The stance of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is very clear: either Haroon Lorgat goes or Cricket SA (CSA) suffers the consequences of its bravery, whether it is misplaced or just plain stupid.
It has not been said yet, but the new CSA chief executive, Lorgat, stands in the way of a big payday or the risk of being cast away into the cricket administration wilderness.
In announcing a revised winter itinerary that will eat into the South African tour scheduled for November, December and January, the BCCI board has set out its isolation stall for CSA.
Through the cancellation of tours and the withdrawal from the Champions League T20, the BCCI has the ability to cut CSA’s arm off for sticking its finger in the fan.
Without that financial arm, bankruptcy cannot be far away as it would leave the local cricket governing body without money to rebuild its tattered image.
Let’s be honest, CSA, like the rest of the world, is dependent on Indian money to stay afloat, something the BCCI is very aware of.
It must not be forgotten that India has gotten away with many things the International Cricket Council (ICC) would have punished other teams heavily for.
Think back to the “monkeygate” issue between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh in 2008, which signalled the end of Steve Bucknor’s umpiring career.
In 2001, Mike Denness fairly punished the Indian team in Port Elizabeth for excessive appealing, and even censured Sachin Tendulkar for tampering with the ball.
It was Denness’ last game as a match referee.
If South Africa wants an example of a pariah, they need to look no further than Pakistan, who have been reduced to scraps on the ICC Future Tours Programme.
Besides domestic instability, governmental interference at the highest level led the BCCI to cut ties with its neighbours.
Then there was Lorgat helping out the Pakistan Cricket Board as a consultant, another step on the BCCI’s toes.
In fairness to Lorgat, he is a man of principle. But in the politics of sports, morals and principles are nonexistent.
The BCCI is neither of a high moral standing nor principled, if one can judge based on how it handled the Indian Premier League match-fixing scandal.
In the said saga, the BCCI president’s son-in-law, who is the team manager of the Chennai Super Kings, owned by Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the board’s president, was arrested for betting on the team’s results.
Srinivasan still holds his position while people in similar positions in other countries would have long taken the fall for the conflict of interest, let alone the match-fixing.
But it seems the biggest fire has been stoked by Jagmohan Dalmiya, the interim BCCI chief, who has not forgiven Lorgat, who, while ICC chief executive, moved the India vs England 2011 World Cup game from Kolkata to Bangalore.
Dalmiya happens to be the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, which is based at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
During Lorgat’s tenure at the ICC, the BCCI could do nothing but sulk.
They may have all the money, but a shut-out could have led to an internal revolt in the country.
That’s what you get for having a sport as a national religion.
The story is simple: take on the BCCI at your peril.
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