By Gulu Ezekiel
Over the last decade and particularly since the advent of the Indian Premier League last year and the Champions League, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has established itself as one of the sporting world’s richest associations.
But sadly for Indian cricket, the adage that some people have more money than sense has been proven once and for all.
In the span of two consecutive One-day Internationals the billion dollar baby that is the BCCI has made itself into an international laughing stock.
This at a time when the national side is celebrating being anointed as the number one Test team in the world, at least for the time being.
But instead of celebrations, the Indian cricket fraternity needs to face the bitter truth that the BCCI is dysfunctional apparently beyond repair.
This is evident from the fact that it refuses to learn from its mistakes.
During the inaugural IPL 2008 season, the lights went out at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on numerous occasions.
Of course committees were formed and enquiries commissioned to find out what went wrong. But in India as is well known by now, commissions and enquiries are a blatant waste of time and money.
Sure enough the Cricket Association of Bengal has formed a seven-member committee to look into the recent fiasco during the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka last week. Its results will never be known, at least not to the general public.
The only question remaining after Sunday’s disgrace at the Feroze Shah Kotla is how many members will constitute the inevitable Delhi and Districts Cricket Association enquiry committee! But then, if buck-passing were an Olympic event, we would be assured of a gold medal every four years.
The shame of the Capital’s cricket association being unable over the last few years to provide a decent playing surface has only cemented its place as the most incompetent of the many state units that make up the BCCI. And that is saying something!
A huge sum was reportedly spent on building stands and extending the capacity at what traditionally has been the most pathetic international stadium in the country. But then, what is the use of a cricket stadium without a pitch?
The rot within the BCCI is nothing new. But with Indian cricket now gleefully playing the role of the 800-pound gorilla in the room, the focus is on it like never before particularly with the next World Cup (50 overs) in the sub-continent barely 18 months away.
The raging debate for sometime now in cricket circles is the future of Test cricket. To attend five consecutive days of cricket what spectators require are basic creature comforts.
Fanatical as they are, Indian spectators will brave sub-standard conditions for ODIs or 20/20 matches which are over in a day. But to expect them to go though this ordeal for the duration of a Test match is stretching things.
Cricket matches in England, South Africa and Australia in particular are family affairs with a picnic atmosphere and even outdoor barbeques.
But in India getting past obnoxious security, braving the elements without a roof over one’s head, negotiating the filthy toilets, stomaching the disgraceful food on offer and exorbitant prices to boot, all these go into making a trip to the cricket an ordeal rather than a pleasure.
But then, who cares? Not our power-hungry cricket officials, that’s for sure.