Rob Steen
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Sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Just how wrong is the BCCI?

The Indian board is easily - often deservedly - painted as a villain, but often it is all too convenient to do so

Rob Steen

October 31, 2012

Comments: 49 | Text size: A | A

BCCI president Shashank Manohar (right) and N Srinivasan at a press conference at the BCCI headquarters, Mumbai, July 3, 2010
Such is the frequency with which the BCCI flexes its muscles, it has become almost too exhausting to criticise the board for it every time © AFP

Contradicting Ian Chappell during his days as baggy green 'un-in-chief was never a terribly wise idea, and it remains ever thus. As he asserted recently on this site, given that it can hardly be held responsible for all of cricket's ills, bashing the BCCI for every chink, kink and ruffle serves as a deterrent to deeper thought and as an alibi for inaction.

Besides, bashing the BCCI is now akin to criticising the Kremlin 30 years ago or the USA ever since, especially while the Bush boys were calling the shots. Indeed, such is the frequency with which the BCCI flexes its muscles like the proverbial playground bully, it has almost become too exhausting, not to say frustrating, to bother. If it isn't the refusal to back the DRS, it's the reluctance to invite Bangladesh over for an ODI, let alone a Test. To relent, though, is to concede defeat, which is what all bullies want. Eventually the Kremlin caved.

What, for instance, are we to make of the decision to demand that Sky Sports and the BBC cough up £500,000 and £50,000 respectively to cover England's impending set-to with India? While this might not necessarily be an over-estimate for 2000 sq ft of additional space at four Test venues, even if the air-conditioning does function properly, the short notice smacks of brinkmanship at best, at worst naked exploitation. Not that the idea of the ever-pompous BBC and the never knowingly satisfied Murdoch empire both being taken for a ride doesn't have considerable allure.

As with the refusal to field a frontline spinner in the India A XI, are we simply witnessing yet another skirmish in yet another pre-series, charm-free offensive ("C'mon lads, let's see if we can wind up Iron Bottom and all those snotty BBC types - should do MS and the boys a power of good")? Could it be a dastardly plot to cut Test Match Special out of the loop and do a back-door deal with those excitable folk at TalkSPORT? Or might it be something far more disreputable? Regardless of your vantage point, or even the efficiency of your blinkers, the words "fair", "proportionate" and "appropriate" are marginally less likely to spring to mind than "grasping", "provocative" or "here we go again".

We could be kind, magnanimous, even generous. We could interpret this unseemly kerfuffle as nothing more than a show of patriotic faith in native expertise and charisma, however misguided. It's India v England after all, in India, so why on earth shouldn't the world watch while armed with the guidance of Ravi, Sanjay and Harsha, who plainly know a great deal more about local conditions than Nasser, Sir Ian and Bumble? In any event, even if you really would rather hear "Got 'im!" or "Dropped 'im" exclaimed with a Lancastrian burr or an Essex twang, didn't Indian viewers in the fifties and sixties have to put up with haughty Jim Swanton and plummy Peter West?

But let's consider the other plausibility. Namely, that the BCCI believes the world beyond India should not be exposed to waspish condemnations of the board's DRS-phobia whenever a wicket is unjustly lost or falsely won. Those objections may have been documented ad nauseam but the bottom line remains as galling as ever: nine for, one against.

Such a blatant subversion of the democratic process need not, of course, be a guarantee of bad faith, or even downright wrongness. After all, the vast majority of the developed world was profoundly, almost religiously, racist for centuries. In any event, not even the DRS's most hardened and vehement advocates would strenuously challenge the observation that the fine-tuning prompted by the BCCI's prodding has enhanced the implementation of justice. I'm one and I certainly wouldn't. But still. Nine for, one against.

EMPATHY TIME. As a North London Jew, devoutly irreligious but fiercely proud of my race, I like to think I am not unfamiliar with what it feels like right now, what it means in 2012, to be an Indian cricket lover - as opposed, that is, to a lover of Indian cricket, a weakness to which, given that Indian cricket embodies the game's passions and subtleties like no other, I am only too happy to confess. I am also humbly and undyingly grateful for the Indian passion for cricket, without which the game might well not have a significant future. Or any future.

I too know what it is like to read an article about fellow members of my tribe - for the BCCI, read just about every Israeli government in recent memory - and shudder. Just because something shameful is done purportedly, in "our" name doesn't mean the rest of the world should view this as proof of consent, (im)morality or even fraternal forgiveness. Similarly, criticism of Israel shouldn't automatically brand the critic as anti-semitic.

Thus, more or less, did I begin my contribution to the annual Oxford Indian Society Symposium two weekends ago. There were 30 or so souls in the lecture theatre at St Antony's College, the rump of them students, all thoroughly immersed in the topic under discussion, "Are the BCCI's burgeoning finances harming world cricket?" - if only because it doubtless came as welcome light relief in the wake of sessions such as "What do the recent politics of protest in India and elsewhere imply for the principle of representation in parliamentary democracy?", "What is the future of India as a welfare state?" and "Can India's aggressive drive for nuclear energy ensure energy security in an environmentally responsible and internationally acceptable manner?"

Those ills for which the BCCI is responsible - selfishness, undemocracy, irresponsible use of power, blind allegiance to the almighty crore - are hard to ignore because they affect everyone who truly cares about this precious, precariously perched obsession of ours

In common with the organisers, I had hoped that my fellow panelists would number that world-renowned twit… sorry, Tweeter, Lalit Modi. Sadly, despite having confirmed his attendance, he'd cried off. A huge pity on a personal front, for two reasons: a) I had prepared what I was going to say with him very much in mind; b) his response would have been intriguing at the very least, at best, eminently newsworthy.

After Andrew Miller, the other panelist, had offered an erudite analysis of the ECB's economic and diplomatic strategy (if "strategy" isn't too flattering a word to describe some of its more harebrained actions), we took questions from the floor. What struck me most forcefully was the depth of embarrassment at some of the BCCI's less admirable policies. Some were genuinely shocked to learn that Bangladesh had yet to play a Test in India. Others recoiled at the image of India as filtered through the IPL: insular, superficial, brash, crass. Scepticism abounded, cynicism too. If anyone took issue with what I'd said - and, while suitably polite and anti-inflammatory of adjective, I can't say I pulled many punches - they kept it firmly to themselves. Sure, you could dismiss such reactions as either politeness or the predictable reactions of the privileged, but from where I was sitting, that would mean doubting their manifest sincerity.

All that said, few, surely, will quibble with the notion that, however long overdue, the racial shift in the balance of power at the game's top table, one unprecedented in any other major sport, has brought out the worst in many, particularly those stuffy Old Worldsters who would rather live in some sepia-drenched imperial past where the English Way is the Only Way; who would rather badmouth an accomplished younger brother for a minor misdemeanour than cheer his triumphs.

No matter what one feels about him, it was inevitable that Modi would clash with Giles Clarke, another chap accustomed to getting his own way. When new money meets new money, historical baggage is the barrier. "Be placatory," advised Rosie, a measured and terrifyingly eloquent hitman in Donald Cammell and Nic Roeg's ageless psychedelic-rock 'n' roll-gangster movie Performance: had Clarke been even semi-placatory, accepting the way cricket's axis had shifted, the ECB's desultory and delusory marriage of convenience to Allen Stanford would almost certainly never have got beyond a first date.

Empathy, however, has its limits. Those ills for which the BCCI is responsible - selfishness, undemocracy, irresponsible use of power, blind allegiance to the almighty crore - are hard to ignore because they affect everyone who truly cares about this precious, precariously perched obsession of ours. The impression, sadly, is that those we entrust to administer it are simply not up to snuff (there's no "I" in "run" but there is one in "ruin"). CLR James' immortal question needs updating: "What do they know who only money know?"

Which brings us back to what may one day be remembered, with much mirth, as "Skygate". Or better yet, "Bumblegate". To pretend that it's all about the dosh, given that the BCCI's most recent balance sheet showed a hearty profit, is plainly preposterous. And yet… last week, auditors, for the second year running, felt unable to approve the BCCI's accounts. Perhaps "Bumblegate" is indicative of a genuine recognition, after the years of wine and plenty, that, from now on, every pleasure must be earned and every rupee treasured?

And so to this week's quick quiz:

1) Would the honourable BCCI officials (and even the dishonourable ones) support slapping a surcharge on a ticket-holding spectator just as they clicked through the Eden Gardens turnstiles?
2) Do those officials give a toss if forcing Bumble and Co to commentate on happenings in Kolkata from West London rouses even more vigorous vilification?
3) Are those officials so convinced of their own invulnerability and so oblivious to the bigger picture that a gracious u-turn cannot be countenanced?

And the correct answers are:

1) Exceedingly doubtful.
2) Evidently not.
3) Let's bloody well hope not.

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

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Posted by mucheemaann on (November 2, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

@Danyel Amjad - we will keep saying it and eventually you will believe it.

Posted by mucheemaann on (November 2, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

A dumb article that does not deserve its length.

Posted by correctcall on (November 2, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

@clarke501 - do you think KP would agree with you ?

Posted by Gayan12 on (November 2, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

@Nampally - Dude when did India invent T20. It was invented by England. U guys made it better with da IPL. But dont take credit for making it. I think da BCCI has a lot of thinking to do.

Posted by shillingsworth on (November 1, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

@correctcall - the raw power you refer to is in the hands of the players. NOCs are worthless and the boards know it.

Posted by Leggie on (November 1, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

C'mon Rob. India-A fielded 3 spinners in Yuvraj, Raina and Manoj Tiwary for their match vs England - three genuine spinners by English standards. What more do you expect??

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

Why do Indians think they created T-20? It was England that made the format.

Posted by Nampally on (November 1, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Rob, When England & Australia controlled ICC for decades, the game of Cricket was out of reach of all but wealthy guys. In India only exclusive & rich princes pushed this game forward - Ranji, Pataudi (Senior & Juniur), Maharajah of Patiala, etc. Thanks to the Indian & BCCI initiative, today cricket is accessible to one & all. Villagers like Yadev, Dinda & not so rich guys like V.Kohli have blossomed because they have talent. This is the real outcome of IPL & T-20 led by Indian initiative. I remember England Test Cricketers like Keith Fletcher, Tyson, Trueman, Milton & many more who were relatively poor & had to work their butts off in their off season to make a living. So when people question the contribution of BCCI & India to Cricket they must think hard before making caustic comments.BCCI is strong & powerful because it has brought credibility to all Cricketers- made them Rock stars! Thats a major historic contribution. It deserves occalades not an inquisition- "what is wrong"?

Posted by correctcall on (November 1, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

@nutcutlet sound insights re the bully. The only thing that bullies respect is the exercise of raw power and the rest of the cricket world has leverage on the BCCI through their granting of "no objection certificates" to their players who contribute vastly to the IPL. Without overseas players the IPL would be of little interest to fans and sponsors. This is the pressure point that can be wisely used to ensure BCCI and world cricket interests are more closely aligned. But who will provide the necessary leadership?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 1, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

I have a question, and in relation to it, a possible reason for the deep suspicion that the BCCI has over the use of DRS. First, the question: why are there no umpires from India on the ICC elite Umpires' Panel? There has only ever been one (S Venkatavaghavan) & he hasn't umpired at the top level since 2004. Now, if any country wanted to construct an informed & expert opinion on the use & reliability of some new technology, then I would think that the first people one would consult would be your representative(s) on the EUP. This India cannot do, which must, in large part, explain their opposition to it -- founded on ignorance & fed with dark ages' suspicion. Rob is right to repeat 'Nine to One'. And when power is in the hands of the ignorant, then never be surprised at what you get! Surely there must be some rich & powerful people in India who really care about cricket & its future & who can get together & clear out the obstacles to progress who care for nothing except their fortunes

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 1, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

@Nutcutlet: Oh, you are an Indian fan too ? How pleasant to hear that my dear friend. Yes, Indian cricket is still GREAT. The BCCI, while a powerful board, should be a lot more responsible in their actions. Sadly, corruption is a hydra in India, and it needs its heads cut off. The BCCI have taken some admirable decisions in their history but lately their actions have begged a lot of questions. The stance with UDRS, the logic of NOT allowing our players to participate in other T20 leagues, county cricket etc. This is ridiculous. Having said that, NOT all problems of world cricket are their fault. People should spare a thought about that.

Posted by Nampally on (November 1, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

While Ian Chappell rightly says bashing BCCI has become an alibi for ICC's inaction, Rob Stein, You question How wrong is BCCI?. You list DRS as one of the examples that BCCI's folly. You quote an excellent of glorifying the undeserved technology. Even the inventer of the track monitoring device states the technology is unreliable. Yet you want BCCI to support it! Why did ICC abandon its role - making it reliabile. India was treated as a "Third world" country for decades & brushed aside. England & Australia dictated & controlled ICC for decades. India showed that it has brains & business sense to dominate as well. T-20 & IPL are brain childs of India & has made many cricketers & BCCI immensly rich. India & BCCI are like Wall street of Cricket. Today Cricket can compete with American baseball/Footbal/Hockey or British Soccer in popularity & via TV sponsorship. People world wide can sit at home & watch cricket on their PC's- a huge leap forward!Don't blame BCCI for leadership!.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (November 1, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. But for all the talk on morality, ethics and arrogance, people forget this saying. BCCI feeds other boards through the passion of Indian fans and yet, ppl forget and criticize them. The world has no right to do so. That is reserved for the Indian fans. Nobody is perfect, but when has that ever stopped anyone from expecting others to be perfect?

Posted by jay57870 on (November 1, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Rob - It's ironic you should cite the "ever-pompous BBC & the never knowingly satisfied Murdoch empire"! Both are embroiled in Super-scandals (of biblical proportions) bashing Rob's own backyard, much like Superstorm Sandy engulfing the US East Coast! Whatever issues Rob finds "wrong" with BCCI - DRS, BD, spinners, Bumblegate - are mere wind gusts in comparison. They won't destroy cricket. Look, Steen made a big deal, rightly so, two years ago about The News of the World expose of match-fixing as "Sport's greatest evil"! That same tabloid is now shut down after 168 years in operation. It's shaken up Britain's power structure, like Rob's Kremlin, & plunged it into a crisis of faith. Behind it all: Rupert Murdoch's media empire! How about "selfishness, undemocracy, irresponsible use of power, blind allegiance to the almighty core"? And now "Skygate"? Physician, heal thyself! Famous writer GK Chesterton was asked "What's Wrong with the World?" to which he responded: "I am"! Get it, Rob?

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 1, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

A timely polemic, Rob! The analogy of the BCCI as the playground bully is one that I have attempted to use on posts on this site wiith monotonous regularity - and it's often rejected, so it warms my heart & awakens my intellect when you enshrine it in your article! And why is it so apposite? because a bully uses his power to cower any opposition & of course, a bully must have his gang which those that have been cowered provide. Effectively, the ICC is in the pocket of the BCCI, where it rattles around with the loose change. Having watched the antics of the BCCI over recent years, I am convinced that the bully analogy holds good in other respects: that the bully loses his cocky strut when someone out-faces him. Here, as another Indian cricket lover, I would hope that the vast cricket-loving population of India would now flex their mighty democatic muscle & set things aright to regain the friends abroad that Indian cricket always has had, but have turned away in sadness & disbelief.

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

Too bad Rob old chap The boot is on the other leg after 90 long years since India played a test match Best to nusre a pint of bitter and mull over the good ol days when Blighty ruled They may ne'er come back !

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

@yoohoo...That is a flawed argument you Indians cannot even fill a ground for test matches for teams other than Bangladesh also its not impossible for Bangladesh to beat India. Cricket is a game where there are a lot of time empty stadiums anyway for example CB series, recent West Indies - New Zealand test matches and the other day, Sri Lanka-New Zealand one-ff T20 match. Even the world T20 apart from Sri Lanka matches most of them had empty grounds. Cricket is not a global sport so come up with something more logical and reasonable why India don't host Bangladesh cheers!!!!

Posted by   on (November 1, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

this is the same india who had always supported pakistan in times of most controversies prior to 2007 including inzamam's walk out and other such incidents, its the same india who had supported srilanka wn aus and wi boycotted matches,same india who toured pakistan(b4 2007) saying it is safe to travel there,same india who advocated bangladesh's test status,same india who supported s.africas return to test cricket and played the inaugural test series,and the same india who suffered shabby treatment from eng and wi prior to 83 wn they used to visit them.there are thousands of instances where eng and aus had taken unilateral decisions prior to bcci dominance.faint memory or ill informed?

Posted by getsetgopk on (November 1, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

@Meety: Not just that, how about a universal sponsor, I beleive there will be hundreds of companies and corporations lining up if India gets on board. Too much power centered in one place is never good for the game to begin with!

Posted by masks on (November 1, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

@ CricIndia208 very valid comments. If Star who have the rights sold the English rights to Sky, let them provide the studio space to Sky. Have they bought the rights for two studios?. And it would be advisable for Sky to sort it out with Star Sports since their contract is with them and not the BCCI. But then, that would'nt give all the Englishmen and others a chance to abuse the BCCI would it.?

Posted by yoohoo on (November 1, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

Bangladesh is never hosted in india because nobody would come to the ground to watch those matches. Simple!! If India goes to bangladesh then the stadia are full.

Why should the BCCI and BCB host a series which no one would come to watch?? They are just being pragmatic. People here are harping on and on, but not one of them would actiually buy a ticket and go watch the match if it was scheduled in india. So, people - either pay up or shut up.

Posted by Meety on (November 1, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

@Texmex on (October 31 2012, 15:31 PM GMT) - IMO, you are completely wrong about the UDRS. IF, UDRS had the go-ahead as of say today, within a very short space of time the costs would decrease significantly. The owners of the technology would invst in more equipment & the cost to produce would decrease. The BCCI not agreeing to UDRS (whether that be - they perceive it to be anti-batting & India is a batting team, or they haven't got a cut of the action or are genuinely against it) is actually artificially keeping the UDR cost high.

Posted by on (November 1, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

If the ICC sets the parameters which define a test match, and the BCCI (or any nation's board for that matter) choose not to meet all of them, then *categorically* any matches played should not be considered a test.

That will shut the board up pretty quickly.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (October 31, 2012, 16:01 GMT)

There is always two sides to a story and more often than not we only hear or see the one side. Now-a-days it is very convinient for fansand cricket boards around the world and mostly our neighbors to wear the one sided hat when it is against INDIA. No surprises there. Just see comments from @Ahmedussain (just the first line) because I tend to agree with him on his point regarding BCCI not hosting BNG. In fact it is a great idea to let youngsters play against BNG if BCCI thinks BNG is no competition to INDIA, which by the way is not true as, this Indian team can be beaten by anyone. @Deepak Shah nice points. From pure business point of view you raise real good points and it is a fct that BCCI generates 75-80% of world cricketing revenue.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 15:39 GMT)

Nice article.. The whole SKY tv issue just reiterates BCCI's power. BCCI wont even loose one penny while flexing their muscles over anyone who doesnt fall in their line. Most of the other boards need BCCI's support for survival. Even the bigger cricket boards like ECB,CA or CSA dont want to hurt BCCI in any sense as it will directly affect their revenues... It is a fact that is not going to disappear in the nearest future.. But I hope world cricket comes to terms with this nail biting truth..

Posted by Texmex on (October 31, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

India is responsible for 70% of the cricket funding. So if DRS is implemented worldwide who is paying for it? BCCI clearly does not want to increase the cost of playing cricket as they stand to lose the most. Pure and simple. The simple solution would be for the other boards to chip in and say BCCI's share of this new cost would be say only 25% - then I am sure BCCI will agree.

Posted by Longmemory on (October 31, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

There are some excellent points raised in many of the responses to Rob's article. Methinks a rejoinder from Rob is called for -so that those of less well-informed can be further enlightened.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 14:22 GMT)

ECB invites Bangladesh every other year to play test matches in England. Isn't it?

Posted by JosRoberts on (October 31, 2012, 13:27 GMT)

Right, a question which I don't think anyone else has asked - are Sky and the BBC the only companies to bring their own commentators to India for a tour? If so, it's fair enough that they pay for the extra facilities required. However, if they're not then will other broadcasters also be charged for the creation of facilities? If so, who then gets the money, the BCCI or the companies who paid for the creation of the new facilities?

Posted by CricIndia208 on (October 31, 2012, 12:44 GMT)

With respect to the BCCI-Sky issue, BCCI sold all broadcasting rights (except IPL) to ESPN STAR SPORTS which is a 50-50 venture between ESPN (owned by The Walt Disney Company) and STAR TV (owned by News Corp). ESPNSTAR kept the Indian rights to itself (it will broadcast the matches on Star Cricket in India) and resold the rights to broadcast in UK to Sky.

So, the question seems to be were the production fees sold along with broadcast rights? Seeing BCCI sold the rights to just 1 company, I don't quite understand how or why they could have charged them production fees for two in-stadium studios which it will now have to provide (one for Star Cricket, one for Sky).

Ultimately, Sky is not a charity organisation, they are a for-profit company (and, at that, one owned by Murdoch who, well you know all about him), so I don't see why BCCI shouldn't play financial hardball with Sky if they are legally correct.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

Sorry but the writer of the article makes valid points even if its hard to swallow Indian fans. About the refusal of not hosting Bangladesh is something I do not understand and if its because it would be too one sided rubbish because the last time teams like West Indies and New Zealand toured India guess what happened? even England toured India last year in a meaningless 5 match ODI series and guess what? 5-0 to India. In fact, when was the last time a touring side won a full series against India in India? If India think that its because of a lot of Cricket these players play then its a good chance to give its youngsters a go and test out their skills after all, they having nothing to lose against Bangladesh. I don't understand how a country like New Zealand can benefit India financially than Bangladesh when New Zealand doesn't have the fan base like Bangladesh.

Posted by brasshat on (October 31, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

Rob - that was a good & balanced article

I have nothing but admiration and respect for Indian and Indian culture & their current economic policies & growth

but as a life long cricket supporter I find it hard - sometimes very hard - to understand the confrontational positions so frequently taken up by the BCII

Are they actually cricket fans at all or just very, very rich businessmen out to make a fast buck whether or not it puts BCII & India in a bad light or not ?

what they seem to be missing is that 'Spirit of Cricket' applies to those who run the game as well as the players

come on guys - each one of the BCII members is rich enough to pay for the Sky & Test Match Special facilities needed - not just for UK but for all cricket fans all round the world

come on you BCII guys - show some 'Spirit of Cricket'


Posted by correctcall on (October 31, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

They can't even announce the confirmed schedule for the Feb/Mar 2013 series against Australia in reasonable time for touring fans to save and plan a decent trip. Why is it so difficult for the BCCI to plan with reasonable lead times? Short term thinking is one the blackest marks against them!

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

bell & kp out to a spinner ~ ! ;)& they say India A doesn't include spinners ! :P

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

Reads nice Rob. But let us keep emotions out of this. This is all about business/money. Any entity that has the ownership of an event, will dictate. This is neither a suddenly discovered Indian principle nor new...especially for English!!! Learn to accept and get on with it..but for BCCI, cricket world would not see so many dollars. If it was left to the traditonal masters of the game, English and Ausitralian boards, the game would have been dead long back. They could hardly raise enough funds to support preganant lady's Saturday afternoon games...

Posted by CricFin on (October 31, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

let us know why ECB never invites Bang,SL,wi,nz,ZIm for test matches during july to sep ?

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Can't understand the reactions regarding India never hosting BAN!! If IND tours BANG ,BANG make a lot of money which is required for the development.If they tour India they have to spend.These strategy has been followed by SL before and after worldcup to make money and reduced their debt!! Is that wrong i don't think so!! We were the 1st board to support BANG as test nation,which many are questioning now!! We were the 1st to play test against them and at their home!! Even today BANG board want India to tour them rather than them touring!!

Posted by csr11 on (October 31, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

I think most Indian fans recognize the that BCCI's decision making is many a time opaque, and we would welcome more cricketers at the helm.. That said, i think positions of power tend to attract the unsavoury elements around the world..

but then Rob, 'Naked exploitation' is a rather extreme choice of words.. really? Its called the market economy.. SKY has to make a simple decision based on an RoI analysis.. its a simple negotiation stalemate and needs to be treated so..

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Regarding the DRS, it is amazing how Rob Steen and the others rarely raised an eyebrow at its exclusion from the recent World T20. The DRS was used in the 2011 World Cup, which by the way, was co-hosted in India. Surely then, it wasn't BCCI who opposed its use in the World T20? Why is everyone quiet about it now?

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

I think its yet another stupid article on demonizing everything BCCI is doing in a way of feeling better for horrible way cricket was managed with veto power by Eng and AUs once. Why on earth, Bangladesh not touring India became an offense ? Anyone with common sense knows that, India touring Bangladesh is the way to help Bangladesh financially. I am sure it is done every single time to make Bangladesh board happy . About DRS, why cann't BCCI oppose it, when the question is, why should we be forced to pay an English company large amount of money, when we are not sure about quality of their service? Its ridiculous to read some of the articles from British and Australian writers on how bad BCCI is. Now cricketers across the globe can dream about making decent living and who made it possible?

Posted by m0se on (October 31, 2012, 5:51 GMT)

England could easily reciprocate the fee when India are in England. It's a non-issue. The fees generated from playing India would probably easily dwarf everything else. As for non-frontline spinner, England have given the touring Aussies very weak practice county matches. BCCI are no more evil than anyone else - their only weakness is that they don't have an army of glib writers to soothe and placate but rather an army of writers against them.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (October 31, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

OK, but stop bashing BCCI for Selection of India A with out spinner. Selectors are looking to pick up best pace bowlers to pick in the India Squad and they using the available match to test all possible ones. It has nothing else attached to it. They know that Ashwin and Ohja are going to be the ones and but India pace attack is in very bad shape, they will test all possible ones in all possible opportunity. and WHY NOT..? I also think that if they can play swann well, then they are good enough to play Ashwin and Ohja. Did they practice enough with him first?

Posted by sramesh_74 on (October 31, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Too long and too boring..could not read till the end...

Posted by vswami on (October 31, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

With BCCI, in hindsight they are often right, but their PR to handle the present is extremely poor. They are much smarter commercially than the media gives them credit for. But the ECB and CA are much better at managing their image and BCCI doesnt seem to care too much about managing it professionally. CA has announced they made something like $41million last season due to India's tour last year. SL keeps calling BCCI over to make money, Pakistan is desperate to play in India and is okay to accept any condition to make money and so on. Sky is just another commercial organisation looking to make profits touring India and BCCI is dealing with them like they would deal with any other profit making commercial organisation. I see nothing wrong with BCCI making a deal in the mutual commercial interests of both organisations.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

@devil_in_details: I agree - TMS should come in at zero or nominal cost, while Sky and Murdoch can bid for the sky!

Posted by satish619chandar on (October 31, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

BCCI is not a saint by any means. But they are getting flak for somethings which they don't deserve. The recent media thing is the top of all of it. Even DRS. DRS is good for the game but as of now, i support BCCI stance. ICC had used DRS in some games and are now have a idea on the things that were wrong in usage of DRS and the accuracy of the technology. Then ICC need to come up with a improved plan on the usage of the DRS. But no one is ready to look into the concern of the participant nations but still want them to bear the cost of the DRS. BCCI though it has IPL, i playing more ODI cricket and also good amount of tests. But still, they are flaked for killing the tests. Sad story. Atleast we got one foreigner to support them. Thanks for the article.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

Sky "presumed" that their contract with ESS covers production costs. Is their wrong presumption BCCI's fault? It is public knowledge that BCCI retains production rights now. Should have taken two minutes for Sky's legal team to figure out that a separate contract needed to be entered into with the BCCI (unlike the past when the broadcaster also held the production rights). Surely you can't rant about your own goof-up! Or do you expect BCCI to explain the obvious?

Posted by Humdingers on (October 31, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

Firstly, a very well written article. Now before the armchair critics start their drool and tirade against the evil BCCI, ask the following: 1) When did Bangladesh last touch SA or Aus? 2) Do you see SA fans criticizing Cricket Australia about not giving them match practice at the Gabba before their test? 3) If Doordashan wanted to televise from Australia or England, do you think the respective boards would open their media doors without charging a fee? Wake up people. This is the new world order. Deal with it.

Posted by devil_in_details on (October 31, 2012, 3:39 GMT)

Nice article Rob. As an Indian fan I think BCCI has been a mixed blessing for Indian cricket and some of its acts embarrass me. And yes its financial accounts need to be strictly looked into. However, as far as the payment by Sky and BBC is concerned, I am afraid BCCI is legally correct in this case , whether it is being being 'morally' correct is another matter and can be argued both for and against here. Personally I would prefer they allow BBC in, as its Test Match Special is a tradition. Sky being on par with BCCI in their grab for cash, should pay up the cost though- no socialism for the capitalists I am afraid:)

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Rob SteenClose
Rob Steen Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton, whose books include biographies of Desmond Haynes and David Gower (Cricket Society Literary Award winner) and 500-1 - The Miracle of Headingley '81. His investigation for the Wisden Cricketer, "Whatever Happened to the Black Cricketer?", won the UK section of the 2005 EU Journalism Award "For diversity, against discrimination". His latest book, Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport, will be published in the summer of 2014

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