On way out, Ramachandra Guha slams superstar culture in Indian cricket, inaction of Supreme Court committee

In his resignation letter to CoA chairman Vinod Rai, Ramachandra Guha points to instances of preferential treatment extended to Sunil Gavaskar and MS Dhoni. In other cases, without taking names, he points at improprieties and conflict of interest.

Written by Sriram Veera | Mumbai | Updated: June 3, 2017 10:03 am
Ramachandra Guha, cricket news, indian express Ramachandra Guha also raised the issue of how MS Dhoni was a captain of the team while “holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players”.

Resigning from the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) of the cricket board, historian Ramachandra Guha criticised Indian cricket’s “superstar culture” and poured out his angst at the inability of the committee to crack down on the various conflicts of interest that plague the system.

In his resignation letter to CoA chairman Vinod Rai, Guha points to instances of preferential treatment extended to cricket legends Sunil Gavaskar and M S Dhoni. In other cases, he doesn’t take names but lists what he believes are improprieties and drops enough hints on the identities involved: from Rahul Dravid’s conflict of interest in his roles as national coach and as an IPL mentor to Sourav Ganguly’s dual role as an association president and a commentator.

The letter also brings up the need to increase the fee of domestic cricketers and points to the absence of male cricketers in the CoA. But it’s the superstardom and the allied conflicts of interest that irk him most.

Guha cites the example of Gavaskar, who heads the PMG company which manages established cricketers like Shikhar Dhawan to upcoming talents like Rishabh Pant and Sarfraz Khan, and continues to work as BCCI commentator. “Either he must step down/withdraw himself from PMG completely or stop being a commentator for BCCI,” Guha said in his resignation letter.

Likewise, Guha also raised the issue of how Dhoni was a captain of the team while “holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players”.

“This (superstar culture) must stop — and only we can stop it.” From his email, it is evident that he believes the CoA hasn’t done much to stop it. He also points out how Dhoni, though he retired from Test cricket, continues to be placed in the Grade A category of BCCI contracts. Guha believes the move is “indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message”.

Guha doesn’t name Dravid but it’s clear that he is being referred to in the case of coaches who work with the national team for 10 months and are mentor of an IPL team for the other two months. Dravid is India A and U-19 coach, who worked as mentor of the Delhi IPL team.

“It is contrary to the spirit of the Lodha Committee for coaches or the support staff of the Indian senior or junior team, or for staff at the National Cricket Academy, to have contracts in the Indian Premier League. One cannot have dual loyalties of this kind and do proper justice to both. National duty must take precedence over club affiliation. This was done in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner… the more famous the former player-turned-coach, the more likely was the BCCI to allow him to draft his own contract that left loopholes that he exploited to dodge the conflict of interest issue,” Guha wrote.

He also hints at Ganguly’s dual role as a possible conflict of interest. “One famous former cricketer is contracted by media houses to comment on active players while serving as President of his State Association.” Ganguly is the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal.

He also lists occasions when the CoA didn’t keep all its committee members informed of the developments. Like the time P Chidambaram, the Congress leader, was enlisted to represent the CoA as legal counsel. Guha puts it thus: “For instance, a capable, non-political Senior Counsel representing the CoA and the BCCI in the Supreme Court was abruptly replaced by another Senior Counsel who is a party politician.”

Guha feels Anil Kumble, India’s coach, has been unfairly treated despite a good year at the helm. He criticises BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and office-bearers for being “extremely insensitive and unprofessional” in the way they handled it, and also blames the CoA for its “silence and inaction”.

Guha also warns about giving untrammelled power to the players. “Current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?”

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  1. R
    Rabindra Nath Roy
    Jun 3, 2017 at 3:51 pm
    Ram Guha, it could not be denied that he is though a Historian but that he is downright honest in his essment and the Gods of Cricket are those who are making money and theit income is not made public, why not? it is a serious allegation backed by the facts that those who have been banned are back through the back door to the meetings BCCI. That the crooks have not yet given up hope that sooner or later they would be back to the floor and again and they are trying their best to bring the Indian Cricket to its worst. On the issue of playing with stan Govt. interfered which it should not have since it is governed by the ICC and the agreements have their own conditionalities which BCCI can not overrule. Now where are the other Gods like Sachin, Kapil and so on and why are they keeping quiet. What about Sourabh Ganguly who is accused of wrong doings would he speak up ? Ram Guha has taken up the cudgels and he should not give up. I hope his resignation is appropriate fight.
    Reply
    1. S
      Shymal
      Jun 3, 2017 at 9:42 am
      Guha thought that running BCCI is like writing fiction or biographies
      Reply
      1. T
        T DUTTA
        Jun 3, 2017 at 9:00 am
        IN FACT, IF THE OPENERS SCORE HUGE RUNS THEN THE REMAINING 9 PLAYERS NEED NOT EVEN BAT---------IN MANY MATCHES A TEAM WINS BY LOSING ONLY 3 OR 4 WICKETS--SO ELEVEN BATSMEN OF BOTH TEAMS DO NOT BAT----CRICKET IS ONLY 60 PER CENT TEAM GAME--out of 22 players only 13 players play together at any point of time
        Reply
        1. T
          T DUTTA
          Jun 3, 2017 at 8:56 am
          CRICKET IS NOT A HUNDRED PER CENT TEAM GAME---IN FOOTBALL AND HOCKEY ALL 22 PLAYERS PLAY SIMULTANEOUSLY -------BUT IN CRIKET ONLY 13 PLAYERS PLAY TOGETHER --11 FIELDSMAN AND 2 BATSMAN---9 BATSMEN SIT IN THE PAVILION---SO CRICKET IS NOT A HUNDRED PER CENT TEAM GAME---THIS A GENERAL COMMENT NOT INTENDED TO DEVALUE THE PERFORMANCE OF EMINENT CRICKETERS
          Reply
          1. N
            Npon-resident
            Jun 3, 2017 at 8:25 am
            While Guha may be right , cricket is a milch cow , and almost everybody involved in it is benefiting from it someway or the other . And every time the issue of appropriateness of behavior comes in , you hear the same refrain , cricket is what it is today because of those involved in it and it is pretty successful and why fix something that is not broken.The gravy train is doing pretty well and the fans it seems do not mind . Going with hammer and tongs on this' conflict of interest issue ' is not going to work in a country like India . With cricket i cannot think of too many countries where things are working really well . There are issues in almost all countries . All sports federations in fact are roiled by corruption controversies , not very sporting i guesss.
            Reply
            1. O
              Observer
              Jun 3, 2017 at 8:02 am
              OMG, BCCI Kal Aaj Aur Kal - Disturbing, unfortunate Chapters unfolding one by one gradually. Virat egographs, , groupism, superstar culture germinations/sustenance, crab culture etc operating in so many spheres; how can cricket be an exception?
              Reply
              1. M
                Murthy
                Jun 3, 2017 at 7:43 am
                Mr. Guha is NOT impartial, as a historian or as a commentator. Our Media has not told us how he entered the Cricket World via the Supreme Court. We do not know if he had any ability to "advise" the BCCI. But we do know that Mr. Guha enjo "super star" status with his close ociation with the Dynasty. Therefore, it is strange that he should complain in this fashion. At least Dhoni, Dravid and all our cricket stars have toiled in the hot SUN and biting cold in foreign countries to earn their spurs. Mr. Guha just had to weave his flattery of the Dynasty into his pseudo-histories. Flattery comes more easily than runs in a w day game of cricket, as the red rock is thrown at you at 140 kms speed.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sushil Ahuja
                  Jun 3, 2017 at 6:57 am
                  लोगों के कमेंट पढ़कर उन पर उनके मानसिकता पर मुझे बहुत अफसोस हो रहा है की इतनी घटिया मानसिकता लेकर cricket क्रिकेट के ठेकेदार, cricket के ठेके जैसे शराब के ठेके हैं धर्म के ठेके हैं भगवान के ठेके हैं अल्लाह के ठेके हैं गॉड के ठेके हैं और ठेकेदार भी हैं उनसे मुनाफा लेने वाले यह यह सभी ठेकेदार क्रिकेट के पंडित क्रिकेट के ज्योतिषी क्रिकेट के हाजी मस्तान है जो लोगों की स्मग सरेआम करते हैं लोगों को यूज करते हैं और अपार धन कमाकर बैठे हैं लोगों के सेंटीमेंट्स को गलत रहा पर गलत दिशा पर निकाल कर पुरे देश का सत्यानाश कर चुके हैं सरकारों से ध्यान ाने के लिए क्रिकेट कांग्रेस बड़े अच्छे से इस्तेमाल करती थी और BJP के लोगों को भी साथ में लेकर जनता जनार्दन का ध्यान अपनी नाकामयाबियों से हटाकर लोगों का चौका लगाती थी और अब छक्का लगाती है क्रिकेट खेल खेल कर हमारे देश के नौजवान सचमुच छक्के बन चुके हैं इंपोर्टेंट impotents बन चुके हैं. Guha जैसे लोगों पर हमें गर्व होना चाहिए मुझे गर्व है बुआ जैसे लोगों पर. He is the man of India. छ छक्के देख देख कर छक्के छक्के बनते जा रहे हैं लोग छकू बनते जा रहे हैं
                  Reply
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