The Supreme Court is in an ideal position to dictate in which direction the BCCI should go.
The Indian cricket board has been hauled over the coals yet again. Its president Anurag Thakur was told in no uncertain terms that he would go to jail for perjury and contempt if the Supreme Court begins prosecuting him for these offences. At no time in its history since it being formed in December 1928 has cricket administration in this country come to such a pass. The desire to cling on to so-called honorary BCCI posts seems to be so fierce that a politician and Parliament member is willing to tell a lie to fight the reforms a panel led by retired Chief Justice R.M. Lodha recommended, which the Supreme Court accepted in toto. In seeking an opinion from the ICC, then headed by an Indian, that the appointment of a CAG nominee would be tantamount to government interference and so vitiate the reforms, Mr Thakur has let himself down and betrayed the game that he was elected to administer.
The BCCI’s adversarial line against various Supreme Court pronouncements in the long legal battle — brought on first by conflict of interest in a top administrator, then fuelled by scandalous IPL goings-on in which players and owners were caught betting — was only to preserve the posts held by its influential members and perpetuate their hold on running the game. It is clear which way the court will go after such blatant malfeasance by the incumbent president, this after a former president was forcibly removed by the court for defying its orders and clinging to his post. It’s only a matter of time before the BCCI is administered by a panel that is better qualified to bring transparency and probity and which will act on the authority of the nation’s highest court.
The reforms process has become unduly painful due to the intractable attitude of the BCCI and its affiliates over being told how to run the administration. Cricket in the lower rungs has suffered as the court prohibited money transfers to reluctant member associations, which have shown an inclination to cling to those ineligible under the new parameters suggested by the Lodha Committee. Court-appointed administrators should ideally oversee processes run by professional managers from now, while former players with sound technical knowledge of the game should be asked to help with suggestions. It’s high time for the age of amateur administrators to be brought to an end. The Supreme Court is in an ideal position to dictate in which direction the BCCI should go. By virtue of his dishonest declaration in an affidavit, Mr Thakur has relinquished his chance to be a part of the new BCCI. The lesson that should be learnt is that arrogance has led to the cricket board’s downfall.