BOARD GAME BEGINS
If cricket has become a religion in India, and cricketers its deities, the credit must go to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the world’s richest supervising body for the game. The Board has made cricket the most financially viable game in the country, not only for players but anyone aspiring to get commercially associated with it. And all that without seeking any support from the government.
ROLLING THE DICE
In 1912, an all-India cricket team visited England for the first time, sponsored and captained by the Maharaja of Patiala. In 1926, two representatives of the Calcutta Cricket Club travelled to London to attend meetings of the Imperial Cricket Conference, the predecessor to the International Cricket Council. Although technically not official representatives of Indian cricket, they were allowed to attend the conference. The outcome of the meeting was the decision to send a team to India, led by Arthur Gilligan, who had captained England in The Ashes. In a meeting with the Maharaja of Patiala and others, Gilligan promised to press for India’s inclusion in the ICC if all the promoters of the game in the land came together to establish a single controlling body.
Forty-five delegates from Patiala, Delhi, the United Provinces, Rajputana, Alwar, Bhopal, Gwalior, Baroda, Kathiawar, Central India, Sindh and Punjab met in Delhi on November 21, 1927, and a consensus was reached to create a cricket board. Another meeting, held at the Bombay Gymkhana on December 10, 1927, ended with a unanimous decision to form a ‘Provisional’ Board of Control to represent cricket in India. Finally, in December 1928, the BCCI was registered with six affiliated associations. British businessmen Grant Govan and Anthony De Mello, who played a key role in convincing the ICC to recognise the BCCI, became the board’s first president and secretary respectively.
THE GAME AHEAD
From the Ranji and Duleep trophies to the money-spinning Indian Premier League, the BCCI has constantly turned the reinvention wheel. But with the big bucks have come allegations of financial malpractice, particularly after the launch of the IPL in 2007. This invited the Supreme Court’s intervention. In January 2015, the apex court appointed the R.M. Lodha committee to look into the functioning of the board. The committee announced a series of reforms and said these should be set in motion within a timeframe. In January 2017, the court appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators to manage the BCCI’s affairs after its top office-bearers resigned.
PITCHING IT RIGHT The late Jagmohan Dalmiya, one of the BCCI’s most-high profile chiefs