The honorable Supreme Court of India’s postponement of the verdict till October 17 on the defiant Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is no way a breather for Anurag Thakur (president) and Ajay Shirke (secretary). Moreover it has left the BCCI mandarins in an even bigger quandary and few more sleepless nights are in the offing for them.
The postponement of verdict is actually a blessing in disguise for the game in concern considering the fact that India are in the middle of a home series against the visiting New Zealand in which Virat Kohli and Co have the opportunity to make 3-0 in Tests and cement its stay at the pedestal of the Test rankings for a longer period.
Had a verdict (which is unlikely to be in favour of the board) come on time just a couple of days ahead of the third Test to be played in Indore from Saturday, it could have had an adverse effect on the players, for whom all these officials rose to stardom and did things according to their whims and fancies in the last few years.
However, the embarrassment could have been avoided at the outset. The day the then BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was caught on the wrong foot, Srinivasan should have stepped aside on his own to facilitate a free and fair inquiry, which he didn’t until the court order forced him to.
There have been errors — one after another — which made the Supreme Court take cognizance of the matter and come down heavily on one of the richest sports organizations on earth. The court lashings though were brushed aside by the board officials citing its ‘autonomous’ status and the Tamil Nadu Societies’ Registration Act.
The matter turned worse for them when immediate past president Shashank Manohar relinquished his post looking for a bigger role as International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman and BJP leader Anurag Thakur taking over. Thakur’s political career didn’t fare that well with more failures than successes against his name.
As a president, Thakur found it difficult to deal with the ICC as well as the legal eagles of the temple of justice. As a result, he resorted to Srinivasan once again whom he vehemently opposed during the crisis period. His capability as president was put to test and he failed miserably. The last nail in the coffin was the veiled threat to cancel the ongoing New Zealand series following Lodha panel’s diktat to the banks to freeze the board’s accounts.
The act was anti-national. And why not? The greed of the BCCI officials came to the fore as they didn’t even mind halting the game or hurting the sentiments of the fans or putting the whole country in an embarrassing situation to fulfill their own agenda. Thakur must know that off-the-field affairs can be run by any Tom, Dick and Harry, but it is the players who have earned laurels for the country and took them to the numero uno position in the traditional version of the game. That should have been respected.
By threatening to put the series off, he erred on several counts. First, he put the administrators ahead of cricketers, for whom the entire show is meant to be. Secondly, he never thought of the nation’s prestige and only looked after the officials’ agenda to be in power by any means. The country would have been in spot of bother in the international arena had the series been called off at the halfway mark. Third, he exposed the selfish mentality of most of the officials. It sounded like, ‘If we aren’t there, we won’t let the show happen’ which was clearly a destructive thinking on his part.
The apex court which hinted on Thursday that they would take a call on whether to dissolve the board and appoint administrator run the day-to-day affairs, has now given itself 10 more days, thanks to the holidays that come in between.
There’s no denying the fact that there are few contentious issues recommended by the Lodha Panel. The principal of those is the one-state-one-vote charter which will rob the game of its history and legacy. But that could have been discussed in a fair manner and sorted out amicably, but the board opted for defiance. Now, the result is that it may not exist post October 17.
The board mandarins need to be reminded that cricket will still be played with the same pomp as it used to be as long as Mahendra Singh Dhonis and Virat Kohlis are in charge on field.
So, Mr Thakur, remember that the show must go on, irrespective of whether you people are there or not.