May 31, 2010

Whatever happened to governance?

Why isn't it a scandal that the BCCI spends just 8% of its revenue on actual cricket promotion? And are the other boards any better?
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The title under which Cricinfo began aggregating its coverage of l'affaire Modi last month was a spontaneous decision, but would now be hard to improve: "The IPL Mess". The affair carries the hallmarks of scandal, it has threatened to become a meltdown, but of its characteristics as a mess there can be no doubt.

One of the more delicious stories to emerge, in the Times of India a couple of weeks ago, was that the Board of Control for Cricket in India was forbidding employees from taking work home, not out of a noble commitment to work-life balance but because they were afraid of still more documentation going astray. Profound significance was attached to Lalit Modi disgorging 15,000 pages of Indian Premier League material to the BCCI, but what was significant surely was that it had to be disgorged in the first place: Modi was seeking credit for surrendering to the BCCI its own documentation. Huh?

Of course, we now also know that the IPL governing councillors didn't believe it was their job to handle this information. Ravi Shastri has complained that his role was to "ask cricket questions", which makes it sound like he thought he was quizmaster at a trivia night. The BCCI's chief executive, Shashank Manohar, was only half right when he complained: "An institution functions on trust." Better is the philosophy that Ronald Reagan applied to the Soviet Union, which also fits an institutional framework snugly: "Trust but verify." The BCCI approach of "trust then panic and blame" would disgrace a corner store, let alone an enterprise like the IPL, which as we're often reminded, is a brand worth not $4.12 billion or $4.14 billion but $4.13 billion - a branding consultancy said so.

If Modi and the BCCI do part ways, it is unlikely to be chiefly because of a dubious facilitation fee or a rigged franchise auction, but fundamentally because they can no longer work together, assuming they ever really did: the "behavioural pattern" part of the charge sheet. Such a parting would actually be perfectly defensible. "I just don't like you," explained Henry Ford II on sacking Lee Iacocca, the most celebrated auto executive of his generation, soon after Ford Motor Company had posted a $2 billion profit in 1978. There was no question of the competence or integrity of Graham Halbish when he was booted out as chief executive of Cricket Australia in 1997; he simply could not coexist with his chairman Denis Rogers.

Modi has complained of being "public enemy No. 1" at the BCCI for some time; indeed, he might well have been ousted from his position last December, remaining only on the understanding he cooperate more closely with Manohar. That this was allowed to continue beggars belief. Chief executives serve at the pleasure of their boards; when they lose the confidence of a majority, or even a significant minority, they become a debilitating liability, because they cease to be completely effective. Modi's eagerness to stay on is understandable. He had money, motivation, a chorus of sycophants, and his most acerbic detractor, N Srinivasan, was more conflicted than Kashmir: BCCI secretary, IPL governing council member, president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, proprietor of the Chennai Super Kings, which employed India's captain as its captain and India's chairman of selectors as "brand ambassador". In such a tu quoque-rich environment, the temptation to brazen it out would have been overpowering. But what was the BCCI doing allowing such a situation to fester?

As it is, if Modi and the BCCI now do not part ways, the perception will be that it is because they have a mutual interest in the containment of the controversy, in which case Ratnakar Shetty's so-called "investigation" will look a little like the long-forgotten Chandrachud inquiry into match-fixing 12 years ago, absolving everyone and everything, and derogating allegations of corruption as nothing but media mischief. All that talk now of government interventions, probes by taxation- and foreign-investment authorities, Rahul Mehra's unflagging campaign for the reform of all national sporting bodies to make them less like personal fiefdoms… well, who knows where they might lead, eh? Here, then, is one of those scenarios where whoever prevails will be undeserving, and the system, such as it is, will have utterly failed. The time is ripe, in fact, to look beyond the "mess" and to that system itself - how, and not just in India, cricket is governing, and failing to govern, itself.

Corporate governance is not as much fun to discuss as the doosra or the Dilscoop. Not even corporate governors find it all that interesting, routinely treating it as a box-ticking exercise in which the priority is technical compliance rather than genuine effectiveness: Satyam Computer Services won the Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Governance under Risk Management and Compliance Issues five months before the depredations of its chairman Ramalinga Raju were revealed. But in a game turning over billions of dollars, there must be questions about the coping capacity of cricket's historic institutional structures.

Where players are concerned, Modi follows Alfred Hitchcock's advice about dealing with actors: "Pay them heaps and treat them like cattle". Players will be available; shirkers, such as Australians wishing to play Sheffield Shield, will not be tolerated

The basis of cricket's government everywhere is geography. Every national board of control is constituted on the basis of representation, selected by the states, provinces, counties or islands composing it; these states, provinces, counties or islands are themselves usually a gathering of smaller geographic units. The International Cricket Council is this concept writ large, a coming together of emissaries from those national organisations.

This has been an immensely robust and stable model, with the benefit of being easy to understand, and at least superficially democratic and equitable. It has, however, always had a number of disadvantages. The boards are unable to influence who sits on them: they must accept whomever a constituent body elects, often in circumstances where the electoral process is far from clear. Unless well-supervised and suitably motivated, the representatives themselves will tend to create not a genuine forum for policy-making but an arena of competing sectional interests, playing to an audience at home rather than the long-term welfare of the body on which they sit - as Cricket South Africa, Zimbabwe Cricket and Sri Lanka Cricket are doing at the moment in the matter of John Howard's ICC vice-presidency. They will also stand solidly in defence of the status quo, because reform will involve some people sacrificing hard-won eminence. Thus Malcolm Speed's droll line in reference to Cricket Australia: "You'll never get the turkeys to vote for Christmas."

In India, this situation has further entrenched itself in the 21st century because so many chief ministers or their proxies now run state associations, coveting membership of the BCCI, not out of an abiding commitment to cricket's betterment but as a political credential: step forward some plump prize butterball turkeys in Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah, Narendra Modi and Laloo Prasad Yadav, to name but a few. Not that there isn't something to be said for having a can-do politician in one's corner, but it's also an admission of a lack of faith in the fairness and efficiency of bureaucratic processes. And is this what India would wish to be known for?

Modi illustrates many things, meanwhile, but one is surely that cricket benefits from ideas that come from outside its own gene pool. Yet in order to make his way at the BCCI, he had to win the aegis of the cricket associations of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, and cosy up along the way to the right patrons. Not surprisingly, the IPL was in its way a response to the malaise of the BCCI, of a governance structure geared chiefly to the division of spoils provided by a huge market, and of actual administration reduced to a clerical function, with all the strategic vision of your average goldfish. Creating the IPL as a free-standing entity and providing it with IMG manpower suited both Modi and the BCCI: Modi because it gave him mastery of his own domain; the BCCI because it obviated any need for that organisation to cultivate the nimble, responsive and disinterested leadership needed to cultivate a new league.

This, of course, brought with it a host of problems. In a bizarre vestige of the traditions of honorary officialdom, Lalit Modi was paid no salary by the BCCI, thereby exuding an aura of independent wealth, even of philanthropy. But when the IPL introduced the innovation of private ownership, to whom was Modi ultimately accountable? Was it to the BCCI? Was it to the IPL as embodied in its governing council? Was it to the IPL as constituted by the franchises? Was it to himself, whether (symbolically) to his vision, or (practically) to the Modi Entertainment Network?

The result is not simply the murk around several of the IPL's key contracts, but changes that already stand to affect the game around the world while being chiefly in the interests not of cricket, nor even of the BCCI, but of the franchises: in particular, the stealthy but relentless expansion of the IPL in number of teams and games. We have it on MAK Pataudi's authority that the IPL governing council was divided on the matter of this growth, which is turning a window in cricket's calendar into a gargantuan black hole. Yet a faceless unelected majority prevailed, regardless of the consequences for other stakeholders, like those international players whose presence is being insisted on even as their workload is being hugely expanded, like those national boards without a say in the further depletion of their expensively generated human resources, like those cricket fans outside India who will see less international cricket in their own countries as a result.

To repeat, though, we arrive at this pass because the BCCI was so wedded to a structure of politicians and bureaucrats helping themselves that it preferred to avoid the question altogether and permit the IPL near-complete autonomy. The strains on the BCCI's broad-based geographic model, which has resulted in the country hosting international cricket at no fewer than 45 arenas, are being felt nonetheless. As Ramachandra Guha pointed out in Kolkata's Telegraph last month, populous Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in which dwell one in three Indians, remain unrepresented in the IPL; Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, accounting between them for less than a quarter of India's population, will from next year each host a franchise. "This maldistribution of IPL franchises undermines its claim to be 'Indian', and is in defiance of sporting history and achievement as well," noted Guha. "The truth is that citizenship and cricket have been comprehensively trumped by the claims of commerce."

The other problem with purely geographic models of governance, conceived as they were in response to methods of transportation and communication arrangements long obsolete, is that cricket has been left unrepresentative in basically all other respects. For example, it is almost a decade since Lord Condon in his report to the ICC on match-fixing commented that part of the crisis arose from the fact that players were "not sufficiently involved in the administration of the game and ownership of the problems"; he retires with the situation entirely unchanged, except that in the meantime players have drifted in some countries into collective bargaining arrangements.

Again, this seems a lost opportunity. Although they are, of course, being amply rewarded for it, of no group in cricket today is more being expected than players. Cricket administration, meanwhile, is desperately short of first-hand cricket knowledge. While Cricket Australia has been criticised for promoting John Howard to the ICC vice-presidency, Janette Howard knows more about cricket than the incoming ICC president: Sharad Pawar's qualification is a mastery of power politics in Maharashtra, and the idea that he can be an effective operator in time off from being India's minister of food makes a mockery of both jobs.

The IPL, for all its claims to innovation, is in this respect an old-fashioned autocracy. Where players are concerned, Modi follows Alfred Hitchcock's advice about dealing with actors: "Pay them heaps and treat them like cattle." Modi makes goo-goo eyes at Shane Warne occasionally, like Hitchcock with Tippi Hedren, but otherwise plays the role of distant sugar daddy, occasionally morphing into the role of plantation overseer. Players will be available; shirkers, such as Australians wishing to play Sheffield Shield, will not be tolerated.

Lest this critique be dismissed as singling out India for its inadequacies, it is worth pointing out where Australia is falling short, particularly in an era obsessing over broader horizons and finding new audiences. Examine the identikit parade of directors in Cricket Australia's annual report and you will find men who look like they could have been running the game in the 1950s, selected in state-by-state ratios barely changed in 105 years. Harry Harinath excepted, where are the non-Anglo faces? Where are the women? Where are the younger people? Perhaps this accounts for the 1980s disco atmosphere that now pervades Australian cricket grounds: it's old people's condescending idea of what young people like. Whatever the case, and whatever the capabilities of the individuals, it still resembles an assembly chosen on the basis of Muggins' turn.

Examine the directors in Cricket Australia's annual report and you will find men who look like they could have been running the game in the 1950s, selected in state-by-state ratios barely changed in 105 years. Harry Harinath excepted, where are the non-Anglo faces? Where are the women? Where are the younger people?

Nor is this same document remotely as informative as it should be. Ten years ago there were seven pages of financial accounts in Cricket Australia's annual report; last year, despite the prodigious growth in the quantum and complexity of cricket's finances, there were four, with the accent on meeting statutory requirements rather than providing a genuinely instructive evidence of cricket's financial strength.

To be fair, comparisons are odorous in studying financial activity within cricket, because no two years are alike. And one would talk about the disclosure standards of the BCCI if these actually existed. But CA has fallen into bad habits, by comparison, for instance, with the England Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa, which produce impressive and voluminous documents on time every year. CA's chief executive officer, James Sutherland, is an accountant by background: the organisation should be doing better than what is analogous to a cricket scorecard featuring only fall of wicket, leg-byes and who won the toss.

Such criticism can be more generally couched. Never has more money sluiced through cricket, yet the game's attitude to disclosure remains a mixture of the grudging and the apathetic. The most recent annual report available on the ICC website is for the year ended December 31, 2008. This contains three uninformative pages of financial information; the last set of complete accounts is now three years out of date. A corporation with such habits would be a market pariah. KPMG were sent to pore over the books of Zimbabwe Cricket; perhaps they need to pay a visit on Dubai Sports City too. As for Pakistan and Sri Lanka, contemplating their finances simply gives one a headache.

The dearth is not simply of up-to-date information but of meaningful analysis, and not merely of how money is being raised but how it is being allocated. Indian observers are transfixed by the aforementioned $4.13 billion valuation ascribed to IPL by Brand Finance, a figure almost entirely meaningless: because the IPL is not for sale, the value is unrealisable. They remain perversely incurious about how the BCCI spends its vast resources. During their dispute with the Indian board in January, India's taxation authorities came up with a figure of mysterious provenance but extraordinary implications: on the actual promotion of Indian cricket, the BCCI spends just 8% of revenues. Never mind Lalit Modi - why is this not a scandal?

Anyway, to simplify, here are half a dozen modest proposals for the improvement of cricket administration at national and international level.

Reconsider the geographic basis of representation on boards of control. Encourage all responsible bodies to appoint at least a sizeable minority of competent non-executive directors, with specific areas of expertise: law, accounting, marketing, finance, broadcasting, sports medicine. Their explicit mandate should be to make decisions in the interests of the country as a whole, rather than any particular region. To quote a shrewd Australian businessman, Garry Pemberton: "The easiest way to obtain good corporate governance is to obtain good corporate governors."

Establish the clearest possible reporting lines, and remove all ambiguities of responsibility, such as arose with Modi's role at IPL. Hold individuals to the most demanding standards where conflict of interest is concerned.

Where private ownership is concerned, remember your mother's admonition: it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Cricket in India has had two hearty paydays, as franchises have been auctioned; those franchises now will act in nobody's interests but their own, and every cricketer and every fan in the world will have to live with the consequences.

Work on making cricket's government representative in all respects, with a range of ages and interests. Given the convulsive change cricket has undergone in the last three years, a board of fiftysomething suits is an anachronism. A global game requires a diversity of backgrounds. Promote more players with recent experience, rather than famous names who gave the game up 20 years ago and more; tell them they will be expected to do more than "ask cricket questions".

Improve disclosure standards at all levels, with an emphasis on information that is timely, meaningful and intelligible, rather than required by statute. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant," said the American jurist William O Douglas. Boards of control around the world receive huge financial distributions from the ICC: it's arguable that as a prerequisite of membership they should be able to give a coherent account of how that money is allocated. Consider regular publication of decisions reached at meetings - after all, it's not as though national boards have any competitors in their own countries. Maybe hold some meetings in public. It is, after all, the people's game.

Don't treat cricket's governance as too established to reform or too esoteric to matter: it should be a concern of everyone involved in the game. If it is not, cricket's future will be strewn with many more messes than the most recent.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY lakx on | June 2, 2010, 18:27 GMT

    @vijaysun1-"cannot think of a single board in the world that has cricketers of any note in top administrative posts" and it will never be. Cricket is a leisure game for the rich and powerful and it was always governed by the rich and mighty not the best cricketers. The only aspect that has changed in all these years is that now common man plays cricket and is allowed to captain teams when in old times they couldn't. The article is junk. India is larger than the Europe, North America and Oceania. What happens in one part does not imply that it is the same in another place. India has snow filled mountains, sandy deserts, droughts and floods at the same time, Poverty in north and east, prosperity in west and south etc. People jump to conclusions based on trivial issues. This article is camouflaged to look like an article written with the best intentions for cricket but it is pure anti-Indian hoping to destroy IPL and BCCI and restore English and Aussie Supremacy, which will never happen.

  • POSTED BY AsherCA on | June 2, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    I wonder what made you think ICC was about Cricket & Fairplay. ICC is all about match fixing. Bucknor with his uncanny ability to discover new levels of incompetence every time India was involved continued to get salary as an umpire - any right-minded person would have terminated Bucknor's services on grounds of incompetence, but ICC led by Herr Richardson continued to pay Bucknor ! ICC's so-called Anti Corruption Body has not seen fit to even question Bucknor & Benson for beating India & destroying cricket at Sydney. In fact, Ponting's arrogance at the end of the match made clear that he knew the result in advance - how ? Herr Richardson & ICC are unable to explain the difference in standards applied by paid Match referees basis where the offender originates should tell you that ICC's ethically correct expansion - International Cheaters' Corporation. You are entitled to show your agreement with me & allegiance to Cheater Richardson by suppressing my post.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 2, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    (Contd). Now, you'll notice in my earlier examples: they're all well-known names; somebody you'd trust. A glaring reality: The so-called blue-chip firms are run by well-educated professionals (incl. Harvard, Cambridge grads) - accountants, lawyers, engineers, scientists - not politicians. So, what's gone wrong? Simple answer: Ethics or lack of it. What good is corporate governance if you don't have good ethics ingrained in leadership, management & workforce? Remember GH's previous Enron analogy? Its auditors: the most-respected Arthur Andersen! But the two acted hand-in-glove and were caught. They're both dead. Remember Sir Allen Stanford and how he duped the ECB! Was he really knighted? So what's the solution? Simple answer: Ethics education - continuously taught/practiced in homes, schools, colleges, workplace - forever in our daily lives. It's the biggest reform. Add it to GH's list of six. Thanks for citing Lee Iacocca. I recommend his best-seller "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?"

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 2, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    I've seen this movie before, many times. Its storyline: Greed, Corruption, Hubris. Its central theme: Money is the root of all evil (ref the holy book). Only GH's movie should be titled "Whatever happened to Ethics (not Governance)?" With his fixation (despite disclaimer) on "India for its inadequacies," GH has totally missed the dramatic box-office hits on the world's center stage, as enacted by the likes of Goldman Sachs, BP, Toyota and even Fergie. The storied GS is facing civil fraud charges for its dubious role (with other big banks) in Wall Street's 2008 collapse leading to the "most virulent global financial crisis ever." As for BP, aka British Petroleum, its famous logo now stands for "Biggest Polluter" for causing arguably the worst ecological disaster from its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The venerable Toyota, known for its Quality standards, has been charged/fined for its cover-up of dangerously faulty products. As for the Duchess of York, what was she thinking? (Contd)

  • POSTED BY Winsome on | June 1, 2010, 21:40 GMT

    I know Gideon Haigh is an outsider on Indian cricket affairs, but this article sounds like he knows they have all the power and money and he really wants them to govern the game in their country, and by extension affect the other countries, for the games benefit.

    Good luck, GH!

    I agree about CA. The state associations somehow seem worse if that is possible. By its very nature it appears a very conservative sport run by conservative people in Australia.

  • POSTED BY dragqueen1 on | June 1, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    some very good ideas here. unfortunately no one at the ICC gives enough of a damn about the future of this sport to take any notice of anyone as they continue to plough this sport into the dirt. i truly despair.

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | June 1, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    Great article!! - while we applaud such efforts, there is a pessimistic part that just goes "Great one but what is the use?" just read this one from Prem Panicker http://prempanicker.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/its-the-schedule-stupid/ the incidents keep repeating only the actors change a little bit.

  • POSTED BY gentlemans-game on | June 1, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    Very true, and a thought provoking piece. Question is, how do we get the powers that be - in various national boards and at the ICC - to read this and act on it. I also believe that vast sums of money should be allowed to enter sport only when it promotes the sport. If sport is merely the vehicle used to get better returns on money, it is midguided. The sport does not benefit, and the fans do not benefit . And if the short-term thinking of L Modi and his ilk is allowed to mushroom, cricket risks becoming a tamasha.

  • POSTED BY Swampy5 on | June 1, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    Gideon, terrific article and interesting suggestions. He is clearly not criticising India the country, but the bad governance of BCCI which is bad for Indian cricket and world cricket. As the comments show, plenty of Indians are rightly concerned about how the game is run in India as well. The sport as a whole is crying out for meaningful scheduling and proper administration. I'm dismayed at how cricket boards run the game for money, not for the fans or for the quality of the game. As a result the game's largely been taken away from the people. Those critical of this article should remember that as much as India is the economic powerhouse of the game, they need the other countries as well. Perhaps if cricket broke into 2 factions it might do some good in the long run - I doubt many Indians would enjoy watching IPL and IndvSL/Zim/BL year after year. However given how the players and all the other boards want more money and fall into line with the BCCI, I doubt this will ever happen.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | June 1, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Had this been written 80 years ago, you could replace India for England and it would be pretty accurate. Unfortuantely Indian fans are a little tender and very blinkered and often dont get the full story, GH is very much an outsider looking in and that is how he writes...@sitaram58, Cricket will never be Irrelevant in other part of the world, for if it becomes focused in India then there will be no meanginful world championship, unless you class the IPL and T20 as the pinnicle of the game, using journeymen bowlers and short boundries to flatter and fluff up a batsmans ego.

  • POSTED BY lakx on | June 2, 2010, 18:27 GMT

    @vijaysun1-"cannot think of a single board in the world that has cricketers of any note in top administrative posts" and it will never be. Cricket is a leisure game for the rich and powerful and it was always governed by the rich and mighty not the best cricketers. The only aspect that has changed in all these years is that now common man plays cricket and is allowed to captain teams when in old times they couldn't. The article is junk. India is larger than the Europe, North America and Oceania. What happens in one part does not imply that it is the same in another place. India has snow filled mountains, sandy deserts, droughts and floods at the same time, Poverty in north and east, prosperity in west and south etc. People jump to conclusions based on trivial issues. This article is camouflaged to look like an article written with the best intentions for cricket but it is pure anti-Indian hoping to destroy IPL and BCCI and restore English and Aussie Supremacy, which will never happen.

  • POSTED BY AsherCA on | June 2, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    I wonder what made you think ICC was about Cricket & Fairplay. ICC is all about match fixing. Bucknor with his uncanny ability to discover new levels of incompetence every time India was involved continued to get salary as an umpire - any right-minded person would have terminated Bucknor's services on grounds of incompetence, but ICC led by Herr Richardson continued to pay Bucknor ! ICC's so-called Anti Corruption Body has not seen fit to even question Bucknor & Benson for beating India & destroying cricket at Sydney. In fact, Ponting's arrogance at the end of the match made clear that he knew the result in advance - how ? Herr Richardson & ICC are unable to explain the difference in standards applied by paid Match referees basis where the offender originates should tell you that ICC's ethically correct expansion - International Cheaters' Corporation. You are entitled to show your agreement with me & allegiance to Cheater Richardson by suppressing my post.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 2, 2010, 14:22 GMT

    (Contd). Now, you'll notice in my earlier examples: they're all well-known names; somebody you'd trust. A glaring reality: The so-called blue-chip firms are run by well-educated professionals (incl. Harvard, Cambridge grads) - accountants, lawyers, engineers, scientists - not politicians. So, what's gone wrong? Simple answer: Ethics or lack of it. What good is corporate governance if you don't have good ethics ingrained in leadership, management & workforce? Remember GH's previous Enron analogy? Its auditors: the most-respected Arthur Andersen! But the two acted hand-in-glove and were caught. They're both dead. Remember Sir Allen Stanford and how he duped the ECB! Was he really knighted? So what's the solution? Simple answer: Ethics education - continuously taught/practiced in homes, schools, colleges, workplace - forever in our daily lives. It's the biggest reform. Add it to GH's list of six. Thanks for citing Lee Iacocca. I recommend his best-seller "Where Have All The Leaders Gone?"

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | June 2, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    I've seen this movie before, many times. Its storyline: Greed, Corruption, Hubris. Its central theme: Money is the root of all evil (ref the holy book). Only GH's movie should be titled "Whatever happened to Ethics (not Governance)?" With his fixation (despite disclaimer) on "India for its inadequacies," GH has totally missed the dramatic box-office hits on the world's center stage, as enacted by the likes of Goldman Sachs, BP, Toyota and even Fergie. The storied GS is facing civil fraud charges for its dubious role (with other big banks) in Wall Street's 2008 collapse leading to the "most virulent global financial crisis ever." As for BP, aka British Petroleum, its famous logo now stands for "Biggest Polluter" for causing arguably the worst ecological disaster from its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The venerable Toyota, known for its Quality standards, has been charged/fined for its cover-up of dangerously faulty products. As for the Duchess of York, what was she thinking? (Contd)

  • POSTED BY Winsome on | June 1, 2010, 21:40 GMT

    I know Gideon Haigh is an outsider on Indian cricket affairs, but this article sounds like he knows they have all the power and money and he really wants them to govern the game in their country, and by extension affect the other countries, for the games benefit.

    Good luck, GH!

    I agree about CA. The state associations somehow seem worse if that is possible. By its very nature it appears a very conservative sport run by conservative people in Australia.

  • POSTED BY dragqueen1 on | June 1, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    some very good ideas here. unfortunately no one at the ICC gives enough of a damn about the future of this sport to take any notice of anyone as they continue to plough this sport into the dirt. i truly despair.

  • POSTED BY TamilIndian on | June 1, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    Great article!! - while we applaud such efforts, there is a pessimistic part that just goes "Great one but what is the use?" just read this one from Prem Panicker http://prempanicker.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/its-the-schedule-stupid/ the incidents keep repeating only the actors change a little bit.

  • POSTED BY gentlemans-game on | June 1, 2010, 7:43 GMT

    Very true, and a thought provoking piece. Question is, how do we get the powers that be - in various national boards and at the ICC - to read this and act on it. I also believe that vast sums of money should be allowed to enter sport only when it promotes the sport. If sport is merely the vehicle used to get better returns on money, it is midguided. The sport does not benefit, and the fans do not benefit . And if the short-term thinking of L Modi and his ilk is allowed to mushroom, cricket risks becoming a tamasha.

  • POSTED BY Swampy5 on | June 1, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    Gideon, terrific article and interesting suggestions. He is clearly not criticising India the country, but the bad governance of BCCI which is bad for Indian cricket and world cricket. As the comments show, plenty of Indians are rightly concerned about how the game is run in India as well. The sport as a whole is crying out for meaningful scheduling and proper administration. I'm dismayed at how cricket boards run the game for money, not for the fans or for the quality of the game. As a result the game's largely been taken away from the people. Those critical of this article should remember that as much as India is the economic powerhouse of the game, they need the other countries as well. Perhaps if cricket broke into 2 factions it might do some good in the long run - I doubt many Indians would enjoy watching IPL and IndvSL/Zim/BL year after year. However given how the players and all the other boards want more money and fall into line with the BCCI, I doubt this will ever happen.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | June 1, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    Had this been written 80 years ago, you could replace India for England and it would be pretty accurate. Unfortuantely Indian fans are a little tender and very blinkered and often dont get the full story, GH is very much an outsider looking in and that is how he writes...@sitaram58, Cricket will never be Irrelevant in other part of the world, for if it becomes focused in India then there will be no meanginful world championship, unless you class the IPL and T20 as the pinnicle of the game, using journeymen bowlers and short boundries to flatter and fluff up a batsmans ego.

  • POSTED BY TM_G on | June 1, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    Excellent post GH!! Agree on most counts. Your solution suggestions, good though they are, won't work in India of today. What I hope for is that India gets to a stage where cricket is run well before the current misgovernance makes the cricket market in India implode. Changes are afoot; let us see how the face of cricket changes. As for quoting Guha's article: I have a lot of respect for Guha. But we are not talking about govt allocation of development funds to the states here (which is not fair by the way - ask North Eastern states, Andamans or even Kerala), we are talking about cricket. Why is percentage of population an issue? Even if it was, remember the lower percent figure there adds up to about 250 million people. Surely a number sizable enough to draw a market for the franchises - if they manage to do so successfully.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | June 1, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    "Why isn't it a scandal that the BCCI spends just 8% of its revenue on actual cricket promotion?" - Scandal? Why should it be a scandal? It would be a cause of concern, if it were 8% of it's expenditure! Apparently, the BCCI infact parks quite a huge proportion of its earnings in "fixed deposits". Well, that sort of management of funds could be a separate article in itself!

  • POSTED BY Ozbuck on | June 1, 2010, 1:59 GMT

    Sometimes, the comments are more edifying than the article. Such as the one from USA discussing the NFLwhich promotes a brand of sport that is not played significantly any where else in the world. Other writers believe that India should 'rule' the world of cricket for its own ends. A recipe for the destruction of this great sport. GH is a very, very good commentator on the sport. He praises/critisizes as he sees fit based on his very deep knowledge which is obviously gleaned from a career of journalism. The comments seem to emit from jingoistic, poorly read and poorly informed writers who are always defensive about criticism even if it is accurate, well informed and constructive. Yes, GH is correct about CA and it should have a good look at itself. The ECB did and evolved from the MCC, although the result may not have been the one desired, at least it was an attempt. Other Cricket nations could do with an overhaul. All you who comment, have a think, be objective! Ozbuck.

  • POSTED BY cooldewd on | June 1, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    As usual, an incisive and informative article by Gideon Haigh doing what he does best - exposing the murky underbelly of back room deals of the IPL.

    Sitaram58: with that kind of attitude..."it's my bat and my ball and I am going home to cry" will leave you playing with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh only.

    Cricket is looking to grow, not contract to a 20/20 slap up enriching nobody but a few oligrarchs who care nothing for our great game.

    When they lose interest in this expensive play thing, then what?

  • POSTED BY redneck on | June 1, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    gee the way some people react to an article about cricket just because its written by an aussie is crazy!!! gideon wrote about whats wrong with cricket administrators as a whole and ways to fix up problems. if one is to write such an article about modern cricket its going to need a fair bit about indias set up for it to have credability! people like SachinIsTheGreatest need to relise this, as indias power in cricket grows so too will forign scrutiny from other cricket playing nations! its got nothing to do with picking on the bcci or india, simply thats where the power is, thats where decissions are being made that effect the sport so thats what the journo's will want to write about. however mr haigh has addressed the short comings of the current australian board too! i agree with him, its a old boys club! as are the people who vote for them eg. saca, waca, cricket victoria etc! you cant inject youth or specialist people into these postion or boards with the current set up!

  • POSTED BY vijaysun1 on | June 1, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    While I agree with some of the comments by Gideon in his article, I also think that it is nothing specific to the Indian board to have politicians involved (even though they know nothing about the game in some cases); I cannot think of a single board in the world that has cricketers of any note in top administrative posts, England have their "Lord" Mclaurin and Australia their John Howard. As for where the IPL riches will take the game, my only comment would be that no one knows how things will evolve in the future, but it's a mistake to take the still fairly new concept of the IPL and pan it when players and the paying public who participate are both happy; it's after all a model that works fine in many pro sports; in time the IPL will evolve into something better but it can't happen overnight; the article does smack of one of the old guard panning the new world order in cricket where India has replaced the old "lords" of England and Australia.

  • POSTED BY nikhildevdesai on | May 31, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    COME ON GUYS, you have to agree what Gideon is saying is true. PAWAR has to handle the Agriculture Ministry post, along with his political party, along with BCCI, and now ICC, i don't understand why would ICC even nominate and vote for him when he is got more than enough on his plate. Its a shame that these days everything in INDIA is rule by senior citizens who want to do nothing but make money even in their death bed.

  • POSTED BY Sakthiivel on | May 31, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    Gideon Haigh you are capable of writing cricket history only. Because its India., you cant do what you explained in this article. Biggest money maker hails and make all they want., So its impossible. Mr. Deccancharger its so sad that even you cant understand.

  • POSTED BY seamersbeamers on | May 31, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    A superb article, and hopefully we'll see many more like this. Real-time global media - basically satellite TV and the Internet - have created vast linked audiences for specific sports, enabled those sports to generate massive amounts of money - an entertainment industry that must surely rival or surpass the movie industry. But the administration of most of these sports - eg cricket, football - hasn't kept pace with the changes. You say: "Modi illustrates . . . that cricket benefits from ideas that come from outside its own gene pool." This can also apply to administration and governance, and here the USA, which commercialized sport many decades ago, has plenty to offer. Australian Rugby League happily borrowed concepts like salary caps and compulsory transfers to produce a remarkably equal competition, top to bottom. In the USA teams have long been privately owned, like those of the IPL, but this has been managed in such a way that it seems to have had - with some glitches - a benefi

  • POSTED BY sitaram58 on | May 31, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    India does not need a foreign journalist lecturing it on governance. Our politicians are the best qualified for the job and have the best interests of India at heart. All this concern about cricket in Indiia by you "firangis" is a plot to undermine the new India. Soon cricket will be like the NBA. The "World Championship" will be played in India. Cricket in all other parts of the world will be irrelevant - much like the Eurpoean basketball leagues. The sooner you "Firangs" accept this and come to the table (preferrably on our knees) you may get some crumbs - if not .......

  • POSTED BY SrinR on | May 31, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    Great job, Gideon! Keep shining a light on these people and their doings. It has gotten too murky for me to keep things straight anymore, but it is good that there are people willing to do it. Though have to say it feels weird having a foreign journalist carry out this much scrutiny of Indian affairs.

  • POSTED BY AndyZaltzmannsHair on | May 31, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    The BCCI and Indian cricket is effectively "above governance", which is exactly where the majority of Indians want it to be. They complain constantly about mismanagement in the PCB, true, but then the PCB is like a bunch of spoiled kids, they hurt only themselves. Mismanagement in the BCCI because of the power it wields hurts cricket internationally as we've witnessed with massive financial scandals and power of individuals to run the game like Modi, who I have no doubt will get away with a slap on the wrist (which they'll be happy with but complain about Shoaib Malik getting back into Pakistan). Time for India to clear up its own house full of rampant corruption and concentrate a little less on the bickering kids across the border. As for match fixing issues, one has to ask why India is not being investigated as yet again evidence of Indian Bookmakers involvement in the English County Championship is now showing. It seems to be some sort of hub for International Cricket Betting.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | May 31, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    A very good article, but you have chosen not to speak about a lot of important matters which fit in to the same story. Who should be running CL.... is it a matter of only three boards or it belongs to ICC. Why a players body is not formed with chairmanship revolving arround among test nations instead of Tim sitting on it and making Asian players feel as its not of their interest...and lot more

  • POSTED BY chaithan on | May 31, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    Excellent article!!! The only thing I did not understand is Haigh's defence of Howard especially after he calls for better standards. Sharad Pawar knows nothing about cricket but the does not validate Howard's appointment in any way. And what research! He knows more about Indian politics then any other foreigner and most Indians too! And I hope the part on CA is there because of his genuine desire to investigate and not because loads of my fellow Indians keep accusing him of being anti-India(which he isn't. I think he is more of a well-wisher for India and world cricket).

  • POSTED BY D.Pramod on | May 31, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    Mr Haigh,

    Well informed and well researched. Here is a well-intentioned suggestion from my side:

    I have already suggested (refer the comments section of http://www.cricinfo.com/india/content/current/story/449774.html) that the BCCI change it's legal structure from a Trust to a Section 25 Company. Although the purpose remains the same the transparency obligations of a Section 25 company are more than that for a Trust.

    Joining issue with you: The 8% figure suggested by the Income Tax Department (ITD) is of course subject to attack. We do not know what activities of the BCCI have been classified by the ITD as "promoting cricket" and what are not.

    This disclaimer should have been reflected in your piece rather than taking it as justifiable evidence of a scandal; after all the ITD is not famous for either altruism or for standing up to powerful powerful politicians who wish to use it as a tool for their personal vendettas and agendas.

    Thanks and Regards,

    D.Pramod

  • POSTED BY SachinIsTheGreatest on | May 31, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Yak yak yak yak....The sound of a saw working against wood has more variety than a Gideon Haigh article on Cricinfo. Doesn't even Cricinfo get tired of promoting abuse of the BCCI and India every time through these articles?

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | May 31, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Yet another top,top article by perhaps the best cricket writer in the world. If people with this kind of knowledge and vision were heading inept organisations like the BCCI and ICC, cricket would be in a far healthier state than it is today. And despite being an Aussie, his knowledge of Indian cricket is as good if not better than some of the other distinguished cricket writers like Ayaz,Harsha,rahul,Sambit etc. And for those who had earlier hammered him for IPL bashing, what exactly has IPL contributed to Indian cricket in terms of performance,bench strength,fitness etc. In fact Indian cricket seems to have regressed post IPL, both on and off the field. Keep writing GH!

  • POSTED BY CricFin on | May 31, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    >>>Gideon, are you an Indian citizen?

    No, he extracts information for his articles by using google.

    >>While Cricket Australia has been criticised for promoting John Howard to the ICC vice-presidency,Janette Howard knows more about cricket than the incoming ICC president: Sharad Pawar

    How do you know that ? interviews ,exams,based on Howard's comment about Murali ?

  • POSTED BY krrish001 on | May 31, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    Gideon, are you an Indian citizen?

  • POSTED BY PrakashES on | May 31, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    Brilliant article! Gideon has so much knowledge about India and not just about Indian cricket ... I have read some of his previous articles on Indian cricket and they were quite critical but well informed. Unfortunately lot of comments in this section accused him of being prejudiced and being jealous of India's rise as a global power. But I think he is above all that and he is in fact a well wisher of India. We should learn from such constructive criticism and improve ourselves.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | May 31, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    contd... "Encourage all responsible bodies to appoint at least a sizeable minority of competent non-executive directors, with specific areas of expertise.." - Yet GH has problems with Shastri's appointment to ask 'questions on cricket'. Huh? "Hold individuals to the most demanding standards" - Yes! Say NO to Howard for his boorish comments on Murli and his defense of McGrath's sledging of Sarwan! "and every cricketer and every fan in the world will have to live with the consequences" - Don't we all put up with the ICC? "Promote more players with recent experience" - So, you think good players are automatically good administrators capable of corporate governance and competent to ask questions not-cricket? "Improve disclosure standards at all levels" - We don't know anything of ICC's working, so why reference the BCCI? "Consider regular publication of decisions reached at meetings" - Shall be happy to see the ICC, CA and ECB take the lead!

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | May 31, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    Commenting on the absurd... "Modi was seeking credit for surrendering to the BCCI its own documentation. Huh?" - And what leads you to infer that? "Ravi Shastri has complained that his role was to "ask cricket questions", which makes it sound like he thought he was quizmaster at a trivia night." - Ravi is obviously not on board to ask questions on financial deals of which he has no background. It's just sad, that you don't understand his role. "we arrive at this pass because the BCCI was so wedded to a structure of politicians " - But CA recommending John Howard isn't wrong? "populous Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in which dwell one in three Indians, remain unrepresented in the IPL" - By that logic, the UK, Aus and NZ should have very little share of voice at the ICC. Right? "Pay them heaps and treat them like cattle." - But the cattle ( with quite a few Aussies) don't seem to complain. Could you let us know Giddy High as to how exactly Modi mistreated the players?

  • POSTED BY CricEshwar on | May 31, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    When in India, we do business like in India. There will be scandals and fallouts, otherwise you guys will have nothing to write and bicker about. If all the rules and regulations had been followed, IPL would not have kick started.

  • POSTED BY Raju_Iyer on | May 31, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Touche! Aboslutely 100% true and superbly crafted

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | May 31, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    GIDEON HAIGH is easily the best cricket writer in the world presently. Harsha Bhogle can learn from him - not to dish out crap.

  • POSTED BY NeilCameron on | May 31, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    THE PLAYERS OWN THE GAME, not the fans, not the boards or committees, not the sponsors, not the media, not the government/s. If we can set up a professional sport system whereby the players own the game during their playing life, we should get better outcomes than we do now. The players are not employees - the players own their means of production.

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 31, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    It is very true, that to run an enterprise, one needs professional consultations in some areas, but touchingly, the BCCI feels that it is doing a social service to India, which well it might. We are castigating Mr Lalit Modi, but to what beginning, and to what end? How else could the IPL have been run? I suspect that Mr Modi must have approached the top brass of the BCCI, only to find, that they did not have the time to be consulted. So, in truth, the BCCI, did have a top flight business manager, who was probably intimated, that he could do what he wanted, for the IPL. Now, if the President of the BCCI has the choice to consult the sharp mind of Lalit Modi, and chooses to distance himself from these matters, then who is to blame? I personally believe, that perhaps, the officials of the BCCI have to be more accountable, but to whom? Perhaps, themselves. Mr Sharad Pawar, is not accountable but to himself, and hence, he is cutting not a very luminous portrait as BCCI supremo.

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 31, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    I hope Mr Shashank Manohar is also invited to write columns for Cricinfo. I see the situation in the following way. The dealings of the BCCI, are commercial in character, but the people chosen to run the BCCI, have non-commercial interests. Mr Lalit Modi was the exception. Has anyone run a business? I haven't, but I feel that there are instances, of omission, and commission, of arrears, etc. If a business venture cannot run, due to a difficulty, then should all business ventures close down, or should they improvise? Business ventures, in this case, improvise. I must say, that I am pained to see the BCCI, run as a business venture, by politicians of the highest stature, who are supposed to have no stake in business. Does one expect Mr Sharad Pawar, to use his business acumen, to run the BCCI? The buck stops with Mr Sharad Pawar. The reason why the BCCI has never been reformed, is because no President has resigned, in a crisis.

  • POSTED BY Zigor on | May 31, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Its an impressive article from the point of view of knowledge displayed(especially about Indian institutions). I wish the article was more coherent. It says too much in too less space in too confusing manner. Still a nice one !

  • POSTED BY Illidan on | May 31, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Excellent article by Mr.Haigh. Once again another Indian sporting institution being corroded by politicians despite BCCI being a "private" body. But I somehow think reforms look unlikely since the people worst affected by the reforms are the ones with the power to make them.IMHO unless our players (current and former) get organized and challenge this hegemony by politicians and bureaucrats, I do not see any change happening. Players like Sachin, Rahul,Kumble, Dada whose statures are immense within India have to support such motives (subtly if not overtly) because if people like them take action the general populace will listen.Its no good saying that their job is to play cricket etc etc. Point being if people like them whom the game has given so much prestige and influence do not do something about it,then things are never going to change.gavaskar and ravi shastri have already shown us their "mettle". lets hope our other stars do not disappoint.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | May 31, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Gideon ... I love your articles. Unfortunately we don't think the concept of corporate governance can start here all of a sudden, when esteemed folks like Gavaskar/Pataudi/Shastri who's voices mean a lot and people would listen kept quiet during the Comedy Central event. Kapil Dev one of the lone dissenting voices had his penson fund stopped, poster removed from his home stadium and all these super stars of Indian cricket stayed silent. Who's going to question the Modis, Srinivasans, Manohars and Pawars.

    Someone has the gall to ask Brian Lara to go and start practicising. How much of the game has been lost. The Food and Agriculture minister has another hat now, ICC head. What would be the committment and time spent on making ICC better.

    You can write all you want from where you are, Gideon. This can't be done here and unfortunately nothing is going to happen. The very sad state of sports administration in India.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | May 31, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Gideon ... I love your articles. Unfortunately we don't think the concept of corporate governance can start here all of a sudden, when esteemed folks like Gavaskar/Pataudi/Shastri who's voices mean a lot and people would listen kept quiet during the Comedy Central event. Kapil Dev one of the lone dissenting voices had his penson fund stopped, poster removed from his home stadium and all these super stars of Indian cricket stayed silent. Who's going to question the Modis, Srinivasans, Manohars and Pawars.

    Someone has the gall to ask Brian Lara to go and start practicising. How much of the game has been lost. The Food and Agriculture minister has another hat now, ICC head. What would be the committment and time spent on making ICC better.

    You can write all you want from where you are, Gideon. This can't be done here and unfortunately nothing is going to happen. The very sad state of sports administration in India.

  • POSTED BY Illidan on | May 31, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Excellent article by Mr.Haigh. Once again another Indian sporting institution being corroded by politicians despite BCCI being a "private" body. But I somehow think reforms look unlikely since the people worst affected by the reforms are the ones with the power to make them.IMHO unless our players (current and former) get organized and challenge this hegemony by politicians and bureaucrats, I do not see any change happening. Players like Sachin, Rahul,Kumble, Dada whose statures are immense within India have to support such motives (subtly if not overtly) because if people like them take action the general populace will listen.Its no good saying that their job is to play cricket etc etc. Point being if people like them whom the game has given so much prestige and influence do not do something about it,then things are never going to change.gavaskar and ravi shastri have already shown us their "mettle". lets hope our other stars do not disappoint.

  • POSTED BY Zigor on | May 31, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Its an impressive article from the point of view of knowledge displayed(especially about Indian institutions). I wish the article was more coherent. It says too much in too less space in too confusing manner. Still a nice one !

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 31, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    I hope Mr Shashank Manohar is also invited to write columns for Cricinfo. I see the situation in the following way. The dealings of the BCCI, are commercial in character, but the people chosen to run the BCCI, have non-commercial interests. Mr Lalit Modi was the exception. Has anyone run a business? I haven't, but I feel that there are instances, of omission, and commission, of arrears, etc. If a business venture cannot run, due to a difficulty, then should all business ventures close down, or should they improvise? Business ventures, in this case, improvise. I must say, that I am pained to see the BCCI, run as a business venture, by politicians of the highest stature, who are supposed to have no stake in business. Does one expect Mr Sharad Pawar, to use his business acumen, to run the BCCI? The buck stops with Mr Sharad Pawar. The reason why the BCCI has never been reformed, is because no President has resigned, in a crisis.

  • POSTED BY AdityaMookerjee on | May 31, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    It is very true, that to run an enterprise, one needs professional consultations in some areas, but touchingly, the BCCI feels that it is doing a social service to India, which well it might. We are castigating Mr Lalit Modi, but to what beginning, and to what end? How else could the IPL have been run? I suspect that Mr Modi must have approached the top brass of the BCCI, only to find, that they did not have the time to be consulted. So, in truth, the BCCI, did have a top flight business manager, who was probably intimated, that he could do what he wanted, for the IPL. Now, if the President of the BCCI has the choice to consult the sharp mind of Lalit Modi, and chooses to distance himself from these matters, then who is to blame? I personally believe, that perhaps, the officials of the BCCI have to be more accountable, but to whom? Perhaps, themselves. Mr Sharad Pawar, is not accountable but to himself, and hence, he is cutting not a very luminous portrait as BCCI supremo.

  • POSTED BY NeilCameron on | May 31, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    THE PLAYERS OWN THE GAME, not the fans, not the boards or committees, not the sponsors, not the media, not the government/s. If we can set up a professional sport system whereby the players own the game during their playing life, we should get better outcomes than we do now. The players are not employees - the players own their means of production.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | May 31, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    GIDEON HAIGH is easily the best cricket writer in the world presently. Harsha Bhogle can learn from him - not to dish out crap.

  • POSTED BY Raju_Iyer on | May 31, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    Touche! Aboslutely 100% true and superbly crafted

  • POSTED BY CricEshwar on | May 31, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    When in India, we do business like in India. There will be scandals and fallouts, otherwise you guys will have nothing to write and bicker about. If all the rules and regulations had been followed, IPL would not have kick started.

  • POSTED BY TheOnlyEmperor on | May 31, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    Commenting on the absurd... "Modi was seeking credit for surrendering to the BCCI its own documentation. Huh?" - And what leads you to infer that? "Ravi Shastri has complained that his role was to "ask cricket questions", which makes it sound like he thought he was quizmaster at a trivia night." - Ravi is obviously not on board to ask questions on financial deals of which he has no background. It's just sad, that you don't understand his role. "we arrive at this pass because the BCCI was so wedded to a structure of politicians " - But CA recommending John Howard isn't wrong? "populous Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, in which dwell one in three Indians, remain unrepresented in the IPL" - By that logic, the UK, Aus and NZ should have very little share of voice at the ICC. Right? "Pay them heaps and treat them like cattle." - But the cattle ( with quite a few Aussies) don't seem to complain. Could you let us know Giddy High as to how exactly Modi mistreated the players?