Lalit Modi Falls

The Modi Express has derailed as expected, following its off the track behavior in the past two-three weeks. Though the high profile IPL Chairman and Commissioner, held his willpower together till the last minute, it was very clear that he himself expected things to end like this – at least since the past one week.

Money, Power and what else?

When Lalit Modi announced his ambitious IPL plans, it was clear that the business man in him spotted the right business opportunity around the religion called cricket. In India, regardless of whether you are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, Hindu or Muslim, cricket will sell anytime. And Modi’s intentions were good as long as he wasn’t greedy and power-hungry.

From the very beginning, I have maintained in this blog that the IPL has several unethical aspects around it that Lalit Modi and BCCI was trying to tap into. The public money was being looted to make money for the cricketers, franchises and some of the governing bodies (modies?) without giving back anything to the game of cricket or the millions of poor people in this country via some kind of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). It was all about money making and they sold every possible ad slot, every possible sponsorship opportunities, negotiated and renegotiated telecast rights and what have you? On top of that, Mr. Modi (and certain big shots in Indian Politics) seem to have got facilitation perks for each and everything they did – All at the expense of the public.

Is BCCI clean?

From what it looks to me, Modi must be having solid proofs against some of the big shots and he may be waiting for the opportunity to pull down even the central ministry and not just the BCCI. I am sure, BCCI and the IPL Governing council were aware of all that Modi has been doing and probably even they themselves are beneficiaries of the game. Though, I am not in favor of privatising cricket in India, I strongly believe that it’s time to clean up the system and BCCI is run by cricket professionals (with good organization skills) rather than age-old politicians.

The Twitter mess

It all started with a little tweet from Mr.Modi that initially caused the central government to loose one of its capable young ministers. Now, it came back on him like a boomerang to knock him down.

Let God save our Cricket!

WADA, BCCI and the Bad Boys of Indian Cricket

BCCI and some of its players have raised concerns against certain requirements by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) whereby the athlets/players are required to provide information on their whereabouts. As usual the bad boys of Indian cricket and the arrogant association amongst all have started objecting to ICC on the WADA thingie. Let’s analyze the problem from the ground up.

What exactly is WADA?

WADA was established in 1999 primarily promoted by the International Olympic Committee. The WADA anti-doping rules and procedures has been successfully in practice for the past 10 years across 190 plus nations. The disqualifications and testing-positive news that we get to hear from time to time in various events are all the results of good efforts put together by this Swiss-based agency.

What makes WADA controversial?
In 2004 WADA introduced this requirements whereby all athlets from the respective sports governing bodies need to provide their whereabouts for the weekdays which help them to test them for drug-usage arbitrarily at any point of time. Further in 2009 they extended this rule for all days of the week. This triggered some controversies however most organizations decided to abide by this rule as there was no other alternatives or proposals available.


The International Cricket Council has been practicing WADA regulations for a while. It may be recalled that the big names like Shane Warne, Shoaib Akhtar etc had been tamed under the purview of Anti-dope rules in the past. This essentially is good for the game as well as the long term welfare of the athlets.

BCCI’s stand!

BCCI in view of their players’ interest has been challenging the ICC for a while and made it clear that they do not want to proceed with the WADA rules. I have the following view on BCCI’s decision and some of its spoilt brats’ comment in the media.

  • BCCI has this dirty habit of challenging anything that everything that the ICC brings forward. This is mainly driven by arrogance and cash that they have. Everytime some controversy has been triggered by an Indian – whether it’s for good or bad – the BCCI used to armtwist ICC its way. It’s more of an inferiority complex or (old) colonial mindset whereby whatever being said and done by the British is questioned
  • A number of other sports bodies in India itself are bound by WADA rules and all athlets respect it. The biggies like Abhinav Bhindra and tennis stars have made it clear that it’s good for the game? Cricketers are no exception to any rule and they are not gods as some of them think
  • If the game of cricket has to flourish and spread they have to abide by the international rules and otherwise it will be still a game played by 10 or 12 commonwealth countries. Further, if they have to include the game back in Olympics sometime, WADA has to be respected as well
  • BCCI has to help ICC in taking a call on WADA rather than objecting it as ICC’s brainchild. This is purely shortsighted thinking
  • Some of the cricketers feel that it’s an infringement to their privacy and security. Many cricketers are already having less privacy when they are escorted by the commandos and security personal. Can WADA’s whereabout rules make it worse? Afterall, the whereabouts information is strictly confidential and not shared with anybody other than the testing group itself. Also, when a sportsman play for India, they are dedicating their life to play for the nation. These cricketers are acting funny because BCCI is still not a government body though they claim to play for India

All in all, I feel that all cricket bodies should help ICC to adopt WADA and if there are amendments required that should be adopted at a broader level and not just within the Cricket bodeis. After all, cricket governing bodies have barely any visibility in the global arena of sports!

Indian Cricket: The Captain and the Coach have no more say in Selection Matters

It’s only two months since the new BCCI Selection Committee was formed. Already Kris Srikkanth and his team have made a couple of commendable things such as gracefully allowing Ganguly and Kumble to retire and being diplomatic in not criticizing senior players publicly, like his predecessor used to do.

The latest bold move from the selection committee is to keep the team captain and coach away from the selection matters. This move came in after the controversy over the selection of Irfan Pathan over RP Singh for one-dayers against England, a couple of weeks ago.

India is a country where cricket is a religion or even fanaticism. It is even part of politics and plays a role in uniting the country as well as dividing it sometimes. We have a region based selection policy still prevailing here and hence once in a while controversies are bound to happen. Now, de-coupling the captain and the coach from selection responsibilities can keep some selection controversies and partiality away, that was prevailing during some of the previous captains and coaches’ tenure. However, they have to still tackle the following issues:

  • Avoid regional bias as much as possible. One could argue how suddenly some of the Mumbai players are out and more Tamil Nadu players are coming in now!
  • Avoid making controversial public statements that put the captain, coach or team members into a state of confusion or embarrassment
  • Do not interfere with the players too much and avoid frequent dressing room visits
  • Come up with a succession plan for the current batting heroes of the test side
  • Most importantly ‘avoid the leak out confidential selection meeting proceedings,minutes or any classified secrets’

The good thing about the current captain and coach is that they both have high level of commitment and professionalism built into them that they can make the best out of the team that is handed over to them. Hope the cause of taking Indian cricket to the #1 spot will still remain focused!

It is all about Money – WICB doesn’t have It, The English players want More, Symonds ready to settle for Less

Cricket is ‘flourishing’ where money is… India is the fastest growing economy among the cricket playing nations and that is reflecting in the way the game is played and paid as well. While other cricketing boards and players are crying for money to save cricket the BCCI’s pockets are always full!

West Indies Cricket Board in trouble

The WICB has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a loan of US $3 million, to save cricket in that part of the world with a great cricketing past. How painful is it watch West Indies cricket degrading the way it did over the past ten years or so. In the rat race between those who have money, the WICB seems to have lost out! One of the issues that the ICC and WICB themselves need to look into is whether the West Indian countries and islands now need to seperate out and form individual international teams?

English players want the IPL ‘experience’

The likes of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen have come out openly to state that they want to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) season II. Andrew Flintoff feels that the IPL has given a lot of experience to the Indians and done good to their cricket but who doesn’t know that they are after money?

The English Cricket Board, in the meantime, has clearly indicated that those who want to play IPL may do so at the cost of their central contracts. Looks like, the board has learned a lesson or two after several counties got involved with the rebel ICL and was on the verge of legal actions from ICL earlier this year.

Andrew Symonds ready to settle for a low pay?

It seems Andrew Symonds offered to ‘work’ for a contract lowered by $250,000 this year as a discount towards his off-field activities. The Australian board however, stressed that the sportspersons on international duty should be responsible enough to understand their roles and hence no cuts for the time being. Cricket fraternity feels that Symonds may still retain his contract this year as well, despite some ‘minor’ behavioral issues.

Well, he can afford to loose $250,000 a year as his income from IPL may compensate that or even more.

With the IPL and cash rich BCCI flexing their muscles, the world wide cricketing bodies and players seem to suffer more. I think it’s time BCCI realized where to draw the line. The money power has definitely got into their heads and even trying to influence ICC every now and then. The latest examples being (1) the warning to ICC against the Gautam Gambhir test ban, though everyone knew that the player was guilty, and (2) requesting the English Board to postpone the first test match by a day because it happens to be just a day after the Champions Twenty20 league final (where Dhoni might play, just in case Chennai Super Kings qualify for the final). It’s a shame on cricket that BCCI’s schedules are taking precedence over the ICC Test match schedules that were scheduled months and years back! It’s all about Money!!!

Tail Piece: The economic slowdown is showing on cricket stars’ pay and sponsorships as well. The Pak board is all set for a pay-cut on the players contracts this year. Others may follow as well?

Selection Controversy & Leak out of confidential BCCI matters

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in spotlight for a not so good reason for the first time! Apparently the Indian skipper is not happy with the selection of Irfan Pathan, at the cost of R.P. Singh, for the reminder of India-England ODI series.

Now, the key thing here is that neither Dhoni nor the BCCI spokesperson has talked about it! The media has been talking about this ‘FLASH NEWS’ continuously and even made statements that Dhoni is willing to relinquish his captaincy. Dhoni later clarified that he’s not commented anything to the public or media and that slowed down our stupid TV channels’ energy levels for good.

Scenario 1

Supposing that Dhoni has taken a stand against the dropping of R.P.Singh, I would think that he’s living in fool’s paradise. It’s not even a year since he got the most prestigious and responsible role in Indian cricket. He has really proved his worth and continuously improving as well. At this point of time, if he wants to flex his muscles, he may become nobody in no time. Also, just in case he has been speaking to the media on this topic, it is again bad for the Indian team and Dhoni himself.

Scenario 2

If Dhoni fought in the selection committee meeting with his playing eleven in mind, but played it diplomatically (which I think he would have done), somebody else within the BCCI selection panel or in the office is leaking out confidential news to the media. This is not the first time that confidential matters have been leaked out (They even leaked out Greg Chappel’s mail to BCCI on Ganguly matters).

If scenario 2 is the case, somebody within BCCI or in the vicinity there in is making money out of all these backdoor activities.

I thought things were getting better with the Indian cricket – both on and off the field, on the game as well as governance. It seems not everything is fine yet!

BCCI flexes its muscles again!

BCCI has barred VVS Laxman and Piyush Chawla from playing for English counties Nottinghamshire and Hampshire respectively – all because some players from their side are joining the rebel ICL league.

I am not sure if BCCI and its money power is crossing limits. If the English Cricket Board does not have any problem here why should BCCI poke their nose into what the counties might decide? In fact, it’s not just the above two counties, but it seems around 15 counties have their players signed up with ICL!

While VVS Laxman – as an experienced campaigner – would not mind loosing a county stint, the youngster, Piyush Chawla, is loosing a golden chance to play under English conditions. Chawla so far has not got enough international exposure under testing conditions and will be really feeling bad about this whole politics.

Another Twenty20 league!

The English Cricket Board has just announced their Twenty20 championship league that will be starting in 2010. The majority of the league teams will be from English first division counties and only two teams will be participating from outside England. One of them is tipped to be the IPL champions from India.

If all test playing countries start their own annual Twenty20 championship events, I am sure ICC can soon wind up majority of the Test and ODI schedules! And I am really sad that IPL instigated this kind of a trend mainly driven by monetary aspects than feel for cricket.

I am not against the Twenty20 game, in fact I like the shorter version if these championships do not last for more than say 12 or 15 days! If a single event last for 40 or 45 days and 4 or 5 nations start having their own T20 leagues you can imagine what will happen to ‘real cricket’!