I see the BCCI are at it again..
The collapse of the television deal with broadcaster, Nimbus seems to have entered mysterious waters in the last few days and is another example of the outrageously poor leadership that continues to blight the Indian game. A recent high court ruling on the BCCI's termination of the Nimbus deal has prevented them from invoking bank guarantees that were included in the contract.(By me.) They can't cash the guarantees in because they were only valid while the contract was operational and the chaps at the BCCI decided to terminate the contract BEFORE invoking the clause! In effect, they shut the door on themselves!
Never mind guys, the guarantees were only worth around £300 million to Indian cricket. We await the next move.
Its the latest in a line of events that don't reflect well on the men who are currently running the game in India. What about the Sunil Gavaskar situation? Sunny was a legend. Actually, I’ll change that... He IS a legend.
It’s all the more reason why I’m angry, baffled and disappointed that the BCCI have refused to pay the fees he is due for his work on their behalf; specifically his promotion of the IPL. As Chairman at the time, I regarded having Sunny on board as a real coup. He was an important part of the early IPL set-up because no one believed in the product at that point.
His services were secured with the help of Mr Sharad Pawar who was then the President of BCCI. He negotiated the amount we were to pay him and I as Chairman agreed. Sunny was promised 4 Crores a Year by the BCCI for his work with the IPL. Since those days, the IPL has made history and has earned the BCCI billions of dollars, so a legendary sportsman like Sunny, who’s word carried so much weight and who consequently did so much to make it happen, should be rewarded - not crucified.
His importance to the infant IPL was critical. The rival ICL was headed by Kapil Dev which meant there was all the more reason to have Sunny on our side. Because of Kapil's stature, the ICL was snapping up all the players so it was Important to counter that by bringing in Sunny. We had to launch a better and more superior offering to players and fans alike. Credibility was key at the time and Sunny gave us exactly that.
Sunny has now said that his faith in BCCI has been shaken. I’m not surprised.
On a wider scale, the BCCI’s credibility is being eroded in other areas too as they’re currently coming under pressure from a series of different angles. It was recently reported that the IPL franchise owners are aiming for a bigger say in the commercial and operational features of the tournament and that they will discuss their concerns with the IPL Governing Council. There is, apparently, a seven-point plan which they intend to present amidst concerns, according to the well respected Times Of India, of a failure to improve on the tournament’s popularity after the first three years. It seems to me the franchise owners are looking for strong leadership which appears to be missing. The onus is clearly on the powers-that-be to deliver, but if they intend to rest on their laurels because of the successes of the early years, then they have a surprise waiting for them around the next corner. The ridiculously fast pace of the modern commercial and sporting world will simply leave them behind and playing catch up when realisation dawns will be a waste of time. So the owners are trying to wrestle back the initiative because they can see the IPL is in danger of getting left behind and I don’t blame them. It sounds like the goose that laid the golden ‘IPL’ egg is flapping her wings. If they don’t attend to her before she flies, they’ll never get her back.
One other piece of news that shows an administration under pressure was the resignation of Anil Kumble as Chairman of the National Cricket Academy. Anil felt his vision for the future was being ignored by the BCCI and other committee members. Whatever the reasons, it is sad that another Indian cricket legend has been so casually cast adrift.
Anil was a figure-head for the future of the game. His success as a player meant that those within the environment he was working, would have looked up to him. His very presence as Chairman of the NCA would have been aspirational. Anil was a man working for the future prosperity and strength of Indian cricket. And they ignored him. They have a right not to agree with him, but never should a man they appointed Chairman he have been ignored.
So, the men at the top of the BCCI have turned their backs on the part Sunny played in the IPL’s growth and refused pay what was promised. They've also ignored Anil Kumble and effectively forced him out, while the IPL franchise owners are clearly unhappy with a lack of leadership.
You would have thought that by now, someone, somewhere on high, would begin to get the message...