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Siegfried Walther
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Ban India from world cricket!

18 December 2013, 14:02

India’s handling of their recent cricket tour to South Africa is indicative of the arrogant and dictatorial attitude their controlling body, the BCCI, seems to have adopted in recent times.

India, with its population of one billion people, arguably has more cricket fans and players than the rest of the world put together. That gives Indian cricket considerable clout and the BCCI is not shy to use it.

The details are unclear, but it would seem that the BCCI took exception to an opinion expressed by Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Lorgat and that they later took exception to his appointment as CEO of CSA, despite their protestations.

In retaliation India, who were due to tour South Africa from November 2013 to early January 2014, announced a tour to New Zealand which conflicted with the proposed itinerary of their South African tour. In defence of their actions, the BCCI indicated that the schedule proposed by CSA had not been agreed to by the BCCI.

In the result, CSA were forced to back down in humiliating fashion and to agree to a much curtailed tour. Apart from the considerable financial loss this has caused to South African cricket, cricket fans worldwide were robbed when the New Year’s test at Newlands was dropped and a three test series was reduced to a two.

The BCCI’s explanation cannot stand. They have toured SA in December/January before and the test schedule is so predictable that it could almost be said to be cast in stone. A test during or after the day of reconciliation (December 16), the so-called Boxing day test, (December 26), which is usually held at Durban, and the New Year’s test at Newlands which commences like clockwork at ten am on the second or third of January every year.

Whatever other misunderstanding there may have been about other events on the proposed schedule, by having agreed to tour South Africa over the period in question, they expressly or impliedly agreed to play those three tests.

The BCCI’s failure to honour their obligation to play at Newlands is an absolute disgrace.

Unfortunately, the BCCI is aware that they are a law unto themselves in world cricket and that the ICC is too weak to hold them to account.

It is a pity that the BCCI could not have taken a leaf out of the book of one of India’s favourite sons, the great Sachin Tendulkar. Despite that he too was in a class of his own, he always conducted himself with humility, dignity and class. It is for this reason why he is so loved and respected by cricket fans around the world,  despite the destruction he so often wrought to their teams with his bat.

In sharp contrast, the BCCI have made themselves very unpopular with many South African cricket fans. They should be under no illusion that the resentment runs deep.

The Newland’s Test is a highlight of the cricket calendar for cricket fans in Cape Town. It is extremely well attended irrespective of the stature of the opposition. The BCCI’s role in the cancellation of this fixture will, I am sure, not soon be forgotten.

As it is, any test nation playing against India is forced to give-up the use of the DRS (TV umpire system) because the BCCI objects to it on grounds which are lacking in any logic.

The DRS system, although not perfect, has been welcomed around the world by most cricket fans and players. In the main, DRS works very well indeed and it has largely eliminated the glaring errors which even the best umpires can make, and which could often influence the outcome of a test or even end a career.

It is said that the BCCI apparently refuses to agree to DRS because it is not a perfect. This explanation lacks any merit, since nothing is perfect. Most notably, umpiring without DRS is far from perfect. DRS’s limitations are far outweighed by the certainty it has brought to umpiring in world cricket and it is precisely for this reason that it is used by every other test playing nation.

The BCCI’s solitary stance is so illogical that one cannot help wondering there is another reason behind it which we are missing. Could it be that some bookmakers in Mumbai do not approve of the added certainty the DRS system brings to the game?

Whatever the case, it is time for the BCCI to be brought to heel. Failing that, India should be expelled from world cricket until they do. It is also time for the ICC to stand up and be counted before the BCCI decides to abolish them. As it is, it seems the BCCI have claimed the right to dictate to CSA about Mr Lorgat.

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