Ramachandra Guha is dreaming about cricket. He is padded up, a wicket falls, and he walks to the middle. He always hopes that it would unfurl into a dreamy scenario where he ends up playing a match-winning knock but he would always wake up even before he could settle into his stance.
It was a recurring dream till his 30’s. He was a university cricketer, a proud member of Friends Union club in Bangalore joined at the age of 5, a regular feature at Ranji Trophy games at the Bangalore stadium, author of an authoritative history on Indian cricket – a cricket tragic in many ways. Though he is the outsider in the Supreme-Court panel set up to oversee the administration of Indian cricket, he along with Diana Eduljee is probably the person who can say that he has a deep affection for the game.
Twitter world is already buzzing with friendly trolling – about how his Nehruvian love might translate into the way he administers the game; from how Nehra’s good days are here as he is just one letter short of Guha’s hero to the Indian jerseys turning into Nehru jackets.
Thought in the recent years he has moved away from cricket to issues of gravitas – from penning books on famous Indians, on political history, environmental historian, and a staunch critic of right-wing fundamentalism – he has continued his love affair with the game.
He has been almost polemical in his criticism of Indian Premier League, slamming it as a crony capitalism, a tamasha, riven with conflict of interests of egoistical administrators, a blot on democracy in how it there is no franchise from the four populated states in India – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa.
Though as a member of the club in Bangalore, he is entitled to free tickets for games at the Chinnaswamy stadium, he doesn’t come for IPL games. It would be interesting to see how as administrator, he manages his biases.
So much so that he had once said that “IPL should be disbanded”. In the past he has offered his blueprint to take cricket forward in the country.
To quote him, “The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, played between state sides, should be upgraded, making it the flagship Twenty20 tournament in the country. Then the clubs and state associations that have run our domestic game reasonably well for the past 80 years would be given back their authority, and the crooks and the moneybags turfed out altogether. Even now, in every city and town in India, there are selfless cricket coaches and administrators active, nurturing young talent, supervising matches and leagues. The way to save Indian cricket is to allow these (people) to take charge once more.”