- Is It Indian Cricket League?
On Friday, the 18th March 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched with hype, glitz and pyrotechnics. The compere for the event was Charu Mazumdar, a veteran broadcaster and the likes of Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Lalit Modi, Sharad Pawar and Ray Mali, the Acting President of I.C.C. spoke on the mike. This series started with the first match being played between Vijay Mallya?s Royal Challengers captained by Rahul Dravid and Sharukh Khan?s Knight Riders captained by Saurav Ganguly in Bangalore, with Knight Riders winning comprehensively and convincingly.
Well, I am sure that many cricket enthusiasts, who are interested in just fun, good time and frolic, with no taste for serious stuff like the origins and history of cricket, records, statistics, etc., because it is either Greek or Latin for them and not their cup of tea, would conveniently give credit to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the formation and the launch of IPL. In a way "yes", but if one went deeper the answer would be a resounding "no".
The fact of the matter is that BCCI is not a democratic body run by professionals, i.e. retired Indian cricketers, who have played internationally and performed creditably at that level (and assisted by professionals and advisers to help them in churning out money and ensuring that every single penny earned and spent is well accounted for and made available for Government and the public scrutiny).
Moreover, BCCI is not accountable to the Ministry of Sports (MOS) and MOS does not monitor the workings of this richest cricketing body, which has bizarre characters on its Board. Honestly speaking, I really wonder whether these blokes have the interest of the game in their hearts, rather than vested interests considering the rabid passion and mania Indians have for cricket, which even a pauper can exploit and tap to become a multi-millionaire overnight.
In short, BCCI is a massive pot of honey that attracts flies. People can see it for themselves, if they considered the backgrounds and professions of the personalities who feign interest in cricket. Otherwise, why are these characters fighting ferociously like dogs and indulging in all sorts of tactics, not necessarily clean, to get elected?
If they want to promote, develop and propagate cricket, then why not other games which are played internationally, namely soccer, hockey, athletics, boxing, billiards, snooker, aquatics, etc., etc.? This is simply because there is dearth of money in these sports to satisfy their hunger for money and power.
In fact, they should take much interest in other sports, because if India wins medals in these meets, then they would put the country on the world sporting map. Moreover, winning medals at Olympics, World games, other international events, etc. are more important than winning awards in cricket. Further, it would propel and catapult their names on international sporting stage, rather than just cricket, which is hardly known in a very few countries, rather than the entire world.
Well, what led to the formation of IPL. The answer lies with the tussles Zee Telefilms had with BCCI, including the court cases for TV rights for telecasting various matches.
Ultimately when Zee Telefilms decided to launch cricket under the name of Indian Cricket League (ICL), Sharad Pawar and his bunch in BCCI, a body whose workings are not known to most people, got offended and started crying foul. The creation of ICL created a fear in BCCI and immediately led to raising the earnings of Indian cricketers and the decision was taken to launch the IPL to counter ICL.
In short, Zee Telefilms is the responsible for the formation of IPL and, if not for them, cricketing world would not have heard about IPL and only a handful of cricketers would have continued making money, with the majority of them having to console themselves with the peanuts paid to them by their respective State Boards for their services. Therefore, Sharad Pawar and his bunch should not claim credit, because formation of IPL was not their brainchild. They got aroused from their deep slumber only when Zee TV took the bold decision to form ICL to promote the game and give opportunity to budding cricketers to earn decent cash, even if they did not get the opportunity to play for their country.
In short, Sharad Pawar and his bunch need to thank Subhash Chandra for forcing them to launch IPL, because BCCI felt that ICL would be a threat.
Nelson Lewis, Bahrain
Author: Nelson Lewis- Bahrain