Harsha Bhogle has a nice way with words but this shouldn’t disguise the omissions he makes in his latest piece. Yates harks back to the late Tony Greig’s Cowdrey Lecture in which he criticises the BCCI and says it should lead with the Spirit Of Cricket at its heart. The recent fixing stories and the conduct of Numbnuts Srinivasan show that this is still not happening.
Harsha pays lip service to a need for governance, structure and codes of conduct yet misses a major point. Good governance requires transparency and the highest ethical standards, not only doing the right thing but being seen to be doing the right thing. Which means no conflicts of interest, people appointed to positions on merit, no interference in elections, no overly complex financial regulations, truly independent auditing and a clear code of conduct which encompasses all these behaviours. If your code of conduct misses any of these areas then it is worthless.
Tim May’s resignation as head of FICA is a sad loss to the game. His departing comments should be seen as a withering attack on the spinelessness of the ICC and its failure to provide strong ethical leadership. Be clear on this: Tim May is no Bob Crow, regurgitating old beliefs and attitudes from bygone days and itching for strike action any change he gets. Tim May believes in player representation and expects highest standards of conduct from governing boards. When they fall short he calls it.
The BCCI don’t like people who they see as a threat to their bullying ways, hence their attempts to “persuade” national captains to vote for their puppet Laxman Sivaramakrishnan to get onto the ICC cricket committee over Tim May.
Out of these two who has done better for the game of cricket? Yates doesn’t see spouting mindless garbage on Indian Pantomime League commentary as better than working to form players’ associations and highlighting where boards have issues with paying players.
Harsha says that “Test cricket started 136 ago and the sport has survived two world wars. The misdemeanours of a few will not halt it”. Yates considers the match fixing and the conflicts of interest at the BCCI and wherever else they may be to be deserving of more than this flippant statement. They are both problems that need to be addressed with clear and determined action.
Sure, cricket may well continue after these and other “misdemeanours” (fixing is not a misdemeanour, it is a vile betrayal of everything cricket stands for; the bullying by the BCCI is as vile and certainly not in the Spirit of Cricket) but what damage will be caused by them?
The fallout from the IPL fixing revelations gives the BCCI an ideal opportunity to clear out the vested self interests, the egotistical, the money obsessed and those who do not live by the Spirit Of Cricket. It gives the BCCI an ideal opportunity to clear out the crap and impose a new, cleaner structure with the clearest, highest ethical standards and a clear code of conduct. Yates is not the only one who sees this opportunity, as this article in The Hindu does too.
So what does the BCCI do?
They give temporary charge to Jagmohan Dalmiya, a man whose name can be seen written large in previous Indian cricket issues and claims of financial irregularities while Numbnuts steps aside pending the investigation into fixing.
Yates predicts that Numbnuts will either be cleared of all suggestions of impropriety and conflicts of interest or that he will resign with a nice payoff, his influence relatively undiminished and immunity from prosecution.
And the BCCI will continue on its merry way, bullying the ICC and screwing the Spirit of Cricket up the jacksie.