It has been easy to be critical of the Board of Control for Cricket in India these days. The cricket body’s critics are provided with ample ammunition through a whole lot of conflict-of-interest cases, the ever-controversial Indian Premier League and the Board’s lack of transparency. However, the decision by the BCCI to crack the whip with life bans to S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan is akin to a batsman pouncing on a loose delivery and driving it straight to the fence. If bad balls should never be given any respect on the cricket field, the same holds true for off-field matters.
Rajasthan Royals’ Siddharth Trivedi got a one-year ban and paid the price for not keeping the authorities in the loop about approaches by suspicious people although he didn’t indulge in any hanky-panky. While the punishment for this ‘crime’ is not severe, it is a huge lesson for young cricketers to keep their team bosses and anti-corruption officials informed about offers to fix/spot fix without any fear. This may well keep the bad influences away from the team.
Trivedi is a promising cricketer and once he serves his term of punishment, should be accepted in the cricketing society without prejudice. Now that the players have been dealt with, it is hoped that corrupt officials will meet their fate as well. It would be a travesty of justice to see officials continuing to run teams while players are punished. The steps which the BCCI take to ensure their very own officials are no exception to the rules are going to be critical to the health of cricket in India. We will wait and watch. In many ways, Friday the 13th should not be viewed as inauspicious in Indian cricket’s pages of history.