Logjam over Priorities: Cricket v/s Cricket

Blog by: Roh

CRICKET-SRI-LORHAT

Call it the BCCI throwing its weight around in a repercussive manner in the light of South Africa trying to raise its voice to make its presence count in the global cricketing community; but it is cricket that stands to lose the most.

Not in terms of the revenue generated – though for CSA (Cricket South Africa), this would be the most important factor if the South Africa-India series get annulled – but in terms of the overall qualitative loss to the cricketing community if these two top teams are prevented from meeting against each other. The BCCI-CSA stand-off then comes across as a petty and immature tactic too by both organisations; wanting to claim supremacy in the existing cricket hierarchy with each organisation trying to out-blink the other.

The peremptoriness with which the South African board announced the itinerary for the Indian tourney may have made matters worse between the two nations usually known to have quite an amicable relationship. But on the other hand, the BCCI’s stance about CSA internal affairs – mainly the election of Haroon Lorgat as its president – isn’t exactly non-peremptory. As stiff-lipped and curt the BCCI tends to get when questioned about its internal functioning, its shepherding-like attitude towards the rest of the cricketing community isn’t doing for the organisation’s professionalism but highlighting yet again its brashness and arrogance about its financial superiority.

An arrogance that needs to be closely looked at when considering what South Africa has done for Indian cricket during times of its need and how it would impact the two nations’ relationship in the future. While the BCCI boasts of full coffers with a thoroughly packed cricketing season, it cannot deny that a substantial part of its revenue is generated thanks to the money that gets fuelled in during the IPL and Champions League tournaments. There again, the monetary attraction is largely due to the foreign players who form a major cog in the working of the IPL wagon-wheel of whom; South Africans lead the fray.

Any lingering dispute between the BCCI and CSA would also tantamount to the latter restricting or barring its players from taking part in the all-important event – as far monetary aspects are concerned – thus hitting back at the BCCI hard. Although it would be harder to point out whether this could indeed happen with the South African Board looks to tap in more monetary inflows; as has been in this case, a last minute development along these lines could indeed throw a bigger spoke in the wheels of the BCCI.

Though the situation doesn’t seem to have escalated or mutated to such heights at the moment, with the South African Board quite optimistic of reaching a decisive compromise after an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the coming couple of weeks; it’s imperative that the decisiveness doesn’t come at the cost of cricket’s annihilation with each party sticking to its ground without reaching any middle-ground.

As regards the South African board is concerned, while none can dispute or question Haroon Lorgat’s election it stands to reason that its decision to come out with a schedule that could cause such ripples – more so, considering the BCCI’s claiming of lack of awareness about the proposed itinerary – would indeed be introspected even more deeply. It would have then been a matter of extending the simplest of professional courtesies by the South African Board to consult and discuss with the BCCI, the most convenient and well suited time to conduct the series. Doing so would have also ensured that the BCCI wouldn’t have had a chance to pinpoint figures at their South African counter-parts and would have also prevented a couple of other cricketing tournaments – and teams – from being caught in the line of fire.

The road ahead thus isn’t going to be all smooth. Even if BCCI and CSA end up resolving this issue successfully, the tear that this incident has wrought upon would always continue to remain with the looming threat of this issue being raked again by a belligerent official from either board. While no one can predict what would happen then, it’s necessary that egos don’t find a place while they try to build back their rapport and most importantly, try to prioritise the best for cricket over everything else.

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