Indian Cricket and Indian Hockey Tale of two sports

Sreesanth, the bad boy of Indian cricket was proved real bad when he was caught by Delhi police in a spot fixing case. Delhi police which is otherwise know as one of the worst police force in the country, unraveled a massive scandal in Indian cricket. Sreesanth and few other players were not just involved in a spot fixing incident but also seemed to run an extensive business based on it which also included Dawood Imbrahim and prostitutes.

Also, in subsequent incidents BCCI has denied any independent probe into the matter. Some of the BCCI’s own people will now probe it. The cricket fans who are the ordinary citizens of dysfunctional Indian democracy are now demanding that government should do something about this, including banning the IPL itself. Government has pro-actively seeked to make new laws banning betting and obviously spot fixing etc. It is the same government that outright refused to make any law against corruption, protected it’s corrupt ministers and dragged it’s feet in passing an anti-rape law.

As far as cricket is concerned our government has suddenly become pro-active like never before.

Note that Cricket in India is run by BCCI which is a private body with no government control. Hockey, India’s national sport on other hand is controlled by government appointed assholes. Cricket in India is a massive industry where as Hockey is on verge of extinct. If government takes over cricket, Cricket’s fate will be the same. If there is any lesson we need to take from the fate of both these sports then it is that “we need less government interference in all our systems”.

But now with these scandals people point out that the private agents tend to be corrupt have little regard for honesty, transparency or benefit of their consumers. Which is absolutely true. Private agents always maximize their own interests, they are pretty ruthless is doing so. The role of the state should be of an effective regulator in such cases. In case of cricket Indian government has consistently failed to do it’s primary responsibility.

A lot of Indians watch Cricket because they somehow associate it with nationalism. Indian players sport India’s national emblem on their jersey and the flag as well. Does BCCI has right to use them ? I would like to believe NO.

For example 5 years back BCCI banned Zee’s ICL. It said any players who play for ICL will not be allowed to play for Indian cricket team. If Indian cricket team represents the nation, who has given the right to BCCI to use any criteria other than merit to select the best players for Indian Team? Indian government failed at that time to catch BCCI’s throat.

The reasons behind this are simple. People like Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Rajiv Shukla etc. own BCCI. These are the same people who run the government. People of all political parties are involved in management of Cricket and hence they protect their own lot from the government regulations.

Through BCCI what we see is not entrepreneurship but crony capitalism where greedy people have joined hands with the government to build a monopoly to juice consumers.

The solution to IPL scam is not government taking over BCCI or banning of IPL. The solution here is to give cricket lovers more options, other than BCCI. The solution is to offer alternatives to the advertisers. We should have IPL, ICL and many different versions of the cricket managed by different private entities.

Sadly that is not likely to happen.







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