BCCI charade blight on the game

Indian cricket is in a parlous state again thanks to BCCI’s unique ability to forego all principles and depend only on personalities to drive it. There was a lot of misplaced enthusiasm that the unseemly mess brought about by players indulging in spot-fixing and the enthusiastic tribe of team owners being involved in betting would represent another opportunity to clean up the game. But no, the mandarins are too busy paying obeisance to their material god who sustains their world of privilege.
Only the BCCI could imagine that the Lincoln dictum of “You can’t fool all the people all the time” could be disproved. Look at the history — when the first fixing scandal broke they appointed a one-man commission which said that cricket matches cannot be fixed.
The wise mandarins nodded their heads in agreement and the merry world of fixing and betting was thrown open until Delhi cops caught Hansie Cronje on tape.
Sweeping scandals under the carpet has been a long term cricket board policy. The philosophy is simple — Don’t rock the boat, otherwise the flow of goodies by way of trips, tours, committee postings, handsome daily allowances, etc. will stop. What the bigiwigs of the world of cricket admin did not realise in the heady days of early IPL success was that they had thrown open the doors further to bookies, betting brokers and high rollers with the after-parties and team hotels becoming a contact point for the shady dealers to rope in spot and match-fixers.
Enlightenment should have come at least after the Pakistan cricketers went to jail for spot-fixing. But then the canard spread was Pakistan cricket is the fount of all evil and Indian cricket is not like that. Realisation should have hit at least when the Sreesanth episode surfaced. The game was up once Indian players were charged with serious fixing offences. But no, the system believed that the biggest fish were untouchable.
What BCCI never understood is the national mood has changed a lot since the series of scams was exposed over the last few years. Patience has been running thin not only in the people but also in the corridors of justice as in the Supreme Court. However, Board mandarins keep believing that they are big enough to manipulate everything that the law would throw at them, including arrest of a team functionary who happened to be close kin of the top honcho.
All hell should have broken loose then if not for BCCI’s sworn policy of looking to fix problems by behaving like fixers rather than facing the problem head-on and finding real solutions. An opening batsman going out to play a fast bowler Michael Holding has no such short cuts, no recourse to anything save skills and eyesight. This is a classic cricket encounter in which the best man wins. Sadly, such honesty is not to be seen in the world of cricket admin.
It would have served propriety best had an independent probe panel been appointed to get to the bottom of the Gurunath and Raj Kundra betting scandals so that at least owners could be investigated properly and exonerated if they were not guilty. But to cock a snook at law and attempt to prove it is always an ass can sometimes bring the most expensive consequences. More, it reduces those relying on such processes a laughing stock.
Unless Indian cricket is cleansed thoroughly at this point, BCCI will continue to be the biggest suspect in this entire charade of a fixed IPL season 6 and a fixation to try and carry on as if nothing has happened. Cricket matches may be won and lost but if public confidence goes in the game it won’t be any better than WWE in which one suspects it is the officials who write the script. That kind of thing would be most unwelcome in cricket.

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