UN­BEATEN IN­NINGS

India Today - - STATES - —Kaushik Deka

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.

SU­BIR HALDER

PITCH­ING IT RIGHT The late Jag­mo­han Dalmiya, one of the BCCI’s most-high profile chiefs

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