Given the backdrop of allegations of favouritism and serious conflict of interest, even corruption, in the country’s cricketing establishment, especially around the IPL, it is not surprising the Supreme Court wants to clean up BCCI. The chairman of the selection board for the national cricket team, at one point, Krishnamachari Srikanth was brand ambassador for Chennai Super Kings which was owned by N Srinivasan who was secretary of BCCI which was in charge of, yes, the IPL—that, of course, is why BCCI was so slow in dealing with the allegations of spot-fixing and betting that involved Chennai Super Kings, and this brought the courts into the picture in the first place (read Indian Parivar League for more such egregious examples around the IPL and Lalit Modi, goo.gl/hD64k0). But for every allegation of favouritism—and who doesn’t have her favourite examples of players who shouldn’t have been on the national cricket team or were there for too long?—keep in mind the same BCCI-system has delivered the top test team in the world, and the IPL has not just changed the face of Indian cricket, it has established a whole new form of sports entertainment in the country with many IPL-like leagues coming up in different sports.
Instead of fixing this aspect of the BCCI-IPL by ensuring there was a system of punishing the guilty, of ensuring BCCI-IPL followed a transparent set of procedures and rules, the Supreme Court’s Justice Lodha panel got into deciding whether there should be one vote for each state, whether players should declare their assets, what the qualifications of selectors should be, whether non-cricketing functions could be held at stadiums, or whether politicians should be allowed to control BCCI, how long their terms should be and what the appropriate cooling-off period should be, among a host of other recommendations—a question worth pondering over is that since it is cricketers who have been at the heart of any match-fixing, isn’t it naive to believe putting them in charge can save the game? And on its part, despite the obvious conflicts of interest built into its structure, BCCI has chosen to be confrontational about implementing suggestions of the Lodha panel that were aimed at cleaning it up and has come up with all manner of flimsy excuses for being so tardy. At one point, earlier this week, with the Lodha panel alleged to have asked for BCCI’s bank accounts to be frozen, the BCCI came out with a counter-threat and hinted at the possibility of the ongoing New Zealand series being cancelled since it had no funds—fortunately, better sense prevailed and both sided backed down. Both BCCI and the SC have locked themselves into what look like intractable positions, something neither should have got into in the first place.