How did it come to this? The Indian cricket team is at the top of the ICC Test rankings but there are no celebrations. The BCCI and the Supreme Court are locked in a bruising ego-battle that threatens to leave a royal mess. Today, October 6, is judgement day at the SC, which could oversee the end of the run for the BCCI administration and its political nexus. This comes on the back of a messy wrangle. The board alleged their funds were frozen while the SC committee said they had just directed the banks to stop large payments to state associations since it was seen as a move against the court decision. Was this the last survival twitch of an organisation about to see its past way of arbitrary functioning end? Or is it a bit of judicial overreach from the highest court of the land against what is, all said and done, the best-run sports organisation in the country? That’s for history to decide. For now, one thing is clear. The recent escalations have made the situation ugly and the two most important members of the sporting fraternity — the players and the fans — have been left cynical and wary about the game’s immediate future.
The scale of the chaos can be seen in the over-the-top suggestions about cancelling the cricket tours though luckily that particular standoff has ended. Advocates of “let’s-whip-the-BCCI” saw it as emotional blackmail from the cricket board — as a petulant reaction from a clutch of officebearers at the prospect of losing control, dragging cricket(ers) down with them. Those alleging “judicial overreach” saw it as an unnecessarily aggressive move by the court — for years now the board has been sharing the funds between the state organisations. The least the court could have done is to make it clearer to the public what exactly was the crime here.
When mountains move, the earth does shake. The two warring institutions should have made their moves keeping in mind the consequences. Some nuance in speech, a modicum of maturity in approach would have avoided an “I stop funds” vs “I stop cricket” situation. There are no winners here as the image of India as a cricketing nation becomes undermined around the world. It’s sad and ironic that the mess has hit when the team led by a young captain is winning hearts for their style of play. The SC will have the last word today. Hopefully, sanity will prevail.
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