STOP BEING SO PRECIOUSSS, BCCI
There has been much talk of late about the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) growing opposition to the International Cricket Council (ICC). Rather to the ICC’s proposal to reverse the Big Three formula — the arrangement that lets India, Australia and England bag the majority of financial benefits from the ICC.
The opposition is premised on the fact that India will lose about Rs 2,000 crore as a result of the reversal in the next few years. The formula, mooted and adopted in 2014 under the chairmanship of N Srinivasan, had given India the largest share of the ICC’s revenues with England and Australia also getting substantial portions of the largesse. About the other 102 members of the ICC, however, the less said the better.
The current proposal, which has now been accepted by the ICC Board ‘in principle’, with only India and Sri Lanka voting against it, Chairman Shashank Manohar feels is an “important step forward for the future of the ICC and cricket around the world”. A revised constitution and financial model were accepted by the ICC Board and now “we will work collectively to refine the detail for final sign-off in April.” Manohar went on to suggest that the “broader principles” that have been agreed upon include a revised financial distribution ensuring a more equitable distribution of revenues; a revised constitution to reflect good governance, expanding and clarifying of the roles and objectives of the ICC to provide leadership in international cricket.
First things first. Even under the new financial structure, India’s share of revenues will still be up by a few thousand crores compared to the earlier model. And interestingly, both England and Australia have voted in favour of the reversal. So the real question is: How much money is enough for the BCCI to run Indian cricket smoothly? Rather, should India be more socially responsible and work on improving the game’s health in the 100-plus countries that are ICC members? Is it not right for the BCCI, the world’s richest cricket board, to be more accommodating and look at the game’s long-term benefits?
Yes, the state associations will have less money to waste. Going by the Deloitte report on the workings of State Associations under the BCCI — which for the longest time was not made public — monetary mismanagement is a norm in most State Associations. With the IPL telecast tender expected to generate a whopping $2.5 billion in the next few months, there is no doubt the BCCI is in robust financial health. In such a situation, what difference will the additional money make?
Rather, a cursory look at the state of world cricket and it is evident that the sport is struggling. West Indies, for example, is in complete financial disarray. Persistent fights between players and the West Indies Cricket Board has started to eat into the foundations of Caribbean cricket. Even the victory in the 2016 T-20 World Cup has not done much to stem the tide.
Pakistan continues to struggle as a result of the prevalent political instability in the country. New Zealand and South Africa, too, are struggling. Which leaves only England and Australia in reasonable financial health. Do we need cricket to be a cartel played by three countries in the next two decades? Will that serve any purpose when the sport aims to be a global one? What about countries like Afghanistan, Ireland, Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe? Each of these countries were once tipped to make the leap to the big stage but are now struggling in the absence of adequate funds. Is it not important for the BCCI to ensure that each of them come up to the top league at the end of the next eight-year cycle ending in 2023? One BCCI member, speaking off the record, has suggested that India is still hopeful of derailing the whole process when it is put to vote in April. All they need, he says, is three more votes. Unless the motion is supported by a two-thirds majority, it can’t go through. The BCCI remains confident it can garner necessary support in the next two months.
The reason assigned is classic BCCI: that India will play a couple more bilateral series with a struggling member, which will generate enough money for them to change their stance. Can we interpret this as a sort of bribe?
Virat Kohli is allegedly unwilling to endorse brands he can no longer identify with. He has decided to let his conscience do the talking, knowing full well that he will lose crores in the bargain. Learn, BCCI.
Do we need cricket to be a cartel played by three countries in the next two decades?