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Imperial BCCI and the absence of soft-power techniques

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BCCI_India_CricketHad cricket been compared with the global order, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) surely occupy the post of the emperor. And as it happens with the current and ex-emperors, the use of soft power has been missing or remained underused. The shortage of soft-power is an issue in itself with the way BCCI function. But BCCI are often accused to be egomaniacs. Or to put it diplomatically (using soft-power one may say), they are said to be behaving like small kids who throw too many tantrums for anyone’s liking.

The threat to Cricket South Africa (CSA) to trim the series to suit the BCCI needs is the latest example of the same. Historically, South Africa and India have shared healthy relations, cricketing and otherwise. It is well documented that how graciously India agreed to be the first foreign team to visit South Africa as their apartheid battle came to an official end. But the things on the cricket front have created quite a stir post Haroon Lorgat’s appointment as the CEO of South Africa.

In the past, Lorgat and BCCI had ended up being on different sides with their views on DRS, implementation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) policies, the number of teams during the 2011 World Cup that India co-hosted and the introduction of Test championship. Additionally, Lorgat’s appointment as the CEO of CSA has ruffled many feathers in BCCI. As much as it displeases BCCI, it, by no means justifies BCCI’s stand of trimming and threatening to cancel the tour completely. In fact, it is as anarchic as BCCI’s way of indulging in what other cricket boards do around the world.

If that was not enough, to showcase how BCCI swear by ‘my way or highway’ policy, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are in talks to tour India for two Tests and three ODIs. It has put the SA tour in limbo unless CSA do what BCCI demands. And if India decide to go to South Africa following the West Indies series, then the SA tour will need further restructuring with its schedule. According to the earlier schedule India was to play its first game in South Africa on 18th November. But keeping in mind the WI series itinerary, India cannot start their SA campaign before November 30.

The number of Tests in a proposed bi-lateral series against West Indies (two Tests) is insignificant in number. But this out of nowhere series has also tweaked the original ICC’s Future Tours Programs – FTP schedule as well. This squeeze of two match Test series along with ODIs is to celebrate Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test at home. And with no home series for India in the near future, the series gives the fans a chance to watch their favourite Indian cricketers play in India. 

Alongside fans, a home series is vital for sponsors too. These two, in combination with players and administrators support cricket. Thus, their wish/demand to see their favourite cricketers cannot be ignored. But as valid that argument may be, it must not alter the South Africa tour which was decided a long back according to ICC’s FTP. Additionally, by rushing in with this series to give Tendulkar his 200th Test (a sure shot money spinner for administrators), BCCI are doing the old adage of ‘the game is bigger than an individual’ a great disservice.

Whether the WI series goes ahead or not, it shows the lack of planning on the BCCI’s part. The scheduling of a series is not done without the convenience of the teams involved in it. But the hurry to conduct one just for the sake of it, defies sensibility. On the other hand, if the tour of South Africa goes ahead with a reworked schedule, it would be a sign of how BCCI continue to get their own way no matter what. Perhaps, the emperors, irrespective of fields behave in a way they want; no matter what others feel.



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