Another bloody IPL

I almost get tired of ranting about the BCCI. Really, I don’t ask for them to be saints. They’re a cricket board; basic competence and a lack of cartoonish villainy is all I really want. They consistently fail to do either. No boards are free of bureaucratic cock-ups but theirs have been worse than most. In the last year they have failed to get their prime stadium ready for the World Cup and have had a long and seemingly farcical attempt to police the finances of the IPL.

Of course, it’s the IPL where they dismally fail my second request. Whilst dithering about in their investigations and occasionally throwing out a franchise they have still seen fit to make sure that the IPL does not co-operate with the rest of the cricket calendar. This year they have announced their longest ever schedule, almost two full months, and as usual it conflicts with multiple international series. Also as usual it’s the West Indies who look to be suffering the most. This year the IPL will conflict with their hosting of Australia and their tour of England. It’s another blow for a board deep in financial troubles as they will have to convince their players not to follow Chris Gayle in turning their back on the national side. If they fail, as they have done recently, they will then have to convince the public to pay to watch a 2nd XI. Both are uphill battles, but ones the WICB must win to keep their finances from slipping farther into disarray.

To be fair to the BCCI there aren’t any holes in the international calendar so they have to conflict with somebody. The problems with their current approach are two-fold: Firstly, tacking on another two weeks to a tournament for which there already isn’t enough time is either spectacularly stupid or spectacularly arrogant. Either is possible with the BCCI but given their history I’m leaning toward the latter. Secondly, the BCCI consistently chose to conflict with the West Indies home schedule. The WICB are up against it as is, they don’t need to conflict with the IPL every year. And yet they do. If the BCCI were to wait a few weeks and conflict with England’s home series (more than they already do, I mean) there would be fewer problems. English players don’t play in the IPL very much anyway, if they missed the whole tournament it would not be a significant change and certainly a difficult one. (This would still pose a problem for the West Indies next year, as they tour England, but this way the conflict would be shared around more.)

Instead the BCCI don’t seem to care. They know when there are international matches being played, the schedules are not a secret. But they plough ahead anyway, not even oblivious to the damage they cause but often (especially in the case of Lalit Modi) actually dismissive of it. They care only about themselves, their own coffers, their own tournament. Anything which conflicts with it must be moved or disrupted, lest it interfere with the holy IPL. Hopefully the other boards will manage to puncture their bubble before too long. I’m not optimistic.

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