BCCI boss N. Srinivasan, in a pretty hastily-organised press briefing, reiterated what we already know, while it also threw up a few more enlightening points.
Let’s start with the two statements of novelty. The first jewel is that the Indian Premier League is not corrupt, cricket is. Thank you sir, for making that distinction. We were seriously beginning to presume that IPL indeed WAS cricket. Now we know better.
The second is the expression of shock that an international player had been arrested. So the BCCI was a little happier that those hauled up before were people of lesser denomination? That is bigotry.
The rest was business as usual – beginning with ‘shock’ at the ineffectiveness of the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
But what is new there? BCCI or the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption units have been ineffective at the best of times, especially since the ‘zero tolerance’ is never initiated unless some police force – be it in India or England – throws up yet another fixing scandal.
We hope that they are just incompetent and not actually sweeping such incidents under the carpet. That would indeed be a crime, much bigger than the one the three players have been charged with. Or others, over the years.
But one thing we agree with. Srinivasan says Indian players are paid enough. In fact, it would suffice to say they are paid obscene amounts by cricket and IPL (the distinction having been decisively established).
So how much money then, is too much? Evidently, there isn’t a limit. If the three are indeed guilty, one needs to see what their pay packages were in the IPL, or in international and/or first-class cricket.
But lure of money isn’t really the problem here. The problem is that the game’s governing bodies have been criminally lax when it comes to enforcing any sort of discipline in this area, a fact enhanced by the fact that the arms invested with power to take action are largely useless.
Over many assignments all over, yours truly has often seen this ACU official checking-in into five-star hotels with a very sleuth bearing and a mysterious smile. Then he vanishes from the scene, with equal mystery. But I guess detectives can be expected to be undercover.
But not at the cost of doing anything. Srinivasan is disappointed with the ACU. So are we. But we are equally disappointed with the BCCI and ICC for allowing the ACU, players, fixers and bookies a free run, interrupted by occasional feeble attempts at righteousness and order.