A rock, a hard place

BCCI chief has an unenviable job at a difficult time. He must step up to it.

Published:February 6, 2016 12:27 am

shashankmanoharpti

It will be understandable if the Indian cricket board president, Shashank Manohar, feels that, right now, he is being loved and viewed with suspicion, both at the same time. The Anglo-Saxon part of the cricketing world is lauding him for the clean-up job he has promised at the International Cricket Council. But the Indians in power in cricket administration might not be quite cosying up to him. Needless to say, he has an unenviable task on his hands. He has spoken about defanging the bully that is Indian cricket that, along with England and Australia, had devised a plan last year to retain the lion’s share of the revenue. If he manages to bring in a more equitable sharing system, then the BCCI, which, as part of the Big Three, was expected to rake in around $568 million annually, will have to settle for a double-digit figure.

Even if the new revenue is somehow deemed palatable by the old guard back home, they might stir up a rebellion of sorts if Manohar starts to clean up Indian cricket as per the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee. The suggestions of the Supreme Court-appointed committee are aimed at a comprehensive clean-up. Several important figures would have to quit cricket administration as they would not only be debarred by the age clause of 70 years but would be automatically disqualified by the limits imposed on tenure — cumulatively nine years and no successive terms allowed. Politicians and administrators don’t usually give up power easily.

If the Big Three is dismantled, and democracy replaces hegemony, the BCCI stands to lose money, which in turn would affect the generous cash flow to various local associations across the country. A recommendation as simple and rational as auditing and accounting for the money given to associations is likely to hit speed-breakers. In other words, the recommendations envisage a complete shake-up of the system — be it changing the way the associations and the BCCI are currently registered to the way the money is shared between them — and such overhauling is likely to alienate the BCCI chief from his colleagues in cricket administration. The job at hand isn’t going to be easy, considering the big names and powerful people involved. With the SC breathing down his neck, it will be interesting to see how Manohar responds.

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