BCCI: Old habits never die

first_imgA friend called the day after Chandu Borde was anointed India cricket manager and said, “See, given that it’s Raj Singh and Sharad Pawar, do you think they meant Chandu Pandit?” It was good for a laugh, but creeping into the back of the mind came the immediate afterthought. Suppose?As,A friend called the day after Chandu Borde was anointed India cricket manager and said, “See, given that it’s Raj Singh and Sharad Pawar, do you think they meant Chandu Pandit?” It was good for a laugh, but creeping into the back of the mind came the immediate afterthought. Suppose?As farce after farce has continued to unravel, taking the fans’ minds with it, mistaking Pandit for Borde could have been a very real possibility with this BCCI. To be absolutely fair to the BCCI, Graham Ford’s conduct after he left India was unbecoming. Even if he was given a roasting at the interview, offered monkey-nuts for a salary and forced to accept a straitjacket in the name of working conditions. Whatever his reasons for changing his mind, a courtesy call to anyone in Indian cricket who had sought him out in the first place was the least he could have done before posting a thanks-but-no-thanks message on a website. It’s called manners.The BCCI’s mistake-one more in an impressively long list this year-was to jump into an announcement that could have waited 24 hours. They left the door open, and ended up looking stupid. Not that that takes any effort, with the current dispensation. Surprising because most of its key office-bearers have the reputation of being pitbulls in their own fields. Somehow, with the bogey of Jagmohan Dalmiya banished (and no doubt chuckling in Kolkata), all they look like now is a bunch of squabbling school boys each trying to impress the headmaster who himself has lost control of the entire institution.advertisementDespite Ford’s unbecoming conduct, the BCCI’s mistake was to make an announcement that could have waited 24 hours.Inside the first six months of the year, the BCCI has demonised its best players, tried to cut salaries, changed terms previously agreed upon, given one TV partner a discount on a deal (not its fault), allowing bank guarantee to lapse which caused the collapse of a $216-million TV deal (most definitely its fault).The BCCI’s many marketing partners are struggling to find takers for numerous mickey mouse tours before the Indian team’s tour of England this summer, but no one in the Board has been able to schedule an extra practice game for the team when they travel to Australia in their winter.When Pawar, who now has ambitions of heading the ICC, took charge at the BCCI, he promised transparency, accountability and professionalism. Today, those words sound like the Borde or Pandit gag. In any case, Pawar seems distracted between choosing a President and finding a coach. Naturally, anarchy has broken around him. The BCCI’s current hierarchy has produced a platoon of mini-Pawars, wannabes who strut around the country eager to be seen and heard, preferably on TV.A weary BCCI official says, “Board officials must be responsible. You don’t have to be on TV everyday, you don’t have to make statements everyday. Only one person should speak for the Board.” These days it’s a rotating roster. It began with Lalit Modi, the marketing guru, followed by Shashank Manohar, the hardliner. Now it’s N. Srinivasan, the financial whiz, and no, we won’t go on about the bank guarantee. Ambient noise continues to be provided by Rajiv Shukla and Niranjan Shah, still head to head in the contest for soundbite production.When self-righteous Australians and outraged Englishmen rant on about the BCCI’s sinister plans to hijack cricket, Indians have to stop themselves. Not so much from shrieking ‘racism!’ but from breaking into giggling fits. The western world must have spotted a military efficiency that escaped us.All we see is the embarrassing anticlimax of the World Cup, imploding TV deals, the coach hunt that turned to custard and the appointment of a manager who will celebrate his 73rd birthday in England, aviator sunglasses and beaming smile in place. Cake, anyonelast_img

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