It has certainly been a busy week, but unfortunately, one that hasn't reflected well on the game of cricket. Instead, the tactics of the BCCI are, once again, in focus and Sri Lanka's board has suffered at the hands of their neighbouring 'bully boys'. The beginning of this latest, sorry episode was the suggestion that I was part of the Sri Lankan Premier League set up - an allegation that has resulted in some severe damage to a tournament that starts next month. Its clearly a convenient tactic for the BCCI to use my name to cast a shadow over something they don't approve of.
So, let me say one thing very clearly- I am not involved in the SLPL. Trust me, when I do get involved in another project, you will know all about it!
This unfounded assertion by the BCCI was clearly the first phase of them trying to cast a shadow over the Sri Lankan tournament before they then hammered them by withdrawing permission for Indian players to play in it. My "involvement" meant they couldn't support the league- a ridiculous reason! Their decision would be laughable were it not for the dire consequences for the Sri Lankan tournament. It is a sad indictment of the way the BCCI operates and, frankly, dangerous for world cricket. Earlier in the year, the BCCI enjoyed - and benefitted from - the involvement of Sri Lankan players in IPL 4. The Sri Lankan board granted clearance for their players to take part even though it was potentially detrimental to their own tour calendar. And now the BCCI repay them by withdrawing Indian players from the reciprocal tournament! It is nothing more than the BCCI flexing its muscles to give the pathetic impression they're in charge.
Let's examine my role in all this. The BCCI say they won't involve themselves or their players because they think or 'suspect' I have something to do with it. It seems their problem is with me, not the Sri Lankan Premier League. No surprises given their past behaviour but it still begs the same question I've asked so many times: "Where's the evidence?" They've pushed their smaller neighbours around on the basis of suspicion!
As I've said on issues surrounding other allegations made against me by the BCCI's Secretary, N. Srinivasan, all they have to rely on is their own , or specifically, his vivid imagination. There is no evidence because the long-standing allegations against me are untrue. And so it is with the SLPL. It is a convenient excuse because the BCCI is trying to prove it runs world cricket.
Amidst all this, the sad fact is the SLPL is suffering because it is being denied some tremendous cricketers. More damaging financially, has been their inability to sell the tournament to an international broadcaster. So to mix sporting metaphors, that's not "Game, Set and Match" to the BCCI as they would have it , it is one of the all time 'own goals' as everyone in cricket suffers- the SLPL; the fans; the players especially the Indians; and the game of cricket gets more bad publicity. The BCCI has power by virtue of its great fan base and passion for the game, not because of it's prowess. But power also corrupts unless it is exercised with responsibility. I see none in evidence here.
Which brings me onto the other major topic of the week; the banning of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) by the BCCI. Yes, I was part of that and I stand by the action we took. I told the world what we did this week because it prevented unauthorised cricket but that is a story I'll enlarge upon next time.
So, its been an eventful week, that has, yet again, shown the BCCI as an organisation run by small minded people with their own narrow political and self aggrandising objectives rather than one which services the responsibility with which they were entrusted - making cricket a bigger and better sport.
To them I lay down a challenge. Prove beyond any reasonable doubt that I am involved in the SLPL or grant permission for Indian players to play in it. If they take up my offer, I expect Indian players to be re-instated to a tournament that will benefit the development of the game because there is no truth whatsoever in their self serving excuse.
But they won't will they?