IPL is cricket then FIFA 2013 (with cheerleaders) is football.

  3. What about the employment opp IPL provides?
    And is BCCI to be blamed for individual conscience?

    1. Name a single profession that would not have existed, had IPL not been there.

      BCCI is not being blamed for individual conscience. BCCI is being blamed for luring people with money and ruining the game. I'm happy that someone hit them back.

    2. Cheerleaders! Where else will you find those serenading nymphs with pom-pom sir?

    3. I can tell you where, but I'm slightly challenged in terms of their locations. I'm sure you know people who can help you out in such essential aspects of life.

      PS: This is a joke.

    4. Teehee...Thank God this's a joke.

    5. You're welcome.

      PS: This is not a joke. I really AM God.

  4. > You have made the cricketers realise that IPL pays them enough to make them less interested in international cricket.

    > Punish them, ban them if you feel like, but the joke is on you this time.

    Actually, I think you have not really understood the likes of Srinivasan and his predecessor heads of the BCCI, Abhishekda :)... The concept of planting greed into players' heads may be a valid point and all that, but as for (what I take to be) the crux of your blog: what ever made you think, especially since the inception of the IPL, that the BCCI were interested in cricket? E.g. Test cricket? Or in anything other than money, in the first place?

    1. No. That's what I'm furious in the first place. Also, it's not only about money - it's also about the shameless display of power.

      I'm just too happy about what Sreesanth and co. did. I just hope that someone takes care of their financial needs.

  5. Shree wasn't getting endorsements.He had to buy a condo.Half of 420 crores is what Dhoni earned by way of endorsements alone.Let's just agree you're jealous.

    1. Jealous of WHOM? Did you not read properly? I'm HAPPY that Sreesanth has done this!

  6. Turns out,even mortals like shreesanth have a towel day.

  7. loved the P.S. part...all said and done I would still want RR to win this IPL as I want to see the cup in Dravid's hands...for me, that would be some sort of a poetic justice, a fitting reply to all those who are of the opinion that technic in cricket is passé - not suitable for modern cricket

    1. Though I really do not follow IPL keenly, I've always been fond of Rajasthan Royals, because
      - they go for a shoestring budget
      - they prefer quality over glamour; in other words, their analytics team is fantastic
      - they work hard to unearth raw talents
      - they know how to get the best out of long-lost cricketers
      - they have always been led by my favourite players :)

  8. Hi Abhishek, I am a first time commenter, and Sorry sir, this post is hilariously pathetic. Blaming BCCI for 'greed creation' is as retarted a logic as saying "She was dressed provocatively, was out late night, SHE HAD IT COMING!!" Extending your logic to the corporate world, if my company pays me handsomely, much much more than competitors, and I still do a fraud out of personal greed, would you blame my employer for that???

    1. Thank you Altaf. I guess you're not much into cricket, are you? I guess you think IPL is a form cricket, correct? If the answer to that is a 'yes', then I do not want to carry on this conversation any further.

  9. What about players like Sachin and Dravid? They are a part of IPL but the game for them was never about money.Cheats and charlatans exist in every profession.
    Stop blaming the BCCI.


    1. Dhari, it is not about Tendulkar and Dravid or their attitudes. It is about the greed IPL infuses in the minds of the cricketers, and ICC's mindless craving for shameless power.

      I love Sreesanth's action because they have managed to play BCCI at their own game. BCCI had tried to buy them out. What these people managed to do is make BCCI realise that they are not the masters.

  10. I have to say that I feel very little reaction to what happened. Totally
    different from how I felt when the Indian match fixing scandal broke out. The main reason for this is that the Indian match fixing scandal implicated or alleged that a number of cricketers who were heroes stooped to this level. The present scandal involves two people who have only played in IPL, they have never played cricket for India, and I have actually never heard their names before this. Little different from an expose that will reveal the bribery and corruption in some adminstrative department. Sreesanth is a different issue. He clearly had the potential to become a top cricketer, but time and again has made decisions that have hurt his career, like not availing of the best medical help for his shoulder treatment.

    I don't follow your thoughts on BCCI. Darkness as interpreted by the BCCI is getting hamstrung in terms of cash, it has nothing to do with dark days of cricket: indeed, as you point out with respect to Gayle, 'dark' days of cricket may almost be the antithesis of the dark days of BCCI, since BCCI's influence lies in money, and principle are not what they care about. It is, however,debatable that other boards care about cricket either. Anyway, the point is that if the issue of matchfixing is enough to lower interest in IPL, that they do not make enough money, then indeed days ahead are 'dark' asseen by them. Will this happen, do people who throng the IPL venues care about this sort of thing? I don't know and I guess I will find out.

    1. Unfortunately, I do. Cricket means more than a few DLF Maximums. I also do not like the shameless muscle-flexing of ICC - especially in matters like DRS and hosting Bangladesh.

      I believe this has served them right.

    2. "Unfortunately, I do."

      OK. I am sure you are not the only bothered by this.

      "Cricket means more than a few DLF Maximums."
      What do you mean by more than a few DLF maximums? Cricket has absolutely nothing to do with DLF maximums. Yes
      many of my favorite played this game, and I did not watch them after a couple of matches. I would rather remember the
      batsmen I knew by the grace playing cricket, rather than playing terrible shots that they would not have even thought of playing before.

      "I also do not like the shameless muscle-flexing of ICC - especially in matters like DRS and hosting Bangladesh."

      Surely you mean BCCI rather than ICC? And yes, I completely
      agree with you there. Completely on Bangladesh (It is pathetic that India is the only country that has not hosted BD for a test series, no ifs and buts about that), and slightly less on DRS (I have my issues with DRS, but what BCCI is doing is not initiating a dialogue that could improve the situation. This "because I have might and I said so" attitude is
      what I don't like and I totally agree with you there.

      "I believe this has served them right."
      And this is where I am lost. You sound as though this has hit the BCCI. I don't think so. Unless this results in less money
      from IPL games, I doubt this bothers the BCCI. They don't
      really care whether matches are fixed; they would not mind a WWF-style choreographed and scripted competition as long as it raked in enough cash.

    3. Thank you for the support.

      BCCI WILL care if the matches are fixed. Choreographed matches will not attract as much audience as authentic ones.

      What gives me pleasure is someone else is challenging BCCI at the game of the shameless display of money and power.

      And yes, the BCCI thing was a typo.

    4. "BCCI WILL care if the matches are fixed. Choreographed matches will not attract as much audience as authentic ones."

      True, but as I said in my first comment, I don't know if that will happen. Part of the reason is I don't know the people who are thronging the stadia to watch IPL, and you may be better tuned in than me. But what I do know is that test matches in many Indian venues are beginning to play to empty crowds, while IPL is thriving. Part of the reason, of course, is that it is difficult for people to spend a day in the stadium instead of going to work, while maybe going for a night is easier. But given the large number of matches being played, it seems that a large distinct population is going to the IPL. Does that population care about whether they are watching a fixed match ? Think of WWF. Everyone knows that it is scripted and choreographed. Yet the show goes on, which means people knowingly pay money for the drama.

      "What gives me pleasure is someone else is challenging BCCI at the game of the shameless display of money and power."

      OK, but I don't think of this as challenging BCCI in any way.
      A real challenge would be if one challenged BCCI's right to be the Indian representative in cricket. In the current scenario it is not clear what is more Indian about BCCI compared to another organization that could come up. There are obvious ramifications of this (where would the other entity get funds to pay players etc. ), so I don't know if that is possible or even good, but I think that is the only way in which BCCI may be truly challenged.

    5. 1. Even I know that IPL won't lose its attraction to the slightest. But still, just hoping...
      2. They challenged BCCI, but unintentionally. :)
      3. The real challenge is not happening any time in future. Once again, just hoping... :(

  11. With so much money floating around and big bosses getting richer and mightier,you seriously think nobody had seen this coming!I mean terms like 'auction' 'goes to the highest bidder' '40,0000 -1,40,0000-2, 40,0000-3 and the player is sold',one still is surprised that crickets are washing their inners-oops! towels in public!
    Well bashed Ovshake but the incidents of money laundering was just a Pandora's box waiting to open to display the cursed phases. Sorry, but words like 'honour' 'ethics''morality' associated with IPL sound like Victorian Chastity Belts,which are truly out of centuries of practice.

    1. Thank you. Thank you. You understood exactly what I meant.

      PS: Thank you.