The Supreme Court’s (SC) latest judgement in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) versus petitioners Bihar Cricket Association case has kept the Indian cricket fan upmost in mind. BCCI president N Srinivasan has to make way for legendary cricketer Sunil “Sunny” Gavaskar who will act as the interim president for the duration of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) seventh edition.
It is obvious that the SC has taken this decision to re-instil faith in the average Indian cricket fan who was disillusioned by the murky happenings viz. spot fixing and illegal betting by key members of a few franchisees of the IPL. Over the past six seasons the blue riband tournament has seen millions of dollars being invested in it and has captured the fancy of cricket followers – actually increasing the ‘fan base’ to an astounding number.
Fortunately, the SC has allowed the BCCI to continue hosting the tournament for the seventh season and has also allowed two teams - Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) – which were surrounded by controversy, to be a part of the series. This is good news for the fans, players, franchise owners, media and the many people that are involved in the running of the tournament.
With the IPL a few weeks away, SC’s rider that no employee of India Cements, the company headed by N Srinivasan and which owns CSK, will be part of the BCCI is a hitch that needs to be resolved by the august body. For starters, Sunder Raman the IPL CEO happens to be part of the company. Not just that but many people involved with India Cements are part of the BCCI in various capacities – from coaching to administration.
SC’s directive that Gavaskar will now oversee the IPL Governing Council (which includes his brother–in-law and the other Indian legend, Gundappa Viswanath) in running the tournament has sent a strong message to the people associated with the tournament. Gavaskar is known for his diligence, prudence, patience and for his inclination to play with a straight bat. Given his reputation as a disciplinarian on and off the field during his playing days, it will be difficult for anyone to twist and turn a norm under his watchful eye.
From what one understands, SC’s latest directive is the first of the many changes that may be in the offing. The next hearing, scheduled in mid-April, will be decisive for the BCCI who will be hoping that the apex court will not cause more changes and disrupt the portals of the ‘most exclusive club in India.’
The SC, by allowing the IPL to continue, has given a breather to the players and fans and has signalled BCCI in clear terms to shape up or face the consequences. Never before in the history of the game in India has a judicial body intervened to set the house right. BCCI, since its inception in 1928, has had conscientious administrators who kept the game above politics. Knowing Gavaskar’s penchant for fair play, Indian fans can rest be assured that underarm tactics will be met with a straight bat. Howwzat!!!
(Hemant Kenkre is a Communications specialist, cricket columnist and former Bombay University cricketer and the views expressed are his own.)