BCCI is undoubtedly the country’s richest sports body and the world’s wealthiest cricket board, but it also perhaps the most political and the most brazen when it comes to brandishing its monetary power.
Over the past decade, the sporting body has been extremely bullish in its drive towards transcending national boundaries to being 'crowned' as the Board of Control for Cricket in the 'World' (figuratively, of course).
And money is where the 'big brother' of cricket would flex its muscle to ensure its monopoly.
Having such a financial clout means the ICC, Sharad Pawar-headed cricket's world body, dances to the tunes of the Indian board -- the prolonged delay to implement the Decision Review System (DRS) rule being the latest example.
BCCI was adamant against DRS. It believed the technology is not reliable, even though many senior players including Sachin Tendulkar have spoken in favour of induction of this technology.
e, the ghost of Lalit Modi has come back to haunt BCCI yet again. The ongoing war of words between the sacked-IPL chairman and the cricket board got stronger after the latter doubted the role of Modi in the soon-to-be-launched Sri Lankan Premier League. The founder of IPL is in exile in UK after being charged with financial irregularities while sitting at the helm of the country's T20 extravaganza.
According to BCCI, SLPL is a private-owned league and, therefore, will not allow Indians to participate in the same. It seems SLPL is against the law of cricket. The same law, which according to Modi, was drafted to outlaw and kill the Indian Cricket League. A law, which was approved and drafted at 'lightening speed'.
With a series of tweets in the past one week, Lalit Modi has revealed how the BCCI 'arm-twisted' all cricket boards and the ICC to change the constitution to see the demise of ICL.
Apparently BCCI ensured that all the other boards cooperate with them in changing the constitution to outlaw the first T20 league of the country. Modi tweeted, “BCCI called all and sundry to oppose ICL. Cricket associations were told not to give there grounds or fear losing matches." He further tweeted, "Yes we were afraid of Subhash Chandra's Clout in Media and ability to take over the World of Cricket. Internally, we knew he would do a better job."
Modi says BCCI went to the extent of blacklisting TV production houses who worked with the ICL. Commentators were told not to associate with ICL lest BCCI would not take them. The ICL players were offered amnesty scheme to desert ICL and join IPL.
If Lalit Modi's tweets are to be believed, therein lay a lot of unanswered questions: What was the BCCI afraid of? Why would the BCCI crush a tournament, which received a big response from the fans and the players alike? Will the BCCI's 'complete control' policy help the game in the country?
The power shift in the world of cricket began in early 2000, to be precise, when Jagmohan Dalmiya was appointed the ICC president in 1997. His first action: shifting the ICC headquarters from Lords to Dubai. Since then, India became cricket's epicentre mostly dictating its allies in the neighbourhood and the ICC.
And with India's triumph in the recently conducted World Cup 2011 and its current spot in the ICC Test rankings, the cricket board has become richer, thereby more powerful. It appears that BCCI is so wallowing in its wealth and self-created glory, that it has forgotten the larger picture.
Such hubris will do no good to the world of cricket and India in particular. BCCI, the gateway to the past, present and future of India cricket is in need for change.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)