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In an editorial in the Hindu, the BCCI's original selection of its three-member probe panel comprising RK Raghavan, Ravi Shastri and Justice JN Patel, with obvious conflicts of interest, suggests that it did not want a fair inquiry even if in the process its credibility takes a beating.
It reveals an unwillingness to shed its image as an opaque clique. What cricket fans and the public need now is reassurance that the glamorous flagship tournament of the BCCI is not yielding illegal spin-off benefits to punters, bookies, fixers and assorted operators seeking to capitalise on the popularity of the sport. Apart from a thorough clean-up of the game, the Indian cricket board needs to win back the trust of the game's fans, and the public at large.
In Mint, Ayaz Memon writes that the BCCI's biggest problem is that the public's faith in it has collapsed, as till very recently, it has pursued a wink-and-nudge approach of inquiry/redressal believing that it enjoyed immunity from public gaze being a private body. However,it was also odd that the Supreme Court had asked the BCCI to constitute the probe panel.
And it was completely imprudent of the BCCI to have even agreed to the Supreme Court's request. Surely the mandarins in the board are not oblivious of the raging discontent about its affairs, and utter mistrust in its office bearers. How much better if they had asked the Supreme Court to appoint a panel and conduct the investigation?
The BCCI-suggested three-man probe panel was at least two-thirds fair until the far-reaching influence of the BCCI made it obsolete. With the Supreme Court rejecting them, Suresh Menon, in Wisden India believes it is high time the proper authorities are given greater control of the investigation into alleged corruption in the IPL.
But professional investigators have to come into it too: the CBI, the police forces in Delhi, Mumbai and Tamil Nadu. In another month, it will be a year since television pictures of a player with a towel tucked into his trousers shocked a nation. In all that time, the BCCI has merely stonewalled the investigation. Many wasted meetings, air fares, hotel accommodations and daily allowances later, it has nothing to show for its efforts to clean up the game. Neither the spirit nor the flesh is willing.
Remember Brighton Watambwa? The former fast bowler who played six Tests for Zimbabwe in the early 2000s, is currently captaining Belgium. After quitting Zimbabwe cricket following a contracts dispute, Watambwa settled in the US in 2002, getting a degree from the University of Miami before taking on a full-time job in Brussels. He talks to Enock Muchinjo in Daily News about his journey, and how the game is received in Belgium.
If you were to introduce Aussie rules football or trampoline in Zimbabwe, you will almost certainly find a good number of local folk trying a hand. I mean, didn't we recently have someone at the Winter Olympics, when snow (albeit just a smidgen of it) was last seen in the country more than 50 years ago! In most countries, if it's not their thing, they will simply not be interested a little bit. This is what former Zimbabwe Test bowler Brighton Watambwa found out when he arrived in Belgium five years ago from the United States.
Vidhi Choudhary, writing for Mint, explains how the absence of marquee names in the IPL has paved the way for lesser-known brands to step in.
The franchise has attracted new brands like Prayag Bath Fittings and Tripfactory as official team sponsors; Arise India, ACC Ltd, Kingfisher and TK Sport have stayed on from the last season. "The election year too has weighed in heavy on the annual sporting league, diverting advertiser funds to associate with election-related programming," said Sathyamurthy Namakkal, president of DDB MudraMax Media, the media buying wing of advertising agency DDB Mudra. This has led to IPL re-working its strategy to get more brands in to play, albeit at lower price points.
In an editorial written after the national players' boycott was resolved, the Kathmandu Post laments the mismanagement of Nepal cricket and suggests that the country should learn from Sri Lanka's model of cricket development that helped them grow after they received Test status.
While it is good that the strike is over, institutional shortcomings must immediately be addressed if Nepal is to have a future in cricket. First, CAN needs an overhaul. The governing body must be run by people who know the game and are passionate about it. A capable CAN would also be able to take advantage of Nepal's close proximity to four Test-playing powerhouses--India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Regular 'friendlies' with these teams would go far in providing Nepali cricketers with exposure to world-class cricket. Furthermore, there is much Nepal could learn from Sri Lanka, which only got Test-status in 1981 but managed to transform into a major player in a decade. Sri Lankan cricket flourished in the 90s due to heavy government investment and the establishment of a number of robust domestic leagues.
Barney Ronay, writing for the Guardian, lists out all that is right with the Indian Premier League and the shortest format of the game.
As ever, though, the best bit is the in-house IPL commentary team, not so much pundits as simply blue-shirted BCCI evangelists. "WE ARE UNITED IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES!" Ravi Shastri fog-horned, weirdly, at the toss in the opening game, and most of the time it feels as though Shastri could be talking about his big toe - "Remarkable! Extraordinary! Superb!" - or a piece of cheese at the back of the refrigerator. It really doesn't matter as he is simply a continuous noise, an unwavering tone of relentless triumphalism, wearing on this occasion the expression of a man who has been kept in an underground facility for six weeks, subjected to flashing lights and pulsing noises and then finally prodded out into the desert air and encouraged to wander around with a microphone barking about tracer bullets and incredible spectacles
The return of Peter Moores for a second spell as England coach was aided, in no small, by his dignified reaction to what happened five years in the wake of his sacking, says Vic Marks in the Guardian. He just moved on and found a new job.
If Moores had flounced off in an outspoken huff when he was sacked quite spectacularly alongside Kevin Pietersen in January 2009, then he would not be the England coach today. Instead he departed with lips sealed and dignity intact before taking up his post at Old Trafford. That was in character, but now it also seems a very sound career move.
Rex Clementine, writing for the Sunday Island, lashes out at the ECB and its chief Giles Clarke for having "gone back on its words" by seeking to bring Sri Lanka's head coach Paul Farbrace to England's ranks as the assistant coach to Peter Moores.
The blame, however, needs to be placed on the doorstep of ECB. For the post of Assistant Coach, ECB could have chosen someone from its vast base in county cricket. They are certainly not short of coaches. But by 'stealing' Sri Lanka's Head Coach, ECB has sabotaged the progresses of another country. That simply isn't cricket. The timing is wrong on two counts. First, Sri Lanka will be England's opponents in three weeks time and secondly this is not the leadership role that we expected from the Big Three. There are many ways ECB can redeem themselves, one of them could be by providing financial support to secure the services of a top coach.