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The spark that will ignite the gentleman’s game for the better(hindu)

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is a well-known fact and a popular topic of discussion about the rich and the mighty corrupting the system in cricket.

The googly here is the Supreme Court’s decision to shake things up. By sticking to its earlier stand in the order of 2nd January 2017, the BCCI has been stumped. Following the judgement, the associations have to implement all the reforms quickly.

The only cause for the BCCI to tumble over is its arrogant officials with an inflated ego. At this stage, the Supreme Court’s decision to restructure the entire system to eradicate corruption is perspicuous.

In my experience, it was not infrequent to witness high-level politics in BCCI. But, the officials never allowed the game to suffer. Alas, that is not the case anymore.

Money is power, they say. The massive ego that came along with it led each office- bearer to outsmart the other. There was no action taken against any of these errant associations.

Barring a few, some associations have not even maintained accounts. But how can there be an action taken against them when some of these gentlemen were the BCCI bosses themselves! There have been charge-sheets filed against many office- bearers of the association, some were even arrested. But, the politics involved in the voting has made one of them the chairman of the most important committee!

The financial state of the association determines the commitment of elected officials to the game in their jurisdiction. Why then didn’t the BCCI adhere to transparency and make the Deloitte audit report public?

Again , barring a few associations, others have indulged in group politics giving rise to nepotism that has killed potential careers. Even the entry of former cricketers was stalled due to the high financial benefits involved in the voting system.

In an interview for my Ph.D. thesis, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar suggested that the managing committee of each association must have a certain percentage of its past cricketers. The voting rights could go to the cricketers’ constituency of former State players and not the clubs or individual members in the association.

The reason being, some of the voters in the association were people who had never played the game! Why should a player with repute beg for a vote from a person who hasn’t even played tennis-ball cricket? It’s humiliating, to say the least.

In fact, only the Karnataka State Cricket Association, in the year 1999, gave voting rights to its former players. Until then, the greats B.S. Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and others didn’t even have the right to vote! The lure of money didn’t allow any other association to think about the reforms needed for its players to get into its administration!

Till date, most of the officials have misused their power in every way. In Mumbai, the market value of an affiliated club is about 2.5 crore. Every voter gets eight memberships of Garware Club House at Rs. 10,000 though the official rate is 12-15 lakh per membership.

Similarly for MCA Recreation Club at Bandra Kurla Complex a voter gets three memberships at Rs. 10,000 and for Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana at Kandivali a voter gets four memberships at the same rate when official rates at both the clubs is Rs. 12-15 lakh per membership! And each voter is eligible for 15 memberships!

Imagine the amount each MCA voter can make by selling these memberships! When these are the figures, why would any club want to give representation to a State cricketer? This is why political parties have cornered clubs. Sharad Pawar, who did a lot for Mumbai cricket couldn’t change the voting pattern.

Even the administration of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) came under the radar when Justice Mugdal termed the BCCI vice-president C.K. Khanna, a ‘pernicious influence’. Series of wrongdoings became public.

Accounting malpractice, an improper process in tendering, nepotism were some examples of the substandard administration. Corrupt officials had no interest in running the administration effectively. Without restructuring, there is no other way to set this appalling situation right.

No uniform constitution

The BCCI is the richest sporting body. However, there is no uniform constitution. Every State has a different constitution which suits the ruling group. There are quite a few associations run by families for decades. Some have family members, trusted friends, relatives and employees of their establishments as voters.

One association even has drivers and canteen staff as voters! With this structure, it’s no wonder that Kapil Dev lost the election of Haryana Cricket Association.

Even with such unscrupulous administration and governance, the operations staff should be applauded for their meticulous planning and implementation of the programme.

The Supreme Court’s impending decision of complete overhaul was long overdue. With politicians, public servants and government employees debarred from the association, the Lodha Committee has restrained the funding of the candidates. The Apex Council of the State will have an official from the Office of the Accountant General to monitor the finances.

Implementation of the reforms might cause teething problems. But, in the larger interest of the game, the reforms will dismantle the monopoly of the BCCI and Indian cricket will witness a paradigm shift. Here is the spark that will definitely ignite the gentleman’s game for the better.


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