Board of control for Cricket

Written by Boria Majumdar | Updated: Nov 30 2009, 03:15am hrs
I am generally on time with filing my column. This week is perhaps an exception as I am actually a day late. Despite my editors insisting that the column come in by the 26th, I waited for the morning of the 27th before handing it in. However, let me iterate-this delay was deliberate. I wanted to wait for the nth minute to check if the BCCI issues a formal statement condemning the Ahmedabad pitch or even a slight murmur was heard in the echelons of power governing Indian cricket. Unfortunately, not a thing. There has been no formal censure of the curator or the staging association for contributing to weakening the already fragile foundations of Test match cricket in India. Vote bank politics perhaps, fear of taking on a high profile political figure like Narendra Modi perhaps or more simply putignorance. Whatever it is, the silence over the Ahmedabad pitch fiasco has certainly cost the BCCI a few supporters, contributed to the growing murmur that it is only interested in the riches and the well being of the game continues to rank much lower in its list of priorities. More importantly, I waited for them to come out in support of Indias greatest weapon for many, Sachin Tendulkar.

The pitch issue and the account it has so far given over the Shiv Senas attack on Sachin rankles me. For millions of us what really matters is that we are Indians. This is something we have been taught in schools since childhood and have since taught our next generation. In fact, provincialism has always been perceived as one of the worst ills to have plagued Indian society and Indian cricket more specifically. To hail provincialism is unfortunate to say the least and the little the BCCI could have done is hailed Sachins contribution to Indian cricket.

Cricket, in India more than anywhere else, is a political instrument. It opens doors to unheard of riches, gives access to the high and mighty in the corridors of power and assures one of instant limelight. Who would have known Shashank Manohar or N Srinivasan otherwise but for their roles as cricket czars More pertinently, they are far better known than many ministers of state in the central cabinet. Such is the currency of cricket in India. In a situation like this, it is extremely problematic when the BCCI distances itself from an issue sighting its apolitical credentials. It is very much a political organisation. Anyone who has an understanding about its workings and has seen how a BCCI election is conducted knows the real truth.

At a time when theres ongoing debate about the expansion of the IPL and whether the franchisees will soon render the Board powerless, silence over core cricketing issues can only hurt the BCCI in the long run. It is imperative that the BCCI, for its own well being, tries to come to terms with its real priorities. Test cricket, it is essential to reiterate for the nth time, should rank at the very top. It is what makes cricket what it is and it is ultimate arena where the BCCI carries with it the responsibility of the tri-colour. It is what makes the BCCI relevant to a few million purists in India.

In the following few weeks the BCCI will once again be on test. Why allot a match to Kanpur when the curator is on record saying he needed a month more to ensure the relaid track was ready for action Just as it is so common with Indian cricket these days, there are many more questions than answers as the country braces itself for the concluding Test match of the series against Sri Lanka in Sachins home town. Will the BCCI celebrate his 13,000 Test runs for India or will they agree with the Sena in saying his runs are only for the record books Unfortunately for Indian cricket none of these questions relate to action out there in the middle.

The writer is a cricket historian