How BCCI's latest reforms will help in the betterment of Cricket in India
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip once said, “There is a widely held and quite erroneously held belief that Cricket is just another game”. Well, there couldn’t have been a more apt statement if we see the game in an Indian context. Cricket is definitely not just another game in India. It is often said that after the Prime minister’s job, an Indian captain’s job is the most scrutinized job in the country.
So, if such is the fan following of the game in the country, then it is no surprise that any move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is a prime time breaking news. However, it has been observed that more often than not, something controversial comes out of the BCCI office.
But off late there has been a pleasant departure from this trend. News coming from the house of BCCI for the last few days have been music to the ears of the well-wishers of Indian cricket.
Resignation of Shashank Manohar from the post of BCCI President
Let’s start with the first news about Shashank Manohar’s decision to resign from the post of BCCI President. Now there is speculation that he had made this move in order to file nomination for the post of ICC chairman. Manohar, who got elected unopposed as ICC’s first independent chairman has denied this charge.
In any case, whatever be the reasons, this is a welcome change from previous board presidents who held the office of the state association, the national body, as well as that of international body, at the same time.
In Manohar’s second stint as the BCCI president, he meant business. He had proposed few good changes which if implemented can go a long way in cleaning the mess in BCCI.
Overhaul of the domestic structure
The second news coming from BCCI about the overhaul of the domestic tournament was even more heartening. Former cricketers and experts have been telling this for years that we need a change in our domestic circuit. And as they say, Better late than never.
We have seen how the home teams take advantage and prepare pitches to suit their team in international cricket. But it does not make that much of a sense in domestic cricket as the end goal is to play for India. So, the technical committee of the BCCI decided that all Ranji Trophy matches will be played at neutral venues.
The only drawback of this move is that it might lead to a decline in the already minuscule crowd support on the ground.
Day & Night matches for Duleep Trophy
Another of the recommendation of the technical committee was to have all the matches of Duleep Trophy played as day-night fixtures. Now this is an important move given the fact that BCCI is keen to host a day-night test match during India’s upcoming home season. This also shows that the board is looking at the future of test cricket.
Coming to India’s home season, Indian team’s schedule would have got a big nod from the purists of the game. As per the published schedule, India will play 13 test matches in the upcoming 2016-17 home season. This step can eventually lead to a pre-defined home season for India, much like the Englishmen or the Australians have.
Inclusion of northeastern states
Newly elected President Anurag Thakur also made a significant move by visiting the northeastern states of India, and announced that combined teams from northeastern states will be selected to play BCCI tournaments across all age groups. So, the foundation stone for the development of cricket in the scenic northeastern states has been laid.
All this looks very well on paper and we cannot be blamed for thinking that the new regime of BCCI has got its priorities right. We will have to wait and see if the execution is as good as the plan.
I hope this is just the beginning and there is more in the store like ensuring participation of international stars in domestic tournaments. But for now, as Richie Benaud would have said, “I think I’ll leave it at that”.