The BCCI has often been called a bully by the rest of the cricketing fraternity over the past decade or so due to the hard as nails approach it assumes whenever its own interests are at stake. Over the years the BCCI has systematically gone after individuals who have tried to oppose them in any way and that even extends to officials of the ICC. For instance, this news may not surprise – it was only in May this year that the BCCI allegedly rigged the voting process in order to boot out Tim May, by influencing the representatives of some of the friendly boards. Surprisingly, Mr. May was replaced by former Indian leg spinner and India Cements employee (BCCI Chief N. Srinivasan’s Company) Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. However, the latest slug fest in which the BCCI or rather Mr. Srinivasan is personally engaged in is the one involving the newly elected Cricket South Africa Mr. Haroon Lorgat, who served as the CEO of the ICC not too long ago.
The particular tiff with Mr. Lorgat dates back to the time when the ICC wanted universal implementation of the Decision Review System and Mr. Lorgat happened to be one of the advocates of that move. However, as we all know, the BCCI has been quite vocal about the fact that it does not support the DRS and Mr. Lorgat’s advocacy placed him squarely in opposition with the Srinivasan and Co. Now, the BCCI has negotiated the frequent debates about the DRS quite admirably over the years and have always managed to come out trumps on the sheer strength of its financial power; but what made Haroon Lorgat an antagonist in the eyes of N. Srinivasan was his decision to appoint retired British Judge Lord Woolf to conduct a thorough review of the management structure of the ICC.
The Woolf Report recommended that there should be more equality in the ICC and the member boards should be given equal powers for the greater good of the game. It is no mystery that the report was directly pointing to BCCI and its tendency to remote control the ICC whenever necessary but the fact that Mr. Haroon Lorgat was the man who orchestrated it did not go down well with the powers that be at the BCCI. As a matter of fact, the BCCI did not want him to be the president of the CSA and prior to the elections a delegation from South Africa came to India to appease the Indian board. However, it all came to nought since the CSA showed remarkable courage to go ahead with a fair election and in the end Mr. Lorgat was elected the chief.
The Present Situation
Now, the BCCI is not a body that is known to take anything lying down, considering their economic might and it is this economic muscle that it has now started flexing in this grudge match against South African cricket in general and Mr. Lorgat in particular. First and foremost, an Indian tour comprising of 3 Tests, 7 ODIs and 2 T20Is is worth in excess of Rs. 400 crores for CSA and hence the BCCI expressed its displeasure over the schedule stating that it was not ‘consulted’. To further rub salt into the wounds, it has now invited the West Indies to play 2 Tests in India and has offered CSA the option of hosting India for 2 Tests and 5 ODIs, which would surely cripple the finances of the CSA.
The money earned from such a tour would surely go into making the average domestic cricketer in South Africa earn more in the future but if this lifeline is taken away then there is hardly an alternative for the CSA. In addition to that, the BCCI is also contemplating cutting them off from the Champions League T20 – the big money spinner in which the CSA also has an interest. One might say that the BCCI is on a mission to destroy South African cricket for its problem with one man, but on the contrary the BCCI is sending the message to the CSA that everything can go on as they were before if Mr. Lorgat is removed. It is a personal vendetta between a man, who went after the BCCI when he was the ICC CEO and now it is the BCCI’s turn to go after him now that he is on wobbly ground. The end is not in sight yet but the cricket fan is the one who might be the one who would be at the biggest loss for missing out on a series that has so much to offer.