I am not a great fan of Australians and their cricketing spirit. I think if there has been a team of talented but thoroughly un-gentlemanly players with zero sportsman spirit in Cricket – it has to be Australia. From that infamous ball by Trevor Chappell to the messing up with Murlitharan (when they couldn’t handle his spin with their bats and used their extra players – read UMPIRES – to play for them) to the shameful exhibition of low level of integrity in the recent Test series, Australians just do what it takes to win. They don’t care for the game or if they deserve to win or not. They will twist every rule – written and unwritten – to win the game.
This is so different from the West Indian team in the 1970’s and 80’s – which would beat the teams using their sheer talent. Gary Sobers would have been demeaned to play under the “leadership” of Greg Chappell who encouraged his younger brother to bowl underarm and rejoiced about that! There was a time and place for Don Bradman in Australia and its long over.
The world has changed now. In the last decade or so the fulcrum has bent Eastwards and Indian cricket seems to have become the big daddy of anything cricket. Now, you can see the Australians get angry and frustrated. What they could do to these brown guys.. they cannot anymore. In fact now they are in that position where they have to face the bullying. Something they have never been used to. Its good for their health one can say.
India clearly used its muscle to get out of the situation that was created by the high-handedness of the Aussies in the first place. They gave them their own medicine.
Now, the Indian board, in an attempt to garner friends and clout of the Asian neighbors has directed Aussies to not cancel their Pakistan tour after the assurances from Pakistan Board. Sri Lankan board had also helped BCCI recently and now Pakistanis are being brought into that nice alliance. I am sure the next target will be West Indians. That leaves the Australians and the English – with of course the Kiwis – outside this alliance. Of course, these two boards are furious but cannot do much. They have through history blocked anyone from other countries to even get to the helm of the ICC world and keep pushing guys like Sunil Gavaskar as they want.
BCCI has many enemies though. Within India and outside. If it has the IPL (Indian Premier League) then Zee has ICL (Indian Cricket League). The latter is headed by no less than Kapil Dev himself. To fight a battle on the inside and the outside is going to be tough if the only weapon you have is the wealth earned by the very players you use as slaves! Pretty soon the public gets the message! Now, let us be very clear – BCCI has money because people LOVE to watch cricket and it has high TRPs. But if it messes the game internally as well and still hope to make money.. I would say its officials need a quick crash course in the local B-School!
There are two fronts that it has taken the battle on – (1) Australian board and (2) BCCI has done some mathemagic with the tickets and money allotment to CAB for the IPL matches which has not gone down well with CAB. This war has become pretty harsh and no one is relenting. IPL may stand to lose Eden Gardens as a ground for games! If I was Subhash Goyal of Zee, I would go off and cover CAB with enough money and get a long term lease and shut BCCI off the entire season from playing local and international matches there. Honestly cricket in India will no longer be the same without this Mecca in the East!
I personally think it is rather stupid of the current BCCI leadership to beat their chest with a new pot of gold in their backyards. With their attitude they look set to kill the golden hen that has laid those eggs anyways!
One can only wonder how long can the interest of Indian public be held before they stop watching these carnivals of no consequence! Advertisers did not create cricket’s appeal – players like Kapil and Gavaskar and then Sachin and Ganguly did. Advertisers just used that. To mess with the players – who will not be upto snuff then and hope to carry along advertisers will be a great mistake for BCCI. Specially when it is so prone to making enemies on every side!