The time to clean up cricket is now

Indian cricket has never been in worse shape. The cat's truly out of the bag now after a team functionary of the IPL franchise belonging to the BCCI president and an international umpire have been docked by the Mumbai police on serious charges that go way beyond wagering on cricket. Players have also been charged by the Delhi police with serious criminal offences like cheating and conspiracy after indulging in spot and match fixing.
The Mumbai police's voluminous chargesheet runs contrary to what was claimed by the BCCI in its pathetic attempt to cover up the IPL betting scandal through a probe panel comprising retired judges handpicked by the board's legal eagles. Notwithstanding all the evidence staring it in the face of massive corruption of the game's pristine principles, the one-point agenda of the board has been to carry on merrily with N. Srinivasan at the helm.
The BCCI lost its moral right long ago to administer the cash-rich game of which the IPL and the Champions League are the golden eggs. A venal administration that runs on a system of hidden perks and pay-offs in scandalous vote-for-cash quid pro quos, and morally bankrupt players willing to sell the game for a buck, is being buttressed by the fig leaf of modesty being offered by a self-serving constitution that will allow only the privileged to win office.
Without any legal or governmental direction or control at this crucial juncture, the autonomous BCCI will only continue to mock at the need for such principles as probity, transparency and straightforwardness, which should govern a sport that claims to be a metaphor for fair play. The SC is ideally placed to give directions to the BCCI to clean up its act while the government can look seriously at taking over the administration temporarily.
Unlike the IOC pulling up an errant Indian Olympic Association, the International Cricket Council is a toothless federation. The ICC, which has been kowtowing to the BCCI, has been known to do nothing about betting and fixing scandals that have been rocking the game in the last 19 years ever since it came to light that two major Australian cricketers had been paid by Indian bookmakers for weather, pitch and team information.
On its own, the BCCI would love to sweep the betting and fixing scandals under the carpet and carry on, secure in the knowledge that if it controls the purse strings it can perpetuate its smug reign on the basis of a cabalistic arrangement. The time for the national authorities to act is now because the game has been taken for a ride.

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