History is littered with examples of individuals who rose to astronomical heights within a short span of time, only to come crashing down at a faster rate. Lalit Modi fits this description to perfection in the Indian context, and the former Indian Premier League commissioner will in all likelihood be banned for life when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) meets to decide his fate later this month.
But there was a time - barely six years ago - when Modi was riding a crest, trying to squeeze in the 25th hour in a day, as he went about conceptualising the IPL with maniac zeal in the company of former BCCI president Sharad Pawar.
“Mr Sharad Pawar was instrumental in giving IPL the push it needed. It is easier said than done. He gave Lalit Modi a free hand. You got to give credit where it is due.
“Lalit in his own way was brilliant in conceptualising the tournament in the first two years,” said former India captain Ravi Shastri during the fifth Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture at the Bombay Gymkhana yesterday. “It was Sharad Pawar who had the conviction that IPL could succeed,” he added.
Shastri had once referred to Modi as ‘Moses’ when the latter had everyone eating out of his hands. Shastri put up a brave face when asked if he stood by his observation. “You got to give credit to him when it came to implementing the IPL. I am not someone who is going to skirt around the problem. If the guy deserves praise, he will get it,” he said.
Although players have shone on the field, Indian cricket is embroiled in numerous controversies at the moment. Shastri said: “Turbulence is just a phase. It’s a mindset. You got to beat that. You got to conquer that. The BCCI has been a punching bag. I tell people that you got to see what BCCI has done for cricket. Unlike some of the other associations that are at loggerheads, here is one body that has consistently produced results.” Shastri felt a lot of controversy erupted because of the lack of communication. “The Board needs to have a communications team and a public relations arm in place in order to explain its decisions to the public,” he said. He believed that a lack of communication may have been the reason behind the South Africa tour issue.
On MS Dhoni: In Dhoni you have arguably one of the greatest captains this country has produced. He’ll go down in the annals of Indian cricket as one of our greatest cricketers.
On Sachin Tendulkar: He won't quit anytime so soon. You people can keep discussing his future and his 200th Test. We may even see him play for India at Lord’s next year.
On DRS: It was perceived I defended DRS because I had a contract with the Board. Do you think I care about that?