Picture: Julian Smith

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will hold a “special general meeting” this weekend where their officials will mull over the latest conclusions from the International Cricket Council’s most recent meeting.

There the ICC decided on a new governance structure and a new financial model. The governance structure breaks up the “Big Three” alliance the BCCI had with the boards of Australia and England.

The new finance model will see the money generated by ICC events more equally distributed. India will get a smaller slice of the financial pie, though that slice is still bigger than everyone else’s reflecting that country’s standing as cricket’s biggest market.

The trouble is the BCCI are not happy that the proposed figure – reported to be $293-million (about R3,9-billion) – is an accurate reflection of their standing as cricket’s biggest market.

It should be added that the changes were voted by the ICC and its affiliates and garnered overwhelming favour – in fact the only dissenting voice was the BCCI.

So irate are certain BCCI officials that they want to withdraw the Indian team from next month’s Champions Trophy in England. As yet, the BCCI haven’t named a squad for that tournament.

If all this seems petty, well it is. But that’s how it is with the BCCI. On the one hand they want to show strong leadership, on the other, they act like little kids fighting over a lollipop.

Right now, many in the BCCI reckon it can exist without the rest of the cricket world. There has long been talk of extending the IPL, to a six month-long competition, which would, of course, generate a lot of revenue, but for how long, especially if other boards forbid their players from participating. Would the IPL be as valuable without Stokes, Tahir, Gayle and Williamson?

The BCCI needs to tread carefully – it probably won’t. Cricket’s not just a sport played in India. It’s a sport that many officials would like to see broaden its appeal, become genuinely global. That simply isn’t the case right now. No one is trying to undermine Indian cricket. However, the administrators of the sport in that country need to think bigger.

“When the game’s superpower has a separatist’s mindset, the sport is sure to suffer. All the BCCI needs to understand is the importance of diversity and the need to be inclusive,” wrote the Indian Express recently.

That kind of foresight is what genuine leadership is about. The BCCI needs to learn not to simply adopt an attitude that “England used to do it that way, why can’t we?” England’s leadership of cricket had many faults, there’s no point copying that. It’s 2017, the BCCI, needs to grow up.


The Star

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