Suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi is paying the price for his “autocratic” style of functioning and his potential downfall is a lesson for administrators in similar position, according to former South African cricket boss Dr Ali Bacher.
Bacher said Modi had no doubt played a part in making the Indian Premier League an extraordinary success but his tendency to take unilateral decisions ultimately paved his downfall.
“There is no doubt that the IPL is an extra-ordinary success but his style of functioning created a lot of resentment among the other Board members. You cannot ignore the others for too long. You cannot vest all the powers on one person”, Bacher told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.
“He (Modi) was an opportunist and his potential downfall is a lesson for persons in similar position. He is paying the price for all that now”, he said.
Bacher, whose company was involved in installing floodlights in some of the IPL venues, said his payments were delayed for over 15 months as the organisers and the host association kept dilly-dallying on the payment issue.
“I met Modi and he assured me that the payment will be done. Though the payment was delayed, he kept his word with me,” Bacher, who was the Managing Director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa from 1991 to 2000, said.
Bacher also criticised Modi for trying to take credit for innovating the Twenty20 format of the game, saying the shortest format of the game started in England and had become quite popular there.
The former administrator said that while T20 cricket had become popular, it was imperative to strike the right balance among all the three formats when the calendars are drawn.
“There is too much cricket being played these days. The top teams play too much and that is certainly a concern. Everything has to be balanced. T20 is popular, but if we play too much it will be a problem”, he said.
Bacher, who was largely responsible for bringing South Africa back into international cricket following the apartheid era, is concerned that the South African system is no longer producing quality black cricketers.
“After the retirement of (Makhaya) Ntini, not many black cricketers are making it to the national squad on merit. If this trend continues for some more years, it could pose a lot of problems”, he reckoned.
“May be the development programmes have lost its impetus. More needs to be done to bring the desired results. Eighty percent of the population are black Africans and it is important that we have more black cricketers”, he said.
Bacher singled out batting great Sachin Tendulkar for special praise among contemporary cricketers, saying he was one of the greatest cricketers of all time and a “big asset” for Indian cricket.
“Sachin has never changed, he is truly great...He is a great asset to Indian cricket and world cricket. The ICC should make him the game’s ambassador after his retirement. He is always going to be special”, he said.