No county cricket, no SL League: players need their union back

A day after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officially refused to give its cricketers permission to play in the Sri Lankan Twenty20 League, what do we have?

For starters, we have BCCI’s official response: The refusal of permission to the players is based on the fact that the league is being conducted by a private party on behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket.

But the SLC has denied it, stating that the event was completely owned by it. So that’s one impasse leading to another.

Then you have Lalit Modi coming back to life on his Twitter page: “It seems best way to scuttle any plans is to say Lalit Modi is behind it. Good to know that just mentioning my name can send a shiver down their spines. Guess they are a bunch of spineless people running the show. Who have no clue as to what to do. Not that they ever had. I had to do it for them.”

Lalit Modi. AFP

Lalit Modi seen here in this file photo. AFP

“It just shows that Mandarins at BCCI have no clue what is happening in the cricket world. They can't see beyond their own shadow.”

Then Modi goes on to spill more BCCI blood, stating just how the Indian Cricket League was destroyed.

“When I was at BCCI - the mandate given then was to scuttle ICL. BCCI arm-twisted every cricket board and ICC to change there constitution,” the former BCCI vice-president tweeted. “The constitution of every board was changed and ICC made ICL redundant by its act - by making it unauthorised cricket.”

All this makes you ask just one question: Where are we heading to, here? It it a situation where BCCI believes it rules cricket, with players of the game getting downtime only when and where the board desires?

The players who had applied to play in the Sri Lankan league were not big-timers. There was no Sachin Tendulkar, no Mahendra Singh Dhoni, no Zaheer Khan or even a Virender Sehwag. But there were players who were out to make some money – nothing wrong with that.

But the BCCI decided to refuse, in much the same manner as it has refused to give players permission to play in county cricket. Murali Kartik is the only Indian cricketer playing in county cricket and when you look at the amount of talent that India has, shouldn’t there be more?

The players would love to fight back. But they can’t. Firstly, if they do it alone, they will probably kick their chances of playing for India goodbye and secondly, they have no association to fight for them.

When the  Indian Cricket Players' Association (ICPA) came into being in 2002, promises were made but now the association lie defunct.

“I think we can do a lot of good work.” ICPA secretary Arun Lal had said at the lunch but that’s the last we ever heard of the ‘good work'. Former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was the first president and the other founding members were Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Ravi Shastri. It was a power-packed association yet they got nothing done. Soon after, everyone lost interest.

This was the second players' association after the Association of Indian Cricketers (AIC) that the BCCI put out of business.

Associations and other cricket boards the world over have realised that getting on the bad side of the BCCI is simply not worth it. But what the players need to realise is that now more than ever it is vital that Indian players form an effective players' association. One that can actually oppose the BCCI on issues like the number of matches they play, how much they get paid, or even where they can play. It's a dictatorship out there and it's starting to get ugly.

The BCCI’s current policy of ‘isolation’ is only going to hurt India in the future. There is a cruel outcome of the circle of time and it’s called backlash. The board may feel it’s dominating world cricket but what they are actually doing is pushing others into a corner and in the process trampling on the dreams of thousands of cricketers.

We could soon see the IPL being reduced to a truly domestic tournament when the other boards decide to bar their cricketers from playing in the T20 tourney. That's when perhaps the BCCI will be sated and perhaps that's also when they will realise that they've killed the golden goose.

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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2011 17:21 PM

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