The trouble with monopolistic brands which have gained market share because of ‘force’, is that they don’t endear themselves to many. Think telephones and you had to opt for the state-run brands some time back. Or the state-run airlines when it came to air travel. And the hallmark of such brands was their dont-give-a-damn attitude towards consumers. Competition forced them to change for the better. And competition came about because the Government allowed it.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is one such monopolistic brand whose petty ways have earned them very few friends. The irony is that it is a non-Governmental body, accountable to none. It has batted its way into this unique situation where even the Government cannot create ‘competition’ for it. They seem to take the ‘control’ part of their name bit too seriously – witness the fracas in New Zealand over Sachin Tendulkar-Hamish Marshall being in the same team. Much has already written about the issue and the public anger is palpable…so is the helplessness. While some call it stupidity, I feel this is sheer pettiness. Pettiness over a rival cricket league. And the loser unfortunately is neither of the leagues, it is Indian Cricket. What’s the way out? Given that politicians are part and parcel of BCCI, and the stakes are high, there doesn’t seem to be any. And the commodity being served by BCCI is close to everyone’s heart. In the true tradition of forget-and-forgive, even this dadagiri of BCCI will be forgotten, come the next IPL.
Well said about the “control” bit! But I think the Hamish Marshal incident is only the latest and relatively smallest of the boards high handedness (small if you aren’t Tendualkr, Laxman, Dravid, who might not get a single match to practice before a vital test series). In the first case which Board in their right senses will send a team into the toughest cricketing conditions in the world! Coming back to the “Board of Control” bit I think the control began way back when the ICL began. The ICL was an awesome opportunity for young Indian players to play against and with some of the world’s biggest names (Inzamam,Youssef, Md. Sami, Azhar Mahmood, Shane Bond, Nathn Astle, Craig Mcmillan and more). But the BCCI made sure they played in stadia that even local leauges would play on in the first year! The result low scores and bowler friendly tracks- killing the main attraction of 20/20 cricket- big hitting and big sixes!. But yet going by the crowds in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad the ICL certainly had its local fans. Showing that there is enough market and demand for both leagues. But not according to the Board- who are hell bent to continue the raw deal on the ICL. Most other boards have let ICL play in their domestic leagues, in fact most of the champion 20/20 sides in the world of cricket have ICL players (Justin Kemp, Hamish Marshal, Nicky Boje all are members of their country’s champion sides). The boards answer- ban sides with ICL players for the lucrative 20/20 Champions League. This can’t be good for cricket. The board has pretty much alienated itself with Aus, SA and England boards who are just waiting for their chance to show up our board! Until that happens this board will continue to “control” cricket, cricketers and cricket viewers in India and all over the world! And some very talented players might still have to sit out of the mainstage for no fault of theirs, except that they are trying to earn a livelyhood in manner not acceptable to the BCCI!
Sorry about the spellings in my earlier comment! I let my passion for cricket get the better of my English Grammar and Spellings!
Thanks for the comment, George! The irony is that there is no one to ‘control’ the BCCI. The charges against BCCI have been the same for years now. The tiff with ICL is only a part of the larger issue against them.
BCCI is the Board of Commercial Control of India, as they are only concerned about commercial interests, not about the game and what it needs.
Simple thing, is the game that lay man in India loves so much cannot play the game at will today as there are no grounds left. Most of the grounds are privatised and others use grounds for marriages, events, etc. to make more money.
I if India was a brand, then its baseline would be:
” Jahan sab se bada hai rupaiya”.
Everything begins and ends with money, commercial interests.