BCCI restrictions on TV commentators

Have an opinion? Think again

One of the requirements for a BCCI commentator is the willingness to avoid a list of taboo subjects, including Indian selection, DRS or administrative matters

Sharda Ugra

October 12, 2013

Comments: 158 | Text size: A | A

Danny Morrison with a quizzical look, Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab, IPL, Kolkata, April 26, 2013
The IPL witnessed another episode of message control following an ebullient pre-match introduction of Virat Kohli by Danny Morrison and HD Ackerman © BCCI

'We don't censor commentators' - Srinivasan

  • Below are excerpts from an ESPNcricinfo interview with BCCI president N Srinivasan. The full interview will be published over the next week.
  • On the BCCI getting into production:
  • Television production was disorganised. It wasn't professional. There were lots of freelancers involved, the production house was not coordinating things. We wanted to make it systematic and we wanted the domestic cricket covered professionally so that we can monitor performances, evaluate umpires.
  • On censoring commentators:
  • We don't censor commentators. This word censorship is incorrect. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator you say this, you cannot say this and things like that. But if there was an instance and if you were to come to know about it, please feel free to bring to my attention.
  • On Ian Chappell's refusal to work under BCCI restrictions:
  • What has he said? Ian Chappell is not employed by us. We have never said anything to him. We are talking about people employed by us. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator anything, we produce domestically. BCCI in no way interferes with the freedom of the press. But, a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist.

A tweet by Sanjay Manjrekar on Tuesday gave an indication to an extent of the workings of cricket television in India and the tricky territory on which its commentators must operate.

The tweet was addressed to Sundar Raman, the IPL chief operating officer. It read: "Sundar, I have now been kicked off from studio for Ind/Aus by star. Don't you think this is a bit harsh? I have a contract with them." The tweet was deleted almost immediately and Manjrekar later explained via another tweet that it was a "segment of private chat that erroneously got onto twitter."

The India-Australia series that Manjrekar was referring to began with a T20 in Rajkot on Thursday. Manjrekar, who had been the studio host for Star Sports during India's home Test series against Australia in February-March, was not part of their television coverage this time. He has refused to say more on the issue. Sundar Raman, the COO of the IPL, was asked for his views on the matter but he has not responded at the time of writing.

Unlike Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, L Sivaramakrishnan and, in the case of the Australia series, Matthew Hayden, Manjrekar is not contracted to the BCCI. He is, like Harsha Bhogle, Shane Warne and Sourav Ganguly, on contract with Star, the media-rights holders for cricket played in India. While Star owns the media rights, production is handled by the BCCI - which means the board can decide the roster of commentators on its "world-feed" broadcast which is sent around the cricket-watching globe.

A Star India spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo that they were not aware of "any such message or tweet" and added, "Sanjay Manjrekar very much remains contracted with ESS and on the panel of cricket commentators for the network… Not all contracted commentators are used by the network in every game and every series for that matter." The spokesperson said it was "baseless" to assume that any commentator did not find himself as studio host following only one match in the India-Australia series and added that the BCCI had not given "any feedback on any specific commentator."

There is another incident similar to Manjrekar's featuring another disappearing commentator. Arun Lal, who had headed the Hindi commentary during the India-Australia Test series was contracted for the Champions LeagueT20. Yet he was never sighted on air during the tournament. The reason for his disappearance is said to have been his commentary stint during the Bangladesh Premier League and the suspicion that he may have a financial stake in the event. The Star India spokesperson said the channel's argument about Manjrekar applied to Lal's case as well.

Earlier this month, Star were the only bidders for title-rights sponsorship for India's 13 home matches this season. When asked if the deal would have helped them acquire greater leverage with the BCCI, the spokesperson said, "Star/ESS acquisition of the sponsorship is a totally unrelated matter. The network and the BCCI both have the common goal of delivering a high quality audio- video experience to the TV viewers in India and abroad."

Along with that goal, one of the key requirements for a BCCI world-feed commentator, apart from knowledge of cricket and reasonable grasp of English, is the willingness to avoid a list of taboo subjects during commentary. Ian Chappell declined an offer of a commentary stint because he was told he would have to follow BCCI restrictions.

Chappell told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that when he asked what the restrictions were he was told he couldn't talk about Indian selection, DRS or administrative matters. "I responded saying I didn't feel I could do my job properly under those circumstances and therefore declined the offer," Chappell said. The Hindustan Times report was referring to the ongoing limited-overs series, but Chappell's account of his turning down a commentary offer applied to the Border-Gavaskar series earlier in the year.

The impact of the restrictions during that series was reflected in the quality and tenor of the commentary - catches that went down after hitting MS Dhoni on the wrist and Virat Kohli on the chest were called "half chances" and there was no comment passed on the state of the pitch for the Delhi Test, which ended inside three days.

The IPL, known for its higher pitch of commentary, witnessed another episode of message control following an ebullient pre-match introduction of Kohli by Danny Morrison and HD Ackerman earlier this year. Both Morrison and Ackerman made references to Kohli as a "possible future captain" of India and "captain-in-waiting."

It is understood that the BCCI's commentary restrictions came into place at the start of the 2012-2013 home season and the four-Test series against England, which India lost 1-2 to give England their first Test series win in India after 28 years. As post-defeat discussions were about to begin on air, commentators in Nagpur were told that captaincy and selection were not to be talked about.

They were reprimanded "quite badly" for talking about what was a "selectors' decision." A commentators' roster for the play-off final was announced earlier than usual and neither man found himself on it. During the recently-concluded Champions League T20, the list of taboo topics included the sight of empty stands.

It is understood that the BCCI's commentary restrictions came into place at the start of the 2012-2013 home season and the four-Test series against England, which India lost 1-2 to give England their first Test series win in India after 28 years. As post-defeat discussions were about to begin on air, commentators in Nagpur were told that captaincy and selection were not to be talked about.

The board's move to control the message emanating out of cricket television in India was a Lalit Modi initiative begun in 2008 with the signing of Gavaskar and Shastri onto the BCCI payroll. It was then made mandatory for all rights holders to have Gavaskar and Shastri on commentary teams whenever India played at home. Even though Modi was excised by the BCCI, following the IPL's 2010 financial scandal, the template set in place by him has only been strengthened.

In December 2011, the BCCI terminated its broadcasting-rights contract with Nimbus - due to run until 2014 - and re-sold "media rights" to Star while retaining control of production. Its larger world-feed "message" is now broadcast by a team of commentators, who also happen to be prominent syndicated newspaper columnists. Their social media presence is also said to be closely monitored.

Manjrekar's reference to being "kicked off" the studio marks the next step of BCCI's message-management. There is a pecking order which is tacitly understood, with the BCCI-contracted commentators - Shastri, Gavaskar, Sivaramakrishnan - being the most powerful. Those at the top are given the leeway to pass an occasional, stray comment as a fair criticism or observation with the knowledge that they abide by the BCCI's larger philosophy. Those treated with suspicion are watched for their first error before being sidelined. Newcomers understand very quickly that if they speak their mind, it will be transmitted via loyal informants up the line.

The line of authority and the information about a commentator's status in the BCCI commentary box follows a very simple path - it is the producer who breaks the bad news to the commentator, if at all the news is to be broken. Above the producer is the BCCI's broadcast services director James Rego, who reports to Raman, who reports either to the board president's assistant Kasi Viswanathan or to the president N Srinivasan himself.

The atmosphere inside the commentary box is stilted. "I speak to people I can trust," says a commentator. "Those I don't trust, I don't talk to at all. I stay away from them. I have no conversation. I do my work and go home." Walking on eggshells is de rigueur in the BCCI commentary box. "You are not even allowed to have an opinion - even off air. There is such a lot of arbitrary power exercised," said another.

The best assessment comes from a third: "It feels like I am working not on the game itself, but in the grand Indian cricket commercial."

ESPN Software is no longer an ESPN-owned company and is believed to be re-branding in the future, following News Corporation's buyout of ESPN's 50% of the ESPN-Star Sports joint venture. ESPN, which owns ESPNcricinfo, is not a title sponsor of Indian cricket.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sharda Ugra

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (October 19, 2013, 17:09 GMT)

As I kept suspecting, THIS IS THE EXACT CASE !!! Its better for me to mute the TV & ON the All India Radio commentary ! Atleast I'd be hearing some sensible commentary with meaning criticism. If you keep suppressing the negatives, then you are double crossing ! As simple as that !

Posted by Harmony111 on (October 17, 2013, 23:30 GMT)

Oh so espncricinfo allowed my prev comment hoping to mitigate the criticism and to be seen as someone who allow free speech. They will allow expression of criticism but will not allow actual criticism. They will allow me to say that their policy of moderation is wrong but will not actually allow me to post rebuttals to nasty comments made by other fans, usually Eng & Aus. Would they allow me to take names? Would they allow me to say that 5Wombats, Biggus, Si Baker are among the most notorious, acidic & repulsive posters here? A no of times they have posted extremely shocking comments but even after numerous attempts my posts to them are not published. So letting me say that their policy of comments moderation is bad is no good unless they actually allow me to deal with these guys in the language they best understand.

Posted by Harmony111 on (October 17, 2013, 20:16 GMT)

So espncricinfo is talking about fair speech and freedom of expression and is criticizing if BCCI has on its roll ppl who follow its guidelines? Would any org in the world like to have ppl on its roll if they were publicly criticizing their own org? Does it happen anywhere? Does anyone recall what ECB did to KP when he indulged in totally private communication with his friends? What did ECB did to KP when he wanted to focus on IPL? What did CA do to Warner when he defended himself vs some nasty guys on twitter?

Talking about espncricinfo itself, do they allow free speech? Why do they moderate comments here? They can use automated software that will reject any comments that use objectionable words but they should allow other comments to get through no matter what they may say but no, espncricinfo itself heavily censors comments. Worse, the policy is not standard. Someone can make fun of millions of Ind fans, someone can call us GHASTILIES & that is ok.

It is pot vs kettle here.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (October 16, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

When one is employed by a Company, isn't it reasonable to expect that that Company expects that the employee adhere to certain topics and not discuss certain topics related to the Company's working? Isn't it reasonable that the Company expects that the employee stays away from controversy involving the Company that may project it in poor light? This happens all the time, everywhere, all around the world, so what is wrong if BCCI does it? What is wrong if the BCCI regulates information so that incorrect impressions are not created, like Virat being the captain-in-waiting, etc? One normally hears of dead Indian wickets from the international press, but the international press failed to comment on the sporting fast wicket with plenty of bounce that was prepared at Pune. Why is that? It is true that there is a concerted effort by certain quarters in India and abroad to project BCCI and India in a bad light. There is nothing wrong in combating such efforts through protective measures!

Posted by indianpunter on (October 15, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

The actions of BCCI remind me of the erstwhile Gestapo and the East German secret services; suppress all discontent, stifle dissenting voices, treat everyone with contempt and onwards with the propaganda machine. Sad state of affairs, in a democratic country. It's high time that bcci is made accountable by the govt and bring it under the purview of the rti act. Btw, we all know what happened to the Gestapo.

Posted by aanilc on (October 15, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

The other day i heard L.Siva say "the Indians have almost catched up with the required run rate"

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

@anshu.s, you are welcome bro. Can't agree more again. And the other thing is, even if IPL destroys cricket, it is still worth it. Here it is: The game is always bigger than a player but people's lives are always bigger than the game itself. IPL gave life to so many poor Indians. If this IPL destroys cricket/test cricket/odi cricket, I won't be bitter or worry too much (mind you, I'm an ardent test cricket fan and a deep admirer of Rahul Dravid). Cricket is just a game at the end of the day. Why should we worry if it gets destroyed because of IPL or BigBash or BPL, as long as they can give hope and respectable life to many poor people across the globe? That doesn't mean I will not fight for test cricket's survival. But still, if test cricket has to die finally, so be it. I'm happy as long as people's standard of life improves.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Bodies controlling sport are not by any stretch of imagination required to be democratic in their operations. Any organisation that employs people has every right to specify what areas are "off-limits" for an employee - one wonders how long a ESPNCricInfo writer would last if he/she consciously defied the organisation's stated policies.

Also, too much is made of Ian Chappell's refusal to adhere to commentary guidelines. Chappell has never been a particularly good commentator anyway, having built his reputation purely by playing the "maverick", by making controversial if not outrageous statements - one being his criticism of the Indian squad in 2011 for saying they wanted to win the World Cup for Tendulkar !

Posted by Crickathon on (October 14, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

Is the BCCI thinking they can really suppress controversial topics by stopping its puppet commentators from speaking something that is way too obvious for the rest of the 1.2 billion people of India? Indian public is so knowledgeable about cricket, that it only takes some 4-5 college-goers to get together and they can provide way better commentary and more astute analysis than the BCCI puppet show. It would be naive of BCCI to think that if its commentators don't tell something, the people are not going to know. All these gimmicks increases my belief day by day that the big great fall is nearing for the BCCI. As they say, the light that's going to fade out is the one that shines the brightest.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

BCCI bashing is the flavor of month/year/decade! I have to admit that whilst I am no fan of BCCI, but at the same time I find too many articles written by eminent journalists who only want to play to the galleries by trashing BCCI. The cricket world needs to face one thing - BCCI is a very powerful body controlling most of the finances of world cricket. Arrogance, is hence, expected. When you have power, you want to get your way. Which is what BCCI is doing. The fact that BCCI is not media savvy may be one of their many shortcomings. But that does not mean that BCCI is all shortcomings and has no merits. Why don't we have some balanced articles where one can also possibly speculate the reasons behind the apparent "diktats" of BCCI?

Posted by CricketChat on (October 14, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

With IPL money filling overflowing its coffers, it is but natural that BCCI flexing its muscles and dictating all matters of cricket, for now. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time the rest of nations find ways to restore balance. India and BCCI must be cognizant of thus fact that money power will only last so long.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

I have stopped enjoying commentary in India cricket. In fact, i saw some shades of this even transgressing (some not all) to the Ashes. I believe the boards are compromising fans in particular and cricket in general. Hope the tide turns.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Commentary is one of the critical aspects of experiencing cricket on television, for the game has a leisurely pace. It has the capacity to tamper with a viewer's enjoyment of the game, and if it isn't fresh, cricket isn't worth watching.

Watching cricket played in India has become a pain because of the commentators and their purposeful lack of idea/thought/creativity. This team, headed by Ravi Shastri, makes a viewer feel like he's hearing a machine. There's no pleasure in that and kills the experience, regardless of the quality of cricket in play.

This monopoly, in many ways, is testing the patience of cricket's 'consumers', and as pointed out in the article, it is any way not fair.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

This is how BCCI dictates terms with the broadcasters , the commentators cant speak on captaincy and selections during any India series played in India .No wonder the board is bullying the other cricket boards as well now, It would be very soon that BCCI would want to have the series only to be played in India just to please the sponsers . Hope ICC takes some serious steps regd this and pull up BCCI now ..

Posted by harmske on (October 14, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

@jaanson - you have to be either blind, deaf, or a passionate supporter of the BCCI, or possibly all three to not notice the under-currents while listening to commentary during a BCCI televised event. It is clear to see there are certain things they will just not talk about, or blatantly lie about in some cases (i.e. we are set to have a packed house today as we've been informed all seats are sold out, shouts ravi shastri during the morning session of a test match while no more than 30% of the stadium is full at any stage of the match).

Posted by gbqdgj on (October 14, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Does that mean that Cricinfo will stop censoring overt criticism of the BCCI too?

Posted by Indian-cricket-analyst on (October 14, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

Thanks for providing one more proof of the dictatorial policies of BCCI. 'Experts' have lost their voices and they have become puppets firmly entrenched in BCCI's territory by the lure of money. These 'experts' have also lost my respect, which they earned hard in their playing days.

It is not long before we see BCCI handout a printout to each commentator to read during their commentary stint. This way, commentators don't have to unduly worry about accidentally expressing their opinion, if they have one by now.

Posted by anshu.s on (October 14, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

@ Dravid_Gravitas_Atheist, thanks mate, much appreciated, look both i and you and many others are no fan of BCCI but sometimes this BCCI bashing crosses all limits to the point it loses all perspective and sense of proportion .IMO Sharda Ugra is a fantastic journalist and she only wants betterment of Indian cricket, more transparency and accountability from BCCI but i seriously doubt the motives of some of the BCCI bashers who simply cannot stomach the fact that Indian cricket dominates both on and off the field ,these set of people are extremely hypocritical , they find nothing wrong with the rampant commercialisation and blatent greed of the overhyped kick and rush EPL but find all kinds of faults wth the money minded ways of BCCI. According to them 9 month long EPL season causes no harm to international football but 2 months of IPL upsets and destroys the balance/sanctity of international cricket !!!

Posted by jaanson on (October 14, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

Why dont we believe mr srinivasn when he says the commentator is not told what to say and what not to. why does'nt cricinfo ask every single commenatator currently on tv for the series if he has any dos and donts instructions and publish their response including those who say 'no comment' we will then get the real picture rather than speculative articles like this. maybe sanjay manjrekar did not do as good a job as was expected of him and so was left out and harsha bhogle given the job for this series. btw last year bhogle also was contracted by bcci for the england and australai series so his article last year about kumble's conflict of interest smacks of hypocrisy. finally how many of cricinfo's journolists can write against cricinfo? i rest my case. publish this if you value fair comment with no abusive content.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

Anyways, what are the issues again? DRS, selections and administrative matters. Supporters of DRS themselves have no clue about DRS. They keep saying the expensive DRS technology mumbo-jumbo is there to eliminate howlers only. I ask them, why do you need technology (calculator) to get 2+2=4? You will need technology (calculator) to solve tougher calculations. Getting 2+2 wrong is analogous to a howler in cricket. To set right such a howler you don't need technology. Just a kick up the back-side will suffice. Remember, DRS was initially introduced by claiming that this will address the marginal and tougher calls. Slowly, it was obvious that DRS is a huge let down on tougher calls and the viewers were slowly fed by the 'elite' commentators that DRS is there for howlers only anyways! Seriously? But that's not what you guys told us when you brought the DRS technology mumbo-jumbo on day one. Enough of this DRS joke. It's a proven failure. Super slo-mo is all you need at no extra cost! (TBC)

Posted by Shazli on (October 14, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Good Article.. we should not surprised...BCCI always dictate in sector involve in world cricket which not good....i believes the day will come when no one listen and work for BCCI.....

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

@anshu.s, well said mate! I couldn't have said it better. You hit the nail on its head. On the mark. Take a bow! @rv770, thanks bro. While I appreciate Miss. Ugra's article, my pet peeve is at people jumping brazenly at the very mention of BCCI. I'm no fan of BCCI. They are unprofessional and unfair. I too want to ask them questions and express my freedom of speech. But I don't expect to have freedom of speech in their home (read commentary boxes so on and so forth) just the way BCCI can't express their freedom of speech in my home. So, I better design my own program dedicated to administrative issues, invite them there and ask them well-targeted questions. Why can't Cricinfo do that? Can't we have any other place other than commentary boxes to talk about these significant issues? This tirade against BCCI is making a critic of BCCI, like me, to support them. BCCI is absolutely right when it says commentators should be commentators and journalists should be journalists.

Posted by anshu.s on (October 14, 2013, 8:55 GMT)

While i agree BCCI is putting restrictions on commentators but everyone else is doing it , Skysports who pay 6.5 billion Euros for 3 year coverage of EPL , there analysts,Pundits never find anything wrong with English premier league, EPL is dominated by foriegn players,coaches and owners which has resulted in less and less English players getting into starting xi and consequently English national team suffers on international stage.But these issues are never discussed in Skysport studios, instead what you get is more and more hype about EPL,after any half decent match commentators keep on saying stuff like " what a fantastic advert for EPL best league in the world.Do you ever hear that kind of chest thumping ,self promotion by BCCI contracted commentators proclaiming how good Indian cricket team is, how good are our u-19 teams or how popular the game is in India or how much money and glamour Indian cricket brings to the game.I am just offering a perspective how things are in media.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

@moniker, it is possible that I might have some misconceptions here. I don't know the full details of the contracts either. So, revisiting the scenario once more and approaching it logically, it seems to me that BCCI and Star have some clauses wherein BCCI could tell the Star commentators what they can't comment on and looks like Star has entered into contract with BCCI on those terms. If that be the case, it shouldn't matter whether BCCI is the commentators' employer or not; commentators are still bound by BCCI-Star contract terms. Simple as that! I would also like to know how many times the 'fair' minded commentators like Benaud, Lawry, Chappelli etc of Channel 9 or SKY spoke of the ills in their respective boards through the commentary boxes when their boards were treating visiting Indian teams as second grade citizens? Answer: ZERO! Looks like their boards never had the necessity to put any gag-clauses in commentators' contracts! Those boards were clean, after all. Or, were they?

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Guys, this is a non-issue. I'm not sure if Apple would allow its employees to write against Apple in press let alone on Live TV. Is there any corporate in the world that lets its employees to speak against the way the company's administration runs the company? It's the same non-issue here. We just need to step back and realize that not allowing the commentators to talk on BCCI's policies is a non-issue. On the other hand, selection goof-ups is a VERY serious issue and we all Indian Cricket Fans have a right and an obligation to question BCCI appropriately. Eg: If Wasim bhai, Dravid, Sanjay, Qadir bhai, Mark Taylor, Dada, Nasser, Bumbles, Ugra, Harsha, Donald, Warne start a weekly update program on various cricket boards and telecast it on this website, won't we come and watch and criticize the respective boards? What's the agenda in choosing a commentary box for talking against BCCI when the audience is already emotionally charged during a match? Nothing but a charade, ad nauseam!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

It's not until recently, until Dravid and Dada opened their mouths, we came to know that visiting Indian teams to Australia and England weren't even given proper hotels and practice facilities. Where was Chappelli when guests (read Indian touring teams) were being treated as second grade citizens, right under his nose? Why didn't he reject his contract with his board and fight for weak people like us then? Now, all of a sudden it seems he is an upright statesman if he can't talk of the ills in BCCI and how BCCI's bad selection policies are adversely effecting the Indian cricketers!

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

CRICINFO also have some censoring - knowingly or unknowingly. It also has nothing to do with language editing. One has seen hundreds of posts over the past few years, where it was difficult to fathom what the writer wants to convey...but, got posted. But I can vouch from experience, that some comments on powerful personalities / players do get deleted, before it sees the light of the screen. There are also a lot of divergence in the attitude of Cricinfo staff. Some have the confidence and inner strength to publish comments criticizing /disagreeing with their views. But a few others do have problems.

Posted by Dushgarg on (October 14, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

Another thing I have been flabbergasted with is no commentator now a days bother bother/have courage to talk about unexplained selection policy of BCCI. Ishant, Rohit have been in the team for very long without contributing almost very little. But as soon as Rohit hit one boundary, pat comes the old cliche about how much talent he has. An analogy between freedom of press could be pressed here. Else we would have been listening to BCCI's spokespersons than neutral commentators.

Posted by king_julien on (October 14, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

I might sound unbelivable...but I saw this coming. In the ICC knockout tournament in England, Ishant was bowling pretty badly match after match. Sanjay was criticizing him for this that too in a satirical way. After one such episode Sunny was speaking in the post match conference and left mid way and didnot return afterwards. The decision was taken at that time itself I feel. I was discussing with a friend that Sanjay might be kicked out for speaking his heart. I thought that BCCI will do it in such a way that no one will even notice this.

The problem is not totally BCCI also but with us also, the problems over DRS or SA series are OK, but even when they treated the ICL players so shabbily, even Kapil Dev!!! at that time also it didn't even matter to us. We should have boycotted the matches back then for such an unfair treatment of the players but no matter what they do we still flock to the stadiums and TV.

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (October 14, 2013, 5:31 GMT)

I am a huge fan of Sharda Ugra - not only does she write well, but she's bold. Truly a fine journalist. This article is important, because muzzling commentators is at best, less entertaining and at worst mis-leading to the viewing public. Sharda has given a few examples of that in her article, and has also quoted commentators' opinions on this. The viewer can, of course, exercise his/her choice to choose an alternate medium for obtaining a more real description of events, and thankfully there are such alternatives. I'm also thankful to espncricinfo for continuing to publish articles that are thought-provoking and in some ways 'anti-establishment', but isn't that what journalism is all about? Well done.

Posted by parik50 on (October 14, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

Thank you Sharda for calling a spade a spade. Its high time the Indian fan makes his voice heard against the dictatorship of Srinivasan (calling it BCCI is unfair since everything is driven by one persons whims and fancies). People like Shastri and Gavaskar are nothing but puppets and have lost all respect they gained through their careers - such a pity. I just hope they don't come after you next Sharda! Also i would like to say kudos to the cricinfo - please do continue to be independent and never bend to the big bully.

Posted by Arul Ganesh on (October 14, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

Cricket is BCCI's product, Ho! My God I never knew, good that I read the comments.

PS: BCCI or any other board for that matter, is supposed to co-ordinate the sport but not to rule it. Cricket is no cement to be sold and marketed, for heaven's sake it's sport.

Posted by Kashi0127 on (October 14, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

Most Indian commentators are boring and highly depressing and Ravi Shashtri in particular has words written out for him by BCCI. I think BCCI dictates whom the commentators should praise and who not, performance be dammed. Oh how wonderful were the days when we had Richie Benaud, Brian Johnston, John Arlot , Chakrapani as commentators.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 14, 2013, 4:55 GMT)

@Biggus I am an ardent test cricket fan from India (I watch ODIs and T20s as well but without the same passion) and in fact every time India loses a test match is a bad day for me. I not only find it disgusting, I find it disrespectful and lacking in human spirit.

Posted by srinideva on (October 14, 2013, 4:41 GMT)

some of indian fans are crying out for the freedom of commentators in commentry box. If BCCI have given that freedom to commentators during the england series, sachin, sehwag, gambhir and ishant are the real culprits of losing that series to england in india..if someone openly asking for the sacking of particular player from the national team, then you're just creating the controversy in indian cricket. We all know what the freedom of kolkata pitch curator done to the indian team..that curator just making some useless comment about the national team captain...You got to do what your board ask to do..if every one have the power to speak about everything, then it won't work.

Posted by TheGecko on (October 14, 2013, 4:16 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Atheist First of all, I believe you have a misconception that the commentators are employees of BCCI. Except Shastri and Gavaskar, no they're not. Manjrekar, and most of the other Indian commentators are contracted to star. Surely star wouldn't be having any issues with commentators taking about selection? BCCI didn't raise its hands to feed, it poked its nose to gain control out of fear. Speaks volumes about their insecurity.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 14, 2013, 4:09 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Atheist : Sir, did you read these lines --- 'catches that went down after hitting MS Dhoni on the wrist and Virat Kohli on the chest were called "half chances" and there was no comment passed on the state of the pitch for the Delhi Test, which ended inside three days.' Well it contradicts with what you have written. Commentators are not allowed to talk about the state of the pitch and bad fielding of MSD and Kohli. Isn't it a part of the match? I am not talking about selection? That pitch in Delhi was really sub-standard and the one in Chennai was made in such a way only spinners can take advantage of it. The other two in Hyderabad and Mohali were fine. So commentators can tell a sub-standard pitch as sub-standard? Also MSD's countless fumbles are not spoken of. When the pitch is tough his ball gathering really goes downhill. Yes his keeping was far better than Wade who is a terrible keeper but talking about someone's weakness is not part of the game? I cannot agree.

Posted by rv770 on (October 14, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

At least one person "Dravid_Gravitas_Atheist on" sees the true things. Hats off to your comments which makes sense. At least enthu comments of yours , will control BCCI ( only BCCI) severe critics!!!!! keep up your good comments

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

Even commentary is fixed ! What else is left now !

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 14, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

@foozball, no, it isn't bullying. Weather is an integral part of what's going on now. As such we have to talk about weather. Players are there because of selection. But that doesn't mean you talk about selection process day in and day out. Just as an example - Players are playing because of their family's decision to let a player take-up cricket. That doesn't mean we keep talking about player's family all the time. Well-wishers who want to take up selection issues can do so, on an appropriate platform. Commentary box is the least appropriate or least productive for a matter as serious as selection.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

Sometimes i feel Cricinfo is also restricted to write neutrally. Always singing lullaby to BCCI and Indian Cricketers.

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

Given the sad state of commentary... I desperately hope for a no commentary option to watch cricket.

Even in the current series guys like Shastri and Siva look woefully out of depth compared to Warne. In yesterday's game, I remember warne was making a very interesting point about Phil Huges batting and shastri wasn't even able to take the conversation forward. He just kept vomiting his usual lines even when they had absolutely no relation to what warne was saying.

Atleast they should pair Warne with Harsha and leave the trio of gavaskar, shastri and siva do another section which we can just mute.

Posted by Raman12 on (October 14, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

Very well written Sharda . To be very frank , i did not know the commentary box politics is to this much extent and i am bored of Sunil and Ravi .Both of these ppl commentaries r annoying .Shane Warne is good ,Laxman Siva talks as if he is the coach. Still Danny's questions r embarassiing .But Sunil and Ravi shuld b exposed

Posted by rv770 on (October 14, 2013, 2:49 GMT)

What are the unwritten rules of "cricinfo" It seems bashing whatever india does or BCCI?

Posted by rv770 on (October 14, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

What's the criteria to publish comments on cricinfo? What are the unwritten rules here? Why so much bad propaganda ( appropriate second world war word) against everything BCCI does! Why cricinfo promotes so much against BCCI/India where it shows every other board/country is honest and great. Just leave India/BCCI and write about other boards and their greatness

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 2:03 GMT)

There is nothing new in it. Honesty is never appreciated in BCCI. And their Crony capitalism has wore down its fans. Cricket has lost its support among Poor and Lower Middle class fans of India (They make the majority of Indian Population). Sensing this, Sachin retired Gracefully.

Discrimination and Oppression are the two eyes of BCCI. If cricket loses its sheen(it is already in process of losing popularity), its primarily due to BCCI and ably supported by blind Media, which never took hard stance against High handedness of BCCI.

It makes me very angry to see likes of Gavaskar, Shastri, Kapil Dev never sharing their true views even outside Commentary box.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (October 14, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

@vasanth6868 did you read this article fully? Sanjay has no buisness with BCCI, he is contracted by espn. If people dont like, they have every right to read commentry from other 'so called' neutral source. Like that bcci has every right to protect their intrest in every possible way.

Posted by yoogi on (October 14, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

The actual disclaimer should be, the ESPN software is an indirect competitor of STAR, the title sponsor of Indian cricket. Not just the dis-association of itself, if you consider putting all facts on the table for the reader. By no means I suggest that cricinfo is putting this article on bad taste because we all know how BCCI wants others to functions,

Posted by   on (October 14, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

We dont want shastri and gavaskar, we dont want them and we dont want them. Hope then that the point is clear for all sake! Its been 20 years and we are fed up with cache and template lines. Its reaching the point of nausea with the stale style being repeated forever

Posted by orangtan on (October 14, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

The level of cricket commentary in India sinks to its lowest common denominator in the shape of Ravi Shastri. He shouts at the top of his voice and is seen in the malls of Singapore every other week. Chris Wilkins is another BCCI toady whose commentary is fawning and obsequious.

Posted by blah_blah on (October 14, 2013, 0:21 GMT)

Unfortunately, commentators are human and they will lapse into opinion from time to time. The BCCI clearly needs to invest some of their wealth in robotic technology. The resulting automatons can provide a ball-by-ball description of the kind of delivery (yorker etc), the resulting shot (cover drive etc) and even throw in the occassional cliche (like a tracer bullet!). And no pesky, thoughtful opinions.

Posted by android_user on (October 14, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

@indiacricfan2013 are you kidding me, since when freedom to comment on the game is a choice. That is what you are suppose to do. that is what the fans deserve, this is a version of fox news in US. Ridiculous, childish behavior from the BCCi, but is it really news. I thought everyone know this already.

Posted by Temuzin on (October 14, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

I think Indian commentators have brought it up on to themselves. Some of them are downright biased and clearly play favoritism while commenting on different players. And a few have such a low levels of analytical capability that I pity them. The disparity inlevel of cricket commentary between foreign commentators and Indian commentators is apalling. Laksman Shivramakrishnana and Arun Lal are jokes as commentators, while Gavaskar and Shastri is down right obnoxious.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (October 13, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

I think the BCCI does not like me either, my comments are never published!

Posted by Akshay_mehta1 on (October 13, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

hope after this article BCCI will not try to buyout Cricinfo so that they can write what they want or try to block Cricinfor in india.

Posted by Marcio on (October 13, 2013, 23:11 GMT)

I see spooky similarities between the BCCI and the CCP - the Chinese Communist Party. I'm serious, having lived in China. Both are self-serving control freaks. I wondered why there was nothing mentioned about the pitch in the first test vs AUS - the worst track I have ever seen put down for any test anywhere in the world - so blatantly doctored in sections to suit particular batsmen and bowlers. It was a disgrace to international cricket - yet nothing mentioned on Indian commentary that I heared. Not surprised criticism of Dohni is taboo - he has deep connections with the power structures of the BCCI, as was directly reported by one of the curators for the ENG series. Fat chance that this will make publication here, but telling it like it is does not get one too far in cricket discussions these days.

Posted by anupamraj114 on (October 13, 2013, 22:47 GMT)

Thanks God we have Sharda but i dearly pray cricinfo doesn't pay price for all this. And BCCI, you are becoming more and more intolerable. Get your acts together else you will be hated by one and all. If spot fixing didnt bring enough shame, comes the SA series episode .This commentary issue seems to be icing on the cake.

Posted by Nerk on (October 13, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

I thought selection policies were part of cricket. Why wasn't this player selected? Why was this player selected with the form he is in? Surely these are part of any match and the BCCI are quite wrong. Commentators are journalists. I cannot think of many commentators (from the beginnings of radio coverage in the 1920s) that did not also write for the papers. What the BCCI want are stooges, not commentators.

Posted by mulleegrubber on (October 13, 2013, 21:22 GMT)

The flip thing to say is "Well, what do you expect, it is after all the Board of CONTROL for Cricket in India!

More seriously though, BCCI's gagging of commentators is just another example of what, in other contexts, I have called "The Arrogance of Power".

If it is not to lead to complete totalitarianism it must be challenged. The big question is how do you do this. Well, you could start from the premise that the administrators of cricket (BCCI and other national bodies) need the players far more than the players need them. It only needs one entire Test side to realise that "the emperor has no clothes" for the whole edifice of administrator-power to start to crumble. Then the players could start to employ their own administrators. And in case anyone should say 'that's impossible', I suggest they have a look at the way in which the ATP was born in tennis.

Who's prepared to fire the first shot?

Posted by pat_one_back on (October 13, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

What an outrage, complain all you like about parochial Aust commentators, at least they aren't ACB owned, their highly transparent bias is an effort to please the local masses not administrators who are frequently held to account. This is on par with Chinese media controls, party managed messaging etc Indian, in fact all cricket fans should be outraged and demanding 'separation of power'. Commentators are journo's and have enormous power to diffuse in the moment, producers then ensuring no replays, this disgraceful manipulation of truth can not continue to be tolerated.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 13, 2013, 21:06 GMT)

@mukesh_LOVE.cricket, mate I disagree with you on this. There's nothing lower than trying to bite the hand that feeds you. Commentary box is not the best place for these 'well-wishers' to take-up the issues of administration. If they are so genuinely concerned, let them take it up in their columns and TV interviews or start some pertinent TV program dedicated exclusively to cricket administration. I don't trust any of these guys who have a problem for not being able to talk against BCCI in a commentary box. It's like they are trying to choose a platform (commentary box) when the spectators are at their emotional high during a match. So, I have to question their integrity in the first place. It seems to be a charade against BCCI than a purposeful intent to question boards of cricket; a case of power struggle to undermine BCCI and show what an evil incarnate BCCI is, to an emotionally charged audience rather than the case of having the best interest of cricket at heart.

Posted by foozball on (October 13, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas_Atheist, don't you think that the players on the pitch have a fair bit to say about "the match at hand"? Therefore, isn't it pertinent to discuss the reasons why they are on the pitch?

If a commentator's brief is to merely discuss "the match at hand", then we'd best stop talking about the weather as well. The rain never bowled a searing yorker, so why would anyone be interested?

This is about bullying, plain and simple.

Posted by ARad on (October 13, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

Good writeup! An outfit that depends on 'the masses' for success, whether it is a sports body, a website, or government, will try and minimize publicity that won't put them in a positive light aka 'managing the message'. If the fans, readers or voters actively do not seek other views, it will be detrimental since all entities that do not welcome external criticism create 'monsters' which would then be hard to control. We the masses will be the losers. This is why we must discourage monopolies: too much censorship on website boards and monolithic governments. Even if that does not convince you, selection processes (e.g. the selection of Saha for a Test because of lack of substitutes) and administrative issues (the choice of a stadium during the wrong season, under-prepared pitches, 'homework' saga and such) can be the 10k gorillas in the room so it does not make any sense if the commentators ignore it. The real question: why would any board 'muzzle' the commentators if things are ok?

Posted by Longmemory on (October 13, 2013, 20:45 GMT)

When you finish reading something like this, all it leaves you with (besides a bad taste in the mouth) is respect for someone like Ian Chappell. I realize Ian C has the economic wherewithal to turn this offer down with these conditions. He won't be unemployed or poor as a result. Still, its gutsy of him - just the way he batted and played the game in his prime. Guys like Shastri, Gavaskar and Siva are showing exactly who they are and what they are made of. Pathetic. My concern is more that with this behemoth called BCCI running Indian and world cricket in this way, nothing good is going to come of all this in the long run. Enough to make one want to switch allegiances and start watching some other game that is less corrupted.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 20:43 GMT)

This is really sick. BCCI you need to give the commentators the freedom they deserve .

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 13, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

My two cents: If one needs to talk about the workings of boards, then host talk shows. Do interviews. Start some exclusive TV programs where you devote time only for boards across the world. While you are at it, throw in some incisive questions for ICC too. It can be twice a week. If you are so worried about mis-administration and the ills of administration, then speak-up. But don't take money from me and expect or hope to talk against me. How hard is that to understand? Go to press. Be a columnist. And let the power of your pen known to the boards, any board. But this is a complete cop-out to keep complaining that you don't get to talk on selection and administrative matters when we have a match going on. Don't make it sound as though there is no tomorrow to talk about administrative issues outside of commentary box. If critics are serious and honest about their concerns, they would choose the best platforms to raise those concerns, commentary box is definitely not one of them.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 20:11 GMT)

BCCI is making cricket in India look like WWE

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

The comment about commentators being commentators and journalists being journalists makes me laugh. Commentary is a form of journalism. The bigger issue is whether, and how much, this goes on with other cricket boards. Commentary from Australia seems to only have Australians for example...

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

I prefer DD National or All India Radio commentary for the matches.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 13, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

I don't get it why commentators need to talk about the selection policies of any board while they are there to comment on the match at hand. They can bring events and stats from previous matches as well and bring perspective to the ongoing match. Why are they so itching to gossip on issues other than the ongoing match? They can land a contract with press as columnists and let their opinions known in press or let their opinions known in interviews on TV outside of the commentary box. I see absolutely nothing wrong in BCCI's stand that the commentators are there to comment on the match and journalists are there to report everything concerning cricket - matches, administration, selection etc etc... This blind bashing of BCCI is nothing new. Not that BCCI is an innocent kid! Just asking the posters and writers to be balanced while taking a stand for or against BCCI. BCCI, as much as I dislike you guys for specific reasons, you have my backing on this issue. I'm not your blind basher.

Posted by Playfair on (October 13, 2013, 20:06 GMT)

The worst line up of commentators, dull boring and very predictable! Shane Warne brings some life to the painful hearing

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (October 13, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

I support BCCI to some extent in this, though I'm not a fan of BCCI. Yes, commentators should be commentators on the ongoing match and previous matches as well and journalists should be journalists. BCCI is correct, yet again.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 19:29 GMT)

We are lucky to still be hearing about news like this. Hope they don't gag you guys as well. Cricket is sadly becoming lesser day by day.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (October 13, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

Always loved Sanjay manjarekar's views , he is one of those guys who makes some real frank and honest and most of all good cricketing observations , and BCCI seems to be hitting new lows !

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

Sports commentators should be neutral & FREE from any restriction other than comments based on race, religion, gender, colour etc. Sanjay Manjrekar to me is the best among Indian commentators just like Ramiz Raja of Pakistan; without them I don't enjoy listening Indian sub-continent cricket commentary. Indian fans should work on replacing BCCI's personals & culture so that they can accept criticism when called for. Australian commentary & TV coverage is the BEST followed by England, West Indies in my opinion. I love their fair & neutral commentaries & the way they are presented. BCCI have a LOT to learn from them. Thank you Sharda Ugra for this article.

Posted by POOCHI425 on (October 13, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Hats-off to Sharda....way 2 go budd !!!!!! This is the kind of stuff that separates men from boys... nuff with BCCI & their bullying...its high-time that other cricketing nations stop playing in India to teach'em a lesson.. are we still living in the era of slaves or wat ? who are they to dicate commentators wat to say...i can just imagine the look on Ian Chappel's face when he was provided with those ridiculous terms of the contract...GROW_UP INDIANS !!!!!! can u imagine BBC or channel Nine team being told to say wat the ECB or ACB wants them to say ...Noooo Waaayy !!!!! these kinda things can only take-place in INDIA ....they r tryin to imitate the American's...stay within your little cocoon & forget about wats happening in the outside world. just like how U.S. calls their baseball & hockey leagues as world league... same thing is being implemented by BCCI....ipl being touted as THE league of the world...hahahhahahah why don't the ICC re-names itself as ICCI or IICC ??

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (October 13, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

Everyone who has opposed this dictatorial attitude of the BCCI will still watch the game tomorrow and listen to these drab commentators. India doesn't even deserve to play test cricket. Look at our bowling. It's been a weakness since I started watching cricket 30 years back.. We love the indian team as it is winning ODI ,thanks to the great batting line up, Indian cricket and in turn BCCI is surviving because of lack on interest in test cricket .

Posted by St.as.ram.rod on (October 13, 2013, 18:34 GMT)

@IndCricFan2013: Were you born in 2013??

They are commentators and issues like team selections and how the school/college/domestic level of competitions are run are part of the games...

That is the point that BCCI dont want them to be commentators but spokesperson who tries to defend or ignore such contentious matters rather than bring it to fore...

Posted by SmellyCat on (October 13, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Well, it's an open secret. And Srinivasan says "But, a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist." Then what the hell is he doing with Cricket? He's a businessman and father-in-law of a Cricket enthusiast. He should stick to that.

Posted by Tijara on (October 13, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

I hope that one days BCCI chnages it is ways, but right now it is a horror. I wonder how the people who are running the BCCI have grabed the power and hope that one day it would be more democratic and that there would be a rival company.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

High time for BCCI get some sense going. What a ridiculous state of affairs? If not for cricket fans in India, there is no BCCI. It is used to be a treat to listen to commentary of legends of the game, but now, with these unwritten and unheard rules, the art of cricket commentary is getting lost. Shame on you BCCI. The production value is mediocre and we dont have DRS so that we do not need to have Hotspot technology. Time for fans in cricket stadiums to show some protest. Unless there is a collective effort, BCCI wont come and act as if it is CRICKET itself.

Posted by Blade-Runner on (October 13, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

OMG...When Indians drop sitters , they are half chances. LOL !!! Well, That explain some Indian commentators act like cheerleaders for the Team India. Pathetic..

Posted by vasanth6868 on (October 13, 2013, 17:55 GMT)

Sanjay Manjrekar is a very brave and intelligent cricket commentator. Very candid most of the times . He speaks what he sees,observes and thinks , and thats what a tv cricket viewer expects of a commentator. He is the indian version of Ian Chappell , in my humble book. Indian cricket administration sucks . Brave and appropriate article , Sharda Ugra !!

Posted by unclesam21 on (October 13, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

This is shocking, especially given the level of corruption that is current in Indian cricket. It was stunning how quickly IPL corruption got swept under the carpet, and how Mumbai got away with having a game shifted in the champions trophy, due to rain. Not a single comment regarding it being an unprecedented decision- simply related to weather a few days prior to a game. I have no idea how that would of been justified had it been questioned. So basically, money passes hands and the key analysts in the game (the commentators) are not allowed to raise concerns. Nothing to be said on air by the commentators.

In my opinion, Indian cricket needs to be cleaned up. Yes Yes, they have the money but unfortunately greed is going to ruin the game. Everyone is being pulled into this disgusting web.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (October 13, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Kudos to Sharda Ugra for having the courage to write this article. Without even knowing about these restrictions by the BCCI, fans like me always felt that Shastri and Gavaskar have become spokespersons for BCCI instead of being a true commentator. They refuse to say anything remotely negative regarding the way Indian cricket is run. Manjarekar is a forthright commentator and so is Ian Chappell. I respect these guys. Commentators are there to express their opinions about the game, players and selections too. If they are only saying fairly obvious things like "this match is going down to the wire", what's the use? Are fans stupid? We know when the match is in balance and state of the match. We don't listen to the commentary for that purpose. In that case, we might as well push the "mute" button on TV remote. The commentary in the matches involving Indian (and especially played in India) is just ridiculously mundane these days.

Posted by crindo77 on (October 13, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

2 separate issues here; bad commentary and BCCI approved commentary. People like Shastri, LSK and Arun Lal are BAD commentators; very liitle insight, verbatim description of the game, poor syntax. Sunil Gavaskar IMO is a better commentator; purely due to the depth of his experience he has more stuff to talk about, anecdotal or otherwise. However towing the BCCI line isn't helping the quality of his commentary. As for Manjrekar, he is the new breed of Indian commentator like Ganguly. However they run the risk of finding themselves left out. Anyway watching George Bailey hit Vinay Kumar all over the park for seven matches is bad enuff. Even with good commentary. Only an Australian win in this series can make it interesting.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

Millions of us want Ravi Shastri and Gavaskar out of the panel for gods sake. I dont opine in such strong manner. Last year I was of a similar opinion (at that time many of us were begging for some changes in the team which wasn't made despite a string of horrible losses abroad and at home!) and even hoped the Pakistani and English teams give such a strong performance that Indian selectors were forced to make some changes to the team. Goodness was it due! Same goes now with these commentators. I mean its almost like there is nobody capable to speak other than these few people for almost 20 years in the worlds largest democracy! Both these things cement the way our subcontinent selection criteria works. Change is so so hard and takes a very very long time to come by in our country and a few of our neighbours. Its almost like a culture established. (from a tired fan listening to the same cache/template phrases from the same commentators for 20 years!)

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (October 13, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

Sharda is a severe critic of BCCI. While the over all opinion could be accepted, what else do you think BCCI should do? Do they want to pay people to talk bad about their selections??? Should they bring the internal problems to the fore? If you run a company what do you expect your employees do?? Severe criticism is unacceptable. Manjerkar should either become BCCI contracted or should live with what STAR has to offer him. How can you get best of both?? Stay with STAR and address your problem through proper channel.

Posted by anton_ego on (October 13, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

Oh my god, thanks a lot Sharda for catching my pulse! I hate english commentary these days so badly, and the overall quality of the broadcast itself. Close lbw decisions are not replayed and reviewed properly bcoz of BCCI's pro-umpire stature, which makes viewing really annoying. Apart from Manjrekar and Harsha, no other Indian commentator has good vocabulary. They make cricket watching so boring. I play some music and mute the tv these days. I wish Indian commentators could add some humor and innovation like Michael Slater, Tony Greig and Harsha Bhogle. Its time for cricket to get rid of this old-fashioned rule of 'only-ex-cricketers-can-do-commentary' rule and bring in talented speakers into the system.

Posted by ranjahna on (October 13, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

Sharda ugra a good article....hope tthings change because being an indian fan not feeling good about things happening in cricketing world....bcci needs to tame down or things would end bad...

Posted by TamilIndian on (October 13, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

BCCI should be renamed DCCI - dictatorship

Posted by RajeshNaik on (October 13, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

It used to be a pleasure listening to STAR Cricket commentary. Now it is such a drab. I was wondering why. Thanks to this article now I know. Shane Warne is the only saving grace. Even the mighty (Star) have to succumb to the rules of the almighty (BCCI). Another example of BCCI's hide, play from behind and no explanation given method of functioning.

Posted by Smithie on (October 13, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Pleasing to see Cricinfo clarify above their ownership position and reassure readers that they are not part of the same entity that sponsors the Indian cricket team. BCCI take note : transparency and swift rebuttal of possible conflict of interest doubts enhances public I image.

Posted by sparth on (October 13, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Finally, someone has the guts to write an article that is actually against the BCCI. I'm fed up with the amount of times Harsha has written something which always leaves the BCCI in a good light when the public know differently.

The only shame is, cricket is too big in India for anyone to do anything about it. Unfortunately the power is where the money is and for cricket that is India

Posted by SamRoy on (October 13, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

This is the most vile act till date of the BCCI. It is the lowest of the low. Match fixing and bullying other boards is nothing compared to this. It is the act of trying to curb the free speech of an individual and allowing to provide only partial information to listeners. Partial information is incorrect information and trying to provide that is a soap opera of some kind. I am sure nobody is going to make a formal protest against BCCI in court.

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (October 13, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

bcci has finance, if you dont like just mute it or hear other commentry, no one force u. They have every right to protect their interest. We can easily judge which commentator bcz espncricinfo lists all, both by bcci and espncricinfo. And also how reliable the source is?

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

Nice article exposing what goes on in Indian Cricket Administration Sharda. This is analogous to North Koreas government propaganda and curfew. Too bad for a sport I love so much.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

It is time that the popular sensational-news-hungry news channels should shift focus on commentators too... Not only these BCCI-contracted commentators keep stating the obvious and boring but they also have become extremely monotonous over the past few years - How else would you sound if umpteen topics are declared taboo by the BCCI? At least if not those taboo topics, a few insights on the technicalities of the game, player, stadium, pitches, etc., can be discussed.. Time to get new blood for commentary remove Shastri, Gavaskar & co. Time for Rahul, Sourav and even Sachin after November!!! P.S. I wasn't big fan of either Manjrekar or Arun Lal... Let them stay 'banned'!!!

Posted by PhilCkt on (October 13, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

Being by far the most popular cricket site on the Internet, there is no reason to suppose that BCCI would not want to control Cricinfo. A disturbing thought is that their starting point would be the comments section of the articles that criticize BCCI. They are probably already among us, who knows, and they can get much better writers than most of the rest of us !

Posted by Biggus on (October 13, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

And people wonder why Sivaramakrishnan's 'election' as player representative raised eyebrows.

Posted by rssampat on (October 13, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

Come on Ugra; Don't just blame the guy's on TV. What do you people do at Cricinfo commentary?? Are negative comment's against MSD, CSK player's and the powerful men at BCCI ever published in the running commentary by the commentary guy's?? or even from the millions of people sending their comment's?? You also choose to be "politically correct" and don't talk about DRS, Fixing or belittle any Big Name player, specially those contracted to CSK and MI. This article is clearly a case of double standard's by you and Cricinfo.

Posted by tickcric on (October 13, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Finally this is out. Many of us already suspected what's being stated here, but this article definitely makes it clear. Thanks for that, Sharda... I remember, even a few years ago it was a pleasure to listen to espnstar's commentary team. I used to closely follow the likes of Boycott, Gavaskar, Bhogle or even Navjot Sidhu! These people made me appreciate the game more than ever before, and I used to be as attentive to the commentary as I was towards the game. And today, what kind of commentary are we getting? There is no honest discussion or analysis, no straight talk just plain spokesmanship. At best their current work can be termed as bureaucratic and frankly it is quite boring... That bcci logo which now accompanies cricket broadcast coming out of India is a constant reminder of its abuse of power.

Posted by Jagger on (October 13, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

The time will soon come that Australians will just give watching cricket away altogether. We take the Ian Chappell approach and thank god The Ashes is with England and not India.

Posted by sray23 on (October 13, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

The BCCI is thinking it is helping cricket by acting this way, but sooner or later another sport is going come into the Indian market with better packaged tv pictures and also better quality commentary. Lets see how the BCCI likes it then.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (October 13, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

Control the media and you control the message. This is an established fact of life, used by autocratic regimes everywhere. So long as everyone is aware of the restrictions that are put on commentators by the BCCI, then we can understand the anodyne nature of the product. If your job's on the line (or on the air), then don't expect to find the audacity to say boo to a goose! So sad. So paranoid!

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 13:11 GMT)

Great! Anyone surprised? The more the rules and restrictions the more the likelihood that governance is arbitrary and lacks integrity. Come on BCCI and its worthy supporters! You're doing well!

Posted by waheed_kkj on (October 13, 2013, 12:34 GMT)

As a consistent follower of cricket in subcontinent for few decades, it's a pleasure to witness the unprecedented rise of Indian cricket. But this rise will also determine the future of cricket at global level..

For current story i think the important question for BCCI to ask, what we are going to achieve with this ?? And what kind of future we want for Indian cricket and cricket at global level ??

Because i don't see anything positive can come out of these things..

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (October 13, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

May be the following is the difference between commentators and journalists that Srinivasan was hinting at -- with commentators, having a captive audience, expected to show restraint. In the Ind-Aus 1st ODI, a few min ago I heard a viewer question asked of Shastri and Gavaskar "which of the current Ind/Aus players would end up as a legend?" Neither one wanted to answer that qn. Responsibly so, in my opinion. Why put unnecessary pressure on, say, players like Finch, Watson, Kohli, or Dhawan -- players that they could have named without too much controversy. This kind of judgment was not shown by Morrison. As an aside, I do like Morrison's colorful style and hope he gets to come back soon.

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (October 13, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

@TRAM, Interesting. I read the same words that you quote below but wondered if that was tell-tale sign of censorship.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (October 13, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

No other cricket board is dragged through the courts like bcci. With such an emotional and volatile fan base indian cricket has, bcci is right in advising commentators to avoid certain taboo subjects. Prevention is better than cure. That is what bcci seems to be practising.

Posted by TheUltimateTruth on (October 13, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

I know it is fashionable to beat up on BCCI and Srinivasan, but I am not sure what the fuss is about in this article. I saw the TV commentary during the recently concluded Ashes. I found that they too made no controversial or edgy remarks. In fact, none of the players, administrators, or even the system (say, DRS) were criticized. Botham said something strongly against bowlers going off the field to rest, but I have heard Gavaskar make similar comments. Yes, in Ashes the commentators were more fluent in English and had better vocabulary, but that might be because their native language is English -- unlike for Shastri, Gavaskar, L. Siva, etc.

Posted by Smithie on (October 13, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

@RichardtheGreatest- you ask a valid question that Cricinfo readers are deserving of a substantive answer - will the same topic restrictions apply to Cricinfo's articles and comment management now that your owners part sponsor the Indian Team. Sambit Bal has been reluctant in past instances to lay out a clear moderation policy re comments. With this attempted BCCI manipulation of the media it is vital that Cricinfo give some reassurances re its image of supposed impartiality. As for Sharda - do not hold your breath waiting for a Christmas card from Srini - keep shinning the light into all those dark corners - you are doing a fine journalistic job!

Posted by TRAM on (October 13, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

wow. "a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist." That is a fantastic clear basis for defining the roles of the commentator. Journalists's job (usually) seems to hype every matter in hand where as commentator should stay away from hype-stuff and instead just state and analyze facts and the technical points. Wonder why they cant do it.

Posted by TRAM on (October 13, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

@KirGop, Should every article written be pushing someone's cause? Why? Cant the article be just the statement of status? I think this article gives interesting bit of inside information to help the readers visualize the tussle of commentators' freedom versus rules of engagement.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 11:09 GMT)

Gavaskar = Mr. Biased and Shastri = Be Positive !! ;)

Posted by pull_shot on (October 13, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

I can't understand some fellow indians supporting bcci behavior as some saying about organisation is there any organisation using india's name directly and we fans watching matches for hours odi it takes atleast 6.30 hrs we have right to whats going on behind cricket field and we dont need commentators to say where d ball has gone but other perspectives and criticize d selection or captaincy or bcci policies. Recently in starsports also they r narrating matches (only winning) and indian players as super heroes that's sickness

Posted by Nutcutlet on (October 13, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

Thank you once again, Sharda: doing what a good journalist should do, bringing shady matters into sunlight so that ordinary, unprivileged people can know a little more of the workings of power that influence matters of proper concern to the public. It has been self-evident that the BCCI, in recent years at least, insisted on its comms towing the party line.

As decent and honest a man as Paul Collingwood 'guested' during the India - Eng series late last year; even he was politely chided by his fellow comms for transgressing when he suggested something like a DRS review would have been helpful at a particular instance. Commentators are not simple, characterless machines that do no more than give a ball by ball account. This is not understood by the BCCI; they have cricketing brains & should use them freely: analysis is interpretation & interpreting events will naturally lead on to wider discussions. Autocratic regimes always control the media to control the msg. That's the BCCI - again!

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

WHAT A SHAME ...this BCCI is trying to bring down the image of Indian cricket and undo all the hard work put by legendary cricketers ...they are the real dictators of India... first they stopped showing hawk eye and now this .... more truth needs to come out ... the BCCI adminstrators need to be made fully transparent in the public view... i am not ashamed to say that even if I love Indian cricket I sincerely hope BCCI goes bankrupt

Posted by anuradha_d on (October 13, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

every organization and employer sets his guidelines on the official / business secrecy ....confidentiality.......and the terms of employment in this conetext are rolled out up-front to the credit of BCCI.....and it's to the employyes to to take the emplyoment on these terms as Warne, Gavaskar etal have...or to leave like like chappel etc......what's the fuss about ???

Posted by vrkp on (October 13, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

Thank god, cricinfo is there for commentary.

i would prefer cricinfo commentary over the mundane and irritating commentary from the likes of shastri and Gavaskar.

I'm not sure whether it is BCCI's restrictions or they have don't much in store when it comes to vocabulary, it is the same sentences and words uttered by these two.

Shastri - his trademark commentary is 'shouting/screaming' on top of voice or he will say 'the batsman knows exactly where he is going to hit' as if that is a surprise.

Gavaskar style is repeating any superlatives twice.

Luckily Cricinfo is not owned by BCCI.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

Makes me glad the Sky commentators weren't in the ground when England were touring - uncensored commentary from a studio in London worked fine.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 10:19 GMT)

This Autocratic approach of BCCI sucks big time. I dont what makes them think of Mr. Ravi Shastri as a decent commentator, for all the fans who listen to him will know that he is monotonous and keeps repeating the same thing over and over again. We can practically guess as in what he will say next in particular situation. People like Ian Chappell, Bill Lawry, Mark Nicholas, David Gower, Harsha Bhogle are the commentators which make Cricket matches interesting with their unique insights and high quality comments.

Posted by sgguy on (October 13, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

BCCI bashing is the order of the day. They are the paying the commentators and so they have every right to tell what to do. Will the writer write against cricinfo ? I dont think so as she is paid by them ! Let us be fair. I understand that whatever BCCI does is not right but that does not mean that whatever they do are wrong !

Posted by hhillbumper on (October 13, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

I expect Malcolm Tucker to be working for BCCI recently.Can't talk about DRS,can't talk about match fixing.Can gush inanity about world class players.Welcome to the free world where BCCI one day will actually convince foreign watchers that India can play test cricket abroad. Trouble is there are people dumb enough to follow BCCI rules.How much do you sell your soul for?

Posted by Metro-ant on (October 13, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

This is just shameful and any commentator that gives in to these rules set by the board should not even call themselves commentators. What separates cricket commentators from most sports is the time duration. Give these blokes the freedom to speak their minds even if it is for only a 3 hour t20 match!! I'm sure other broadcasters place their own restrictions on commentators but some of those mentioned in the article seem comparable to a tyrannical government not a national cricket board!

Posted by AlbertPintoGussaHua on (October 13, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

That's why I watch cricket on mute with music playing on my stereo. I would love to see the matches without any commentary at all... just ambient stadium noise on my HT system... would be almost like being there without annoying commentary from the likes of Shastri or Sivaramkrishna yakking away needlessly.

Posted by srinideva on (October 13, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

BCCI has every right to protect their property from the media...every organizations have the rules and regulations in operating the system. as someone said working in private companies are far more worse than this...

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 13, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

This is absolutely sickeining to read. No wonder, many of us(yeah its the truth!) dont care whether team India wins or loses, as long as BCCI makes its own rules. And its high time we have the no-commentary option

Posted by willsrustynuts on (October 13, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

This is great for everyone outside of India. The longer the Indian public are made to believe that the cricket they play is quality, the longer the rest of the World will keep on giving them a good beating. And those half full stadiums will quickly become a quarter full etc.

At last the BCCI are doing something for World cricket.

Posted by DipsoManiac on (October 13, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Sharda,thanks for writing another article which only you could have written.Any cricket fan who has followed Indian cricket for last couple of years would know that the commentators are not really giving their opinions.I was so surprised when there was little or no criticism of Dhoni's tactics or selection during India's disastrous foreign tours and the home series against England.The commentary was so far from reality during England series that if you just listened to commentary,you would start doubingt your own understanding of cricket which you have developed over all these years.It was clear that the commentators were not expressing their opinions.This is wrong on so many fronts. BCCI is moving towards becoming an equivalent of police state and we need a very strong media campaign to save cricket from BCCI and BCCI frm itself!Sharda is ideal to lead it!

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

Great article, the BCCI sound like they've taken lessons from North Korea when it comes to freedom of expression. They really are the pits.

Posted by harishk19812007 on (October 13, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

What is the purpose of this article???????? every organisation is concerned about their image and their operations and are bound to have rules and regulations and as an employee of the organisation one has to follow those rules and regulations to protect his/her employers image (universal law in the corporate industry)......very convenient to say loyal informants but the authenticity and evidence of these reports are not justifiable......looks like this article is written to give bad publicity for BCCI!!!!!!!....classic example would be of ESPNCRICINFO's every time you try to post your comments it says....YOUR MESSAGE WILL BE MODERATED and then published....and many of the comments are not published by ESPNCRICINFO.....is this allowing right of one's opinion?????

Posted by renegademike on (October 13, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

"It feels like I am working not on the game itself, but in the grand Indian cricket commercial." This last line really sums up the whole propaganda scheme which the BCCI is trying to project via the EX-cricketers

Posted by renegademike on (October 13, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

very well written and excellently compiled article. facts we all knew have been blatantly put up by Ugara. at least there's somebody who's still driven by her media ethics and responsibility.Its a shame that such a gr8 player like SMG has to parrot the script given by the board. as a viewer I want to hear the frank opinions of the experts but it seems they are only trying to propagate the kind of cricket which is in best financial interest of BCCI Really good article

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

One more jewel in BCCI's crown.!!!!!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (October 13, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

This story looks not too dissimilar to those from the era of Stalin and Hitler. And I am damn sure these controls extend to the people commenting in the "news channels" as well.

Posted by srikanths on (October 13, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

BCCI , not just under Srinivasan , even earlier has been behaving the big bully. They behave as if they are the one who have brought in so much fan following and money in to the game.The fans and the money are inspite of them. Maintatinig a neutral position is very difficult. You want to make a living, you have to buckle down to BCCI diktats. Sad. They dictate terms as to who should be the CSA's boss. once Haroon Lorgat was made, they started playing baring their fangs. Of course the other Boards like CA and ECB had their bullying days too but that is no reason to continue in the same vein. In the whole bargain the Consumer , the fans get a lousy deal. All cricket administrators think that they are bigger than the game and the players and the fans. They are there to serve the game, the players and the fans and not the otherway round.BAI,BCCI.Hockey india et al have all fallen in to the same trap

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (October 13, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

Sharda, your article suggests its a crime to control what is said on air?? Could you clarify why so? What you are looking for is somebody coming on air and criticize/support DRS for example? DRS at its current form is on course for a "natuarl death" just what BCCI "wrongly predicted" a few years ago. Now, watching any game of cricket played with DRS, its clear that every other DRS decision is said to be incorrect. Now, to have people start on DRS on Air in India matches where its not even in use would only take the focus away from the match they are covering. Moreover, dont Cricket Australia or ECB try and bring forward their points of views in their matches? Its just that Chappell openly criticized BCCI conditions. Are you sure there are no conditions put forward by other boards? Is it that if you need some spotlight then come out and "bash anything that BCCI do"?

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (October 13, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

I have a lot of respect for Sharda Ugra for writing this (and other such) article(s). They serve to, in a way, expose the workings of the BCCI and their arbitrary ways of working. Its not healthy for the sport when they wield so much power and influence to be able to control other boards, tour programs, players, laws, use of technology, content within broadcasts etc.

The only way to rid ourselves of this is to use and encourage alternate sources of news and commentary. Avoid the paid mouthpieces of the BCCI, so we know we're getting at least a neutral view.

Follow people like Chappell and independent commentators online and social media sites, and generally flip the bird at the BCCI.

Its at times like these that I wished the ICL had really taken off. The ills of monopoly are so wonderfully exemplified in the current cricketing structure!!

Posted by landl47 on (October 13, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

I'm sure this surprises no-one. I guess the famous quote: 'I disagree with everything you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it' wasn't taught in the schools the BCCI members attended.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 13, 2013, 4:59 GMT)

@KirGop Sir, I take offence with what you have written. Even though the aim of the article is to portray the autocratic handling of free speech by BCCI, it was never meant to harm the careers of commentators. It is a requirement any sane media will try to keep the names withheld. Publishing the names is like betraying a fellow media reporter. Commentators are media reporters after all.

Posted by roygbiv on (October 13, 2013, 4:53 GMT)

I thank my lucky stars that the BCCI isn't in control of a country. Comparisons to East Germany wouldn't be too far amiss.

To be fair, cricket australia is almost just as bad. Their stern phone call to george bailey after he expressed his opinion on the the format of this year's ryobi cup exhibited their strong desire to control the message as well.

When will these boards of control realise that, debates, criticism, discussion in fact add to people's interest in the game? The things they should be worried about are ensuring high quality cricket is produced at the top level, that they make good money from this to fund the growth of the game at the grass roots and that the fans are well taken care of. Controlling the commentators and the message is just a waste of energy.

Posted by 512fm on (October 13, 2013, 4:49 GMT)

This is why I don't enjoy watching any Indian games at all, the commentary is so stale and all they talk about is what is going on in the game at that exact time. This is what sets the Indian commentators apart from the English and Australian ones for example.

Posted by sweetspot on (October 13, 2013, 4:43 GMT)

This is not that dissimilar to how the syndication agencies that got kicked out of grounds in India never talked about how the BCCI was absolutely within its rights to do so. The BCCI is absolutely within its rights to manage its image, and this is good brand management - similar to how Disney wouldn't allow expletives in its movies.

This article would have had more credibility if these unnamed sources were indeed named - after all, they have decided not to work with the BCCI. So, where's the problem?

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

How hard is it to follow the rules

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

this is just outright dictatorship,tyranny,arm twisting by the BCCI.Such controversial topics.During last years' IPL I was utterly surprised,not a single word was mentioned about sreesanth,fixing,nothing...commentators are supposed to comment on the game..thats' what they are for.

.shardha ugra this is the best insight about what happens in the commentary box...instead of reprimanding them better give out scripts and the commentators will read them during the game...absolute nonsense

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

BCCI is ultimately killing Cricket in india. With Sachin's retirement, its not easy for BCCI to keep cricket this much profitable. And all this incidence will downfall the popularity of cricket in india. India vs WI test series will be the last profitable test series in India. Its the commentators responsibility to explain the current match situation. Remember how they support Dhoni in the Test series by proclaiming him as the best in the world, even he failed in the field. Legends are made by people, not by BCCI. Just remember that.

Posted by   on (October 13, 2013, 4:14 GMT)

This is pathetic! Indian cricket is a commercial and nothing else.

Posted by Ravishankara on (October 13, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

Isn't India the biggest democrazy in the world

Posted by ODI_BestFormOfCricket on (October 13, 2013, 4:02 GMT)

conditions of millions of people working in software, outsourcing, knowledge processing field are more worse than this.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 13, 2013, 4:02 GMT)

This is the worst thing that has happened in Indian Cricket. Sorry not the fixing scams, not bullying other boards through power. This is the worst. When we cannot have unbiased commentry and we cannot allow people to speak their minds in a democratic society, BCCI have shown that not only it lacks in democratic values it also lacks basic human values. BCCI is not much different from George W. Bush or the Chinese Government in terms of lack of respect for the human being.

Posted by Prasanna_310 on (October 13, 2013, 4:00 GMT)

What a shame... For such dictatorial exercise to exist on 21st century... I, an everyman, declare that I will mute my TV while watching the India Australia show.

Posted by CrICkeeet on (October 13, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Pathetic, When I read these ab8 BCCI, I begin 2 feel, its a quarrel going on between 2 little kids ab8 DOLL, CANDY or beautiful dress smthng lyk dat..... When this BCCI stop behaving lyk a kid.... (un4tunately I cant see any hope)

Posted by KirGop on (October 13, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

Two issues with the article - 1) "Transmitted via loyal informants up the line - very unsubstantiated hearsay 2) You dont name your sources. You quote commentators but neither use their names or add a disclaimer that they didnt want to be named. Classic yellow journalism. Whose cause are you pushing?

Posted by IndianEagle on (October 13, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

i miss morisson than other, his commentry combines with dhoni power hitting is like pickle as side dish for alcohol, full kick.

Posted by RichardstheGreatest on (October 13, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

very nice piece. now that ESPN/STAR have acquired sponsorship rights, will we see the same restrictions start to apply for cricinfo editors as well?

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