Leading former Indian cricketers Sanjay Manjarekar and Rahul Dravid are of the opinion that if the administrators were to tarnish the reputations of the organization as well as the game in India itself it will be an unfortunate thing. Recently BCCI, which happens to be the wealthiest and, by extension, the one with the most power, has faced flak from the Bombay High Court for contravening its own constitution. The main purpose of this act of the governing body of Indian cricket was to make sure that its deposed president N Srinivasan came back to power as soon as possible. A two member committee had been set up to determine whether Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan had been involved in any sort of match fixing and it gave him a reprieve on account of lack of proper evidence. This had also meant some relief for the president as well as his franchise Chennai Super Kings.
In an interview given to one of the leading cricketing websites around the world, Dravid has clearly expressed his disenchantment with the way BCCI is enduring a test of its credibility. He has pointed to the common fans whose love for the game has made it what it is and thus helped the cricketers achieve celebrity status over the years.
He has also pointed out that for administrators too it is important to maintain certain levels of credibility as they are in the public eye. The Champions League T20 is only a few days away and it is interesting to note that the image of BCCI, which is one of the stakeholders of the tournament, has taken a massive beating after the whole incident. Dravid has stated that the fact that cricketers and administrators are always on the front page instead of the back is not helping the cause of people who are involved with the game at some level or other – either as a fan or as a cricketer.
Dravid is apprehensive that the whole set of incidents in the last few weeks could mean that people are little less appreciative and respectful of the game and that is a situation he is not ready to accept. Manjarekar, on the other hand, has a far more decisive opinion. He feels that the head honchos of BCCI will get away with this because of the unconditional love for the game in India, which is a strange scenario according to him. He feels that the money generated by the game in India will mean everything comes to pass in a few days time and there may be no justice at the end of it all.
One feels that Manjarekar may have a point here after all because the Indian public is known to be a fickle minded one. After all only a few days back we were baying for the blood of MS Dhoni when he lost 8 tests in a row in England and Australia and then also lost the series against England at home. Yet all was hunky dory when India pummeled Aussies 4 to nothing. Suddenly he was the best person to have captained India. It is true that the Indian team has hit a purple patch of late with the Champions Trophy and then the victories in West Indies and Zimbabwe. Just before the Champions Trophy the IPL betting scandal had broken out there was plenty of public outcry as well but strangely enough it became muted when India became victorious in England.
There are several reasons to support why cricket is almost a religion in India. The first and foremost is the success of the national team – in fact cricket is one of the few sports where this country is thought of as a favourite. Visibility is also a major factor – there are two channels dedicated to cricket in India and no other sport enjoys this sort of support. Secondly, this success has led to sufficient revenue from interested companies who want to cash on the bandwagon and this has only made the BCCI supremos confident that they can and they will get away with anything they wish to do. They know that as long as the team performs the people will love them and even in case of debacles they will wait with baited breath for a new generation of champions to emerge and as long as this fair continues the companies will be eager to dole out generous amounts to market their products and services to as many people as possible. This is a symbiotic relationship and its biggest beneficiaries are ones whose relationship with the game is not necessarily motivated with a love for it and a desire to see its roots become stronger across the country.
Till more cricketers do not take up leadership positions in the organization such affairs shall continue – we shall despair only to rise up in glee India clinches the next match or trophy and nothing much will have changed.