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Editorial

Fixing a Dented Image: BCCI

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 19, 2021 11:24 pm
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Notwithstanding the threat of the ongoing pandemic, an ambitious Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organised the Indian Premier League (IPL), a cash-rich limited overs cricket tournament primarily to fill its coffer. But in the end, the mid-way postponement of the tournament cost the BCCI INR 2000 to 2500 crore, a huge loss which will take much time to recover. The loss in simple words means that for the foreseeable future BCCI will remain cash-starved and will not be able to stand beside the game and players as before. Development of the game in India will be badly affected; budding cricketers will be deprived of the necessary support from the board or state associations; yesteryear cricketing stalwarts will have to wait a long time to get their pension and other dues from BCCI. In short, the financial stability of BCCI will be disturbed and the game of cricket will suffer in India.

It is quite perplexing that even after being unable to hold the premier domestic cricket tournament Ranji Trophy, the board engaged all its energies to organise IPL. From the very beginning of the tournament, it was known that cancellation was a real possibility as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc in the country. Despite the threat, the tournament continued as it is a money spinner. In the year 2020 it generated a revenue of nearly INR 4000 crore for the board. So the temptation to push forward was strong. But the moot point here is that BCCI’s main job is to promote the game of cricket across the country, not to earn money. It cannot show extraordinary preferences to a particular tournament just for financial gain.

In its statement regarding postponement of the tournament, BCCI stressed that the step was taken keeping the health of the cricketers in mind. But a close look at arrangements made by BCCI will show many loopholes that existed which were potentially detrimental to the health of the cricketers. For example, BCCI left it to the franchises to book hotels at venues and allowed the teams to stay in various hotels. As a result, players were not living within the same Bio-bubble, which is a must to prevent the spread of any infectious disease. Moreover, the ground staff were not kept in the Bio-bubble, it should have been mandatory as players frequently come into contact with them during the game. Even hotel staff were not quarantined. Thus, the players were always exposed to infection. It is no wonder the tournament got postponed.

Like all other activities, sports too has been badly affected by the ongoing pandemic. Most sporting events have been suspended, even the fate of the Olympic Games is hanging in the balance. In such a situation BCCI’s hurried act of organising the tournament has clearly undermined its role as facilitator of the game. More unfortunate is the fact that the BCCI showed its greedy side despite being headed by a cricketer himself. Surely, BCCI needs atonement to refurbish its image.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: May 19, 2021 11:24:40 pm