Needed, a cultural overhaul in the BCCI
By the time the BCCI got around to expelling Dalmiya for misappropriation of funds ten years after that World Cup, a new dispensation was in power. Sharad Pawar, smarting under Dalmiya's casting vote that had denied him the BCCI Presidency in 2004, was now President and appointed a committee to look into the financial irregularities.
So Tweedledum replaces Tweedledee for a month while either the probe panel submits its report or delays things till the September elections. Meanwhile, new alignments will be formed, and old officials bribed afresh. That the BCCI could hold an emergency meeting without once getting into the real issues - spot fixing and corruption in the game - shows where its priorities lie. Self-preservation trumps everything else.
Those who expected a revolution (the misguided ones!) had to make do with mere prepositional readjustment - the President standing 'aside' rather than standing 'down'. Yet, the exercise served to show the deep-rooted rot in the BCCI; it is not just the players who are selling the game.
It is not as if Jagmohan Dalmiya is pure as the driven snow. A few years after the successful conduct of the 1996 World Cup in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka under his watch, someone realised that the accounts had never been verified. That it took so long was because like N Srinivasan, Dalmiya too had kept potential askers of embarrassing questions happy with tours and trips and appointments.
By the time the BCCI got around to expelling Dalmiya for misappropriation of funds ten years after that World Cup, a new dispensation was in power. Sharad Pawar, smarting under Dalmiya's casting vote that had denied him the BCCI Presidency in 2004, was now President and appointed a committee to look into the financial irregularities. Two years ago, the Board withdrew its civil suit against Dalmiya, who had earlier taken the governing body to court too.
There is no doubt that it was Dalmiya, with a mixture of native intelligence and low cunning, who ensured that the BCCI would become the most powerful body in world cricket, even ahead of the ICC. It was his energy that filled the coffers of both bodies with the kind of millions not seen in the history of the game till then.
Dalmiya, more approachable, less haughty than Srinivasan, is nevertheless his equal when it comes to getting his own way. At 73, he was keeping a low profile (and perhaps biding his time) as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal when he emerged as the compromise candidate supported by both his one-time nemesis Srinivasan and the leader of the opposition (in the BCCI as well!) Arun Jaitley. This is the truth about Board politics: it unites political parties, with individuals only too conscious of the fact that if they don't hang together, they will hang separately.
For so long has the focus been on Srinivasan - was that part of the plan too? - that the real issues have been pushed into the background. The BCCI, going by Sunday's meeting, has little interest in cleansing itself.
To talk, therefore, of an overhaul of the way it functions might be impractical. Yet, systems can be put in place that rids the national body of its archaic, feudal style of functioning and ensures that transparency and accountability are its main pillars.
The need to get rid of the old order, not just the individuals, but the culture itself needs to be given serious thought. The BCCI is a huge corporate without any of the practices that make corporates successful. Honorary posts abound. Perhaps it is time to appoint a CEO, and a proper CFO and run the BCCI professionally. Accountability must be built in to the system, which means that there needs to be a cultural overhaul.
There are bright young people who are fully capable of running an organisation like the BCCI where the accent is on the game and its growth, and not on egos and petty politics. Deliver or get out must be the motto.
If Dalmiya's job is mainly a holding operation while either Srinivasan or Jaitley round up their troops, the denouement will be played out only in September. Where fixing is concerned, the players are not in the same league as the BCCI.