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Leadership vacuum in BCCI threatens future of Indian and world cricket
By Lalit K Modi, 13 August, 2014

The BCCI, a great institution, helmed by persons of eminence is again in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Men of such stature like MA Chidambaram, NKP Salve, Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar and Anthony D’Mello built a reputation for the BCCI being an efficient body through their leadership. But sadly in the past three to four years the BCCI is trying very hard to undo all the hard work of these men of eminence with their bullying tactics.

BCCI has well and truly emerged as the big bad bully of world cricket. The latest example is the mismanagement of the Jadeja-Anderson spat. BCCI has tried to separate itself from the decision-making process of International Cricket Council (ICC). In doing so, BCCI have tried to portray themselves as being distinctly different to the ICC in the way rules are framed. BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel has been on record trying to get the Indian media’s attention by saying that the ICC’s code of conduct is flawed and it requires changes.

Well Mr. Patel, if you feel the code of conduct is flawed it is you and your predecessors as BCCI secretary/CEO who have been party to it coming into effect. Just in case it is forgotten, ICC, as constantly reminded by the Big Three in the power grab earlier this year is a `member co-operative’. It means that the ICC on its own unilaterally cannot take a decision to make changes to its codes etc.

Any changes to codes, rules, playing conditions and other additions go through various levels of ICC administrative process. ICC management recommends it to the Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) and finally the Board approves it. So the code of conduct, if flawed, should have been changed or suggestions made for a change to the CEC/Board. BCCI as a full member has a representative on both these panels.

If BCCI finds any rule, playing condition and code flawed or having a lacuna it can suo moto bring it up at any forum for a discussion/change. But the fact that they haven’t till now, shows that either BCCI was not aware of the code or were not vigilant when the codes came up for ratification at ICC meetings. BCCI can try as much as they want but they can never separate themselves from the ICC. A BCCI representative is on the Board of ICC and thereby is a director of the world governing body. So BCCI is as much to be held accountable for ICC’s actions as the governing body based in Dubai. BCCI has thus far managed to carve out a difference between themselves and the ICC on all sticky issues. But when it came to issues related to finance, they never forgot to remind everyone that ICC is a ‘member co-operative’.

ICC is closest to what the United Nations is for the comity of nations on matters relating to world issues. ICC, like UN, can never do anything suo moto apart from taking administrative decisions for the office they run in Dubai. For everything else like UN, they have to bow to the demands/wishes of the Security Council styled ICC Board.

So for Sanjay Patel and other BCCI officials to blame ICC code of conduct or the powers that be is simply flawed. If BCCI is disappointed about the verdict by the judicial commissioner, then they have only themselves to blame. It has now emerged that Anderson abused Dhoni on the field, in addition to having a verbal duel with Jadeja. This fact emerged during the course of the hearing by Gordon Lewis. While it is a matter to be outraged on, the BCCI and its backers completely forget that the charge that was laid on Anderson by them was one of pushing Jadeja and abusing him.

The judicial commissioner was within his rights to investigate only the matter that the charge related to it. That Anderson abused Dhoni as well was something that emerged as a by-product of the hearing. The other important thing to note is that BCCI is now crying wolf over lack of video cameras in the corridors of the Trent Bridge pavilion. Well two BCCI representatives have been on a pre-tour inspection trip to United Kingdom to ascertain the facilities available to its squad.

Is it not a fault of the BCCI representatives on inspection tour that they did not spot this obvious error at the Trent Bridge? Or was it just a joy trip that BCCI hands to its well-behaved employees/office-bearers and state association officials? These questions may well remain unanswered, but it is well worth asking as BCCI tries to present itself as the aggrieved party.

The men who built the very edifice of BCCI will surely have handled things differently. But sadly there is a leadership vacuum currently in the Board. Mr. Srinivasan, or the ICC chairman or should we say self-styled prima donna of world cricket further complicates matters. Just imagine how Mr. Srinivasan has taken his favourite subject at college and school, conflict of interest, to just another level.

Srinivasan, as ICC Chairman, had to watch his employee and India Cements vice-president Dhoni taking on a body that he heads. The matter raised by Dhoni was about another India Cements employee or a Chennai Super Kings player, who is paid a fat salary by Srinivasan’s company. How can such a case, even if handled impartially by David Richardson, be dealt with without any hint of interference from the top?

The sooner this farce ends, the better it would be for world and Indian cricket. But is anyone listening? Sadly no, cricket will continue to suffer and more importantly Indian cricket will continue to be painted as a rich spoilt brat. For a young nation and an old civilisation that India is, this is a tag that they can ill-afford to have.

Follow my thoughts on the BCCI crisis through my Twitter account @lalitkmodi
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