Over the years the BCCI has been swarmed with plenty of controversies ranging from its opposition to the DRS to acts like spot fixing but if anyone shuts out the newspapers and the television channels and merely watched the cricket on television then he would think that there is nothing wrong. The reason why you would not find anything amiss is because the commentators, who are engaged in doing commentary for any of the international cricket matches in India or the IPL, are muzzled by the BCCI and are instructed not to discuss anything that might be against the larger interests of the BCCI.
However, not all commentators are as easily cowed by the financial might of the BCCI and that came to view today when former Australian captain and veteran commentator Ian Chappell refused to be a part of the commentary team of ESPN that would duty in the upcoming ODI series between India and Australia. Now, Ian Chappell is regarded as a commentator who does not mince his words when he does commentary and that, in addition to his keen cricketing brain, is what has made him into one of the most revered commentators in modern cricket. Moreover, he has never been a person who has curbed his personal expression even though that might not have made him a darling of the powers that be.
He spoke to the national daily Hindustan Times and made his position abundantly clear, “I was invited by ESPN to do commentary. I emailed back asking who I was working for and the reply was; I was contracted by ESPN but I would be subject to BCCI restrictions……. I emailed back to ask what these restrictions were and was told; ‘I couldn’t talk about Indian selection, DRS or administrative matters. I responded saying I didn’t feel I could do my job properly under those circumstances and therefore declined the offer.” Something that the representatives of ESPN might not have been aware of is the fact that Chappell was probably the first Australian cricketer who voiced his displeasure over players’ wages and had even taken on the then Board President Sir Donald Bradman, with whom he shared a stormy relationship ever since. So, it is quite amazing that he would be exprected to change his upstanding nature this late in life and that too for a few extra dollars from the bulging coffers of the BCCI.
This is perhaps one of the best possible developments that could have taken place that has exposed the watered down opinions that one has to endure from commentators who have been paid off to ensure that the skeletons in the BCCI’s cupboard remain under lock and key. There is a well known adage that the more you block, the more it will spread and in this regard it can be said that muzzling the commentators would not help the BCCI much in the long term. However, in the middle of it all it is the cricket fan that has to subject himself to pointless commentary whenever he watches the game on TV and to top it all off he would also have to miss out on the views of one of the best commentators in the world as well.
The BCCI stands Vindicated Regarding DRS
The BCCI’s Vendetta
The Power of BCCI
Meiyappan / BCCI Corruption
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Ian Chappell Part I: ‘You shouldn’t crave the captaincy. I didn’t’
Ian Chappell Part II: ‘I learnt a lot by being told that I was an idiot’
Image Source: Ian Chappell