Gloves Off

BCCI got a well-deserved slap in Dubai

It was the Indian cricket board in its weakest avatar for the ICC meeting.

 |  Gloves Off  |  5-minute read |   30-04-2017
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There are any number of jokes doing the rounds on social media about poor performances by two teams this summer in the Indian Premier League — Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils. Yet, the real flop show was away from the cricketing fields. Last week, in Dubai, officials representing the Indian cricket board (BCCI) at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting did not know what hit them.

Over the years, the BCCI had become very much like Shakespeare’s Shylock. At the end of the ICC meeting where India were isolated 9-1 by the other cricket-playing nations, sanity prevailed vis-a-vis the money distribution. If one reconstructs what played out in Dubai, it was the BCCI in its weakest avatar for the ICC meeting. In the past, heavyweights represented India in the ICC meetings, which included personalities like Sharad Pawar, IS Bindra, Jagmohan Dalmiya and N Srinivasan.

There had been huge miscalculation from the authorised people representing BCCI last week in the Gulf. To have thought that India would get support from countries like Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh was very much like being unable to read the armer while batting. Not only was the BCCI and India at large put in place by the ICC, it showed how sending inexperienced officials for a meeting of this stature was improper.

At a time when cricket administration is in turmoil at home, and from the BCCI to state units there is a huge state of flux, it would have been prudent for the officials to set their house in order. Instead, the BCCI, which has been indulging in arm-twisting tactics with other nations vis-a-vis money distribution, thought they would find favour from weaker nations.

shashank_043017104309.jpgShashank Manohar.

No country was ready to back India and the BCCI can now still get $293 million from the ICC. Later, after the ICC meeting had virtually destroyed the BCCI, they were offered another $100 million, which means the $393 million for the next eight years is a deal which cannot be rejected.

Just sample some of the hard facts. The England & Wales Cricket Board gets $143 million as per the new revenue sharing model while Cricket Australia gets $132 million. Surely, the BCCI cannot be craving for more at a time when they failed to read in which direction the wind has been blowing.

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court had authorised Amitabh Choudhary and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to attend the ICC meeting. Word has it that two more officials — Anirudh Choudhary and MV Sridhar also went on their own expense to Dubai with no official work to do.

If the purpose of their visit was to interact with other countries cricket boards, nothing came out of it. To the contrary, people are now blaming the BCCI as to how it does not have the bandwidth to deal with the ICC, headed by Shashank Manohar. A couple of months ago, when Manohar was in Mumbai, he had met officials from the COA (committee of administrators). Manohar had then resigned from the ICC, but its executive board wanted him to continue.

Today, Shashank Manohar may be a villain in the eyes of the BCCI but for other cricketing nations he is a messiah who has brought in a more transparent and less skewed fund distribution model. Given his popularity today, there is every possibility Manohar may be asked to continue for another year as ICC boss, though his term as interim president ends in June 2017. The extension is permissible as per the ICC rules.

So, what really happened to swing it away from India in such a big way in the international forum. The “Big Three” revenue model had already become history and weak nations were bankrupt. So much so that apart from West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh, even the New Zealand cricket board was in distress.

As per the new revenue sharing model, Zimbabwe will get $94mn while Bangladesh, which was earlier getting $76 mn, will now receive $132mn (2016-2023 cycle). Zimbabwe Cricket is also likely to get $19 million to pay its debts and West Indies board has been promised grants by ICC.

That answers why they did not go with India in Dubai. In the last few days, there has been even more tough posturing from the wise men in the BCCI that there could be a boycott of the ICC Champions Trophy this June in England. This would be the most stupid thought and needs to be shot down immediately.

Having lost the battle in the ICC and made to come down on their knees, the BCCI needs to respect sentiments of cricketers and the millions of fans at home. Refusal to play in an ICC event is reckless, even if it’s tough posturing. If cricket is entertainment for fans, it’s also business and livelihood for the national cricketers.

Some mindless officials in the BCCI cannot be taking a call on a tournament boycott, which, in any case, is tantamount acting against national interest. The BCCI should get back to its meetings and parleys with the COA on how the administration can be cleansed.

The tight slap on their faces in Dubai has indeed come at the right time.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

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S Kannan S Kannan @kannandelhi

Sports columnist.

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