Classical Greek mythology predicted what would transpire on this earth 2013 years after the demise of Jesus Christ. Long before the world thought of Christ, the Greeks had their people wrapped in stories that depicted the real world, people’s day-to-day lives and how some of their actions would be translated into results that could have [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Pandora’s Box and Indian cricket hegemony

Lanka caught in India-South Africa duel

Classical Greek mythology predicted what would transpire on this earth 2013 years after the demise of Jesus Christ. Long before the world thought of Christ, the Greeks had their people wrapped in stories that depicted the real world, people’s day-to-day lives and how some of their actions would be translated into results that could have long drawn repercussions.

Pandora’s Box is one such story which described how a curious woman named Pandora tried to peep into a box which was kept in her custody even though she was told never to open it under any circumstances. She just let her curiosity take over for a moment and the human race had to lead the rest of its existence in evil and sorrow.

Well, I just narrated a part of mythology that we inherited from the West, but, just a step away from our little island is Giant India – a land which gave birth to many philosophies including the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Many people still believe that India is a land of mystery where the legends of an ancient culture still persist and the beauty of its history and mystics still lingers on. At the same time this giant land is also one of the fastest growing economies in the world and as a result its drive towards the mundane culture and its needs and necessities are also spreading at breakneck speed. We call this India’s Pandora’s Box.

A direct result of this boom is the birth of an economically stable middle class in India and one of the biggest byproducts of this is the strong sports culture that has enveloped the entire nation. The most popular of these sports is undoubtedly cricket, which in India is almost a religion, so much so that India’s batting maestros Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will soon have a temple built in their names. Actor Manoj Tiwari announced that he would soon set the foundation for the construction work of the said temple in his hometown of Atarwalia in Bihar.

The actor said, “I am building a temple for the two cricketers as they have provided entertainment and pleasure to cricket lovers akin to that one gets from God.”

Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to get a Temple built in their names Courtesy Cricket News Update

Sources have revealed that the construction of the temple will cost around three crore (30 million) Indian rupees. The actor in the interview disclosed that the site for the construction has also been chosen.

Meanwhile, it is believed that the temple will accommodate statues of skipper Dhoni and Tendulkar, along with the painting of the entire ICC World Cup 2011-winning squad.

Well this is how cricket is treated in India. With this kind of fanaticism and a population of one billion plus, the game of cricket in India has made its board the richest in the world. At the same time the rupee strength of India’s cricket governing body has made it the Al Capone of the cricketing world. Then with the birth of the Indian Premier League, India’s cricket governing body — the BCCI — not only has the other cricket governing bodies dancing on its palms, but also the cricketers dancing to its tune.

Recently I read a news item about India being unhappy about former ICC Chief Executive Officer Haroon Lorgat being named as the Chief Executive Officer of Cricket South Africa (CSA). Nevertheless, of more than 200 applicants for the post Lorgat was chosen and the reins were handed over to him.

However, while Lorgat was the head of the ICC some of the decisions that were taken by him did not go down well with India. For instance the decision to remove the India-England match from Eden Gardens, as it was deemed unfit for the purpose, a month before it was to have been played. The man in charge of Eden Gardens, Jag Mohan Dalmiya, suffered public humiliation. At the time he was only on the peripheries of BCCI politics; but now he is the board’s Acting President.

At one juncture, the BCCI’s best friend was CSA. Once when the IPL could not be held in India owing to the country’s general elections, the tournament was shipped to South Africa. Now South Africa is depending on their yearend FTP series against India and their estimated income from that engagement is over US $ 15 million. Yet, India is currently not so sure that they would honour that obligation.

Now the standoff with India has become Lorgat’s crown of thorns. Lorgat met Sanjay Patel, the BCCI secretary in Dubai on the sidelines of the ICC chief executives’ conference. He claimed the talks were constructive, but the real outcome was not yet known. However it is learned that a decision will be taken after the BCCI AGM on September 29.

For Lorgat, this is his real test which could be described as a tightrope walk with no safety-net beneath. If Lorgat manages to keep the FTP series intact he will become a hero otherwise his reputation won’t even stop at zero.

This is how Al Capone operates in the city of cricket. Once the Lankan cricket hierarchy went against the wishes of the BCCI gods, the BCCI in turn just tighten the screws and only let go a little when they wanted the adjustment of the Sri Lanka-West Indies FTP series which was clashing with the IPL. The reason: India needed the West Indian players and some of the Sri Lankan players in the IPL carnival.

The real losers of that deal were the Lankans. They lost a Test series (postponed) which they would have had with the West Indies. Now India has concocted a series with the West Indies in the near future. Thus the West Indies will not lose anything Test-cricket-wise. Yet, with the cancellation of the Zimbabwe Test series, Sri Lanka is left with a huge void.

Al Capone knows when to dangle the carrot in front of the face. First before spiting CSA, they found a mechanism to fill the void. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are aware that they need the Indian plums to keep away their hunger. Now the India board has dangled a tri-series involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India towards the end of the year.

Yet, if that happens Sri Lanka should know that they would make an enemy of South Africa — a country which has a cordial cricketing relationship with Sri Lanka. Yet, if Sri Lanka goes against the Indian wishes they know very well the repercussions that would follow. However, there are also certain norms that are laid out by the ICC about the FTP and how countries should keep to their schedules. But, just imagine because of the IPL and the Indian pressure how many Test matches that the Lankans have sacrificed. Once they did it to make way for the seniors to take part in the IPL by taking off one precious Test against England on home soil. Then the Lankan cricket governing body postponed the Test leg of the West Indies series to keep a date with the IPL.

We feel that the money-heavy BCCI has opened cricket’s Pandora’s Box, now it is time for the whole cricketing fraternity to pay for it.

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.