Cricket and its credibility

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Akshar Patel, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The committee headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha has not disappointed cricket fans. Under intense judicial scrutiny ever since the betting scandal hit the Indian Premier League in 2013, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been seen by many as a club of individuals who treat the various regional units as part of their personal fiefdom. The BCCI suffered from a serious credibility deficit as cricket-lovers were convinced that the businessmen and politicians who run the cash-rich body in an opaque manner were not working entirely in the game’s interest. The Supreme Court appointed the Lodha committee last year to suggest ways to rid cricket administration of its many obvious ills, such as lack of transparency and accountability.

The panel has suggested reforms in the board’s structure and functioning. The proposed measures could radically alter the way the BCCI functions as well as vastly improve its public image and impart much-needed credibility. One significant suggestion is that government servants and ministers be kept out of cricket administration. Even if the political class as a whole is not barred, it will at least prevent influential politicians in government eyeing the spoils of office in cricket administration.

The report has two major suggestions related to public policy. One is the radical idea of legalizing betting in cricket. Betting cast a dark shadow on the IPL and led to two franchises being suspended. Many will welcome such legalization as that will bring in an element of regulation and monitoring. Its implementation will hinge on suitable local legislation across the country. Another idea is that the BCCI brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. It does sound attractive. However, it will both require legislative change and a balancing rule that unnecessary queries are not directed towards decisions made by captains and selectors of the national and domestic teams. A restructured cricket board and an equitable system of voting by and in all its affiliated units will surely be in the game’s interest. What ultimately matters is that cricket should not suffer because of whimsical individuals holding on to key posts in the administration and working to cover up instead of preventing unsavory developments.


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