I had resolved to ignore anything and everything concerning the IPL from
now onwards. My resolve was shaken by this excellent piece by Mukul
Kesavan which I started browsing very cursorily initially but then with
growing interest. I have read a good many pieces about the IPL and its
principal characters who have been in the limelight lately. Many of them
have been clever pieces of writing, interesting, chatty and amusing.
This piece however does as good a summing up of what ails Indian
cricket, including IPL, and what needs to be done better than most
others. The link to the piece is given just below.
Let me end my comments on the entire IPL – Tharoor – Modi affair
with a series of observations.
It has been established all over again (as if it wasn’t established
already) that a bunch of veteran, corrupt and cynical politicians
together with wheeling-dealing businesspersons have steadily wrecked
Indian cricket over the years and installed a whole bunch of their
flunkies and proxies as administrators to do their bidding and cover up
afterwards. Lalit Modi was just the latest high-profile flunky who made
hay while the sun shone brightly, possibly forgetting his fallibility
and failing to realize that he was eminently dispensable once the fur
started flying in this line-up. He may have ruffled some feathers also
by not sharing as much of the loot as some of the others possibly
craved. Tharoor, typical of many who have wandered into Indian politics,
has proven himself to be a disappointment and an unmitigated asshole in
the rather short period of time that he has been in the public eye.
The BCCI, for quite some time now, has been a dysfunctional body which
has been doing great disservice to the game of cricket in India. It is
entirely comparable to a conclave of thieves, rogues and puppets
faithfully carrying out their unseen master’s bidding. To start with,
the BCCI should be dissolved as a body and reconstituted with adequate
safeguards built in and the present lot of office-bearers should be
thoroughly investigated, prosecuted if need be or at least warned to
stay off cricketing bodies and sports administration for their lifetime.
Former cricketers like Pataudi, Gavaskar & Shastri who have
conveniently associated themselves with various cricketing bodies from
time to time, including the IPL, have shown themselves to be no better
than some of the bunch mentioned above. Given the fact that they once
played the game so ably, they are more culpable than some others for the
mess that the game is in. The least they can do is to own up to the
fact that they have been greedy mercenaries eager to share in the spoils
and follow the gravy train when it suited them only to distance
themselves and act holier-than-thou when the shit hit the ceiling. To
safeguard the future of Indian cricket, all these three gentlemen should
stop punking around as administrators & managers of sorts in any
capacity and fade quickly into oblivion.
If betting and gambling have become an inalienable part of the game, let
the Govt. of India legalize betting with checks and safeguards built
in. At least that will hopefully prevent shady syndicates and mafias
from manipulating & controlling this whole process. Since lotteries
administered by State Govts. have been going on for decades in India,
there is no reason why the person-in-the-street can’t bet on outcomes of
matches and other similar propositions which may be put up by the
official and formal body constituted for the purpose.
Players who may be suspected of having participated in match-fixing
activities should be thoroughly investigated and banished from all forms
of the game if their involvement in such practices is established.
Politicians of any kind should be debarred from getting involved in
sports administration of any kind, either at the state, national or
international level as long as they are active politically.
Of course since all this makes eminent sense to me and possibly to many
other folks who wish to see the game of cricket and its administration
cleaned up thoroughly, I am also reasonably sure that it will never
quite happen any time in the foreseeable future.