Only good on-field performances can boost India's stature in ICC's boardroom

BCCI needs to set its own house in order and help improve India's overseas performances before aiming to take control of the way the sport is governed.

Updated: January 30, 2014 15:26 IST
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Money and power go hand in hand. Unfortunately for Team India, money and success do not.

Backed by the richest Board in the world - one that seeks to change International Cricket Council's revenue and administrative structure, India is the powerhouse of international cricket. The powerhouse though, has suffered repeated outages on recent foreign tours. And as BCCI, along with Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board, looks to take control of the way the sport is governed, its own team has shown gaping cracks that need immediate repairs. (India to push for lion's share of revenue at ICC Board meet)

India's sub-standard performances on foreign soil is not a recent phenomenon. What is recent though is the sheer scale of irony that the world of cricket is witnessing. Here is a Board that wants to take all major cricketing decisions, one that seeks a huge chunk of ICC revenues and one that claims to have global cricket's best interest in mind. Yet, here is also a Board that has done microscopic little to address its own team's recurring flaws. Unless there is a financial logic, the Indian Board has hardly ever engaged in an activity which has long-term benefits. The results are for all to see. (BCCI backs structural overhaul of ICC)

India has not had a single win to show since last December, when the team began to play abroad. The team lost the ODI series (0-2) against hosts South Africa, lost the following Test series (0-1) and recently lost its No. 1 rank in ODIs courtesy a 0-3 series defeat against Kiwis. Such is the horror that even the New Zealand media has chosen to focus more on India's follies than the strengths of their own team. "I don't think India are playing their best cricket but they never do when they're away from home," former wicket-keeper Warren Lees told Radio New Zealand recently. (5th ODI: MS Dhoni & Co. chase first win of series against NZ)

Kiwi press has also been critical of the Indian Board and has used New Zealand's recent success to undermine BCCI's bid to 'govern' ICC. "As India sought to strengthen their already dominant position as cricket's leviathan, minnows New Zealand sent a timely reminder that the underdogs shouldn't be overlooked... (they) struck an on-field blow for those countries expected to be handicapped by the proposal's plans," read an article in Fairfax New Zealand.

At a time when BCCI is pushing for reforms in the ICC - one that includes having a BCCI official as ICC's head for two years starting 2014 - the Indian team itself is being hammered by 'minnows' like New Zealand. The tale seems to bear a striking resemblance to King Alexander of Macedonia who wanted to conquer the world. He had the money, the mind and the strategy but he failed to take the declining morale of his men into consideration. Despite successes, he eventually had to fall back. And comparisons hardly stop there.

Former England skipper Michael Atherton earlier called the new proposal 'ancient'. "The best that can be said for this deal, indeed the only thing that can be said for this deal, is that India become a fully engaged and interested party to world cricket. Inside the tent and happy for the moment, rather than prowling outside and angry," he said recently.

"The tone of the proposal is so arrogant and high-handed as to recall an earlier age when the organisation began as the Imperial Cricket Conference."

Cricket may be a gentleman's sport or it may viewed as a series of battles - in either instance, it is most suited to be on the field rather than in boardrooms. BCCI may claim to improve the sport but the fact of the matter is that it first needs to set its own house in order and help the Indian team become a consistent force before it seeks to turn ICC into one.

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