The turn of the last century was a tumultuous period in Indian cricket. A cursory glance of the headlines on Cricinfo seems to corroborate this view. In February 2000, The Indian team returned from a drubbing at the hands of
Almost immediately after the team?s return home, in Feb-Mar 2000, a South African team led by (the late) Hansie Cronje landed in India to play 2 Tests and 5 ODI's. The selectors seemed to take another step backward by including Azhar in the test squad, a move that surprised everyone. As a result, even before the series started, Sachin, who apparently did not think too much of Azhar and who had been captain in
It was in such strained circumstances that Shantanu Sharma, a lawyer and Rahul Mehra, a businessman decided to file a PIL on
The BCCI hired a hot shot legal team comprising of a virtual who?s who of Indian legal eagles ? Kapil Sibal among them. They argued that the PIL was not ?maintainable? since the BCCI was registered under an obscure act (Tamil Nadu's Society Registration Act of 1860) as a private society, making it answerable only to the 31 state associations and not to the public! So then first, the court had to rule whether the incredulous claim was valid or not, according to the laws of the land.
The BCCI, then, in an apparent display of excellent (but anachronistic) foresightedness announced that it had drafted a 27 page Vision Statement for Indian Cricket that it submitted to the (then) Sports Minister, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in
Soon Rediff did their own version of the vision statement that it (i.e Rediff, in BCCI garb) said would be reviewed by "a broad-based panel of experts, comprising of cricketers of standing and repute, management and financial experts, for comments, criticism and suggestions, which will then be incorporated into the final draft. Which, in turn, will then become the cornerstone of a new cricketing future for
However, after that the activities get murky. After practically hearing nothing for a couple of years, the next thing I heard was that, in the midst of the telecast rights imbroglio last year (before the
The original PIL was in the back of my mind for a long time, but of late my thought has been that, with the slow pace of the Indian judicial system, it has almost been abandoned or silently dismissed! So it comes as a pleasant surprise that while the case has actually been proceeding slowly, it has certainly not been dismissed. Rediff reported a couple of days ago (as my previous post says) that Rahul Mehra and Shantanu Sharma, the original petitioners have been asked to submit by May 25, "a wish list of what, in their opinion, the BCCI should do to clean up its functioning". The court has also ruled that the BCCI has to respond constructively to every suggestions from the petitioners.
But before we jump up and down, it has to be understood that this is but a small victory ? a minor battle won in a great war that still hinges on the balance. It remains to be seen how Mehra and Sharma respond. Given their tenacity, I think they would already have something ready. So, let's watch everything carefully and hope for the best.
The media seems to be watching the events closely. As Amit Varma told me, Rediff has been doing an awesome job (most of the links here are from there) of publicizing this issue, though I feel that there have been lot of gaps chronologically. But ultimately, we, as fans can also put forth suggestions. Last October, during the height of the telecast rights controversy, Amit raised a number of valid questions in this regard and pointed out some possible solutions, on his 23 Yards blog on Cricinfo. Now, Rediff has asked for suggestions from its readers.
Since I already have a platform to voice mine on, I am going to go ahead and give my take on this issue right here. But I don't think it will be anything new. So in that case, if the possible solutions are right in front of our eyes, why are these solutions being ignored?
I think I have rambled enough on this post. I will stop now and continue later after collecting my thoughts.
(To be continued...)