Gideon Haigh
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Cricket historian and writer in Melbourne

The sovereign republic of the BCCI

The Indian board is setting a precedent by ignoring the FTP, and thus seemingly reserving the right to do with international cricket as it pleases

Gideon Haigh

September 16, 2013

Comments: 202 | Text size: A | A

BCCI president N Srinivasan during the ICC meeting, Colombo, October 9, 2012
The ICC govern in the interests of cricket? Not on Srinivasan's watch © ICC/Getty
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At one point in his excellent new book on the modern powerhouse of Indian cricket, The Great Tamasha, James Astill stops to wonder whether India is becoming "an oligarchy, a democracy stage-managed by a corrupt super-elite". One might harbour exactly the same thought about cricket.

Consider this: under the ICC's Future Tours Programme, the BCCI was scheduled to visit South Africa between November and January for three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20Is. Except that in July the BCCI began to dicker about the schedule, in the same way as six months earlier it had refused to be pinned down on the matter of a schedule for a tour of New Zealand, also listed in the FTP.

Never mind that South Africa and India, first and third on the ICC Test rankings, represent probably the best cricket we have a chance of seeing in the present environment. Never mind that Cricket South Africa, like New Zealand Cricket, is an organisation whose finances depend acutely on television revenues, of which the presence of an Indian cricket team would afford them a share; in fact, that was the point. Then the BCCI announced that India will play two home Tests against West Indies, not part of the FTP, partly overlapping with the time previously allotted to the South African tour. It is now possible there will be no visit to South Africa at all.

On all this, there was no elaboration whatsoever, official or unofficial. In positing nine possible explanations for the Wisden India website, Suresh Menon observed that the BCCI had gone beyond its usual domineering ways and was "functioning like a secret society". All that seems agreed is that the BCCI and CSA have a feud. We know this because CSA's chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, has offered to apologise, which apparently BCCI's locum president Jagmohan Dalmiya thinks is a good idea without troubling to specify for what - something that transpired when Lorgat was running the ICC, one must assume. Dalmiya was certainly sorely grieved when Lorgat shifted the India v England match from the badly incomplete Eden Gardens during the 2011 World Cup.

The other salient fact is that the BCCI has its annual general meeting coming up on September 29, the overpowering presence at which will be its il capo dei capi, N Srinivasan, temporarily restricted by the betting misadventures of his son-in-law in the IPL but still the master string-puller. Since the May allegations about Gurunath Meiyappan, and about spot-fixing in the IPL, the BCCI has lurched about like many a debauched and embattled political regime.

Quick private inquiry to exonerate all concerned - thank you, former judges Chouta and Balasubramanian! Rehabilitation of former enemies it is now expedient to embrace - sorry that we once expelled you "for life" for corruption, Mr Dalmiya! Morale-boosting tributes from selected kiss-ass courtiers - congratulations, Mr Shastri, on a Sardesai Lecture that had it been delivered in North Korea would have brought a blush to the cheek of the Dear Leader!

The decision to superimpose West Indies' visit on what should have been the trip to South Africa is double the fun. There's crude populism - hey everyone, let's cheer for Sachin's 200th Test! There's gratuitous gunboat diplomacy - if you want our money, Mr Lorgat, you better beg for it! And it coincides nicely with the meting out of "justice" to the previous regime - that means you, Mr Lalit Modi! Because that general meeting has already been designated for imposing a life ban on the IPL's Icarus-like founder after a three-year investigation found… well, not as much as it wanted. After all the initial finger-pointing, the BCCI's star chamber had to work pretty hard to make the crime fit the pre-ordained punishment, because in the end he has really only been convicted of the high-handed unilateralism for which he had always been known, and in which the BCCI had previously indulged him. Perhaps his misdeeds lie elsewhere; perhaps the charges themselves achieved the desired end anyway.

****

To be fair to the BCCI, cricket administration is hardly to be associated with transparency and accountability anywhere. It is the domain of self-constituting national monopolies. Cricket boards have no shareholders to appease or voters to placate. The cricket-loving public, in whose name administrators sometimes purport to govern, are diffuse, unorganised, and care little about who's running things, providing they enjoy a bit of what they want every so often - whether that's semi-regular ebullitions for Sachin in India, or the maximum Ashes cricket in Australia and England. Unlike players, bound tight by codes of conduct, boards essentially police themselves, with all that that entails. What some regard as cricket's overall governing body, the ICC, has the barest powers of oversight, and receives from most of its directors only perfunctory attention: they have not visited its headquarters for nearly 18 months, preferring to meet in a resort at colossal expense while complaining that the council costs too much.

This is actually a subtext of the present imbroglio. None hold the ICC in such conspicuous contempt as its largest member, the BCCI having declined to sign the FTP and now setting a precedent in ignoring it altogether. The casus belli was the Woolf Review, a thorough examination of the governance of world cricket initiated by Lorgat, which in February 2012 made high-minded, far-reaching and arguably unrealistic proposals for turning the ICC into a full-fledged governing organisation with independent directors.

The BCCI was having none of it. The ICC govern in the interests of cricket? Not on Srinivasan's watch. And as it happens, a tiny chink of light is available to study this by: it's a copy of the minutes of the ICC's January board meeting, which has for many months been passing surprisingly unremarked on what we might call Modileaks - Lalit Modi's idiosyncratic but entertaining website.

 
 
The BCCI is an organisation with many more problems than are sometimes acknowledged - full of ambitious people pulling in different directions, operating in an uncertain political, commercial and legal environment, shaped by a turbo-boosted economy that has bestowed its benefits unevenly and whose impetus is currently faltering
 

For connoisseurs of shambolic governance, these minutes contain much to savour, but let's confine ourselves to two nuggets. Firstly, at section 6.2, you will find an attempt by ICC ethics officer Sean Cleary to raise Clause 3 of the council's code of ethics which binds ICC board members to act as, amazing to say, ICC board members. Let the minutes record: "Mr Srinivasan explained that he did not agree with that principle and that his position was that he was representing the BCCI." Singapore's Imran Khwaja, one of three Associate member representatives on the executive board, then pointed out the bleeding obvious, that "this matter needed to be resolved one way or another in order to avoid directors technically being in perpetual breach of the Code of Ethics and for the ICC to be seen as a credible organisation and an effective Board". And, of course, everyone then stepped delicately round the multi-billion-dollar elephant in the room.

In order to convey his point, Cleary rather bravely invoked examples of ethical failures at FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, and Union Cycliste Internationale: "He emphasised that the current version of the Code of Ethics binds everybody, but that if it is flouted by all, then it becomes meaningless." Yet rather than an address what might be regarded as a pretty fundamental point, Srinivasan responded by calling on Cleary to investigate "certain matters, which relate to the former Chief Executive, Mr Lorgat".

What this means, who is to say? Innuendo now swirls around Lorgat in much the same way as it did around Modi, with nobody showing much interest in clearing it up - not even journalists, happier these days to feed a swirl of rumour than do anything so vulgar as unearth a fact. Anyway, precisely nobody was prepared to point out the manifest absurdity of Srinivasan's position - the board member who openly scorned the code of ethics in his own case demanding that it be applied to someone else.

Secondly, at section 9.3, ICC legal officer Iain Higgins attempts to lead a discussion of the FTP agreement, whereupon Srinivasan explains why the BCCI refused to sign it. Let the minutes record:

"Mr Srinivasan explained that the BCCI's position was that it wished to retain the right to unilaterally terminate the FTP Agreement: a/ in the event of certain financial or structural changes emanating from the implementation of certain recommendations from the Woolf Report; and b/ should it be required to use DRS in any bilateral matches. In the meantime he explained that the Indian national team would continue to play the fixtures in the FTP Schedule, but he noted that it was finding it difficult to continue the commitments because there are so many events in the calendar."

Well that's jolly nice of them, then.

Incidentally, although Modi is being a little cheeky posting these minutes online, there's really no reason for them not to be freely available. They concern matters of significance to every cricket fan, and contain no information that could be described as commercial-in-confidence. An administrative class that took transparency and accountability seriously would make all such deliberations public. We are in a day and age of whistles being blown left and right. Yet we know more about the internal policies of the US' super-secret National Security Agency - thanks to Ed Snowden - than we do about the attitudes and purposes of those who run cricket. So let's get it out there, shall we?

The BCCI represents itself at the ICC in open defiance of the council's code of ethics, and deigns to play other countries only in an unspecified "meantime", reserving the right to set the whole of international cricket at nought if anything should happen it doesn't like. If it won't acknowledge it publicly, then we should spread the word ourselves.

****

For the moment, international cricket under the foregoing conditions quite suits the BCCI, preserving its freedom to reward those in favour, to punish those out of favour, and generally to intimidate the equivocal. Those favoured at the moment evidently include the West Indies Cricket Board, whose captain was among those who obligingly changed their vote on the ICC cricket committee away from Tim May of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations to Srinivasan's water carrier Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.


Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel at a CSA camp, Kleinmond, August 29, 2011
Is the BCCI's long-term aim to prostrate an on-field rival, extending possibly to also levering CSA out of the Champions League? © Getty Images
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The BCCI gave the WICB a nice fat tri-series three months ago; now the WICB has returned the compliment by volunteering to provide extras for The Tendulkar Show. NZC now also enjoys a crumb from the rich man's table, a truncated visit by India being not only confirmed but brought forward, now that its mettlesome chairman and ICC executive board member Chris Moller is about to depart.

The out of favour obviously include CSA, despite the fact that four years ago it was CSA that made possible IPL 2 at the 11th hour. The trouble was, of course, that this abetted the BCCI's previous regime, the Modi-Pawar-Bindra alliance, rather than the present mob, the Srinivasan-Dalmiya-Sundar Raman junta; given the latter's manicheanism, that probably constitutes giving aid and comfort to the enemy. (In the annals of cricket administration, by the way, the relocation of IPL 2 must now be eligible for some sort of hall of shame, given its legacies of crises and ill will at both CSA and the BCCI.)

As noted, CSA is acutely beholden to the BCCI. The members of its superb Test team are in their playing and earnings prime, and understandably eager to play in the IPL. The country's six professional franchises depend heavily on the BCCI-led Champions League, in which CSA, with Cricket Australia, is a minority shareholder. Rightly or wrongly, some in South Africa sense that the BCCI's long-term aim is to prostrate an on-field rival, perhaps also by levering CSA out of the Champions League and replacing it with the ECB, thereby pauperising South African first-class cricket. So while the wranglings of administrators can seem as remote to the everyday fan as supersonic fighters in the stratosphere, they are, under the influence of an over-mighty BCCI, forming part of a more worrisome pattern. And what happens when Srinivasan's unspecified "meantime" expires?

****

From your more militant apologist for Indian power in cricket, response to observations like the foregoing usually condenses to: well, tough luck; you ruled; now we rule. Yet this misunderstands the nature of the change in cricket's patterns of governance. In the hundred years and more that authority emanated from Lord's, cricket was run along the lines of an English public school, at least as defined by Lytton Strachey: anarchy tempered by despotism. Under the economic dominion of the BCCI, the world is converging on the opposite model: despotism tempered by anarchy, the anarchy coming mainly from within India itself. For the BCCI is an organisation with many more problems than are sometimes acknowledged - full of ambitious people pulling in different directions, operating in an uncertain political, commercial and legal environment, shaped by a turbo-boosted economy that has bestowed its benefits unevenly and whose impetus is currently faltering.

At an operational level, ironically, the BCCI is an increasingly impressive and efficient organisation, which probably deserves more credit for what it does and how it does it: allegations of player corruption in the IPL have been dealt with capably and expeditiously. At a governance level, however, it is an arena of self-advancement and self-aggrandisement.

External fights the BCCI is inclined to pick, like the current feud with CSA, sometimes look like the phoney foreign war confected to distract from an American president's personal peccadillos in Wag the Dog. "The president will be a hero," says the political fixer. "He brought peace." Someone quibbles: "But there was never a war." Explains the fixer: "All the greater accomplishment."

Certainly the BCCI annual meeting is being treated with outsized importance. Dalmiya has deferred consideration of the dispute with CSA until afterwards: "What we will decide we will decide only after the AGM. We are very busy with our AGM at the moment." Hey, never let the triviality of competition between the world's two best cricket teams stand in the way of something really important, like a meeting of administrators! But if we accept the BCCI at its self-estimation, there is a logical conclusion to this, in which international cricket, especially Test cricket, dwindles independent of its relations with India.

For some time, there have been essentially two tiers of cricket: the tier involving India (significantly lucrative) and the tier that doesn't (where, with the exception of the Ashes, the rewards are so thin that Sri Lanka can hardly afford to play Test matches any longer, and Zimbabwe and Pakistan must play consecutively at the same venue). The latter can only weaken further; the former is ripe for rationalisation.

One of the most fascinating passages in Astill's book is an interview with BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah, the board's longest-serving member, who runs cricket in the region of Saurashtra, thanks to a membership populated with friends, relatives and cronies that has not changed in 20 years. From his secure vantage point, Shah regards the cricket world simply as an irritation. Why does India have to send cricket teams abroad anyway? The IPL lights the way: all should come to India as supplicants.

 
 
In the years in which authority emanated from Lord's, cricket was run along the lines of an English public school: anarchy tempered by despotism. Under the economic dominion of the BCCI, it is despotism tempered by anarchy, the anarchy coming mainly from within India itself
 

At the moment we are getting money only when there is an international game. So I think IPL is the first step on this issue. Like in baseball, America is not worried whether other country is playing or not. Because cricket is a major game here, so we should not depend on whether England or South Africa come to India to get money…

ICC is trying to control us. That's my feeling. Most of the other boards do not like that we make so much money and that their revenue depends on whether our team goes to play them. So the whole thing has been reversed. For cricket the only market in the world is India. The market is here. So we will control cricket, naturally.

Shah isn't exactly one of cricket's leading-edge thinkers, being remembered at the ICC for his fervent denunciations of T20 during Malcolm Speed's period as chief executive: he declared it an abomination to which India would never be reconciled. Yet Astill came away from their conversation with the feeling that Shah represented the BCCI's "majority view". This may or may not be true. What it more likely reflects is the prevalence of a view at the BCCI that the cricket world's only proper attitude to it is one of homage.

For the time being, as it negotiates a broadcast deal for the cycle of events beyond the 2015 World Cup, the ICC is relatively secure. But it is also in the throes of reviewing its group structure, specifically the use of the British Virgin Islands by its development arm, and its revenue-distribution model, including how it will handle the allocation of its next lot of rights monies. Late next year, too, an option is exercisable on the ICC's headquarters under which it can be "put" back to the building's developers, Dubai Sports City.

The council could emerge from the process a very different-looking entity, most likely a smaller one, relocated to somewhere like Singapore and reduced to a kind of provider of auxiliary services, although still available to blame when things go wrong. Such a step would be unobjectionable to most cricket publics, who identify the council mainly with fiascos - overlong tournaments, unintelligible playing conditions, the DRS passim.

That would leave the way open to a long-awaited extension of the IPL season. In the IPL, the BCCI created a mighty sporting product that was also a rod for its own back. The league in its original specifications and duration was only a marginal commercial proposition for franchisees: why invest in a sporting brand name in order to leave it inactive for nine or ten months of the year? As soon as private capital entered cricket, the rules were different - its impact has simply been deferred, not avoided. The one thing of which we can be fairly certain is that the interests of cricket will be the least concern of anyone with influence over the decision. The predominant motivations will be individual ambition, commercial advantage and potential political gain, and by the time we're told what has happened, there will be nothing to do about it.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

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Posted by   on (September 20, 2013, 18:36 GMT)

I wonder how BCCI would have felt if CA pulled the same stunt? Scheduling a 3 test series vs Bangladesh or Zimbabwe so Clarke & Haddin could bring up their 100th & 50th test matches @ home instead of touring India for a pointless limited overs only series.

Posted by brusselslion on (September 20, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

@TheOnlyEmperor: Perhaps we are talking at cross-purposes due to my misunderstanding of your original points. If so, I apologise. However, in my defence, a statement like "... (BCCI has) shown how to make the sport profitable and earn money from the game" does imply that the sport wasn't previously profitable - which isn't the case - and that it took the BCCI to move things forward: The BCCI - like the EPL in football - has proved itself very adept at generating vast sums of money, but neither the BCCI, nor the EPL, has been been particular innovative or pioneering.

Your comment about ground capacity actually reinforces - rather than negates - my point: The fact is that India no longer fill 50/60k capacity grounds for Test matches - whereas they used to regularly fill the old 100K Eden Gardens - so I hardly think that Test cricket in India is 'shining' under the current BCCI stewardship.

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

TheOnlyEmperor, The reason that BCCI exhibits so much arrogance in world cricket is because too many of you are over-praising them for innovations that were created by ther people. You may be too young to know anything about an Australian money magnet, the late Kerry Packer. He was the first man to plan and implement a system whereby cricket and the players made lots of money. Then Adam Sanford, an American who lived in Antigua was the real man, who used the experiences of Viv Richards, Mike Hoding and other former West Indians who were involved in the Packer series, to come up with his brand of a T/20 competition in WI, from which most of the ideas that you see in the IPL now are being borrowed by BCCI. In fact, Sandford was the first man, via his T/20 model who made West Indies cricketers millionaires. It was as a result of his unfortunate summary eviction from the cricket scene that BCCI was able to capitalise on some the things he was doing in WI to make IPL what is today.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 20, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

@brusselslion : "I couldn't disagree more with some of your assertions. "

You're welcome, but your points don't take away anything from what I've written. The "pioneer" argument means little when people haven't learned the fine art of how a game needs to be run in this day and age. When you acknowledge that the BCCI has taken things to "another level", you forget that is precisely the crux of my points. As for the 100k crowds in India, no stadium in India has that sort of capacity...maybe just the Eden Gardens if at all. It's pointless romanticising about Packer. That was a different age, when even the ODI format was nascent. The world has considerably moved on in 40 years, including the monies involved in the game, so if we are to talk in context then it should be this day and age.

Posted by Biggus on (September 20, 2013, 11:06 GMT)

@RSairam:-I agree that Sivaramakrishnan will not challenge the BCCI. I also agree that Tim May would have had little success with that body, such is it's determination to deny it's players independent representation. Tim May could only help if he was asked to, and I would suggest Indian players are far too terrified of crossing the BCCI to have asked for assistance. He was, however, able to help with the requests for assistance that he did receive from players from some other countries. So, while his demise means little to Indian players given the attitude of the BCCI it means a great deal to players to whom player representation is an expected thing. All that has been achieved is to deny representation to everybody. If Asian players, for whatever reason, find utilising player representation problematic that's their business, but now Western players are saddled with a rep in whom they have no confidence and who not shown any inclination to do his job properly.

Posted by RSairam on (September 20, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

@Biggus - I certainly dont know anything special about Sivaramakrishnan that you dont..but I do know that BCCI is too big for a player representative to do anything.. To my knowledge Tim May could not do much about too much cricket (although he did try) and in my opinion (I may be prejudiced) only served the interests of Eng/Aus/SA cricket boards by-and-large..I also felt he could not build constructive relation with ICC to move things forward.. Also mind you - captains did vote-out Tim May (never mind the controversies). Its only democracy at work!!

Posted by brusselslion on (September 20, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

@TheOnlyEmperor: I couldn't disagree more with some of your assertions.

"..cricket a passion and the number 1 sport in India" No doubt about it. "It has shown how to make the sport profitable.." & "The BCCI brought in sustainable corporate interest and money involvement to the game" Maybe things have gone up a level but sorry the TCCB, CA & Packer (especially) were the pioneers. ".. that you need not be the best cricket side in the world to make the sport the number 1 sport in the country" Arguable. Cricket's traditionally been the #1 sport in Australia.

"BCCI showed how to make a money spinner out of the 20-20 format .. when every other country failed to do so" The IPL takes things to another level but 2020 orginated in England and has always been profitable

"The BCCI showed that all 3 formats have a place to shine .." You're kidding! The BCCI have demonstrated their total disregard for Test cricket: The days when 100k people watched a days Test cricket in India are gone

Posted by Biggus on (September 20, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

@RSairam:-I think that's a pretty fair assessment.

Posted by RSairam on (September 20, 2013, 4:52 GMT)

Contd..Ofcourse I would love India vs SA to be atleast 3 tests but please dont relate to monetary loss suffered by SA..The true loss is for cricket lovers..And dont expect BCCI or ICC to really encourage good cricket..I think until people loath T20, this too-much-money T20 leagues thing is going to continue. For that sake, I hope all fixing charges and proved and people move away from T20..

Posted by RSairam on (September 20, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

I think the day cricket started being over-commercialised, these things were bound to happen..I have been watching cricket for more than 20 years and I would say my first 5-6 years were simply the best. Most of the cricket viewers then were test cricket lovers first and then ODI. Now cricket watchers in the country are lot more but most of them are T20 which is not good really. Lot of decisions taken by ICC or any board is only towards money and naturally T20 is being assumed to be the cream. More T20 is going to kill cricket lovers and then cricket can easily be compared to baseball. Even ICC is introducing rules in the pretext of making the game interesting but the real intention is to get more money. It is killing cricket lovers like me.. Any board in today's era is only for money and not for the game. The only saviors of cricket are the players who still love the game. Even there we have spot fixing and very soon cricket matches will become like reality shows/soaps. Contd..

Posted by jay57870 on (September 20, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

Haigh plays the blame-game expertly but offers no concrete solutions. He knows how to argue both sides of a case, as in the Howard case. Then he blames BCCI for the failed ICC bid: His man got only 3 of 10 votes! That's democracy at work. Now about Tim May: If May & FICA have any issues with T20, why are so many foreign players, coaches, staff, umpires & commentators flocking to IPL every year? England's Margaret Thatcher once called trade unions a "British disease" that needed to be cured. The conservative Howard would likely agree. BCCI is doing just fine without a player union. Last year BCCI awarded monetary benefits to hundreds of current & former players (going back to the 50s) for their service to Indian cricket. L Siva was nominated by BCCI just like Howard was by CA-NZC. He won the election (6 of 10). Again, like it or not, that's democracy at work. Worse, Gideon's on the wrong side of the arguments. Show respect for others & their worldviews. Think about it, Gideon!

Posted by Biggus on (September 19, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

@SC13159:-"Why do you need a players representation? If any player/s have any grievances they can directly communicate it to the board members, who collectively will look after their needs." Surely you can't be serious? Do you believe in fairies too? The player's respective board is THE MOST LIKELY entity for a player to have issues with, and therefore is hardly likely to act in the player's interests to the exclusion of it's own. What you're suggesting is akin to the defendent in a court case asking the prosecutor to help them out.@RSairam:-History will judge how Sivaramakrishnan performs in his role, but do you know something I don't? Does he have experience in advocacy? Has he actually said or done anything yet? Would he ever act in such a way as to displease the BCCI, his benefactors, because that's actually his job, to represent international player's interests, without fear or favour, to the best of his abilities irrespective of who the other contending party is.

Posted by ladycricfan on (September 19, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

Why do you need a players representation? If any player/s have any grievances they can directly communicate it to the board members, who collectively will look after their needs. Who needs a single go- between? Even ex-players can have their grievances heard. Recently BCCI distributed one time payment to ex-players which the ex-players themselves initiated the idea.

Posted by RSairam on (September 19, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

@Biggus..I think you state the issue better (than the water carrier business quoted in this article). But I would still say give the man some time. He has come over controversies only now. What say? Tim May was in the office for 8 long years and its too early to compare.

Posted by Biggus on (September 19, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

@RSairam:-The BCCI has shown itself to be hostile, extremely hostile, to the concept of player representation. Now why would they sponsor the election of someone who they thought was going to do a really good job? Sivaramakrishnan is not viewed in a negative light by many because he's Indian or Asian but because we think he's been put there as a puppet by the organisation that hates the whole idea of player representation. Recently the Zimbabwean players considered striking in lieu of being paid. It seems to me that would have been a wonderful time for the man to show he means business don't you think?

Posted by jasif on (September 19, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

excellent article, exposing the BCCI. all the cricketing boards must decide among themselves the fate of cricket and should take a combined stance against this DON bcci. it is much needed as every day passes, BCCI is becoming more and more $$ eating giant with an unimaginable ego

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 19, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

Part 4: Of course, the BCCI has its faults. Everybody does. If you look close enough, everybody stinks sometime or the other. That's the reason disenchantment, discontent and divorces happen. The question is, has BCCI shown the ability to reform itself? Has it been able to decentralise power within its ranks? Is there enough public media activism and opinion to keep the BCCI from being rigid? The answer to this is YES. Not only has BCCI shown the ability to ban a power baron and IPL czar Lalit Modi, it has also shown the ability and resolve to sideline the sitting BCCI chief... and possibly overwhelmingly dethrone him in a few days time.. However, there are still trends that are disconcerting : 1) The increasing involvement of politicians in cricket administration. spells trouble for the sport and advent of rot. 2) The over indulgence of glamor in sport 3) The betting mafia, etc.

Cricket administration is complex and work-in-progress. We need patience and need to keep the faith!

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 19, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

Part 3: Success is a planned event. That's something all SUCCESSFUL people know. BCCI has been successful in running cricket as a viable and sustainable business model. It's success is no accident. It's success comes from the fact that it has actually got a lot of things right, in its juggling act of priorities. If Harvard were to draw a case lesson for making a success of cricket in a country, it will draw on BCCI as a source. There is no reason why the BCCI business model cannot be replicated in many a country, including say a country like China in the near future. The BCCI has taken the game of cricket away from the England - Australia power axis and that can only be good for the game and the global acceptance of the sport in the future. Long term success is a journey and there's a lot more to be done. It doesn't help in undermining and knocking down the biggest vehicle (BCCI) that is going to get cricket there! Petty minds seldom see the larger picture!

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 19, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

Part 2: One must also point out, that it is the BCCI, that has been responsible for bringing the big bucks to talented cricketers in sport in recent times. And it's not just the talented cricketers of the present day who have benefited, but also commentators ( expert and otherwise), the various coaching specialists, ex-cricketers and support staff. In India, the BCCI show - the IPL, trumps all media and broadcasting events during the 2 months by way of TRPs. If BCCI can galvanize eye-balls, command share of wallet of the advertisers, and generate stadium money at such a massive scale, all administrators and writers on the game who think that money grows on trees need to take a bow to BCCI for keeping them employed.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (September 18, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

If the game can't make money in major markets like Australia, England, South Africa without playing india and getting TV money from india, it needs to take a long hard look at its business model.

How can South Africa be so dependant on India to tour? Don't they sell tickets, domestic TV rights etc??

Posted by Ajay02 on (September 18, 2013, 19:44 GMT)

What a one sided article by GH. Go to India and see what BCCI has done : developing beautiful grounds, winning three world cups, Started IPL, rewarding x-players and securing there futures,donating about 70% of ICC budget, given world Sachin, Dhoni,Dhawan,Rahul, Kumble,Laxmans setting up cricket centres etc. There are bound to be disputes in every walk of life and BCCI is no different.

Posted by RSairam on (September 18, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@brusselslion - perfect.. So you agree it is provocative .. Exactly my point. You can't be provocative on the print.. It is only going to polarize people.. @biggus - disagree mate.. Are you saying BCCI recommended person can never be a player rep? How come a bcci nominated icc president can be good but not a player rep ? I stress again - just bcoz he is nominated by bcci you can't call him water carrier.. If u still insist on calling him so, first we should give the same name to all boards that seem to worship BCCI for their money!!

Posted by Sajith_Sivanandan on (September 18, 2013, 14:56 GMT)

Hubris is really BCCI spelt differently. We have the opportunity as a country and as a board to really help shape the future of cricket in a positive way. With the finances that the board has, the opportunity to drive it's growth amongst the grassroots level across India and other countries, to contribute to the development of children and much more is there for us. Instead it has descended to telling other boards whom to appoint as their CEO. Is the day far when they will presume to pick the teams of other countries? We have the opportunity to take the higher ground, to be big in thought and gesture and to be a leader. Let's take that opportunity lest BCCI becomes a verb that replaces so many other negative words in the English language.

Posted by brusselslion on (September 18, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

@ RSairam: I'd agree that the tone of the article is slightly provocative (maybe that was the author's intention?) but what is to be gained by having a "generic" article on the abuse of power in cricket? We are talking about the present and future - which can be influenced - hence the need to focus our attention on the BCCI as the most powerful player in the cricket world.

The MCC's/ TCCB's mismanagement of the Jardine, D'Oliveria and Packer affairs - to name but 3 examples - might be interesting to an historian but imo have very little relevance to the problems faced by cricket today. For an author/ poster to mention such matters here is merely being 'politically correct' for the sake of it.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (September 18, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

Posted by jay57870 on (September 18, 2013, 0:20 GMT): That is by far the most sensible comment I have seen here. Well said Sir! One sided journalism and media reports do nothing but harm the game and leave a bad test in mouth. For fans following such articles, it is easy to forget facts and numbers in a frenzied barrage of invective. By all means we should criticize BCCI when it is doing something wrong but to term it as the reason behind all evil is ridiculous.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (September 18, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

sad to see that SRT is still chasing records and BCCI is shielding him. He should have retired right after Aussie series or even before that. Everyone says only he can decide when to retire. I dont deny that. But is he good enough to be featured in Indian playing XI?? A player who averages 31 in last 2 and a half year ,batting at no 4 should not be in the team.

Posted by Biggus on (September 18, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

@RSairam:-The reason for the condescension with regard to Sivaramakrishnan as a players representative should be obvious. He's a citizen of a country that doesn't have a player's union, and who's controlling board is openly hostile to the whole idea of player's representation, yet this controlling body, the BCCI, lobbied strongly for his election. One doesn't have to be Einstein to understand that this was supported by the BCCI because they knew he'd be ineffective, a broken reed, from the very start, and the very last thing the BCCI wants is Indian players getting ideas that they can be the masters of their own destiny. I have nothing personal against the man but he's been installed there for the very purpose of neutralising the player's representation. If he's done it knowingly he's complicit in undermining player's rights and if he's oblivious to the implications he's a bit of a dill. His playing career is irrelevant, he's SUPPOSED to be representing the player's rights now.

Posted by RSairam on (September 18, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

@Rufus_Fuddleduck..Ofcourse we do not want Phd material. but why tell only one side of the story? Why call Sivarama a water carrier? Just bcoz he is from India? What does the author know about him to call him so? The point is ICC has always been spineless and different boards have been dominating all the time. So why crib only now? Why suddenly everybody thinks ICC is not doing well and its all bcoz of BCCI? We did not have cricinfo all the time but I dont recollect any articles worrying about ICC 15 years back

Posted by RSairam on (September 18, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

@brusselslion - Yes nobody has a solution. Two wrongs dont make a right..Agreed,,makes perfect sense. But we are simply not here to find solution to this problem.Our point is on this blogger's tone..Why cant this article give a generic view on how dominance has affected the game (throughtout cricket history). Infact it never mentions about how boards used authority earlier..It always sounds like only BCCI is acting this way. Atleast I have not seen any such article..

why should he call Sivarama as water carrier?

Posted by jasonpete on (September 17, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

@ DesiHungama,It's high time ,you come out of this victims mentality.Pakistan got sidelined due to their own security failure towards an International cricket team.Not Only India,no other team are willing to tour Pakistan at this current situation.Bangladesh cancelled their tour to pakistan for the same security fears and players unwillingness to go ahead with the tour.Triseries arranged by WI cricket board,so that they get more revenue during indian team invovnent.It's necessary to keep your own house in order,rather blaming it on others is not going to solve your problem .IPL is a private league but security during the IPL days are managed by government officials and visas to handled by GOVT.Pakistan security failure is responsible for the current sidelined situation and not India.Wake up and see the reality.

Posted by HumungousFungus on (September 17, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

"Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it"...As true in 1770 as it is today

Posted by Nampally on (September 17, 2013, 17:18 GMT)

Despite all the comments by various writers, the Dubai meeting between Lorgat & Patil will be the "Decider". It is time the 2 Boards- BCCI & CSA - put their personal differences aside & give #1 priority to Cricket. Forget the past & let the new chapter begin with need to maintain courtesy & diplomacy in maintaining past friendly relations between the 2 countries. It does not make any sense when the likes of Kallis, Steyn, Morkel, et al, are so involved in the local Indian communities thru IPL. These guys spend several months in India & are part of the local scene. I am sure the members of BCCI & CSA will take a page out of the integration of the SA players in the local scene & set aside their differences. These Boards exist because of Cricket & owe their jobs & livelihood to the sport of Cricket. This is the biggest opportunity for Lorgat & Patil to break the deadlock - shake hands & sign off the finalisation of the SA tour by India to a mutually acceptable itinarary. Move Forward!

Posted by Desihungama on (September 17, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

I said it years ago and I am saying it again. World Cricket has made a tremendous blunder by handing the reigns of cricket over to India. Maturity and responsibility are the first trademark to ensure to look after the interest of "All" instead of few. They tried and succeeded in sidelining Pakistan. Everyone saw but no one spoke. They bullied Bangladesh into cancelling their tour to Pakistan. Again, no one spoke. They recently messed with Pakistan's tour to WI by offering to play few meaningless ODI's with SL and WI at the cost of scrapping Pakistan's test matches with WI. Let's not even talk about Pakistani player's exclusion from IPL. I thought it was private and not Govt owned? They disregarded NZ ftp altogether and now final nail in the coffin of ftp is their cancellation of SA tour. When England ran things, cricket flourished and crickets flocked to England. Now, you need to bend your backs, say a word or two of apologies and hoping you'd get that damn Visa.

Posted by PrajithR on (September 17, 2013, 15:59 GMT)

@RussDegnan. Whom are ICC accountable to? To 10 Test playing countries or to the paying public. Can it assure that it is spreading money evenly on a per-capita basis. Absolutely emphatic No. Current system ensures that on per-capita countries like SA, ENG, SA, SL etc makes many times that of an average Indian. That is the vested interest in FTP. Same ration for a goat and an Elephant.

You think BCCI cannot make money without FTP. Let ICC withdraw this for two years. India can conduct Tri-series & bi-laterals on revenue sharing basis (modified versions of old Titan cup, Sharjah cup) etc. Teams will still come to India since the revenue share will be much greater than say a bilateral between WI-SL or SA-NZ.

The role of FTP is precisely to prevent such a situation, since the 9 countries will lose the golden goose.

Posted by PrajithR on (September 17, 2013, 15:45 GMT)

@RussDegnan, - 'ICC owns the World Cup and distributes 75% of that revenue to 10 full members'. This exactly the problem. A 7.5% share for India which contributes 70% above of that revenue and 7.5% to other 9 Teams who contrute between 1% to 5% of revenue. 9 winners & one loser always as prefixed by ICC. Fair to you but not to me. This is not spending money for development of game.

Regarding 'quarter of revenue of EPL from overseas'. I am concerned only about domestic revenue. EPL makes sure that English domestic money is returned back to English football. But BCCI cannot take a similar stand and expand IPL (because FTP will not allow it). And India gains nothing from FTP, hence its disinterest.

Let Market decide the growth of the game. ICC should remain confined to conducting a single world cup like FIFA. Let Individual boards decide what they want to play in rest of the time. That way way BCCI will be able to generate optimum revenue based on market demand.

Posted by Leg-Breaker on (September 17, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

Wish there was > 1000 chrctrs to comment. What Gideon has done that ICC has not is to bring more than 200 people together for a no holds barred discussion. Well done.

While there are different viewpoints, the one common thread is everybody here loves cricket, wants to watch it (the preference for type of cricket, venue, opponent, result varies) Sadly, the same cannot be said for BCCI or ICC. Others may be only marginally better .

Srinivasan and Dalmiya illustrate the aptness of the writer's reference to Oligopoly. Absolute power has corrupted absolutely. IPL has taken blatant, shameless corruption to ridiculous heights on the field

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (September 17, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

Can some body explain me if the 7 odis that SA scheduled with out consulting BCCI was part of the FTP?

@IPSY you can come up with all your 'made up stats'.I knew Sachin had multiple injuries(tennis elbow was his major problem during that period ) . I checked the stats and he wasn't as bad as you suggest.(and you safely ignored his avg of 45 against Pak in that period) You say Dravid was worth those many chances. Do you know how many chances he was given prior to his tour of Eng 2011? (He was in lean patch 2009-10 or even more)

I know sachin is no longer the batsman he once was and could probably fail in the coming matches (WI or SA) It is of no concern to us whether you believe he is great batsman or not . But don't say that BCCI always shields him. He was denied a place in ODIs and will most probably end his career with in a year.

Posted by amitgarg78 on (September 17, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

@IPSY To counter you, one could quote records for sachin, but that's besides the point. Nobody questions Lara or ponting's status as a legend, but its embarrassing to keep seeing his name crop up in every controversy involving India. Did he actually write to you to tell you that he was gonna ask BCCI to organize a home game?

And, you may want to look at some of ananth's blogs on batsmen's consistencies in performance...

Interesting reads...

Posted by HarishKN on (September 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Gideon:

Where were you when for decades Australia and England were ruling the cricket world autocratically and at their whim with VETO powers at the ICC? Having said that, I for one do not support or accept the way BCCI is run or doing business.

Posted by RussDegnan on (September 17, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

@PrajithR This is where you are confused. A quarter of revenue for the EPL does not come from England, but from overseas commercial and tv rights. And none of that leaves England. That is because the EPL - a private entity - owns the league and takes the revenue.

The BCCI owns cricket played in India. It takes ALL the tv revenue for matches played in India. Other nations own the cricket in their own nations and sell it to the Indian public - who are not owned by the BCCI. The BCCI could choose not to tour, but that takes away both their leverage, and their ability to get reciprocal tours that might earn them revenue. The FTP is a deal between members, it is not imposed by the ICC. It is a terrible way to structure a sport, but it works well for the BCCI, ECB and CA.

The ICC owns the World Cup and the rights to it. It distributes, regardless of its need to support 106 nations, 75% of that revenue to 10 full members. No board has a "right" to more. It is not their property.

Posted by IPSY on (September 17, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

Cont'd: Gideon, That's why it's always so ridiculous to hear anyone trying to compare Tendulkar with Lara! Lara was a player who scorned the idea of competing against under-par players. He usually found reasons to miss any series that involved such players - to the point that he has never toured Bangladesh, neither played against Zimbabwe at home in the West Indies, on any of 2 tours here, while he was playing. And, notwithstanding his scorn for weak teams, Lara made his debut after Tendulkar and retired 7 years ago before him. But, even though Tendulkar had batted in more innings than him, when Lara retired, he still scored a mammoth 1365 runs surplus over Tendulkar; and, Tendulkar had just one 100 more, the 100 he scored before Lara began to play. Also, Lara has compiled such awesome big-score records to Tendulkar's NOUGHT to date! Add Lara's awesome MATCH WINNING exploits; then where's the comparison? Could you see Lara or Bradman fearing the best bowlers to defend their fame? No!

Posted by IPSY on (September 17, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

Gideon, To know why BCCI always has to find SOFT TARGET FOR TENDULKAR to save his face, readers can look at the career of this "great batsman" between Apr 5, 2004 and Dec 31, 2007 - a period of almost 4 consecutive years - short by just 3 months! Look specifically at his returns for the entire year of 2006! The figures show that for a period of 4 years, in 51 test matches, this 'great batsman' could only make runs against the school boys from Bangladesh! Now look at the similarity then, and what is happening now going into his third year! Could readers tell me which GOOD batsman in test cricket has ever had such LONG and ABYSMAL performance periods in their careers? "None"! So, what is the reason for all this hype about Tendulkar's greatness? Hence, all this nonsense from the BCCI is not worthwhile? Tendulkar is a good batsman; but he has been overly protected by BCCI over the years, to achieve a REASONABLE but OVERHYPED record! Dravid is worth it; but he would have refused! Cont'd:

Posted by PrajithR on (September 17, 2013, 14:19 GMT)

@Biso, Yes it is truly the unpalatable truth. But it does not mean the game will die off in other countries (just like it did not before Indian financial clout became prominent). In almost all Test playing countries, Cricket is among top 3 sports.

What author did not touch was the role of the other 9 Test playing countries. What is their interest in FTP (involving India only) ? Has this given rise to a cartelised lobbying for FTP from them ? Are the utilizing FTP as a source of easy money at the expense of India ? Is this a fair system ? Can this system be made fair? Can FTP money can be proportionally divided depending on percentage revenue contribution from individual countries ?

As an Indian I feel current FTP is unjust to the core & support the BCCI & Shah's quoted stand in this issue.

Posted by popcorn on (September 17, 2013, 14:03 GMT)

I wish Kerry Packer were alive. He would have finished off BCCI and Srinivasan. He would have re-started a multi billion dollar World Series Cricket comprising Australia,England and South Africa. Any of the other countries who want to join,apply, sign an agreement, we'll consider your application. India can play in its own backyard with Bangla Desh and Zimbabwe.

Posted by PrajithR on (September 17, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

@RussDegnan, - 'what as like EPL means'. It means that due to EPL almost all money that English Public pays (through TV rights & ticket sales etc) are recycled back to English Football Economy itself (since EPL dominates English Football). A World cup once in four years takes only a minor segment of English public money (that too is given to FIFA - not home board - to spread the game)

But in Cricket FTP dominates play (an ODI and atleast two T20 World cups, champions trophy, asia cup and other bilateral FTP). Here Indian public money is spread between ICC & home boards (since home boards have exclusive rights). Only a part of Indian contribution is channeled back to India despite its huge need (just think about money needed to provide facilities for a 1.2 billion society)

ICC should limit itself to a single ODI world cup like FIFA (& spread revenue for development of game). Let Individual boards decide what they want to play in rest of the time.

Posted by RussDegnan on (September 17, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

@PrajithR I'm not sure which part is "like the EPL". The EPL is a league that sells collective tv rights. organises fixtures and distributes them according to a relatively equitable formula. It's aim is to maximise total revenue, expand into new markets and it does both very well - as does the NBA amongst others. FIFA conntrols world football. If they organised qualifiers between England and Mongolia, not only would England go but FIFA would keep the tv revenue.

Cricket neither maximises total revenue nor expands its markets. Every sport in the world is financially structured more equitably and makes some attempt at promoting good competition in the interest of the sport. It is the only sport in the world that doesn't force teams to play to a fixture, and doesn't make some attempt to share revenues from different markets. The idea that the BCCI is somehow getting less than it might in some other context is ludicrous. The idea that this is a good way to run a sport is ludicrous.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

"The ICC govern in the interests of cricket? Not on Srinivasan's watch".

This is the caption below Srinivasan's photo that comes with this article. I'm curious....(and curiosity never kills me!)

Is the caption, a viewpoint of the author of the article or that of espncricinfo?

Posted by Naresh28 on (September 17, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

I dont know why people keep bringing up Sachin's 200th test. This is utter nonsense. The guy hardly plays cricket these days. Leave him to retire the way he wants to - he is gradually easing out of the game. He does not play T20 and Odi anymore. Test cricket is further shrinking off. He has got nothing much left in cricket. The Indian team has ample replacement waiting in wing. Also no use harping so much on BCCI rather look at how weak and timid the ICC is - they should be running cricket. So who runs world cricket BCCI or ICC? And who is suppose to run it?

Posted by Rufus_Fuddleduck on (September 17, 2013, 12:17 GMT)

@humdrum and RSairam - the topics you both suggest could make for Ph D material. Then we could have the honour of reading Dr Gideon Haigh!! Though I am not sure how much the personal interviews will go. Especially Chris Broad who has this tendency to kick figuratively and literally now and then. @humdrum - you may recollect tendencies of umpires on the overseas tours. People like Chanderpaul have been less than effusive about all the close decisions invariably going Australia's way. Not that it is worth holding a brief for BCCI. But complaints from the old cosy club are more funny than alarming.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

The Indian general elections are due in 2014 and the security apparatus cannot cope with covering the election demands as well as the IPL. As was the case last time, BCCI would necessarily have to look to foreign shores to hold the IPL and the most favored country to host it would ALWAYS be South Africa ( compared to England) for any number of reasons. South Africa stands to gain big time through tourism revenue and cricket, just as they did last time when Lalit Modi held the IPL there. The BCCI has never grudged SA for the money it would make, directly and indirectly, as a result of the IPL being hosted there.

The issues between SA-BCCI are not about money. That said, given everything, many an Indian fan feels a lot more warmly to the South Africans than say the British or the Aussies.

Posted by ShanTheFanOfSachin on (September 17, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

BCCI should respect FTP and every other team tea in the world should respect FTP. Absolutely right!

Which is the ONLY test playing nation which has NOT played a Test against ZIM in the last decade? ENGLAND

Posted by Biso on (September 17, 2013, 11:40 GMT)

@ PrajithR- You have stated the unpalatable truth. The other unpalatable truth is that without India visiting other countries their boards finances will be in doldrums.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

The article on the issue of the current BCCI- South Africa 'row' has missed the central point which upset the BCCI to begin with.

BCCI had agreed to SA tour well in advance and every body was/is looking forward to it like any other true-blue cricket fan. However, I understand that the SA Board violated protocol in deciding the tour details on their own instead of taking the BCCI into confidence, as is the norm, when a visiting team is 'consulted'. The tour details involved the formats, locations, tour duration, etc. This is what upset the BCCI.

It may be fashionable to term the BCCI a bully, but then it's not commonsense to provoke a somebody with bad manners/conduct and expect to get away without a reaction.

Posted by PrajithR on (September 17, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

@RussDegnan, @Tony Francis - You both missed my point. Can you force England Football team to tour countries like India, Iran, Mongolia as ICC do? No. Why? Because as per FTP the total revenue goes to home board only. So an England vs Mongolia month long tour will make profits for Mongolia only (while all TV revenue practically would come from England). Secondly most of football is played in clubs (revenue for themselves only) with World cup being a distraction once every four years.

Barring IPL, India did not had a home fixture after march. India being a country of 1.2 billion, its revenue needs for growth of cricket (think per-capita) are much greater than say SA, NZ, SL etc. What is the legality in forcing India to tour others for most of your time (two World cups , champions trophy, asia cup and other FTP) which is purely based on generating money for home board & ICC

My point is - the 9 teams eye Indian money - Not India or Cricket. Why can't BCCI follow the same (like in EPL)

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Speaking as a South African, I will certainly not attend any game played by the BCCI XI on their tour, if it goes ahead, and I will encourage all I can to boycott the bullies.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

"From your more militant apologist for Indian power in cricket, response to observations like the foregoing usually condenses to: well, tough luck; you ruled; now we rule. Yet this misunderstands the nature of the change in cricket's patterns of governance. In the hundred years and more that authority emanated from Lord's,..."

The more militant apologist for Eng-Oz power in cricket seems to think, that Indian rule can never be better than Eng-Oz rule. When the English rule it is "authority", when the Indians do it, it's not in the "interest of cricket" because Indians are "shaped by a turbo-boosted economy that has bestowed its benefits unevenly and whose impetus is currently faltering".

I love such obtuse reasoning to desperately portray Indians and the BCCI in poor light, simply because it's so entertaining!

Posted by lemonstealer on (September 17, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

absolutely love the candidness of the article.no diplomacy here,take a stand, a radical stand as i believe the indian public must,indian cricket needs to be boycotted for its own good,people like ravi shastri cannot continue being the voice of indian cricket,sharad pawar doesn't experience a sudden metamorphosis when at the helm of affairs running cricket in india,people need to understand cause and effect better,we need a complete revamp

Posted by Anwaruzz on (September 17, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

As the Indian Team cannot win in Test Series' the BCCI has become the champion in the boardrooms

Posted by TopTipper on (September 17, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

The article is well-written, bold and provocative. As an India fan I am happy that we have analysts in the world cricketing system that stand up to the high and mighty BCCI and present bold opinions without any fear of backlash. Regarding calling names to Shastri and SRK, I am all for calling spade a spade without worrying too much about political correctness. The BCCI governance issues are so loud, their impact so wide spread that political correctness is no more applicable in this context. Additionally, these comments are not discriminatory at any level. If anything, they are culturally offensive at best. If only the great Indian fans can see through the mud surround BCCI will the cricketing world be a happy healthy place to be. Else the attrition of young players to other sports will continue strongly in non-subcontinent countries where other sporting options galore

Posted by anshu.s on (September 17, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

@RussDegnan,@Tonyfrancis, what @PrajithR and myself were not refering to English national team but English clubs or EPL as it is known , we were responding to a poster who stated that Madrid and Barca monopolise La Liga TV rights, i don't see EPL or English FA donating or sharing money with likes of cash strapped and debt ridden La Liga clubs .Why should BCCI be any different in regards to TV deal, without India's passion,support and involvement cricket will be reduced to a true minority sports .In England cricket is a poor cousin to Football , even Rugby and Formula 1 are more popular , similarly in Aus,SA,New Zealand sports like Rugby,Aussie Rules,Football are ahead of cricket in popularity stakes.TV value will make things clear and illustrate my point better , 4 year TV deal for EPL is 6.4 billion Euro while for cricket 260 million, NRL and AFL worth 1 billion dollars plus respectively while cricket right fetch 500 million Dollars...

Posted by Naresh28 on (September 17, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

TIME FOR ICC to be REVAMPED. The ICC needs to take control of world cricket. Also better representation is required of all cricket playing countries. BCCI should not be solely blamed for everything going on. We need ex-players at its helm.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

"ICC is trying to control us. That's my feeling. Most of the other boards do not like that we make so much money and that their revenue depends on whether our team goes to play them. So the whole thing has been reversed. For cricket the only market in the world is India. The market is here. So we will control cricket, naturally."

I have to agree with Shah. Every thing that he has said is FACT, whether the English and Oz like it or not. Even when the English and Oz play, the TV rights for telecast to India can earn sizable money, so it's Indian money that still spreading the cheer!

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

"Rightly or wrongly, some in South Africa sense that the BCCI's long-term aim is to prostrate an on-field rival, perhaps also by levering CSA out of the Champions League and replacing it with the ECB, thereby pauperising South African first-class cricket."

Such flights of fancy, all to demonize the BCCI? Wow!

Posted by humdrum on (September 17, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

@RSairam: And the double standards of the ICC match referees( notably Chris Broad) in awarding suspensions and fines merrily. Also Malcolm Speed did not exactly set the highest standards and cover himself with glory,did he ? So one set of rules for Eng,Aus and SA and if the rest try to protect their own interests

Posted by treut on (September 17, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

The "interest of cricket" is the same sort of coded language as the "spirit of cricket". It is quite simply a way to favor and privilege certain arbitrary "values" over others, certain groups over others.

Posted by crick_wizard on (September 17, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

I find the whole "you ruled; now we rule" stand ludicrous..just because USA was a superpower in world war two and dropped atom bombs does not mean that current emerging powers like China and India should now go about dropping atom bombs all over the world..

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (September 17, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

"Srinivasan's water carrier Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. "

It's not surprising to me at all that espncricinfo allows such language to be published by its writers.

Posted by treut on (September 17, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Haigh needs to apologize unconditionally for calling Mr Sivramakrishnan a "water carrier". It is offensive. As a former test cricketer he deserves greater respect.

Posted by sharidas on (September 17, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

ReverseSweepIndia...You have said it all for.. we Indian Cricket fans.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 17, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

@ moBlue on (September 16, 2013, 8:19 GMT) As anyone who was around at the time will be able to tell you, the men on the gate at Lord's refused entrance to all sorts of people: players from all countries (including Eng!), administrators, journalists & VIPs. They were, indeed, were ignorant of who the people concerned were and notorious for their inhospitable demeanour. Gavaskar's experience was not unique, believe me! Things have improved enormously since the 'jobsworths' have moved on. I suppose you could say it was a little like refusing Mike Atherton to give close-of-play reports from inside the various stadiums during the last India - England series. That showed a similar degree of social hostility, but knowing precisely who MA was, it was a deliberate snub. The BCCI is extraordinarily concerned with profit (for themselves), power & protecting egos. It does not operate for the good of the game, as the MCC has always done, despite its many short-comings - ages ago.That's the diff!

Posted by Rufus_Fuddleduck on (September 17, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

@PrajithR - good one, it isn't as if the Eng/Oz were exactly burning themselves among the heathen all these years. This time shoe is on the other foot, they want the BCCI's money and that too by complaining all the time, abusing their much better access to media. Given half a chance they would do worse and have done so. Mr Haigh's analysis is good as always but this time outweighed by, and buried under, purple prose. He perhaps can't recollect Ian Chappell saying that countries must earn the right to play in Australia. How many extended tours have Eng given in Sunny-Kapil-Sachin era? Just the last one!! India's recent tour of Zim was not self-serving. Home and away last five years - hardly anyone has been as consistent playing with everyone. Also for India no one has aggregated tons of grudges against the players, only the Board. Compare that with Eng/Oz Sir!

Posted by RussDegnan on (September 17, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

@PrajithR The English football team _is_ forced to play small nations. 90% of their matches are part of World Cup or European qualifying, which is why they've most recently been playing Ukraine, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova and San Marino. Not only that, but the TV rights for the World Cup and Euros are owned by FIFA and UEFA respectively, with less than 1/10th of the money generated being distributed to English football, as to English cricket.

If you are arguing that cricket should go down the path of football, with TV rights resting (and staying with) the ICC, and the ICC setting the schedule for 90% of matches, and India touring such minor nations as the Qatar, China or Nepal instead of Australia and England over and again, then bring it on!

For the record, cricket already has a La Liga model of TV rights (without the scheduling parity). What the BCCI is arguing for is the equivalent of a greater percentage of Champions League rights, currently owned by UEFA, based on origin.

Posted by ashok16 on (September 17, 2013, 5:18 GMT)

Article was a little too long that I got lost midway. But points made are valid. I think South Africa should appease BCCI, not by saying "sorry" , but by giving India some obvious advantage on the cricket pitch. My preferred method would be to limit the run up of the South African fast bowlers to eight steps. That being said, all things that go up will fall sometime. The fall of BCCI, is going to happen sooner than we think, and it is going to be ugly.

Posted by cricsavvy on (September 17, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

"For some time, there have been essentially two tiers of cricket: the tier involving India (significantly lucrative) and the tier that doesn't (where, with the exception of the Ashes, the rewards are so thin that Sri Lanka can hardly afford to play Test matches any longer, and Zimbabwe and Pakistan must play consecutively at the same venue). The latter can only weaken further; the former is ripe for rationalisation." --- Who prevents Sri Lanka from playing more test matches? Is it BCCI??? Why can't Zim afford to play in another ground??? Why they played a meaningless 2 test series? Is it BCCI's problem or ICC's? Why Pak cannot host international matches? Is it BCCI conspiracy?? Come on guys, BCCI cops the blame for all ICC's inefficiency. What happened to the DRS? How many articles and comments on this were against BCCI?

Posted by simon_w on (September 17, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

the problem is not so much with national boards acting in the nation's best interests -- it is in every cricket-playing nation's best interest to have a strong and healthy international game. the problem is with individual (and comparatively short-lived) regimes acting in *their own* best interests; harming the long-term vitality of the game for the sake of their own short-term game. what Mr. Srinivasan and the current regime at the BCCI is doing is certainly not in the best interests of cricket, and it cannot, therefore, be in the best interests of Indian cricket either.

Posted by Equanimous on (September 17, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

A brave article by Mr. Haigh. Despite knowing that people he is writing about are the sort of people that hold grudges and are looking for a chip to mount on their shoulder ( Lorgat could testify to that ) he went ahead and wrote it and cricinfo published it . Bravo ! Let some fearless journalism continue.

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 1:18 GMT)

Excellent article, as ever. The last paragraph is the most thought provoking. In the IPL, cricket has created a beast it can't control. The natural progression for the money men who control it is to turn it from a short tournament in the season into the season itself. Like football, it will eventually run for nine months a year.

The only way for cricket as we know it to survive would be for England, South Africa, and Australia to club together and act in unity, form a breakaway like the split between rugby union and league. Hard to see how the likes of Pak, SL, WI, could survive at all. What are the chances of an administrators in ENG/SA/AUS really having the foresight to exclude India and go their own way? Probably close to zero.

Of course, if international cricket fades away, where will the IPL get its stars? The legends of the game playing exhibition cricket is box office - nine months of second-rate T-20 with anonymous players sounds a bore.

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (September 17, 2013, 0:33 GMT)

Thanks Gideon, now I have finally garnered some actual information on the worrying scheduling. I have been worried because I'm certain I'd be right in assuming every young Indian batsman and B Kumar etc would be chomping at the bit to Test match tour RSA! What cricketer wouldn't ? It's the ultimate current "test". For Indian cricket's sake, I wish the BCCI would understand that their wonderful revenue stream is not their's, it is the Indian television owning population's ! What they watch is up to them ? I quietly suspect many of my Indian (cricket mad ) friends are similar in taste for watching cricket to myself ? If it's top quality Test Cricket - I don't care which teams are playing , I'll watch it !

Posted by   on (September 17, 2013, 0:27 GMT)

Other Boards and Media are feeling the heat when they have to dance to the tunes of BCCI. If they want BCCI money they have to listen to them it is as simple as that.Yes, BCCI is not following all the best practices. Agreed. Mohinder Amarnath man of the match and man of the series in 1983 world-cup was not paid enough that he has to wash his own clothes. Indian was at receiving end then and now other boards are at receiving end.

Posted by Leg-Breaker on (September 16, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

The article has good points, but lacks a cohesive story - The writer is usually logical & composed has been pushed to the limit and Gideon has risked showing his personality in this column and comes across us as capable of anger, envy, and insecurity. He acts like a pace bowler giving back to another team's pace bowler after being subjected to bouncers.

The description of India as a quasi-democracy is apt but unwarranted - Give her time. USA is more than 300 years old, Aus is more than 100. India is 65 - population, cultural differences aggravate issues. Things may improve. Cricinfo is not the forum.

About L Siva - you may know something that we don't, But, you should not be using such names. I tell my kids that. BCCI's IPL inquiry demands full attention and you have done incredible justice and questions need to be asked.

Posted by popcorn on (September 16, 2013, 21:58 GMT)

BCCI is not good for the game.

Posted by maaarsh on (September 16, 2013, 20:52 GMT)

Sitting in a country which currently sends £280m annually as a free gift to India, it is rather amusing to hear that we are only interested in Indian money.

If so, given the dire state of your exchange rate, growth rate, we will be very disappointed I suspect.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

Basically the main reason for cricket to be in such state right now is people find it pretty easy to blame indian cricket for it. Others are never accounted or blamed. They simply get away.All i want to say is i acknowledge BCCI has big problems but they are not the only problem. Do not blame them for everything. Others are also responsible. And to all Indians who simply join in to criticize , use your brains. The article is heavily biased and so are you Mr. Writer. And CSA was wrong on its part to declare schedule for the tour without any consultation with the other board . Its not that they forgot. It was simple ego. Where are your manners mister LORGAT!!! And bcci has been generous to boards by granting them tours like ti SRI , WIN . when did CSA send their team to ZIM who are their immediate neighbours. Not so generous are you Mr Lorgat , are you.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

I think its not appropriate for the writer to call someone a water carrier just because he was nominated. As with regards to the current scenario it is sad to see such a much awaited tour to be in such dire state. But i think both boards are to be blamed. I am not a big fan of bcci. And i think Bcci should be accountable to sports ministry and a portion of its earnings could be used for indian sports. Also if Bcci is a bully , other boards are no saints. Others are just jealous of the power which bcci have. And just to blame Bcci for cricket is stupid. ICC is responsible for cricket not bcci. So if you guys have any problems regarding administration , blame ICC not BCCI. What have English Board had done when they were the rulers.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

This is the best cricket article I have read in the past year at the very least. Well done Gideon Haigh, for raising this topic in such an effective manner. My only regret is that your articles are a rare treat on cricinfo. I think league cricket should be used to fund the real cricket: test cricket, but that is obviously not what is happening. League cricket has become the cancer that is slowly but surely killing the noble game. t20internationals have a charm of their own, provided they are kept in their place.However, this is too much. A "champions league" that should have just the domestic champion from every country but is just an ipl fest, and the ipl itself,which started by making India look like a horrible test team regardless of ranks (current ranks mean nothing ever since Australia's dominance gave way to a morass of mediocrity),and then went on to infect other countries too. Not to mention the corruption angle.Continuing are my prayers for my country to remain banned from it.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

@PrajithR - "Do England Football team donate money to other countries. Or can you force them to tour countries like India, Iran, Mongolia so as to evenly spread money?"

Yes - the England football team's competitive fixtures are dictated by UEFA and/or FIFA - like every other national team, we get drawn in a qualifying group every two years for the world cup or European cup, and we have to play whoever we're drawn against home and away. I'm sure the FA would rather play France, Germany, Brazil, Spain et al every month and rake in the cash, but instead we play Moldova, Ukraine, Montenegro - unglamourous but capable sides, with every chance of an embarrasing result.

Which is exactly the way cricket should work - the ICC should draw up the FTP without *any* interference from any of the countries involved, the countries should get on and play the games, and we'd have some proper international competition.

Posted by SimonTHFC on (September 16, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

Indian fans kidding themselves once again. the world and his dog knows that the reason they will pull out of the SA tour is that they are petrified!! With your lack of world class batsmen and even worse bowling you will be walking wickets and cannon fodder away from home once again. that's why they will stay at home and organise a nice little party on a friendly track against the WI for Sachin's 200th test. Maybe once that circus has left town you can get back to being a good cricketing side again? Sadly, with the blinkered view of your administrators I seriously doubt it.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 16, 2013, 19:26 GMT)

@linguboy - If May was representing any organisation it was FICA. Given the disputes he has had with cricket boards of many nationalities in his official capacity, he'd probably find it highly amusing that you consider him to be a representative of any of them. By contrast, like it or not, Sivaramakrishnan is employed by the BCCI.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (September 16, 2013, 19:19 GMT)

@Informed_Player_Management on (September 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT): Perhaps you would care to explain if, as you say, Spanish football system is a joke, how they are dominating world football and winning just about every trophy there is worth winning in football.....?????

Posted by BCCI__rules on (September 16, 2013, 19:10 GMT)

Mr.Gideon, please try to delve in to the previous governance of different boards and see if everything was at its place at it should have been.

We are living in a society where financial hegemony still prevails and dictates terms and there is nothing wrong with the way BCCI acts or functions unless it is deemed that their functioning is "illegal" according to ICC's constituents. What did cricket boards of England, Aus, or SA have done to improve cricket ? or for that matter why do we have to "improve" cricket....leave it the way it is. This talk about "serving cricket " / "governing in the interest of cricket" is absolutely rubbish.

What happened to Mr.Lorgat ? In his helm at ICC, he did not heed to BCCI's wishes and did exatly what an administrator should do..Hats off to him. But why is he, after elected to lead CSA, ready to "apologize" to BCCI.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

India cannot play cricket with itself and the cricket world has previously survived without Indian TV rights deals. Indian TV rights money will filter down to the countries that are willing to play ball and most likely those in the weakest economic position. Whether India tour SA or not is irrelevant. The game is bigger than one player.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

It is not a rocket science that Money talks! Stop whining and try to get a series or two for England, Australia and South Africa to make some bucks!.. Make hay when sun shines.. that's what BCCI does, like all other commercial organisations. What ECB (MCC) and CA used to do in 70s and 80s. Asian countries used to treated as if they never existed on the planet.. Wake up and get real you folks.. Money rules!. Without BCCI and perhaps for Ashes series no series is worth any returns.. So, start praising BCCI to get into their good books so that you can make more money when India is still playing decent cricket! Actually, the result of the series does not matter.. so, you can make money, so long as BCCI says YES we will play.. What BCCI does that MCC or CA didn't bother doing was that they are helping other small countries such as WI, ZIM, SL, Pak, NZ etc. MCC and CA never bothered to look at any of those struggling nations. Hats off to BCCI!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by malepas on (September 16, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Congratulation for such a frank and insightful assessment of BCCI's dictatorial approach towards FTP and other boards in particular and TOTAL disregard to the interests and aspirations of primary clients i.e public. The successful rewards of IPL being seen as the "Be all and End all" of perceived success, the arm twisting, pushing, interference and God like mind set has actually hurting cricket's core interests which is to do with fairness and equality, perhaps India needs to be reminded of this notion when they were on the receiving end of this back in 70-80's.Another victim of BCCI's cut throat approach has been the PCB, not only BCCI never honour its FTP obligations but has been actively engaged to disturb its series with other countries, its recent sabotage of PAK-WI test leg was an example and WI reward of Indian tour is the fruit. I think its high time for other boards to stand up to save the game from total destruction.

Posted by anshu.s on (September 16, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

@ Informed_Player_Management EPL analogy falls flat and Madrid and Barca example is the apt one , Barca and Madrid negotiate there own TV rights because there is a huge demand worldwide to watch them and TV companies recognise that fact , consider Indian cricket as Madrid and Barca rolled into one and TV companies only want to bid high amounts for matches where only India is involved not for anyone else.Do you really think La Liga is boring, isn't Spain the WC ,Euro,u21,u 19 champions,Spain / La Liga plays most technical,skillful,elegant football compared to kick and rush long ball EPL, i consider it very ironical that fans like you hate financial greed/monopoly of BCCI are supporting overhyped soulless ,money driven foriegn dominated EPL .Btw EPL is under heavy debts too , United,Liverpool are all under debts , while Chelsea and Man City loses are artificially covered up by there foriegn owners.@ PrajithR,well put rebuttal

Posted by android_user on (September 16, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

Lost interest one-fourth of the way through the article. The sole purpose seems to be to bash BCCI (with or without reason), make it out to be a villain (greater than what it really is), junk any supporters of BCCI like Shastri, and play to the gallery. Have to confess that I'm no fan of BCCI either, but any piece of journalism needs to have a sense of balance.

Posted by Bang_La on (September 16, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

It was Lalit Modi who first showed that how cricket should be played with corporate motto - maximization of profile. With the help of other crafty corporate bosses turned cricket bosses he succeeded and made India the richest sport organization in the world and shelved ole emotional cricket in dust. Money became the matter, not cricket. Now others seeing this either became greedy and wanted a piece of that chunk of money which BCCI has naturally been denying. So this is the storyline behind pointing finger at BCCI and the mantras of good cricket, democracy and equality are chanted. Alas, its too late to get the rein.

Posted by IPSY on (September 16, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

Cont'd: But since India doesn't want to play South Africa, all South Africa has to do is to play 5 test matches against Zimbabwe: 3 in Zimbabwe and 2 in SA; then 5 against Bangladesh: 3 in Bangladesh and 2 in South Africa to make up for lost time. In fact, it appears that this is the new trend that international cricket is taking now: If a country has a player whom they over love, they bilaterally seek some soft targets for him to have his fame glowing. But why Australia nor West Indies never did this for the genuinely great batsmen they produced: (the Bradmans, or Soberses, or Laras, or Viv Richardses, or Pontins)? South Africa has a chance now to do it for Kallis.

Posted by IPSY on (September 16, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

Gideon, Don't worry with all these silly administrative shenanigans being exhibited by BCCI! Haroon Largot's name is only a 'red herring' to disguise the 'one and only purpose' of this stunt by BCCI. Mr Largot said he knows of no wrong he has done, but would apologise if BCCI finds one. The main purpose of this is to protect Tendulkar's 51 (100s) from the imminent blade of Jaques Kallis' bat! And, it's not the first time BCCI has done this. In May 2007 they requested the Bangladeshi school boys test team to play a series IN BAGLADESH, OUTSIDE OF THEIR SEASON, to try to protect Tendulkar's 35 (100s) against Lara's 34 (100s), as Lara was about to tour Eng. Cont'd:

Posted by chechong0114 on (September 16, 2013, 16:11 GMT)

What BCCI is displaying here is just gross disrespect and disregard for others and the sport of cricket, if ever there was a case of bringing the sport into disrepute this is it. And the West Indies cricket board should not allow themselves to be a part of this kind of intimidation, if BCCI is so wanting to cash in on Tendulkar's 200 th test match then what they should do is not send him on the South African tour, everyone that knows anything about cricket knows that he could do with the rest. Send a full team to South Africa minus the little master and bring him back for their first home tour, its that simple. I guarantee you they would not do that to Australia so why do it to the South Africans. South Africa has a huge indian population so much so that they played the IPL their a few years ago when they were having issues with venues and the timing of the tornament, how dare they treat the South Africans like that now. Its just GREED and the ICC needs to step in and stop this.

Posted by PrajithR on (September 16, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

@Informed_Player_Management -'In England, all revenue generated by television rights is done on collective bargaining and every participating club is entitled to an equal share of the profits'

Isn't the same principle being followed by BCCI. Indian money is split between all IPL teams and Ranji teams. Why should BCCI be forced to tour another country. Do England Football team donate money to other countries. Or can you force them to tour countries like India, Iran, Mongolia so as to evenly spread money?

Are you saying it is okay for SA Eng, SL to eye Indian tour for money, but BCCI cannot take same approach for its interests. Why cannot SA, Eng, AUS go and tour countries like ZIM, BAN, Ireland once an year. No they won't. What they want is Indian money- Not India or Cricket

Posted by Nampally on (September 16, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

Mr. Haigh, As you say BCCI may be a "Republic" but it is strictly By & For its Own Board Members. Indian Cricket Fans have very little say influencing the BCCI decisions. In Indian culture, when we give someone a commitment- such as Tour of SA- it is always honoured. Mr. Lorgat's election of CSA Board Chairman should not dictate the BCCI to either curtail or eliminate the SA Tour. As a Loyal Indian Cricket fan, I will be sad if this happens. BCCI & CSA are representing India & South Africa's country interests. Personal differences must not be above the National interests & century old history.

Posted by common9 on (September 16, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

Nice one, Gideon. I am chuckling too. I remember your better pieces on Cricketianment and Kapil's natural heirs being both informational and thought provoking. The only way to explain the opening of this piece (India as "an oligarchy, a democracy stage-managed by a corrupt super-elite") is the author's deep psychological need to be hated, the truth or otherwise of the quotes notwithstanding. Obviously that makes you chuckle. Rather than explaining the obvious, ad nauseum, you should have tried to develop the only relavent fragment of information you have touched upon in the essay, the one you chose to end with. Take your own advise and "do any(some)thing so vulgar as unearth a fact" about the world series -isaztion of cricket in India. Because that is the only thing to do now. Not Page 3 reporting on Modi-Srinivasan break ups and Dalmiya-CSA flirtings.

Posted by Informed_Player_Management on (September 16, 2013, 14:12 GMT)

@ROXSPORT

No such deal exists in football, with the sole exception of the frankly hilarious Spanish football system. In England, all revenue generated by television rights is done on collective bargaining and every participating club is entitled to an equal share of the profits. What you are advocating is a system that will certainly be the death of cricket, even as it has been the death of Spanish football.

Currently Spanish football is in almost comically dire straits financially. The dominance of the two largest clubs- Real Madrid and Barcelona- is absolute. They retain for themselves the vast majority of the money earned by TV rights deals, and the result is that Spanish football from grassroots right up until those clubs that are the next biggest after those two, is dead. It is the most indebted footballing system on the planet, with the combined club debt approaching over 3 billion Euros. It has led to a scenario where none but the big two are capable of competing for the title

Posted by heathrf1974 on (September 16, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

I wish Rahul Dravid ran the BCCI.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (September 16, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

The problem Mr Haigh is Mr Haroon Lorgat. It is him who arbitrarily declared Eden Gardens unfit during CWC 2011 and it is him who arbitrarily declared the schedule for India's tour to SA coming Nov. Now, unfortunately, the usual practice is for the host board to declare the schedule after consulting (or with advice from) the visiting board. But, due to his personal ego, Mr Lorgat forgot all about that, or rather, chose to do away with it. And, regarding his offer of an apology, he still hasn't come good on that, neither has he come over for discussions. If you had the good of the game at heart, who would blink twice before doing such things??? This "holier than thou" attitude is what is hurting world cricket. If Mr Srinivasan is wrong, so is Mr Lorgat.

Posted by sewd on (September 16, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

As an Indian first and an Indian cricket fan next in the current context of the country no truer words were said than by James Astill "an oligarchy, a democracy stage-managed by a corrupt super-elite" I do not have the magic wand, but will wait for the winds change or for some Messiah. In my lifetime without being cynical I doubt whether we will lead by example or lead by diktat as is the norm.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (September 16, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

Contd....them for all evils that eclipse the game today is neither fair nor right. I agree that some of BCCI's current actions are unjustified and they need to find other ways to make their displeasure known than curtailing a much anticipated series.

I don't want to defend BCCI's actions here, as I said the common Indian cricket fan is disappointed at the prospect of a curtailed SA tour. Blame BCCI for pressure tactics but I feel simply bashing them for everything they do is not right. Internal matters of BCCI such as AGM is treated with out-sized importance by media and not by BCCI. Of course it is important to them given the turbulent past few months and impending change of management.

I sincerely hope that this SA tour happens with minimum 3 tests. I also hope CSA and BCCI patch up things soon. One great Indian man, who forms a very important link between these two countries, once said "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind". I hope BCCI remembers that and act accordingly.

Posted by anton_ego on (September 16, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

I am from India and also from the same city Srinivasan belongs to. And I say to Gideon Haigh, thanks a lot for such an insightful article! Not that the views are unknown, but clearly and meticulously 'reinforced' in his own style. I wish cricket could return to the good old days around 2003 WC period in which 99 out of 100 articles would be about what happened on the field rather than off the field like in the present days. BCCI to me is like a spoilt over-rich kid, with so much money and no responsibility or morality. A complete blackout of international cricket against India by other ICC members is a far-fetched idea and wishful thinking. But its high time ICC does something to bring back parity in international cricket. Cricket needs ICC, more than ever before in its history. Will it be audacious and pro-active, at least now, is my wishful thinking.

Posted by IndianSRTfan on (September 16, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

Mr Haigh there are more critics of BCCI in India than there are in rest of the world and those critics and other fans both are disappointed by the SA tour fiasco. But the response that you so condescendingly referred to comes not because we condone this behavior by BCCI, it comes because the blatant double standards that seem to be in place for judging certain boards for similar behavior in the past. You yourself conveniently don't comment on whether previous model of governance 'emanating' from Lord's was right or wrong, at the same time seemingly delving deep into reasons behind current approach of BCCI, while making a misplaced comment/judgement on India's socioeconomic and political environment on the way. Add name calling of ex-players to that and response is hardly a surprise is it?

Actions taken by previous powers are responsible just as much as those taken by BCCI today, for the current state of ICC. BCCI are not at all innocent in all this but blaming...Cond

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (September 16, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

Magnificent article. To those commenting and stating that the BCCI are putting Indian cricket first - you are being completely misled. When you've lost 8-0 on seaming and bouncy pitches, the only thing that will improve it is more practice. The away series to SA provides this opportunity, against the best pace attack in the world. So ask yourself, is cancelling this tour and thereby putting a hold on the growth of promising players like Pujara and Kohli really putting Indian cricket first? When all is done, and the greatness of players and teams summised, it will always be written that an Indian cricket team, regardless of great batsmen of which Sachin, Rahul, VVS will be quoted to name a few, never evern won a series in SA or Aus. Would you rather have that rectified, or continue to support the BCCI blindly? Poor rich fellows, shame.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

@clarke501: to say that everyone who opposes the article as BCCI apologists is pathetic. On what basis he came to the conclusion that L Siva is a water carrier to Mr. Srinivasan? Is it just becoz he had been nominated by the BCCI or just bcoz he is from the same state of the President? You can't demean our own players and expect us to support your stance towards the BCCI. By that logic Mr. Tim May must be the drinks carrier for the respective board presidents who nominated him. Is that right????

Posted by shripadk on (September 16, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

BCCI is doing 1 thing right and that is to make indian cricket a financial success and indian players stronger better players from young age. See how many tours Indian A team has had over last 4 years. No other A team has travelled as much. BCCI for all its wrongs has done lot of things right for Indian cricket. You cannot shift the responsibility of other boards on BCCI. They are not saints and fans like us would love to see the SA - India full test series. And we openly booed Srinivasan on ground when he showed up during award ceremony. But in the end, BCCI has done right by cricket in India and that is their primary job. To expect them to help other boards (which they have done in past on multiple occasions ). That is what BCCI is suppose to do. Not look after entire cricketing world. That is the job of ICC. IT is not BCCI's fault that ICC is not financially strong enough to implement the changes it wants globally. Neither have ICC been making wise choices with things like DRS.

Posted by vildoc on (September 16, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

@Stephen Axtell Majority of Indian fans are not supporting but lambasting the Bcci. So does the Indian media. What we fans are arguing additionally is that the Bcci alone is not the culprit but every other board. Its just the Bcci which gets the stick. There was no hue and cry when srilanka cancelled the test matches with SA for their Slpl(which never took place) but no one bothered to point it out. When Bangladesh showed their inability to tour Pakistan due to security reasons the Pak board followed tit for tat with not giving their players NOC to play in Bangladesh. Why doesn't the Eng and SA board host Zimbabwe? Why do some boards not stop their players from playing multiple T20 tournaments and thereby making them injury prone? What stopped the SL and the PAK boards from using the DRS during their last test series? Certainly not the Bcci and also what about the recent Zim vs Pak series? I can go and on.Agree the Bcci needs a serious change of guard but so does the actions of others

Posted by PrajithR on (September 16, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

A family of 10 brothers & their parents (ICC). Now the elders 2 brothers (Eng & Aus), used to run run the family as they liked with veto power & blessings from parents when they were the sole bread winners. The other fellows neither had any money nor power and where given some left overs. Equality was a forbidden word & every had to fend for themselves.

Now after some time the third brother with the help of his large family (of 1.2 billion) & hard work starts to earn money several times greater than other 9 combined. What to do now - democracy- equality- fraternity. Divide your money equally among all the brothers. Forget about your 1.2 billion family. Forget about asking younger 7 to earn by themselves. Do not work in your fields (IPL), since the money goes to your family only. It is your duty to work free in the fields of 9 brothers, schedule of which (FTP) will be given by your parents (ICC)

Posted by vatsap on (September 16, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

As a Indian test cricket fan, this article hurts in many ways as a lot of truth is being spoken about. Unfortunately there is nothing called fair play in the real world. For every headmaster who wants to run his school strictly there are bound to rise multiple rebels. It is India's time and I don't know how long it is going to last. Like someone mentioned if SA really wanted to have it fair, they could have gone ahead and cancelled the tour totally. Every cricket board needs the money and again unfortunately this is how things are. We just have to get on and deal with it, Gideon.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

continued...@Josh Cooper : there is so much only that the BCCI can do. Do you ever question ICC why are they investing huge sum of money in countries like China and others where they don't understand cricket. Instead it would be wise of them to spend the money in nations like WI AND ZIM WHERE CRICKET is developing and try to develop these nations stronger on and off the field. *If ICC is serious in TEST cricket then why can't ICC sponsor the TEST matches that are going to be held in Economically weaker nations, say SL, WI, ZIM, NZ. this will prevent the test matches being cancelled due to financial reasons.* Don't say that every bad thing that happens in cricket is due to the BCCI. They have their share of fault but to insist that every thing is due to the BCCI is simply inept of others nothing else.

Posted by demigoat on (September 16, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

Excellent piece.

World cricket resembles a protection racket. Perhaps it was ever thus, but that's hardly a reason not to criticise it now. Of course, those running the racket can always say that they are simply protecting their own interests, maximising their own profits. And when asked to give it all up, they may say 'what's in it for me?'. But the argument against racketeering is not that it doesn't do enough for the racketeers.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

@Josh cooper: Welcome mate. From your name I tend to think that you are from West Indies. IPL has been going on for 6 years.Could you care to elaborate from which Test tour India pulled out during these years??? NIL.(Don't count Pakistan bcoz its Indian Govt. has its final say.not the BCCI). And regarding financial trouble in SLC and WICB, didn't India play in these nations so that they can earn money? in the last five years India have toured countless no. of times just to save their board from bankruptcy. SLC have only themselves to blame. they knew their financial positions yet they decided ti built 2 new stadiums for 2011 CWC. they never recovered from those losses. what do you expect BCCI to do? to give them free money bcoz they have it. And the recent tri series between Ind, SL, WI was held only due to the request from WICB and SLC bcoz with India playing they would earn huge sums of money. BCCI extended their hand to them too. continued...

Posted by prakash_ajp on (September 16, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

I only hope the ICC has the guts to come out with a bold decision to ban BCCI from participating in any international events or playing with other member countries. Of course, they should be willing to sacrifice huge money for that. But long term, it will teach BCCI a lesson and do tremendous good for cricket as a game. With an organization like BCCI, cricket doesn't have a good future.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

@all Indian fans who are saying that the BCCI is killing test cricket and should show more respect towards other nation boards, yes upto certain extent BCCI should not act as a bully. But it goes to a extent that all the other boards wanted India to travel to their country just because it earns them money not because they want to save test cricket. eg. why would a No.1 test playing nation(read SA) want to play 7 ODIs but only 3 TESTS bcoz LOIs earn them more money. Simple. money. nobody is a saint. earn money using them but don't want to listen to a single suggestion they make???? how hypocritic? This extends to other countries fans too. And please explain why the BCCI can't felicitate Sachin Tendulkar, a man who gave the cricketing identity to the nation, on his 200th test. Indian cricket is where it is due to him only. please don't come and say he don't deserve this and that. He deserves much more than that.

Posted by Chris_P on (September 16, 2013, 11:23 GMT)

Great article, the only thing missing is the way the true Indian fans are being treated by its board, that is, totally been taken for granted.

Posted by quittthewhinging on (September 16, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

To summarize my question was: how is it possible that one governing board can have the temerity to dictate to another governing board who it should appoint as it's CE? I don't give a fig about an obviously personal dispute between Lorgat and members of the BCCI but, not only are the cricketing public denied the opportunity to know what is going on, but actions are now being taken that can only have a negative effect on cricket as a whole. I mean it is not as if cricket has the global spread of say football. If the BCCI think that marginalizing SA because of personal disputes, it should really think again; the fallout could be very damaging to the game.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

The problems arise with following that attitude logically, Krishnan, as follows: 1. BCCI cares only for cricket in India, as you say, fair enough 2. Cricket everywhere else, apart from England, Australia and MAYBE South Africa, disappears because other boards, especially minor ones and increasingly larger ones (Sri Lanka is cited in the article, the West Indies are not far behind) can't pay for it. 3. India pull out of Test matches because why would it bother when the IPL is far more lucrative?

You're left with the only tests left being the Ashes, and India never playing anything other than the IPL, and cricket not even existing in other countries.

Hope you're happy with that, 'cause that's where it's headed, if we all continue to bow to the BCCI. They simply do not care about the game anywhere else, and the game everywhere else needs help.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 16, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

@inswing - Keith Fletcher captained a full strength England team to India in 1981-82. Following the retirement of Brearley, he was seen, by the standards of that time, as the best alternative, having been an outstanding captain of his county. In earlier years, you are quite right that England often sent weakened sides to India. Given the playing records of such teams, it is surely obvious that England actually thought it was highly 'necessary' to send the strongest possible side. However, in those days players were not contracted all year round and had to find winter employment. Some players were unwilling to sacrifice more lucrative job opportunities and could not be compelled to tour. Your statements that this continued until the early 1990s, was official policy and only applied to tours of India are all incorrect.

I can understand that BCCI apologists find this article uncomfortable reading. Your feeble, error strewn attempt at a rebuttal says as much.

Posted by zxaar on (September 16, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

", Haroon Lorgat, has offered to apologise, which apparently BCCI's locum president Jagmohan Dalmiya thinks is a good idea without troubling to specify for what -" ----------------- BCCI does not need to explain it with given the fact that SA cricket board understood very well for what they shall be applogizing. Thats what matters.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

Who is asking anyone to toe the line set by India? You need not, if you want. But the fact is that it is our time and we will do what we think is correct for us. Siva was a good legspinner and def not a water carrier as you had very subtly put. Remember we were, for a long time, at the recieveing ens. Now the boot is other leg

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:48 GMT)

BCCI is acting like a spoilt child. I cant belive people are defending their actions

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Fact is , Indian Cricket on filed is stronger than it's ever been.The quality of players coming out of India is astounding.Is BCCI to blame ?

Posted by Srivathsan_Sridharan on (September 16, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

@ ianbellfan: As an Indian, how come you agree that one of your international players has been termed as watercarriers?? All our Indian fans agree that BCCI is not right in cancelling /curtailing SA tour and we want India to play tests against SA in SA. But the articles and the comments that are posted here by depicting only one side of the whole issue and not looking the other side.Why didn't CSA cancel the whole tour and do whatever they want?? Why are they still in talks with BCCI?

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:41 GMT)

Your article is well positioned as always. As a journalist you are probing the right wrong doings, and in your attempt to rouse and poke the cricket fans, you have received a good mix of comments and questions too. Hoping you do get a chance to go through some of them and have a logical argument to quench those doubts. Personally, I felt the remark on L Siva was very condescending and added an unwanted color to your work. And in drawing the free market economy dialogue you lost your way into more BCCI bashing, would have loved to hear you finish your statement and draw an observation. ;) Once again, very interesting read.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

Excellent comment, Krishnan Muthusubramanian. Indeed BCCI is putting the interest of indian cricket first and that is how I as an indian would want it.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

Why every country wants to play with India . If India don't want to play in SA then there are few other countries like Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. Basically SA wants to play not to serve cricket but to earn money. So is all the board. In that case India is having full right to chose whom do they want to play and where.

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (September 16, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

I hope BCCI will not kill TEST.

Posted by vildoc on (September 16, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

@Jasper van der Westhuizen No need to be so sanctimonius. We would have loved to tour SA but don't put it the way as if you guys are doing us a favour. The article by the writer has one viewpoint while not taking the accused party's. The comments by 99% of Indian fans in this site on all articles regarding the SA tour fiasco have been anti Bcci or have you not been reading the comments. The comments on this article also has Indian fans criticizing not only the Bcci but also defending our international palyers from being termed as Watercariers. You demean us and expect us to continue be anti Bcci.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

BCCI's priorities are "Indian Cricket", Cricket and ICC, in that order. Gideon doesn't seem to have an understanding of this simple fact. BCCI is primarily accountable to Indian public who pay for their salaries and not to ICC or any other body. Hence, BCCI is in fact expected to take a stand which helps Indian Cricket. If it is not in India's interest to go by FTP or the Woolf report (or DRS) then BCCI is perfectly entitled to do that. If anybody can complain about BCCI, it is us, the Indian Public. If ICC has any problems with it they should just throw BCCI out (like the IOC has done) :).

Srinivasan is perfectly entitled to say he represents "BCCI" in the board members, because he was in fact representing BCCI (and not elected by ICC).

Posted by gyanendraindia on (September 16, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

BCCI should be a public company.. with its stock listed on the NSE :D

Posted by ianbellfan on (September 16, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Brilliant Article. Before anybody thinks that I am not an Indian, I wish to state that I am indeed an Indian. I fully agree with Gideon on the points raised. Gandhiji said that an eye for an eye will make the world blind. To all my fellow Indians who feel that since Eng and Aus dictated world cricket when they wielded power so it is now BCCI's turn to get its pound of flesh, I am sorry this attitude of revenge and vengeance is against Indian ethos. Lastly, I wish to remind all those who feel that BCCI's actions are justified, of a quote - "Almost anybody can withstand adversity. If you wish to test the character of a person, give him power". Unfortunately, BCCI has failed in this test of character.

Posted by mensan on (September 16, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Shameful for BCCI. They should not ruin international cricket.

Posted by sweetspot on (September 16, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

No matter what the allegations are, it is no secret that the BCCI saw through loopholes and knows it can take advantage of its enormous financial power in cricket. But it has done wonders for the lives of Indian cricketers, past and present. It is very good of taking care of its fraternity, and that is its primary responsibility.

In terms of clout, one event comes to mind - banning of syndication agencies from covering cricket matches in India, while such organizations tried to shove their way in under a thinly veiled "freedom of press". It took the BCCI some time to notice this is actually its show, as far as India playing cricket is concerned, and nobody is going to steal its thunder.

When reality comes to roost, it may be unpleasant, but as far as I know, CSA had no problems in its relationship with BCCI, until one individual came into the picture. Let's hope adults are included in the process of fixing problems.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

@jasper van der westhuzien: reg the article I understood it completely but who gave the author the rights to call a former player as a water carrier to a administrator????? What has Tim May done to countries other than Eng, Aus and SA? And where is it written that BCCI shouldn't appoint anybody to contest Tim May in elections??? what's the meaning of election if a particular member who has the backing of big THREE out of FOUR should be chosen automatically??? Why had Tim May resigned this year from the player's association for the simple reason he didn't win the election? Did he occupied that post just because he wanted to become a member of the ICC board? Why can't he carry on and fight for the players welfare by being the president of the players association if that's what he really cared for??? What extra qualification does Mr. Tim May have that L Siva doesn't have that everyone is insisting that he should be elected without contest other than being an Aussie supported by its board?

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

The BCCI has managed to get itself into such a mess (thanks mainly to Srinivasan et al.) ... it is that kind of a scenario a bad novelist might end up getting his characters into, and then wishing he could just do away with it all by saying 'and then all the members were swallowed up by a massive earthquake, and everybody lived happily ever after.'

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

I find it paradoxical that - Niranjan Shah isn't a leading thinkers on Cricket and yet Astill finds it worth his while to interview him.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

Srivathsan_Sridharan: Thanks mate. I didn't comment on any threads before but it becomes too much irritating and annoying to always read anti-BCCI articles and some commentators posting comments such as the article is great so on so just because its anti-BCCI and nothing else. I think all BCCI needs to do now is to hire a good PR manager to explain their stand to the public. Please BCCI do it quick enough so that these kind of speculating articles will be put to rest for good.

Posted by shinewindies on (September 16, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

Mr. Haigh there is an old saying u clap with both hands, we live in an ever changing world where people prioritize self interest and where no one is perfect, yes BCCI has its drawbacks but other boards too, highlighting only BCCI problems makes u biased i guess more than the BCCI itself, i have never seen any foreign writer appreciate BCCI for its efforts in streghtening cricket globally in last 10 years, when did South Africa send a team to Zimbabwe or host them or even to Bangladesh or host them. People would like to read sumthing which provides a clear picture from both sides of the coin, they would not like to read sumthing which is clearly biased towards one side.

Posted by moBlue on (September 16, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

interesting perspective mr. haigh has! but not at all one that - as an IND fan - i agree with...

not so fast, mr. haigh!

i have a decades-long memory... of a time when lords was the lord of the cricket world and a certain sunny gavaskar was being humiliated at the gate of lords by the doorkeepers for the crime of seeking entrance to the hallowed grounds on which he was to bat and entertain that very morning in a test match!!! ...of a time when the mighty WI ruled the cricket world but only on the field!!! ...of a time when PAK were assumed to cheat because they had mastered the art of reverse-swing, yet ENG's own were revered years later when they too learned the craft!!!

...all of which leads me to say: "keep it up, BCCI! you must have your reasons! i'm sure they are well-founded!!"

Posted by vildoc on (September 16, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Nontheless I don't agree with other Indian fans about the earlier misrule of Eng and Ausiie boards and Bcci is following suit. We need a strong Icc to govern the game. However lambasting the Bcci without counterarguing just ruins the debate. Every country has an T20 competition with the exception of the Pak board but that was not for lack of trying (PPL). Most players play in multiple T20 tounaments either in the Bpl,Slpl,Cpl etc but do you see any Indan player playing beyond the Ipl. Which country takes care of its players with generous handouts like the one time packages to explayers. My money as in millions of Indian fans money goes towards sustaining cricket with a substantial contribution to the ICC's revenue. Sona little respect is deserved for any Indian player like LaxmanSivaramakrishnan.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 16, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

The back-wash to Gideon's article & argument is utterly predictable. There are posters from Indians that concede that they are embarrassed by the antics & of the BCCI (these tend to be the more detailed, more closely argued & better written comments, BTW) & then there are those who take the patriotic stance on behalf of the BCCI; these comments are generally quite short & have the line of: we rule now! They have the same mantra-tone as the sheep in Animal Farm. My country's board - right or wrong - the last refuge of the one-eyed patriot (I'm not sure whether these posters are cricket-lovers. That seems to be irrelevant). Then there are the rest, standing back - appalled at the machinations of the BCCI & sorrowfully conceding that the great elephant with the deepest pockets is running the show. And the show isn't cricket, but self-interest & politics.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (September 16, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

"The predominant motivations will be individual ambition, commercial advantage and potential political gain, and by the time we're told what has happened, there will be nothing to do about it"-Mark these words, there can't be any more prophetic and truthful words than these on the impending decimation of International cricket as we now see it.

Posted by vikram501 on (September 16, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

To all these people chipping in against Gideon's views: - Why shouldn't Gideon point out the follies in the workings of the BCCI, even if he is not Indian? FYI, Gideon has written a lot of articles criticizing all other boards and the ICC and he has every write to criticize any board that he feels is acting against the larger interests of the game. - So by chipping in against Gideon's views are you all supporting the way BCCI works? - How does the fact that MCC and the Australian board acted in the manner they did in the past (something which Gideon refers to explicitly in his pice) make it right for BCCI to do the same now? And how is it wrong for someone to point that out?

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

There was a time I had the utmost respect for Indian cricket. No more. Please don't come to SA at all. It is quite clear by the comments from many Indian supporters that they agree with and defend the actions of their board. By defending the self serving lot which are actually supposed to use your mandate for the good of cricket, you become involved. You are then just as guilty of destroying the relationship between CSA and the BCCI - one which has always been known for mutual respect and goodwill. @linguboy: Why don't you just read the article? Or don't you understand it?

Posted by venkatesh018 on (September 16, 2013, 8:52 GMT)

As usual a scathing, mincing-no-words article from Gideon taking the BCCI's bull by its horns. Bravo !

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

MrAstill's gratuitous comments on Indian democracy and Mr.Haigh's oft repeated cries railing against BCCI is only matched by BCCI's own arrogance. Mr.Haigh and his ilk should realise that historically the ICC had been a puppet, earlier of the hallowed MCC and their partners in crime Aussies. The shoe is just on the other foot. Had the then ICC been fair in its then non existent FTP's in the earlier century not only to the Asians but even to New Zealand, the moral high grounds would be easier to occupy!

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

@Gideon: Wow I certainly didn't expect this point in this article. i.e South African domestic cricket will pauperise if the BCCI excludes CSA from the champions league.So you are indirectly pointing out that the South African domestic system is heavily dependent on CLT20's income. You want money from other nations/ nation's product but you don't want to respect other nation. BCCI clearly indicated that they didn't like Mr.Haroon Lorgat as CSA chief Executive but they went ahead with their procedure. It means that CSA is ready to face the consequences of appointing Lorgat or they have alternative remedies in place I think???? Why are you so worried about SA domestic cricket even if they are not worried. And you mentioned "some" in your article related to CSA. could you brief him? Is that Gideon himself(I know he's from Australia)??? Why are you spreading rumours??????????Cricinfo is becoming a common tab for BCCI bashing. Sorry Cricinfo its not good for your Credibility.too much bashing

Posted by vikram501 on (September 16, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

@Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge: I think the Indian public probably want a BCCI running cricket, but definitely NOT like this. All these parochial, jingoistic commenters against Gideon's excellent piece are either offended by the fact that an australian (or "western") writer is pointing out facts that deep within themselves they know (as a lot of the indian cricket writers who are popular do not have a spine), or, they have their head so far in the sand that they do not realize that the current board is not just taking this great game and all other member countries for a ride, but also the indian public.

I also find the argument that MCC did not treat the lesser boards well on occassion all those years ago and now it is the turn of the BCCI, very boring. If the BCCI really wants to show the world something, they should do so by NOT repeating the same things which they say MCC did long ago.

Posted by Srivathsan_Sridharan on (September 16, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

@linguboy: Well said mate. I agree that BCCI conduct is very monopolistic, but as you have rightly said the ECB and ACB has also done the same thing in previous decades. I hope Mr. Haigh understand this and stop projecting BCCI as anti-Cricket organisation.

Posted by grandclipper on (September 16, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Readers' comments make more sense than the article itself.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

@contrast_swing: It seems that you wrote without the knowledge of other board's financial debts. except ECB and CA. If other boards don't play India then Cricket will be played only between England and Australia. other boards will definitely become extinct. I think that's what you want.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

Where were you Mr. Haigh, when Australia and England ruled the roost? It was all in "interest of Cricket" right? Because "interest of cricket" means the interest of the "non-Indian" cricket playing nations right? Tell me why did not England and Australia design a strong ICC when they had the chance to do so? No they did not because that would have hampered their interest.

Posted by Srivathsan_Sridharan on (September 16, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

To say the least, the anti-BCCI articles in the site has gone out of proportions. Yes, they are functioning as if they are the boss, but is everything BCCI has done is wrong?? Why did CSA announce the schedule without consulting BCCI? And also i strongly condemn the words used by Haigh towards L Sivaramakrishnan who is an international cricketer. Its time to review the articles and its contents by the cricinfo. Is these articles not offending the Indians?? Hope a great site like Cricinfo wake up and make a complete review of the article contents before publishing to avoid any offence towards a particular person/group/nation.

Posted by Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on (September 16, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Though I agree with most of the points put forth by the author, calling a former player names is gratuitous and lends imbalance to the piece. Also, many comments here by crickets fans from India I presume, appear to be on the lines of: well Indian cricket had it's share of neglect, now it's your turn.tough luck to you! This is not the kind of attitude that will help us grow the game in India. No matter what the Niranjan Shahs of the world think, a part of cricket's beauty and appeal is that its played and enjoyed by people of different races, religions and countries. Any argument made towards restricting the game to Indian shores is high on exclusiveness and can only lower the value of the game.

Posted by ThinkingCricket on (September 16, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

I personally dislike this trend of people who claim that liking Test Cricket and disliking T-20 makes them an "intelligent fan" and makes those who like limited overs cricket somehow automatically silly.

I have never ONCE seen ANY article here defending T-20s or ODI's as a format having it's own value. Not a SINGLE cricketer has dared to openly say he prefers limited overs cricket, but their actions speak louder than their words as do those of fans who flock to watch ODI's and T-20's but not Test match cricket. Tests are becoming increasingly obsolete, as the number of people who are interested is steadily dwindling. The BCCI just realizes this and is attempting to cater to the market rather than fighting against what everyone wants out of some hypocritical desire to proclaim Tests supreme when they are usually rather dull and to copy a word Test fans love throwing around "meaningless".

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

@kishore chintoju: could you please care to explain the meaning of "intelligent fans"????? who are they??? Why they are termed as intelligent and by whom they are termed as so? please reply. I seriously want to know the answer. @roygbiv: what do you mean by 'cricket's global interests'???? and why should an Indian board care for global interests? If only the BCCI is guilty, Could you please tell me what the CSA,ECB,CA and the MCC did to protect global interests? care to explain please.

Posted by contrast_swing on (September 16, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

I think it is time that the rest of the world also starts to snub BCCI and not play their teams. Money that BCCI earns is a bilateral effort. If no one will play BCCI teams then there is no money with BCCI and hence BCCI comes to level with others. Just for once cricket boards have to rise above their monetary interests and think of Cricket. BCCI wont be able to sustain for a year if other countries refuse to play BCCI teams. BCCI is ruining cricket in every way possible.

Posted by Anwaruzz on (September 16, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

Sort of MCC's clout of around1900s. BCCI may regret these unnecessary situations in suture. Power never stays put. Also what about two tests + 3 ODIs for Bangladesh, venues like Guwahati and Kolkata should fill in the stadiums to a major extent with supporters/tourist from Bangladesh flocking in. India owes at least one visit from Bangladesh because BD always votes in line with BCCI whenever asked.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@yogesh.gg. sorry no thanks. We know how the other Govt running bodies are functioning in our country. I will take this any-day than an govt run organisation. @deepak nair. could you please care to explain how the BCCI is ruining test cricket?????? they host 4 match test series between ENG and AUS. they play 5 match test series vs England next year. and 4 tests vs Aus in dec next year. for your information CSA didn't announce a 5 match test series between Ind and SA. they proposed 3 match test series between them. but they proposed 7 MATCH ODI SERIES between them. why the heck did the BEST and TEST LOVING nation propose 3 tests and 7 odis. does it mean that CSA is killing TEST cricket according to your logic????? And please don't start about IPL. every nation is having its own T20 leagues. Eng- friends life, Aust- BBL, SA- SB pro t20 challenge. just that IPL is popular every one is saying that India is killing test cricket. then how come these nations save test cricket when they it too

Posted by vj_gooner on (September 16, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

A fantastic article Mr.Haigh.

BCCI might ended up being dictators of world cricket!

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Frankly, the BCCI bashing on this website is getting very tiring. The constant rants and whining about the BCCI is hurting the credibility of cricinfo.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 7:46 GMT)

contd.. regarding your comments on L Sivaramakrishnan being the water carrier for Mr. Srinivasan is pathetic. on that basis I will call you and Mr. Tim May as drinks carrier for western boards. how's that sound like???? why does it sound so important to you about who runs the BCCI. I can assure you that whoever runs it it will be the same. Don't even imagine about anything else. And to say that BCCI decides which country to tour or not, didn't the MCC decided when and which teams will travel to subcontinent in the last decade or so? Why did England and Austrlia sent their second grade teams to India while their first choice players rested in their countries. Didn't it sound illogical to you??? Is this how the MCC spread the cricket across the globe? You said CSA extende help at the 11th hour to host IPL2 but what you have conveniently forgotten is that its the BCCI who helped CSA return to the cricket fiels after the ban. so its a friend offering a helping hand to other.t.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 7:44 GMT)

BCCI for one is driving away any intelligent fans as soon as they can. If this continues we will never go back to the years where we ruled the test landscape and the game will poorer for it. I for one much appreciate how tennis is run with benefits of players and fans at the foremost.

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

Completely unbalanced.

Posted by amrutjoshi on (September 16, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

This was an article that needed to be written. And it needed someone to write with a pen dipped in acid. Gideon Haigh- Congratulations! I wonder if anyone would dare to pen even a barely justifiable response to this Article. So South Africa will soon be brought to its knees, or so the BCCI hopes.. So who is going to be left for the bullies to play with? Australia is weak, SA will be rendered financially impotent, Pak-SL-NZ-WI have already been ruined and Zim-Bang-less said the better. England will keep the fires burning for a while before Cricket truly becomes a game played by one playground bully.

Posted by Indiacricket83 on (September 16, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

Excellent article..Fully agree.The one thing we are supposed to lead the world in, we are messing it up big time...Cricket in our country has become a dangerous cocktail of egos..

Posted by vildoc on (September 16, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

I understand the evils created by the Bcci but having accepted that the otners are not holier than thou. I remember when India toured England 15 years ago the players were not given good facilities and as an e.g no second helpings of curries etc. Now that the boot is on the other shoe it pinches!

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 7:23 GMT)

Has anyone tried to define this term "interests of cricket"? One possible definition is that since India accounts for 80% of cricket's global market, what the Indian fans want from cricket defines cricket's interests. BCCI has done a pretty good job at catering to the Indian fans - otherwise, the game wouldn't have been so healthy in the country. It would have gone the way it has in England. So I don't see why BCCI shouldn't run global cricket as they want. Basic problem with all these rants is to assume that since India is just one of ten countries, they should have just 1/10th say in running cricket. But when you look at it in terms of market share, then BCCI is perfectly justified in running the game the way they want.

Posted by Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on (September 16, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

We in India have a saying about autocratic behavior'jiski lathi uski bhains'-in a broader sense translates to- those with power get away with things. Though we have been a democracy for over 65 years now, and you hear 'governance by the people, for the people etc.' tossed about a lot, there's little evidence on display in sociopolitical life in the country that it means anything to the people. We carry on the legacy of the saying, and the BCCI is just another organization in a really long roster of institutions that blatantly misuse power, openly mocking our passive democratic virtues, if they exist at all.

Posted by muzika_tchaikovskogo on (September 16, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

You can now imagine how embarrassing the BCCI's conduct is for us, fans of Indian cricket. Sadly, we are the ones who have created this monster. Its a different matter that Mr. Haigh has missed a couple of points.

For starters, it isn't as if the BCCI is the only board disregarding the FTP. Other boards aren't far behind. The reasons may be different but the underlying issue remains the same: commercial considerations.

Secondly, Mr. Haigh seems to imagine that the game was better administered in the old days. Would he care to explain why Australia hardly ever hosted weaker side in the old days? Why, they played exactly 1 test match against New Zealand between 1945-46 and 1972-73. I'm not even talking about the MCC's handling of the D'Olivieira affair and the tour to South Africa in 1968-69.

I'm not defending the BCCI even for a second, but let's state the facts as they are, rather than hark back to an imaginary past.

Posted by linguboy on (September 16, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Sorry Mr. Gideon you want the ICC to take more control but what was the ICC doing when Srilanka cancelled their test series with South Africa for SLPL(didn't happen anyway). Why didn't the so called TEST loving experts didn't utter a word against SLC. They can't fix Zimbabwe's salary problems how the hell are they going to fix the world cricket. The BCCI is simply helping these cash starved nations by just arranging a series with them so that they can earn millions of dollars.(unfortunately they only want ODIs AND T20s simply bcoz TESTS won't earn these nations a single penny). I will surely say that the whole world is jealous of the money the BCCI have. And regarding running f the BCCI it's the only sports body in India that is being run without bankruptcy. How come Mr.Gideon is so sure that Eden Garden was not far from ready to host just India match. did he investigated it as a ICC member or what? then how come the stadium was ready to host other matches just 3 days from that match.t

Posted by RSairam on (September 16, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Great article indeed..Can we have similar articles about ACB, ECB and also SA cricket board too? Let me help with some topics 1) What really did Majola do? 2) What was the link between Giles Clarke and Modi 3) How did ACB and ECB used to run their boards in 90s? 4) Why was there no tour of India to Australia between 1992 and 1999 but now suddenly so many tours? These articles could even run to more pages than this one

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

What BCCI is doing is absolutely abominable and not in the long term interests of the game.We nay nt feel it now but surely this is killing the golden egg laying goose.The IPL is entertainment more than classic cricket and hence it will not be viable as long as it entertains and with the mindless slogging and sixes going around in it dont think it can remain entertaining for long. So cricket needs test matches for its long term health and better for cricket if the administrators realize this.You need to have a judicious mix between all the formats with the tests between the top teams(read competitive - India,eng,SA,aus) given priority otherwise with the way football is gaining popularity in india, in the next 20 years or so it may well overshadow cricket the way cricket has overshadowed hockey.

Posted by punterdgr8 on (September 16, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

soon india is entering in a dichotomous situation of a monopoly and a monopsony at the same time.interesting times,ahead!!!!!

Posted by yogesh.gg on (September 16, 2013, 6:49 GMT)

BCCI is behaving like spoilt child .. It's high time that Govt of India steps in and takes over this annoying child.

Posted by cnksnk on (September 16, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

BCCI is no angle. They certainly throw their considerable weight around. However this article does not even have a fig leaf of balance ans seems to be an exercise in BCCI bashing. Are all other boards and especially ECB, CA, CSA lily white clean. Have they done everything right so that they can throw the proverbial first stone. The comment on L Siva replacing May is a case in point. Siva is cricketer who has played at the highest level. Why should only May or some one from Aus or Eng represent the players body. Is there one qualification that Siva lacks other than that he is from India and has the backing of the BCCI , that makes him in eligible. BCCI certainly needs to do more to remove the image of a bully. However articles like this certainly do not add to the balance of the discourse

Posted by Geeva on (September 16, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

This is an excellent article Mr Haigh!!!! for the world cricket to look at and take note…brave men will have to take a stand and ensure cricket is not destroyed by money as how the EPL was destroyed…scenario could be an ipl franchise fielding no indian player!!!.No matter how much money india makes it will never be considered great. never winning a Test Series in SA (ODI series also) and Aus points to that...I hope Sachin retires before the 200 Test just to make a point to BCCI if the SA tour is canceled.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Scathing remarks on a badly run organization.. Kudos..

Posted by CricIndia208 on (September 16, 2013, 6:16 GMT)

The problem with BCCI is poor PR. If they had a decent media manager, the public perception of BCCI would be different. They are doing a lot of things good for the game, but unfortunately do not publicise it.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (September 16, 2013, 6:13 GMT)

I also remember the days when the Indian cricketers did not earn enough to pay even the laundry, so they would use the same set of clothes for the entire Test. What did the ICC do then? Did the ICC offer to pay for clean, decent clothes for the Indian cricketers? Mr Haigh would do well to accept the fact that BCCI rules the roost simply because it is paying for everyone. The BCCI has proposed a revenue sharing model akin to what is being followed in soccer--- the larger clubs, which generate the maximum revenue, get the maximum profits. What is wrong in accepting that? It is not as if the money generated by the BCCI is being used for the good of the game. Most of the revenue, in fact, is spent as administrative expenditure, which should be the responsibility of the individual boards. The days of world domination are here, just as USA is dominating the world, caring too hoots for the UNO.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

So true, republic of BCCI indeed. History will see that they murdered test cricket.

Posted by techie77 on (September 16, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

As an Indian cricket fan, just hate this shameful display on the part of BCCI. I guess am done with Cricket and being a pupet watching the BCCI SOAP Opera show. They definitely making sure they get the last drop of money from the Tendulkar show.

Posted by android_user on (September 16, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

You are spot on. A brave article in these difficult times. Cricket fans have to wake up from their slumber. The BCCI is destroying this great game. Its financial arm twisting has to stop. The IPL is rife with corruption, yet nobody bothers.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (September 16, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

I can just hear the "militant apologists" sharpening their knives. Bravo to Mr. Haigh for such a strong, brave, clearly worded piece, and to ESPNcricinfo for publishing it.

Being an Indian, I'm disgusted at what my own cricket board has devolved into. For shame, Messrs Srinivasan and Dalmiya, for shame!

Posted by naamprik on (September 16, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Great article Gideon! Many thanks for writing this, as we cricket lovers would never hear of the ICC/BCCI machinations unless the independent cricket journalists write about it. And yes, the best way to truly understand the motives of the BCCI 'capi' is through their own words - the views of Niranjan Shah can hardly be viewed as anything but arrogance in the extreme. Shah's apparant utopia of a Indian 'World Series' could indeed be one possible worst case scenario of cricket in the future. On reading your article I kept thinking that the administration of world cricket needs to be understood in almost a purely political context, and that cricket journalists and fans are ill-prepared for this type of discussion. Hence all the highly emotive opinions expressed by the fans on both sides of he argument. Clearly more political analysis is required to help us understand. This article is a good start.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

All the other boards should raise against BCCI and should form an team and should not play cricket with India and let BCCI fall on its knees.

Posted by Gilliana on (September 16, 2013, 5:10 GMT)

I anticipate that many would agree with Gideon Haigh. I must confess that I agree with him in most aspects of his piece. To be fair, the BCCI's monopoly over the game and its arrogance towards other cricket institutions is exactly like the status India and Pakistan received at the hands of England, and other cricketing nations like Australia. Now the boot is on the other foot and the English and the Australians feel uncomfortable with the idea. Whoever has the money, has the power as this it will always be.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (September 16, 2013, 5:04 GMT)

Well, Mr Haigh, let me point out one thing. The BCCI generates most of the game's finances, why shouldn't it have a greater say in running the game? The position of the other boards is so pitiable as you yourself have pointed out vis-a-vis the finances. What has the ICC done about it? In fact, why are all the ICC officials from England, Australia or New Zealand? What has the ICC done about giving the ICC a more representative character? The fact of the matter is that the revenue generated from visits by the Indian cricket team are used to finance the personal comforts of cricket officials in other countries. And, that is why the administrative costs are very high. Very little, if any, revenue goes into the development of the game. I also take strong umbrage to your referring to L Sivaramakrishnan as Mr Srinivasan's "water carrier". Such language is not needed. t

Posted by ReverseSweepIndia on (September 16, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

@Gideon, being an Indian, should I feel offended by this article? Nope. In fact this is the way most of Indian fans thinks so but not our administrators. And I do not think something better is going to happen soon. Only hope I see is, when likes of Dravid & Kumble (is already in admin) takes over the BCCI. These are the guys whose integrity can not be questioned even by the rivals. Until then, we fans are as frustrated ...

Posted by   on (September 16, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

If the Indian public really want a BCCI run cricketing world, then cricket will die off in the countries outside the sub-continent. The MCC shared cricket with the world and had the games best interests at heart, the BCCI wants it all to themselves and it is just about money to them. In 50 years the game we currently call cricket will be unrecognisable, and just won't be played by anyone outside the sub-continent.

Posted by BONG_IN_CHENNAI on (September 16, 2013, 3:58 GMT)

Icc must "cement" its place back soon

A major worry would be if the tides turn and India is blacklisted by others after a few decades Due to current practices by bcci-chiefs

Posted by inswing on (September 16, 2013, 3:51 GMT)

There is no doubt that BCCI has internal problems, to put it mildly. We do not need Haigh to tell us that. What is amusing is that "interests of cricket" always turn out to be exactly what England and Australia want. Where were those interest when for decades, and as late as the early 1990s, England and Aus did not feel necessary to send a full strength team to India? India did not get tours and when it did it played with teams lead by luminaries such as Keith Fletcher. Not to mention poor accommodations, facilities and biased umpiring India faced throughout. Eng and Aus simply did what was in their interest. It as nothing to do with interests of cricket. India is the same. It is doing what it thinks is in its best interest. Haigh makes a poor attempt to say "yes we were bad, but not this bad." Well, not really. He would do well to spare the outrage and righteousness.

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Gideon HaighClose
Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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