Shastri Fires a Warning
Former India captain and coach Ravi Shastri cautions those who are trying to take advantage of the prevailing situation, says ‘the BCCI will be back where they belong very soon’
Indian cricket is on a high, riding the crest of a string of wins in Test cricket in the course of a bumper home season, but those that govern the game have come under severe fire from the courts of the land. In a further body blow, the International Cricket Council’s recent decisions regarding financial restructuring and governance could have a serious impact on how the future unfolds. Ravi Shastri, former captain, team director and strident defender of all things Indian pulled no punches once more.
“I was very pleased that the committee that went to Dubai for the ICC meeting really took up the issue with the ICC board. Vikram Limaye, Anirudh Chaudhry and Amitabh Chaudhry. I’m glad they made the BCCI’s reservations very clear,” said Shastri. “In my mind India deserve every penny that they get from ICC tournaments, simply because they are the Pied Pipers of world cricket. Something like 80% of revenues for these tournaments come from India. Then to say that India is the bully, because they are asking for an extra share, is the biggest load of nonsense I’ve heard. The BCCI is not asking for 80%, they’re asking for a much lower percentage. You take India out of the equation, I’d like to see what kind of revenue will be left.” Shastri was also underwhelmed by the manner in which certain other cricket boards reacted. “I’m extremely pleased that Sri Lanka supported India. During these times when there are issues with the BCCI, because of the court intervention, people should not forget that the BCCI, as an institution, was instrumental in helping Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, who went the other way.”
Moreover Shastri questioned the sudden U-turn. “It was a document signed two years ago, accepted by all countries. Suddenly this holier than thou attitude surprises me. India should demand every pound of flesh they deserve. All the countries were benefitting from what was agreed on two years ago. Countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh were getting much more than they used to.”
Shastri warned against opportunists attacking the BCCI when they thought it was weak. “People who think this a good time to make the most of the state of f lux should heed this warning: beware, you are making a mistake. This institution is here to stay. The BCCI will be back where they belong very soon.
“As far as I am concerned there are too many ICC tournaments. In my mind, the Champions Trophy should be scrapped after this edition because it only dilutes the World Cup. Who remembers who won the last three editions of the Champions Trophy? But if you ask me who won the last 10 editions of the World Cup I can tell you.
“This period of time should be given to individual countries to make their domestic season prosper. I would use that corridor for another two weeks of the IPL and probably have nine or 10 teams in the future. The IPL is a massive platform from which youngsters can be showcased. If India are the powerhouse that they are today across all formats, the IPL has a big role to play.
“What’s important is to focus on bilateral series. India should have a set home season with at least six matches in front of their fans each year, as England and Australia have. The ICC should know the story of what happens when you even think of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Take care of the goose and it will give you more and more.” It’s been suggested that the BCCI only pays lip service to Test cricket while it has time only for the shorter, more lucrative versions. “When people point fingers like this, they should realise there are three fingers pointing back at them. India wouldn’t be the No. 1 ranked team today if Test cricket wasn’t promoted by the BCCI. I only want it to be promoted even more.” Put it to Shastri that he only takes such a stance because he’s an employee of sorts of the BCCI and benefits directly through commentary assignments, a n d o u t c o me s the tracer bullet. “That’s bullshit. I ’ ve worke d a l l around the world. If I am something today it’s because of the opportunities the BCCI gave me, except, not as a commentator, but as a player. People should get that. That’s the most important role of a cricket board,” said Shastri. “And, you want to be loyal to an insti- tution that has been your guardian right through your growing years. How many people get so much from any institution? I’m saying this straight to your face, not hiding behind the BCCI and still trying to make the most of things. All I’ll say is, that when transparency in administration and electoral processes are in place, BCCI, the institution, will be back to where it should be.”