'I don't think it's fair to call the BCCI a bully'

Board president N Srinivasan acknowledges India has an influential role to play in world cricket but rejects the perception that it controls the other boards

Interview by Sambit Bal

December 4, 2012

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By virtue of being the president of the BCCI, N Srinivasan is widely considered the most powerful man in world cricket. In a rare interview, conducted before the Mumbai Test between India and England, he answers a wide range of questions about the IPL, the future of Test cricket, the BCCI's implacable opposition to the DRS, and its role in the governance of world cricket.


MS Dhoni has a word with the BCCI president N Srinivasan, Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2012, final, Chennai, May 27, 2012
"All of us who have watched the IPL have seen your cricket skills must be good to do well in the IPL. The people who have done well in Test and ODI cricket are the ones doing well in T20" © AFP
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You've just signed a title sponsor for the IPL for almost double the previous amount. You must be happy about that?
Extremely happy, from certain points of view. Firstly, as an amount it's good. It reflects the continuing growth of the IPL, BCCI and cricket in India, and it shows the kind of faith people have, the kind of belief and the value that they derive from this. This is contrary to the speculation in some parts of the media over what the IPL is. Even if you take last year, the crowds flocked to all the games, and over a 74-game tournament. It was remarkable the kind of attention the IPL got from the public. So we are very glad, as it enables the BCCI to do more.

The IPL almost defies recessionary trends and the economic outlook in the country. Did you expect this?
The previous times, I think, the reserve price was set at Rs 23 crore [about US$ 4.23 million] and we got Rs 40 crore [$7.37 million]. Now the reserve was set at Rs 60 crore [$11.05 million] and we got higher. Even the bid for the franchise for the Hyderabad team was a very good amount, considering that the same Hyderabad was going at Rs 40 something [crore] and we got Rs 85 crore [$15.6 million].

The teams that were sold in the interim had gone for a much higher amount.
The teams that had gone in the interim had a different revenue-sharing model compared to the first eight franchises, and [Hyderabad] was on the basis of the first eight. We must compare this to the first eight, so therefore it is good.

The IPL as a brand has seen its ups and downs. The IPL chairman went out controversially, and there have been problems with the franchises. Do you think, in hindsight, that things happened in a hurry and would you have done things somewhat differently if you could?
There is a disciplinary inquiry going on against the former chairman of the IPL, so I cannot comment on him or his action. But as far as the IPL is concerned, my view is that it has shown a lot of resilience. There has been some strain but it has come through it well. You have to understand that the IPL was a new concept in India. A franchise-based tournament was new to India, although it has existed for decades in other countries. The positive is that a lot of new fans came in. Women, children, all of them became fans. The viewership grew tremendously; cricket was exciting. With every season, somehow, the attention has increased. So taking all this into account, the positives far outweigh any strains that may have come. But it's all being addressed now. The BCCI is addressing it and taking a holistic view.

As the IPL has grown, it has become a fairly viable commercial success and has given the BCCI a lot more money. But in world cricket it has created certain tensions, in terms of schedules, fixtures, in terms of the availability of players from other countries.
Players are coming because they want to play and they would like to play. I mean, it's a good tournament - a showcase tournament. We have not asked for a window in the Future Tours Programme for the IPL. I think the IPL management, the BCCI, franchise owners are aware that all the players won't be available all the time, and we've sort of settled down with that. So I don't think it is putting a strain on other boards.

There is this fear that IPL will become this all-consuming entity and everything will gravitate towards it and players will manage their careers around it. We've seen what happened with Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle.
It's a free world. People and players make their choices and we can't compel a person. There are a lot of things that go into it and I don't think that it is all-consuming. It holds a lot of interest for many players, but as you are aware, there are only so many players who can play in the IPL, because we have a cap on the number of players in the team. And from what I have seen, players may not be happy to sit out as we have a cap on foreign players. So squad size and the number of franchises have a limiting effect.

But there have been tensions. In England, in the West Indies, in Sri Lanka, some players have come back from the IPL a few days before a Test series. From a global point of view, because the BCCI is the most influential cricket body in the world, the question arises: should the BCCI not be thinking about world cricket?
The BCCI has to look at its cricket. There's a lot that the BCCI is doing for Indian cricket and that is what it is concentrating on. We also run a highly successful domestic tournament called the IPL. Now some adjustment here and there cannot be defined as a strain. It may be portrayed as a strain by certain sections of the media, but I don't accept that it is a strain.

Some people have suggested that there must be a sensible way out of this, that the world should recognise the importance of the IPL and there should be a window clearly demarcated in the calendar, like there is an official window for the Champions League Twenty20. What's your position on this?
The BCCI has not asked for a window. The BCCI has recognised that today you have ten Full Members, they play each other home and away once in four years. The number of ICC events has increased from ten years ago, so there's a lot of clutter. So the BCCI accepts the fact that there is no real window and that whoever is available plays.

If a window was offered by the ICC, would you take it?
You must understand that it is not ICC who can offer a window. The FTP is among ten members, so ten members decide. We did not want to impose a limitation on fellow members by saying, "Don't play now, don't play at this time, so there's a window for IPL."

There was a suggestion that the BCCI didn't want a window because they didn't want the IPL to be regulated by the ICC or its calendar to be regulated by the ICC.
No, a window in the FTP does not mean regulation by the ICC. All FTP tours are between two members. The ICC provides a match official, by agreement, so therefore the window cannot be linked to control by the ICC.

The two great things that the IPL has done is that it has distributed wealth among players. It has also promoted a lot of goodwill and camaraderie among players internationally. But at the same time it has become an aspirational thing for players. The IPL has become the benchmark for salaries. So, in a sense, does it become a disincentive for people aspiring to play Test cricket?
All of us who have watched the IPL have seen that your cricket skills must be good to do well in the IPL. The people who have done well in Test and ODI cricket are the ones doing well in T20.

I think, aspirationally, a person would like to play for India, as that is what will bring you into the limelight for a franchise to look at you in the IPL. Recognition comes from performance.

The BCCI is also putting in a lot of effort to improve our domestic structures, and there is a lot of emphasis on domestic cricket. We also have been encouraging players to play domestic cricket, saying that they can't come into the IPL unless they play a certain amount of domestic cricket, particularly the uncapped players. So unless a person plays a certain number of Ranji matches and a state association says, "Yes he has", he has no chance of playing in the IPL. So it's not like you can go to the IPL at the cost of playing longer versions of the game.

The skills required to perform in the IPL are slightly different, though. The question is, who would want to be a Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman if you can do better financially by being Ravindra Jadeja or Yusuf Pathan?
I think the answer should be that everyone would like to be a Rahul Dravid, because for the BCCI, and for me personally, Test cricket is the cricket. Test cricket has all the skills of cricket on display. I think a gripping Test match is far more interesting than a slugfest in a T20. And a lot of people are watching it. Let's not undersell Test cricket. We have a decent crowd, tickets have seen a brisk sale in Mumbai [for the England Test].

 
 
"Most of the money for cricket is coming out of India. It is not the BCCI. It is because the Indian public watches cricket that commercial enterprises feel it is worthwhile to invest in cricket and the sponsorship comes to cricket"
 

We must understand that we had one product - Test cricket. Then came ODIs, and then T20. Overall cricket viewership has grown tremendously. Test cricket, with the amount of cricket being played today, I think the viewership and attendance is good. Australia are playing South Africa - from 5am you can watch it, and from 10am you can watch a match here [in India], and maybe somewhere else in the evening. So the amount of cricket available to see has also gone up.

In the Indian market, the fans seem to be gravitating towards the shorter forms.
Traditional, old Test-playing centres still get good crowds for cricket. Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, you still get good crowds. These are what I call the original, permanent Test centres, where the habit of watching Test cricket is still there.

The way the IPL is marketed, the franchisees' desperation to get crowds in - you don't see that in Test matches. You go to a ground in Nagpur - I've been to three Tests in Nagpur - and there will be 200-300 people watching an India-Australia Test. And Nagpur is where the previous BCCI president came from. Is enough being done to market and promote Test cricket?
We are taking steps to market domestic cricket. We are even televising domestic cricket, so we are taking these steps. But some amount of weightage must be given to the fact that traditional Test centres, their performance is different from the non-traditional Test centres. I can't explain why no one came to see a match in a certain stadium, but people are coming to other stadiums. With our newest stadium - take Rajkot, we are going to have matches in Rajkot, in Ranchi, and Dharamsala. They'll all be full.

But they'll be ODI matches…
Even if we play Tests there, I think we will get… We are taking cricket to newer venues.

The kind of ownership and marketing you see in IPL, you don't see for Test cricket. Who should take that ownership? Should it be the associations or the BCCI who do a marketing campaign?
You will find that in the future the BCCI will be paying more attention to this. We have taken a look at how to improve domestic cricket. How to change the scheduling of matches. In due course this will also happen.

The emphasis we are putting on our Ranji Trophy - basically, I've said that what is important for the BCCI is to have a very strong and robust Ranji. You will find that more and more importance is being given to Ranji. After every season we call all the captains and coaches of every Ranji team. We ask each of them to tell us what they feel should be done to improve. We got the ideas from the people who are participating, which is why we changed the format to three groups of nine. All of them said, "We want to play more cricket."

Every Ranji game is videographed. Umpires are being trained on the job. The NCA [National Cricket Academy] has been strengthened, we have increased the number of India A tours, we have paid a lot of attention to district cricket. We are asking for more sporting pitches for domestic games. We have increased the size of the pitch and ground committee, so that they can go take a look at these venues to get us better quality of cricket. All these are for the longer version of the game, so that is where the emphasis is. An uncapped player who has not played for India cannot play in the IPL unless he plays 60% of the Ranji Trophy games. So in more ways than one we are pushing a player to the longer version.

Australia and England have always had very set calendars for cricket. You know that a Melbourne Test will happen on December 26 and you can book it in advance. You can plan your life around that. But in India it doesn't happen that way. There is no sense of a season.
We will get that. We are starting to look at and define our prime season, and during your prime season you should be playing at home. This is something we are conscious of. This year we also encouraged our big players and stars to play domestic cricket. This is a change from the last several years.

We are going to look to our domestic season. We want to have possibly one or two visiting teams during our domestic season, starting in September, all the way up to March, and we'll see the extent to which we don't tour outside. Given the FTP that is there, we are going to see how we can adjust.

Looking at the huge imbalance in remuneration in Test cricket and IPL cricket, do you think it's worth remunerating Test cricketers as much as the IPL does, since the BCCI can now afford it?
About 30 to 40 people are on a retainer worth Rs 1 crore each, which is $200,000. Then they get an amount for every Test match that they play. Then they get a share of the media-rights income of the BCCI. Twenty-six per cent of BCCI's income is given to the players, 13% to international players, ten and a half to domestic. So today a Ranji Trophy player who would once be getting Rs 1000 ($18), is getting Rs 40,000 a day ($737), so cricket can be a profession. On the whole, a domestic player playing Ranji could earn about Rs 7-10 lakh a year ($13000-18,400), which is a good income. And as far as an international cricketer is concerned, he is earning money, as he gets his share of 13%, which is substantial.

Are you also taking steps to ensure that Indian players get all kinds of pitches?
We are asking for sporting pitches here. One reason why we've done well is that we are having a number of reciprocal tours for our A team. So our India A team is playing abroad, it is playing in Australia and the West Indies, and they come here. So they are exposed to different surfaces, different conditions and different pitches even before they come into the Indian team.

Last year what happened on the England tour was blamed on the lack of preparation. It was said there weren't enough players with long-form practice. Sachin Tendulkar skipped the West Indies tour, Virender Sehwag played the IPL and then had an operation and missed the West Indies tour and landed midway in England. In hindsight, would you say mistakes were made?
We monitor the fitness of players. Before every selection, players have to be declared fit by the physio etc. All players don't have the same levels of fitness, some are fitter and don't have niggles, some always live with niggles. But as far as the England and Australia tours are concerned, I think on both tours in the early matches there were moments when we were in the game and there were moments when it was running our way but it slipped out of our hands. In England, except Rahul, the batting did not click. But in both England and Australia, we had super-fast pitches.

The Indian fast bowlers were not good enough, which, in fact, has been a huge problem. There has been a lot of promise. Ishant Sharma looked like he would be a world-beater in Australia [in 2008]. RP Singh looked like he would be a handy bowler, Sreesanth had so much promise. And now Umesh Yadav. But where have they all gone? As the president of the board, does that bother you?
As the president of the board, it definitely bothers me when our performance is not up to the mark and when players do not perform to expectation or they are not able to maintain [form]. Having said that, we must realise that Zaheer Khan has been bowling for a long time, even in this [Mumbai] Test he did bowl well. Umesh Yadav is showing a lot of promise; he can bowl quick. Some of the others did not last long enough. They were not able to hold their places in the team. Now there's pressure from somebody else, now there's another bowler knocking on the door. So today in the absence of performance, somebody else is likely to come.

India get exposed when they go abroad.
It's not that we get exposed when we go abroad. Every country is used to its own conditions, whether it is England, South Africa, Australia… so they tend to play better in home conditions, which is what we also do. You don't see the media in those other countries really berating their players for not doing well [abroad]. One has to recognise the advantage of home conditions, and this applies across the board. So I don't think we should run down our players by saying we did not do well abroad. Other teams don't do well when they come to India. In the past we have had teams that have done well both here and abroad, when players were possibly younger.


Yo Mahesh picked up two wickets in four overs , Tamil Nadu v Maharashtra, Ranji Trophy, Group B, Chennai, 3rd day, November 19, 2012
"I've said that what is important for the BCCI is to have a very strong and robust Ranji Trophy" © K Sivaraman
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Is enough being done to preserve the fast bowlers, keep them in shape and peak fitness for Test cricket?
I think so. When they are with the team, they have access to all kinds of coaches, the best physios, trainers, etc. If they have even the slightest niggle, the National Cricket Academy is now turning out to be a very good rehabilitation centre. We have a physio in the NCA, Nitin Patel, who also keeps track, and it is not as if [the bowlers] have such a big workload. Except one or two players, most of them play less cricket, excepting those who play all three versions, like an MS Dhoni. We can't say that they are having so much of Test cricket.

It is also a player's responsibility to keep himself fit. A player like Rahul Dravid has been extremely fit at all times. The BCCI is there to give every kind of support - help, advice, etc. But ultimately it is down to the players to be responsible.

A lot of talk in the last three-four years has revolved around money and how much the BCCI has made, and the success of Indian cricket has been seen in terms of money in the media. That's a perception: that the BCCI is the most powerful cricket board in the world because of the money it gets. But how do you see the BCCI's position in the cricket world?
There are other boards who earn good money from their media rights. There are other boards who make a lot of money from gate revenue. I have also come across this kind of statement - that the BCCI is earning a lot of money or the BCCI is powerful.

It is because the Indian public watches cricket that commercial enterprises feel it is worthwhile to invest in cricket and the sponsorship comes to cricket. So it is not the BCCI but the Indian public.

Secondly, what has the BCCI been doing in the last four-five years? It has, in my opinion, in a fair and just manner been addressing issues relating to Indian cricket and ensuring that we get a fair deal. For that matter, for decades since cricket was started and the ICC was first formed, until the end of the last century, the president of the MCC was always the president of the ICC and there was a veto right for England and Australia. At that time nobody said that cricket was controlled by X or by Y.

But the realities have changed. And India is clearly in a position to get its way. For example, in case of the DRS, India's position is seen as obstructionist.
Our position has been clear from the start. We don't believe the technology is good enough. When we expressed some doubts during one of the presentations, a comment was made that we should take a leap of faith. In a purely scientific situation, where technology alone governs, there is no need for an expression like that.

Have you given it a second thought? Or have you considered using only the physical evidence of where the ball pitches and leaving the ball-tracking aside? Or Hot Spot, which they claim to have improved since the England-India series?
That itself is my question. When we agreed to use it, all the member nations had requested that there must be DRS, and we know what happened during India's tour of England. Now you say that they say that has improved further. So there is an acceptance that it was not good enough then. But it was touted as being good at that point in time. Our problem is that they say it is all right, then they say it'll get better tomorrow. So we concede the fact that there was less than adequate perfection. Which is our point: if you want to use technology it must be perfect.

Secondly, you are giving [a team] two referrals, which is a limited number of referrals. If you don't have faith in the umpire - which itself is a contradiction, as in cricket the umpire's verdict is final… if a player shows dissent you fine him. But now you're saying that I have two attempts to question [the umpire's] decision. The reconciliation between that is difficult. So if you take it to the end point of it, then you have two lamp posts with coloured lights - red, yellow and green - and you don't need an umpire at all, as you refer every decision. So let an automatic reply come from there after a review and you say red or green.

Cricket was a game of two sets of 11 people, two umpires, and the umpires' decision was final and we lived with it for a long, long time. I'm not against technology but one should be cautious and we should be clear what it is that we are trying to achieve. If you say my correct decision percentage has gone up from 94 to 95.6, is that all you are looking to achieve? It is relative. But we must understand what has been the beauty of the game.

So the sum total of this is: we say, let us leave it as it is. You have taken bias out of the system, as the umpire by definition is neutral. Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, so why not keep it that way?

Does it bother you that there are two systems in world cricket?
No, it doesn't bother me at all because, apart from all this, there is a cost to DRS and there are only one or two people involved. It's a monopoly-area situation, which I am not going to go into here. It doesn't bother me if two other countries use DRS - they are happy, that's okay.

But your players are playing in ICC events where DRS is used.
ICC was insisting that it is an ICC event and they had the right. But in bilaterals, we say no. We are clear in our mind, but I hope slowly people will see our point of view.

Since India is the most powerful board in the world and is in a position to influence decisions, would you rather not use your power to persuade the other boards that the world have just one system?
We have not taken an obstructionist policy. We don't believe in it, so after discussion, the members have agreed it should be bilateral. I don't want to dictate to other people.

There's a perception that India is the bully at the ICC board. How do you react to it?
It's very difficult to change perceptions once they are set. I don't know if I can make an attempt now, or what I could do to change that perception. But I don't think it's fair to call the BCCI a bully.

The BCCI has the biggest voice on the ICC board. Is that a fair assumption to make? And that other boards are wary of going against the BCCI's wishes?
That is not a fact. In the ICC, all members are sovereign. The ten Full Members are sovereign.

The India tour matters a lot to every board, so what India says carries the most weight at the ICC board.
Such a simplistic conclusion cannot be drawn. There is no doubt that there is an advantage to an Indian tour, because the Indian public wants to see… in that sense, it makes your visit more desirable.

Do you think there's a case for better communication? The BCCI tends to be opaque, as the world doesn't know what goes on behind the decision-making.
I think that is not a fair comment. The BCCI is not opaque. We are quite open to discussing how we function. I think a lot of systems are in place today, we are cooperating in a very professional fashion.

But it's still very centralised. Only two or three people run the business here.
All big decisions are made by the working committee, although the public perception is that X or Y makes them. We have got very strong committee structures here to deal with every aspect of the game. Over the last several years we have paid a lot of attention to our management structures in the BCCI. So one can't say we are opaque. Maybe it's a lack of knowledge of the systems that we have that you could come to that conclusion.

Is it perhaps because there is not enough communication and not enough media management, that things are not explained properly? I'll give you two examples. For instance, nobody really knew what happened in the Sky controversy. There's a huge backlash in the UK because fans don't know what the real story is.
It was a simple issue. There was an additional cost involved in what Sky was asking for and Sky declined to pay.

But there was no proper communication from the BCCI about the issue and there was the wider question of English fans getting deprived of the best possible coverage.
The rights holders in each market should be responsible for doing what they need to do make sure they provide the best possible localisation. We believe our coverage is world-class, and if any localisation is required by Sky, they have to pay for the services, like the BBC agreed to pay. Even Star, our rights holders, incur costs for localisation in Hindi.

And then there has been the issue with the photo agencies.
Just like media rights, our TV production is a right we have sold. The still image is also our right, but we have chosen not to monetise it. Now if you are a newspaper and come with your camera, take a photograph and print it in your newspaper, I have no problems. But if you are an image agency, you are going to sell it out and monetise it. I'm saying no to that because this is my right. This policy applied to the IPL also, but there was no controversy and no one came and asked us anything.

But you were willing to allow certain agencies to take photographs. AFP, for example.
AFP is a newswire agency, as against Getty and Action Images, who are image-only agencies. AFP is selling pictures with editorial. Standalone pictures is business. Tomorrow I could have a camera around my neck and start shooting photographs and say I'm from Andheri Times. How many such people will be on the ground? We are giving images at no cost to any publication, so the coverage is not affected.

 
 
"One has to recognise the advantage of home conditions, and this applies across the board. So I don't think we should run down our players by saying we did not do well abroad. Other teams don't do well when they come to India. In the past we have had teams that have done well both here and abroad, when players were possibly younger"
 

I know people - Rahul Dravid, for example - who talk with great affection about your love for cricket. About how you used to watch club cricket. But does it bother you that the perception of N Srinivasan in the world outside is that of a tough administrator, tough negotiator, who is sort of slightly cold towards cricket?
I tell you, I'm a pure sportsman. I played hockey, cricket, tennis, and now I play golf. Sport has taught me to be fair, to accept victory and defeat, and from my father's days, India Cements has been… we talk of cricket teams from the mid-'50s, we are running teams and even now we are running 12 teams, we have given employment to cricketers. So we were a promoter of the sport when there was no money is the game.

Otherwise I'm very seriously involved in the production and sale of cement, which is my basic business. I read a lot, I watch sport, I walk every day, I play golf. Those who know me know me differently.

I feel for all the cricketers who have contributed to Indian cricket, which is why, if you notice, this one-time benefit is a very big thing. We have not really thumped our chests about it. During the IPL we felicitated all the cricketers. Even yesterday, looking at the CK Nayudu Awards, we were thinking about who else might have got it, so let's collect them and give them a special award.

What would you like your legacy to be in cricket? How would you like to be remembered?
Just as a fair person. One must realise that the BCCI occupies a prime position in India and in the cricketing world. Cricket is a religion in India, so it is very easy when you're in the BCCI to be tempted because of the attention you get from media, from all places. We should not look at that, but we should look at the job we have to do here. A person who is an administrator here must realise that this is a job we have to do, and we must go about our job and not be interested in the publicity that we get out of it.

Do you aspire for the BCCI or India to take the leadership of cricket as a global game?
Even now we are not only talking about India. At the same time, we must understand what it is that we expect out of the ICC. How did the ICC develop? They were running one World Cup. The question also is: what do you want the ICC to be? It's very important. These are debates that are taking place at all levels. I think the BCCI is contributing positively to the development of the game. Everyone may not agree, we may not be on the same page, but I think we are doing it sincerely.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Alexk400 on (December 6, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

Easy questions by interviewer and easy answers by N srinivasan. Where is fast bowler out of 1 billion? How do you think training unathletic short people to be bowler going to be useful? We have to start with bigger base of 6 feet tall kids in age of 13-15 and train them to be bowler. If there is a will , there is a way. I think BCCI really do not going to go out of its way to develop fast bowlers. I think it is business. So in that case they should allow scouting concept in that you give some of responsibility to every other indian to find physically strong skilled kids. I think BCCI works for its stakeholders and find people among stakeholders kids. They need to go beyond their small circle. India has capability to make 10 all star team out of 1 billion. It is because of bad OPAQUE management india can't even find 1 real fast bowler in 60 years when tiny countries can find them. It is kinda pity and people laugh when BCCI keep saying we don't have fast bowlers.

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 6, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

@Pakistan_Foreva: You are not aware of the facts and yet make comments as if you know them all. FYI, India were ranked #1 in ODIs in Sep 2009. And when I said India had reached the top 4 times in the last 5 years it was 1 for #1 in ODIs, 2 for #1 in Tests, 3 for ODI WC 2011 win and 4 for WT20 2007 win.

Posted by PratUSA on (December 5, 2012, 23:18 GMT)

One thing I am curious about is why the ICC events in India don't allow spectators to carry cameras but they do elsewhere? I was denied taking in camera during last year's world cup despite the fact that it was not in prohibited list. I could easily take my camera in in Sri Lanka recently during WT20 and also back in WT20 2010 in West Indies. Does BCCI takes over even ICC events when organized in India? I can't believe it is a security risk, I think BCCI just doesn't want anyone to take pictures of anything Indian Cricket as they believe they have monopoly on it. That is wrong. BCCI doesn't own cricket, fans do. I could take camera in for Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies in Delhi in 2010 that had terrorist threat so the security argument is a veil. Spectator rights is an issue that must be raised by forums like cricinfo.

Posted by cricmatters on (December 5, 2012, 22:31 GMT)

Cricket has become the new cash cow in India subject to rampant commercialism and over exploitation while the grassroots are being neglected. Srinivasan has to ask himself this simple question, where the future Test players are going to come from? They should be pouring more money in Domestic Cricket rather than catering to IPL. The biggest issue is investing in the cricketing infrastructure. How many decent grounds are available for youngsters to play cricket in India as compared to Australia or England? How many talented young cricketers fall through the cracks and never get a shot at the higher level simply because they are from a remote area where no training or support is available. You have to water the roots to grow a healthy tree, pouring water on leaves and branches is of little use. Spend more money on building the infrastructure e.g grounds, training facilities, coaching, support, sponsorships etc. and you will see the results in few years time.

Posted by Jack_India on (December 5, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

If India is not willing to use DRS then it is fair to give all benefit of doubt to the opponent.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 5, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

Even with less money Australia and England broadcast has almoist no Ads. They make it pleasure to watch cricket. One of greatest experience was getting up early morning 1985 to watch Benson & Hedges cricket series which india won. That was great telecast. With all the money indian telecast of cricket is infested with too many ads. That too bad quality ads makes you frown with disgust. BCCI GREEDY stakeholders and a bully for not inviting bangladesh or zimbabwe. if you are in top you should help smaller nations. BCCI lacks compassion in that way. Only thing BCCI done is give money to ex cricketers belong to their "Group".

Posted by satanswish on (December 5, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

Just another foolish statement from BCCI fools. Get a life you morons!!

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (December 5, 2012, 0:37 GMT)

Mr. Srinivasan, India/BCCI is a bully and you don't need to sugarcoat it. The other teams have to learn to live with it in just the way India learned to play when the the game was being run by the English and Aussie bullies. Again, don't make excuses for being strong.

Posted by Mervo on (December 4, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

cricwick - I think there is a difference between watching cricket at a game venue and watching it on television or listening on the radio. Both forms of media attract huge amounts of money for the BCCI and the players. More than gate dollars. Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game still. The official records are all about first class and Test cricket, not how many T20's one can slap around in. If we go the latter route it would be more profitable to go digital and have a computer in India play a computer in Australia and we could all follow that.

Posted by Philip_Gnana on (December 4, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

India former No 1, position was due to the anomalies is the Ranking system. This was the reason that they could not hold on to that spot. Winning test series consistently away from home is the hallmark of a Champion side. It is only India that does well at home, bring in the DRS and that will be in jeopardy too.

Posted by Rahul_Vasudevan on (December 4, 2012, 22:31 GMT)

The question regarding remuneration for test cricketers was long due; given that T20 skills are worth millions of dollars - the India test cap should infact be more lucrative than that.

The retainer-ship fees for Grade A cricketers should ideally be the match fees for playing ONE test.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 22:12 GMT)

Surprised Cricinfo didn't publish my simple comment so I say it again, This Indian board doesn't even invite lower ranked teams like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh now what's so bad about that? spread the game no wonder Cricket is disliked by most of the world anyway like USA, China, Most of Europe, Most of Africa etc.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

In FIFA currently goal-line technology is coming & uefa president michel platini always likes to talk crap about the his mistrust of technology. UEFA is the BCCI of football when it comes to financial power - but when goal-line technology comes in - everywhere in uefa will use because FIFA is boss.

As we all know in cricket BCCI is boss over ICC, so that's why they have been able to oppose drs. A strong ICC would have made them use it. Its a hot mess.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 4, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

If N srinivasan reading this , He needs to few of the things i see that improves. One of major issue we see with indian team is lack of fast bowler when tiny country srilanka can produce malinga , india could not find one fast bowler above 145 consistent in last 30 years. I strongly believe there be 10000s of potential fast bowler in 1billion indian people. I think there are many filters before the talent get spotted. I advise srinivasan to implement scouting system like in mlb so each ex crickter can be allowed to be scout so they also support ex crickter and the scout gets some kinda reward for finding player who play for india. Another thing i feel BCCI set top 30 players who can represent india , all other indians allowed to play other leagues without any revenge behaviour from BCCI towards those indians. I am looking what other avenue for talented indians to get experience and get into indian team. ..continued...

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 4, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

@Sam Sugavanam: Yours is an excellent feedback. Mr. Bal has failed to ask hard hitting questions which is a pity. Your comment on the TV coverage is right on the mark, but have you noticed that the majority of Indian TV viewers seem to just accept the bombardment of ads? Of course, this isn't restricted to just cricket but all TV coverage. It started in the late 80s when video tapes became popular, even a movie was split into a screen where the bottom one third had running ads such as a moving Bajaj scooter!

Until ppl like yourself stand up, nothing will change. In general the TV coverage, esp news media tries too hard to ape US style news, similarly with talk shows, reality programs. Shockingly awful in every sense.

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 4, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

@davidpk: Biased feebackers such as yourself and others are experts in trolling cricinfo articles and posting attacks on all things Indian. You have an opportunity to present balanced arguments but insist on sustained attacks. But then we shouldn't be surprised, should we? It's what you do well.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

This board doesn't even invite Zimbabwe or Bangladesh for one full series and Ireland the associate team are not being recognised by them. Spread and develop the great game where everyone deserves a chance instead of for your shear desires.

Posted by NAZMO-CRICKFANN on (December 4, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

fair or not the vote is on the facts ... yes bcci are bullies

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

Pretty good interview. On DRS one flaw in Srini's argument: "Which is our point: if you want to use technology it must be perfect. " - Technology is never ipso facto perfect. It is made by humans who are not perfect. The point is DRS is less imperfect than humans. Personally, I would not mind the India position of you take that mistaken decisions are part of the human factor of the game. It is only the huge amounts of money being gambled which derive this obsession with perfection. Umpiring mistakes, like in baseball are part of the game's quirky charm.

Posted by cricket-india on (December 4, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

too bad 'srini' wasn't questioned about the conflict of interest in his role as bcci pres and csk owner; from his side, srini aso failed to defend the bcci's opposition to the drs properly - it's a fact that the technology, though applied in some seris, does not have the faith of many players (i remember kallis saying in a published interview that 99% of the players are not comfortable with it). anyway the first question that should have been asked is why is it called the bcci - why should it 'control' cricket in india? is the game its monopoly (remember how it killed the icl and the careers of so many players like shane bond who played the icl)? why can't the bcci change its name to reflect something more broadminded and more in line with the way it wants to be seen?

Posted by marlboro19 on (December 4, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

Thanks Cricinfo, it was a very interesting , albeit long, interview to read. Mr. Srinivasan does sound like the wily Indian Managers who are prospering and proliferating all over the world. @DRS issue- I understand it's the paramount gripe of some Indian and almost all non-indian cricket followers that BCCI is obstructing the implementation of DRS. But look around you- boards who want to use DRS are using it , that itself debunk the logic of BCCI being obstructional .What it(stance of BCCI) has done is , it has made made available the freedom of having options. If board X believes in DRS , and thinks there is no future of cricket without the drs , there is absolutely no ne who can compel it to not use DRS. It's prerogative of individual boards which option they take ; And to me it only sounds fair.SO as a cricket fan if you are fad up of BCCI not using DRS, you should instead direct your resent to your respective board and force it to make a non-negotiable term when they lay with Ind

Posted by guy1234 on (December 4, 2012, 16:20 GMT)

I think Mr Srinivasna is taking an extremely arrogant view in terms of the DRS and India's form away from home. I don't know the last time a test team has lost 8 matches on the trot. Surely there just be some sort of alarm bells ringing. As an Aussie supporter, good, I hope they lose more test matches. In terms of the DRS, his attitude towards it is absolutely backwards. There is nothing more infuriating than knowing that a bad decision has been made, especially if it has a large bearing on the outcome on the match. And personally i think the DRS adds more drama and suspense, whilst making for a fairer test match.

Posted by SettingSun on (December 4, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Congratulations Srinivasan, on saying absolutely nothing at all. The same old BCCI party line trotted out, albeit from someone different. The stance on DRS is pathetic. As for it not being fair on being called a bully, maybe it's not. It doesn't stop it from being true, though.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 4, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

BCCI wants to rule the cricket world and effectively run the game as per it's own whims and desires. Whole world is happy to have DRS except BCCI. IPL comes with strings attached as far as players from the smaller cricket playing nations are concerned.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (December 4, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

One question I would like to ask N Srinivasan and BCCI, what they done to other sports in India? They talk about Public being the reason for what BCCI is. So, why can not BCCI that money spent on improving other sports in India? or at least recognize other sports players. Indian Public is giving money and BCCI is giving it to people playing IPL for example. The same public goes about winning an Olympic medal what can BCCI do for them? N Srinivasan talks about playing hockey and other games, so, did he ever think about that. Can we have a some other sport played on the same ground that IPL matches played, so that Public would watch it?

Posted by ProdigyA on (December 4, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

From being a strong supporter of the DRS to now concurring with the BCCI of just having it as optional. Fistly, DRS has been aweful in its performance in the last 2 years. Second, its a democracy, those who like can use it and those who dont, will not. If BCCI were a bully, it would have forced everybody not to use DRS but it did not do so. Finally, haters will be haters, no matter what they just need a reason to hate. Good job BCCI.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 4, 2012, 14:24 GMT)

India won the inaugural 20/20 in 2007, the ODI World Cup in 2012 and was the Test no 1 ranked team from 2009 to 2011 July. In between they also won the CB series of ODIs in Australia in 2008. Maybe that is what harmony meant which seems to have ruffled some feathers !

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

What an excellent interview. The interviewer was very keen to embarrass Srinivasan. But he didn't budge. Instead, he gave sharp answers for which the person could not do anything but change the topic to another different question.

If you think BCCI is dominant, we don't have any problems. (We means only like minded People. I think most Indians won't support Srini because it is a fashion in India to criticize their own People) Yes, what is the problem if BCCI is a bully? No international board can answer to the question why they don't play well while touring Ind, Pak or SL.

What he is doing for Indian Cricket is good. He tries to maintain the balance between all formats of the game.

Some user comments here are unnecessarily pointed towards the Maestro Sachin Tendulkar. Better you people get both School and Cricket education right and then comment about him.

DRS: BCCI had taken a very honest stand. If the Technology is not accurate, there is no use in using it.

Posted by Selassie-I on (December 4, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

This isw the kind of thing that we need from the BCCI, they get a lot of bad press beacuse they just do things wich affect the international game with no press release and no comments, this leads people into making up their own assumptions - beacuse it's the only thing they can do!

At first I was a bit worried that in the interview he spoke intially redarding money, money, money - it seemed to be the only thing on his mind.. however towards the end of the interview it does seem like he has some passion for the game. Althogh I disagree with the DRS stance, I disagree with the view of 'we're the most powerful board so we will just look after ourselves' view, when the MCC ran cricket, this was not their view, otherwise only Eng and Aus would be playign cricket still - the BCCI should especially be helping Bangaldesh and the struggling Sri lankan board, but on the whole it does appear the he is trying to move things into the right direction.

Posted by Vivek.Bhandari on (December 4, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

@abs.liton on (December 04 2012, 04:20 AM GMT): A correction. Almost all the Ranji games are being video recorded with at least 4 cameras. Here, the match referee doubles up as the 3rd umpire.

Posted by cricwick on (December 4, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

I cant understand the obsession of Test cricket with all these guys.No matter whatever the changes u make u just cant sell it to the public.Most people in this world would not like to watch a test match which they feel is pretty boring.When the problem is with the very basic nature of it,u cant change those perceptions and force people to watch it.Most people in India don't have the time or money to watch one full day of test cricket in the blazing sun where acc to them nothing actually happens.

Posted by SouthPaw on (December 4, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

There is absolutely no reason why one should doubt Srinivasan's vision for cricket. All those foreign boards and media are saying what they are saying about BCCI, its power, BCCI's stand on DRS, IPL, etc., only because they don't have a piece of the action, a clear case of sour grapes. This interview very clearly establishes that India or BCCI is doing nothing wrong as far as cricket goes.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

What an excellent interview. Srinivasan puts his position forward perfectly.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 4, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

BCCI is a bully. Actions speaks louder than words. Threaten anyone go against their wishes. Systematically destroyed ICL. DO not let indian players play in other countries T20 leagues but wants other foreign players to play in IPL. Not allowing DRS because india 's captain is inefficient to use UDRS. Even after 8-0 loss shameless and truimpheting. With so much money stadium facilities are awful. Common man gives money he gets nothing in return. Rich BCCI stakeholders mint money using indian cricket fan loyalty and money. Highway robbery if i say. Where is fast bowler of 150kmph out of 1 billion? BCCI can't do anything good. Only Lalit modi build IPL not BCCI .hahaha. I want dalmiya back in charge and lalit modi running IPL. :)

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 4, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

IPL is success because of MODI not because of BCCI. BCCI is a bully. There is no technology is perfect. Everything has error percentage. Even measuring liquid o2 flow has .0001 accuracy in PSLV -3 rockets. Question is how much accuracy he wants UDRS so he can use it ?. For me i am ok with technoligy but i want coaches appeal not players. I want people who has better view with close look up at tv. Its not easy for player who is looking at angle to appeal. Its like blind appealing and hitting lottery. Bad UDRS rules. Technology is fine. Hotspot do not work in sunlight i can see. So i believe you do not rely on technology as arbiter but slow motion displays and what ever it can give. Final decision always have to be with human with better view.

Posted by Pakistan_Foreva on (December 4, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Harmony1111, please dont obscure history. India was never ranked #1 in ODI's (even though they did win the world cup). They were ranked #1 in tests yes, but again only once, what do you mean by reaching the top 4 times in the last 5 years?

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 4, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

how do you get rid of the perception of been a bully. well for one thing you would take the will of the cricketing world and use the DRS. the piece on cricinfo yesterday about the ecb not giving them information about a development squad not letting the BCCI know they were touring is childish in its extreme. eng and aus ruled the roost but at least they had cricket at its heart. the BCCI could not careless about any other country or its feeling. that to my mind constitutes a bully.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

Its something different that the B C C I precident Mr. Srinivasna has given such an alobereted interview. Any way b c c i is doing good to bring the domestic cricket to the international standards, like appointed vedio analysts, online scorers, umpires coaches and providing all supporting staff for the matches like u/14 level also. With all this let hope in years to come , Indian cricket will find a real replacement for the greats like the wall RAHUL DRAVID at all times my favourate cricketer, the trouble shooter and even for the all time great SACHIN TENDULKAR as well. With the presidents observations we all hope that i c c and b c c i will take some major steps to get back the charm of test cricket which is still being considered the real cricket.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

I notice that Mr Srinivasan repeatedly mentions the Indian Cricket fan and how he/she contributes to the huge profits of the BCCI. However, as a Cricket fan, I don't get any value for my money. The stadiums are awful with almost no facilities. Even food available at the stadiums is bad as the catering contract has been sold to the highest bidder who has no regard for quality. The team has been very, very poor off late and the world cup win was an exception rather than the rule. I used to watch a lot of Ranji matches but I don't bother anymore due to lack of stadium facilities (I used to be able to walk into the Chinnaswamy and watch a game from the pavilion but I can't do that anymore due to board member's cronyism). The TV coverage is downright pathetic due to sporting action compromised by adverts. Over inflated cost of merchandise. I can go on and on but the point I am trying to make is that if the likes of me stop following Indian cricket, there will be no huge profits to the BCCI.

Posted by Smithie on (December 4, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Sambit Bal why did you not ask Srinivasan to comment on his perceived conflict of interest between controlling CSK, BCCI and ICC. His defence would have been of great interest to global cricket lovers.

Posted by 100_rabh on (December 4, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

I have read and heard several arguments favouring and opposing the DRS but this one by Mr Srinivasan has to be the most funniest ever! If you dont know BCCI's position on it, you will be as confused as a hungry baby in a topless bar after reading this. Mr. Srinivasan, admit it that you are just being rigid and what happens if India loses current series against England because of couple of umpiring blunders, not that England need these lucky favours to defeat India in India.

Posted by Harvey on (December 4, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

Mr Srivinasan's comment that the series in England and Australia were played on "superfast pitches" is an excursion into the realms of fantasy. The only fast pitch out of all of them was Perth, and even that's not as fast as it used to be. The English pitches were simply good, typical English pitches, and in fact The Oval offered quite a bit of turn. The pitches on those tours were in stark contrast to the blatant pitch-doctoring to favour the home team we are seeing on the present tour. The assertion that "there were moments where it was running our way" in the early games is similarly outrageous. Anyone who paid good money to watch the series in England, whoever they were supporting, felt cheated. Excluding Praveen Kumar, who at least looked as if he was trying, the lack of fight from the Indian team was total. I suspect the same applies to the Australia tour.

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (December 4, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

@Bengal Tiger: What exactly you mean by "great to see India running world cricket". In fact, nowehere does Mr Srinivasan mention your enlightened observation. Fact is that among all countries, its in India that cricket is most popular, and thus advertisers pitch in their money from where they get good ROIs. THis might give the impression that "India controls the game". But what about control OFF the field??? Despite being a one-sport nation and all the money in the world, we DONT even have a good cricket team! The batsmen, barring one or two are flat track kings. No pace bowlers and no spinners waiting in reserve. And appalling fielding standards in domestic cricket. And 8 successive trashes in tests. To "run" world cricket, you need to be a leader both on and off,sir!!!

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@MSM8960

Absolutely spot on! This is all about money. How anyone else cannot see this beggars belief. You can argue day and night and we can still come to the conclusion that when technology is there it must be used

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

It has to be about the cost of DRS ..I cannot fathom any other logical idea to not support DRS..Cricket is not an Indian game ! Every member nation member must comply I am shocked that DRS is only optional and nor mandatory

I think all posters agree that technology can only be improved if it has been used and tested . We need the aid of technology. Mr.Srinivas says the game is spoiled by the DRS . How many series have had DRS and have they not been exciting ? We still get decisions which even out. Recall Faf's innings , he would have been given out had it not been for DRS.

Moreover having DRS in selective series is making umpires job more difficult and affects their decision making process. The DRS still upholds the umpires decisions .

Posted by Gizza on (December 4, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

@cgs2606, why is Test cricket or any sport that takes 5 days "outdated" in the 21st century? You do realise that nearly all major international sports (football, tennis, rugby, golf, basketball) were invented or being played in the 19th century or earlier, right? You didn't quite state the causal link between the length of a particular game and the era to which it is most suited.

Posted by just_Test_lover on (December 4, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

The ICC should simply take control of International Cricket. They should delist India as a test nation untill they adopt full ICC agreed playing rules and if that includes DRS so be it. We can't have 1 country play a sport with a slight change to suit them.

Cricket changes, baseball changes, Rugby Changes and now even soccer a game with centuries of history behind no referals will have goal line technology in use next year. All countries adopt the same FIFA rules if not the game does not count to the world rankings and stats.

Posted by just_Test_lover on (December 4, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

The BCCI are like cricket Australia and ECB were in the 90's. They have no real care about the world of cricket. They want money. India is one of the poorest countries when it comes to level of income and living conditions. Yet it can justify paying Billions to forerign player to play 4 weeks of cricket? That is sick Society should come first.

The DRS system should be used like the run out call by 3rd umpire. I have seen bad run out calls in the past two. yes DRS is not 100 nor are some of those umpires. look at AUS vs SA many umpire calls over turned.

I would go further India can't declare that they don't have the money for DRS. West Indies uses it and runs on a lower budget that BCCI. The BCCi don't want to use DRS as then they can't persuade the umpire everytime they appeal because it will simply be over turned. Also I fear umpire rigging may still be at play. just saying.

Posted by TheBengalTiger on (December 4, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

Its great to see India running world cricket. Its how it should be

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

No technology is perfect. Moreover a technology will improve only when you use it more often. The innovators could then see the demand for that technology. I am sure Mr Srinivasan is smarter than that.

If he uses that 95% statistics, let me ask him how do you know a decision was correct or not? You know because you have used the technology to test it. I hope in next couple of years Sachin will retire and Dhoni will step down as the captain. And we will find a UDRS for the betterment of cricket.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Good interview.. BCCI's positions - most of which are misunderstood - are made clear. DRS is going to rule in the long run as other nations which are using the system presently are not going to change and defect to India's stance. So, we should make efforts to use it, particularly from our own interest, with all its purported imperfections as spelt out by Mr.Srinivasan. Otherwise, we would not know how to use it effectively, which will be another handicap. Becasue, any technology is not mastered overnight, it takes a while to get to terms with it.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Easygoing etc. - stop this rot about social sciences and upbringing etc. - SA is the best team because they have the best bowlers traditionally so they win - as simple as that - add to that the flat pitches in India don't encourage bowlers (just look at this domestic season) - so if India doesn't win abroad, it is for cricketing reasons. And on this article, the biggest problem of BCCI is they don't have a good PR agency - it is people like Rajiv Shukla etc making statements and media in India and overseas laps them with glee to screw BCCI. Even in this interview Srinivasan hasn't been crystal clear about the sky episode - the fact is Sky asked for EXTRA facilities for which they refused to pay and no where in the press you see that. BCCI may not be an angelic body, but it isn't quite the demon that it is made out to be as well.

Posted by Harmony111 on (December 4, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

@ Edassery: In the last 5 yrs, India has won 2 world titles, been #1 in ODIs and Tests. Yes they have lost some but they have won some too. Show me another team that has reached the top 4 times in the last 5 years...

The funny thing is the other boards are trying to replicate the IPL model but so far have had only moderate success. Their leagues are hardly known outside their countries. This inter alia is what cause jealousy against BCCI. And perchance you bring out the IPL Teams in CLT20 argument then you should know that so far IPL teams have won 2 of the 4 CLT20 Titles too, once in SA. That's 50% win rate and is pretty impressive indeed.

@ abs.liton: Read a bit. DRS and 3rd Umpire are hardly the same things. You are as much confused between the two as an uninitiated one would be between Samurais and Ninjas.

Posted by ste13 on (December 4, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

@cgs2606: I do not think so. It is all about proper marketing of tests. Also, the audience in India for the first two test against England was not bad, interest in the media and internet is substantial. Turnouts in Aus and Eng are continuously good. Recent matches have been competitive and dramatic. This format will always have its followers.

Posted by MSM8960 on (December 4, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

The real reason India opposes DRS - Both firms/technologies are by Eng or Aus/NZ companies. And they are special cameras, not off the shelf, and the tech is itself not open. So, the paranoid BCCI believes is will be used against India in reviews. Once an Indian competitor (or if ICC buys a solution that is completely open source) comes with a solution, there is a better chance of the BCCI adopting it.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

What balderdash Mr. Srinivasan. Does he not understand that DRS, being what it is still significantly favours the umpire's call and only overrules the umpire when gross errors of judgement have been made?If technology can help improve the game and rectify atrocious decisions made my umpires, it should be used. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply regressive. He talks about the need to maintain tradition in test cricket with regard to respecting the umpire's decision. Tradition must not come in the way of progress, Mr. Srinivasan. So much tradition has been correctly been cast aside - covered pitches, no more rest days during test matches, use of helmets, use of artificial lighting, electronic scoreboards, use of third (TV) umpire. So do you think Mr. Srinivasan, none of these should have happened. I am an Indian, yet shocked at the irrational and uncompromising attitude shown by our cricket board. Bully, yes absolutely and a massively ignorant one. Strong and completely wron

Posted by LillianThomson on (December 4, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

Wants to be remembered as a "fair person". This is the man who in this interview says "No" to DRS because it is not quite 100% perfect, but that the umpire's decision must be final whether it's right or wrong - and the stats show umpires make 5x as many errors as DRS. A man whose understanding of cricket is so eccentric that he thinks that the wickets upon which India were thrashed in England and Australia were "super-fast" - even though the opposition compiled scores of 474-8, 544, 710-7, 591-6, 659-4 and 604-7. The only silver lining is that India's team is now so poor that cricket-lovers in other countries are no longer interested in watching their team play against India, and the attempts to extort double payment from Sky and the BBC have poisoned the international media against BCCI and Indian cricket. The IPL is already ignored totally outside the subcontinent. Increasingly, the same is true of India's international cricket.

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 4, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

@abs.liton : Third umpire makes decision with replays. He doesn't predict anything nor does he use any technology that identifies the edges. Just a crease mark and slow motion replays for him to judge and for run out and stumping and the close catches, he just follows one single rule - benefit to batsman. But that is not the case with the DRS thing. Incorrect ball tracker, semi perfect hot spot. That is not the same case with both the incidents. @Rahulbose : yeah. He SHOULD answer that. But we all know that answer what he will say. Nothing in it will be his answer.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (December 4, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Very fair observations from Mr.Srinivasan. I think most of these accusations have stemmed from the fact that certain countries cannot see a asian country doing so well.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

cgs2606: Right, so players such as Dravid, Ponting, Langer, Gavaskar, etc are relics of the 19th century. You have no idea what you're talking about, good sir.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 4, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

I think Easygoing has been following cricket only lately. I wish he would go back to see India's performances from 2001. between then and 2011 in the ODI world Cup which India won, their players were seen as being the only ones who could challenge Australia and South Africa among others. I wish he would see the statistics of India'a performance in Australia in 2003/04 and 2007/08, in England in 2002, in South Africa in 2010 in West Indies in 2011 and in New Zealand in 2010. All under Ganguly's or Dhoni's captaincy. They have done well all over and earned the respect of everybig team.. They came crashing down only in 2011 when they lost 8/0 inEngland and then Australia. What must not be forgotten however is that very few teams play both England and Australia in the space of 4 months. Only South Africa have done that this year and have in fact beaten both of them. In my opinion mental strength comes with exposure and economic security.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 4, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

I haven't actually read this whole interview yet but I wanted to comment on the headline. I agree that it's not fair to call the BCCI a bully. It's fashionable right now for non-Indians to do so but I don't think that it's accurate. I don't agree with everything that it does and they may throw their weight around a bit, bit it's nothing other boards wouldn't do given the chance. My one big gripe with the BCCI is over DRS. I just don't think that it's right for the BCCI to block DRS when everyone else effectively wants it. It may not be perfect but nothing ever is and it's better overall than the alternative. The BCCI should be helping to make DRS better if they think that it's not good enough as it is. Some people say that apparent mistakes made in the implementation of DRS justifies the BCCI stance but it doesn't because implementation was not their original issue. The ICC should just said "this is how it's going to be" from the outset.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 4, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

The ethical logic that Srinivasan has sought to portray as being the reason for not accepting the DRS may seem justified. But the whole point is that even if the DRS affected India adversely some time ago it may be time to revisit this decision. I say this because in recent times, India has been at the receiving end of decisions in the absence of DRS. Just because the BCCI has taken a stand earlier in the haughtiness of calling the shots,that position need not be continued if it is now seen that DRS is actually OK if applied with a bit of understanding as Graeme Smith and Mike Clarke do. India should review its non acceptance of DRS at the earliest.

Posted by yogikanna on (December 4, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

I am sorry, but the BCCI does come across as a bully. They ban players who join organizations like ICL. They ban players who want to change their IPL team for a bigger pay. They don't come across as being very diplomatic and considerate to other boards.

As for IPL, I really hope they contribute to the infrastructure of India from all this profit. I am just pained to see so much poverty in India in spite of all this economic growth. There is overpopulation, poverty, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, corruption, etc. India really needs to work on those problems otherwise it would be like building a skyscraper without any foundation, it will come down crashing one day. I want to see India succeed, so hope it happens. I just don't see it happen at the moment though. (hope this gets published)

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

You can have any amount of mental toughnes, but its bowlers who win matches. To win overseas, What India needs is consistent wold class bowling depth. Our batting will revolve around it.

Posted by the-anti-mule on (December 4, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

Wow BCCI's behavior hasnt changed at all - they are always in perpetual denial.

Posted by yogi.s on (December 4, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

Totally disappointed with his response to india's overseas performance.They are still unwilling to change anything. Yes, teams perform better at home but when was the last time a team lost 8 test matches abroad? It seems pretty clear to me that the BCCI is not even aiming to do all it can to make india the no 1 team in the world and that its priorities are elsewhere. As a test cricket fan and indian team supporter it is a sad thing to know that.

Posted by Advin on (December 4, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

As an Indian,I am embarrassed by BCCI dictating terms on DRS.In the Aus-SA match,we saw wrong decisions being reversed by DRS and therefore at the end of the match,the umpiring is not discussed.On the other hand,in the Mumbai test ,quite a lot of umpring errors took place which went uncorrected owing to lack of DRS.That infamous Sydney test of a few years back between India and Australia would not have been so controversial if India had the option of referring the bad decisions. By Srinivasan's logic,we should not use smart phones or computers till technological perfection is attained.

Posted by TamilIndian on (December 4, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

One more question pls - regarding lack of prep matches on foreign tours.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

I support BCCI, they promote cricket every possible way in India. And its there responsiblity to promote in their country for any board. Everyone is bashing BCCI for DRS and we have seen it in the past DRS is not working in Eng for laxman and Dilshan of Srilanka, We mostly get right dicision from the umpire and then why we need it? And also it costs more money it can be affortable for BCCI but I'm not sure about other boards?

Posted by Biggus on (December 4, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Hilarious! Mr Srinivasan doesn't think the BCCI acts like a bully! Who would ever have thought? I guess that clears the whole issue up eh?

Posted by abs.liton on (December 4, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

@ Board president N Srinivasan: If you have no belief in DRS that is one of technological affairs in cricket, then why are you using third umpire on TV? In domestic cricket, there is no way to get the advantages of third umpire's decision on TV. So you should depend on field umpires only. All the other boards agree to DRS whereas BCCI is away from this. Some decisions did not go with your team and that's why you have no interest in DRS. Some decisions may not go with you unfortunately but you can't give up DRS. You should think over the decisions of other boards too what they say about it. Be fair.

Posted by Milindbk on (December 4, 2012, 4:18 GMT)

It is funny that BCCI does not have courage/power to drop Sachin Tendulkar but gets accusations of being a bully at ICC

Posted by cgs2606 on (December 4, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Test Cricket is a 19th century sport struggling in 21st century. Simple. Live with it. It's not shorter formats that are dangerous for Tests, the 5 day game itself is outdated in this day. Stop blaming everything.

Posted by Rahulbose on (December 4, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Hmm, interesting reading this article. Kind of disappointed that you did not ask about the "conflict of interest" issue with N Srinivasan being the BCCI president.

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (December 4, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

As the old saying goes, "There are always two sides to a coin". Thanks to cricinfo for letting us know the view from he other side. It has become fashionable these days to criticize the BCCI for anything and everything , call them all sorts of names etc. This interview should help dispel many myths. In a large democracy like India, there is no dearth of critics, nice to read about many positive initiatives by the BCCI

Posted by Easygoing525 on (December 4, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

I think Mr Srinivasan has got it wrong. He can't say only teams are doing well at their own backyard. The recently concluded tour between SA and Aus is a proff of that. SA beat Aus in Australia. So Mr Srinivasan is wrong. Indian team is not mentally tough to beat countries like SA and Aus. Indian team is mentally weak. Most of the subcontinet teams are weak mentally to be honest. It's to do with the social up bringing. The kids in Aus and SA are let to decide their future in a very young age and be accountable and responsibe when they are young. This is good as she or he has to do everything by his or herself. Subcontinent kids are cotten wooled so they are scared when they are adults and they are not mentally strong enough to analyse a situation at a crisis. So Mr Srinivasan you have to make sure the cricketers from sub continent are told this from young age to change their mind set. I mean this has to be told at the grass root level.

Posted by Edassery on (December 4, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Well, IPL has been a huge success and BCCI really made money. If you call IPL success as Indian cricket's success, then yes, BCCI has been really successful. But the reality is that the Indian cricket (as in when BCCI represents the country in T20, ODIs and Tests) has suffered big time and facing humiliation all around.

Posted by tradetekbiz on (December 4, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

"I don't think it's fair to call the [us] . . . a bully" - So said every bully that ever was.

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Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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