Indian cricket is in a state of churn. The Supreme Court is bullish on reforms that promise to restructure the cricket board. With his resignation as president, Shashank Manohar has leapt off the burning deck, hoping to land safely in the International Cricket Council. Familiar power-hunters are eyeing the now untenanted president’s post in the BCCI. Players are riding the cash-rich rollercoaster that is the IPL. Television ratings suggest that fatigue has set in among cricket-watchers. Meanwhile, in England, a parliamentary committee will grill the chairman of its cricket board in the near future. The gentleman’s game has seen better days.
June 29 is the date set for the next hearing of the Supreme Court. The chief justice of the country has been spending two hours every afternoon on the game of cricket, listening to arguments from the counsels of the BCCI and its associations. Justice T.S. Thakur has kept reprimanding and pushing the BCCI to accept the reforms suggested by the Lodha committee while the BCCI and its wings have tried to stall, if not resist outright. They have done a few things on their own — appointing a CEO, clearing conflict of interest issues, attempting to bring more transparency by putting more details on their website. But the SC wants them to go further and change the BCCI’s very soul.
Will the recommendations of the Lodha committee change cricket as we know it? It will take ministers and ageing industrialists out of the picture, make it a tad more professional, get more bargaining power for former players in the administration. It will be interesting to see how that player power plays out in actual practice. Not all examples of players-turned-administrators have been great advertisements for their tribe. Overhauling the BCCI is one thing but trying to change the fabric of state associations — a cluster of club members, individuals, and patrons — is a different and difficult task. We can see that change is on the way but it’s not clear, as yet, how it will play out in the real world.