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EXPERT OPINION: Balvinder Sandhu defends BCCI chief, asks why Srinivasan should resign

More than anyone else it’s the politicians, who are often caught red-handed with their hands and head in the jar, so they better not blame the BCCI chief, writes Balvinder Sandhu

The Mudgal committee report on the spot fixing controversy has been discussed at length by lawyers, politicians and media persons in the last few days.

Most were of the view that N Srinivasan should step down as the Indian cricket board’s chief on moral grounds since his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan has been found involved in betting.

 
BCCI chief N Srinivasan (left) walks ahead of secretary Sanjay Patel and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal (right) in Bangalore yesterday

None among those who voiced their opinion were as willing to even consider that the BCCI president may have been unaware of his son-in-law’s activities during IPL matches. It appears that the trial by media has pronounced Srinivasan guilty.

One forgets that every father-in-law or mother-in-law — whether Indian or otherwise — defends their son-in-law as they want to prove that their daughter or they made the right choice.

There is no doubt that the game’s credibility is being chipped at, but no one can be deemed guilty unless proven. I have heard some politicians too voicing their opinion on the cricketing mess and it amuses me no end. More than anyone else, it is the politicians, who are often caught red-handed with their hands and head in the jar.

Criticism unfounded
Often, they speak negatively of BCCI’s financial riches. However, unlike some other sports, cricket is well governed. Administrators like Jagmohan Dalmiya, I S Bindra in the 1990s followed by Sharad Pawar and Lalit Modi with the IPL and now Srinivasan, who has ensured India gets a big share of ICC’s revenue, have seen to it that cricket is in a financially healthy state in this country.

These able administrators successfully marketed the game. The money earned has been rightly spent to develop infrastructure and taking care of former cricketers, who could not benefit financially in their time while the same old Johnnys continue to be in the saddle for other sports. They have done practically nothing; only ruined careers of many talented sport persons. Surprisingly, they have never been asked to resign on moral grounds. These ruthless administrators have got back from the sport much more than the very practitioner of disciplines, who sweated in the field and got peanuts in return.

Vitiated environment
In an environment vitiated by mind-boggling scams, mistrust and lowering ethical standards of decency to grab power or stay in it, former cricketers are unfairly targeted for not taking a stand against BCCI officials. Let me stress that cricketers can speak their minds only when enough evidence is available and ‘truth’ is known to them. It is only natural for former cricketers to wait for the court’s judgment and not jump the gun on provocation.

One has to listen to his conscience to take moral responsibility and Srinivasan is matured and wise enough to understand that responsibility. It’s his right to hold on to his post till the final verdict has been delivered by the Supreme Court. So far, he has shown great courage to withstand the pressure.

However, the BCCI led by Srinivasan must leave no stone unturned in cleansing the game. Cricket’s image along with that of the BCCI has taken a beating. The game is well run — far better than other sports, but nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to the fans. Clearly, there’s work to do on all fronts.

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