Narendra Modi heads Gujarat cricket

Narendra Modi has taken over the reins of the Gujarat Cricket Association and, in trademark fashion, hit the ground running.

“There is much to do in cricket world except playing the game by ball and bat in the field,” Modi said.

“I will sit with co-members of GCA to form a blueprint of development of cricket, how to give it a professional touch, development of cricket by an integrated approach and attracting youths towards sports by using the popularity of Cricket,” he further said.

Ho-kay! We are all agreed that this is a good thing.

“It is a very good development. The CM will now be closer to the issues of cricket in the state and will give impetus to cricketing activities. I congratulate him and wish him luck in his new endeavour,” said Chirayu Amin, BCCI vice-president and BCA president.

When asked how Modi as GCA president would help the game, Amin said, “Any issues involving state agencies will get quick clearance.”

The reporter left the logical next question unasked: Name one such issue, please, that currently does not get quick clearance?

Before you read into this another ‘anti-Modi rant’ from a ‘pseudo-secular pseudo-intellectual or pseudo-secular-intellectual’ or whatever, my grouse, and question, is this: have you ever wondered why every damned politician in the country is in recent years hell bent on improving the state of Indian cricket? [At this rate, pretty soon election manifestos of the various political parties will have a section on the game].

Ask the question and the answer you will get is, cricket is important to so many people, it is a religion in this country, it provides amusement to so many of us, so of course it is the politician’s duty to do what he can for the betterment of the sport…

The answer you won’t get is, cricket generates as much money as the top industries do; there is no way I can wiggle into top positions in top industries but heck, I can sneak into cricket administration quite easily, and once there, there is tons of money to be made. By me. For me.

Hence, cricket is now a full-fledged battleground for not just ambitious individuals but for political parties [remember the problems Lalit Modi  — who, incidentally, is the only individual to merit an entry in this wiki list of cricket associations, and how cool is that? — faced after Vasundhara Raje lost Rajasthan?]:

GCA was till now controlled by Congress leader Narhari Amin. But Modi’s Home Minister Amit Shah was engaged in long drawn political as well as legal battle with Amin group for the last one and half year for the control of cash rich GCA.

Recently, the BJP had managed to win over the Central Board of Cricket of Ahmedabad (CBCA) which is a part of GCA from the Congress group, after which Amin had resigned.

See? The BJP and the Congress, as represented by Amit Shah and Narhari Amin, are so hell bent on improving cricket in Gujarat, they have been fighting a legal and political battle for a year and a half now — and here you were thinking politicians didn’t care.

So anyway, since we have reached a point where you can’t keep politicians out of cricket even with a court injunction, I have a suggestion: the BCCI should just amend its constitution to say that the chief minister of each state automatically becomes the head of the respective cricket association.

Why not? At the least, it puts and end to these power struggles and year-long legal battles and such. And as the BCCI veep pointed out, all issues relating to the state will get single window clearance.

And who knows? Maybe Muthuvel Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu and Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan in Kerala have bright ideas on all the things you can do in the cricket world outside of playing with a bat and ball.

And how about Mayawati as head of the UPCA? At the least, Lucknow will get beautified with statues of her with bat in hand, and what a boost that will be for the development of cricket in the state!

Here’s Ramesh Srivats on Modi & Modi, Inc.


29 thoughts on “Narendra Modi heads Gujarat cricket

  1. BJP wants their share in pie, so they built pressure on Narhari Amin, so he resigned. GCA is one of richest cricket association in country so who would not like dip in its coffers. BJP is involved in mass scale corruption ever since it came on national scene, it is more than what Congress did in 50 years.So now if India wins cricket match, Modi will tell people its because of him. This is true face of Narendra Modi and BJP. Gujarat should appreciate efforts of Narhari Amin as he played instrumental role in getting Gujarat represented on Indian Cricket

  2. It’s not just money. Politicians are attracted to centres of power. You will find politicians hovering around cricketers, film stars, god-men, anybody who attracts the attention of large masses of people.

  3. Sports has glamour attached with it -and it’s universal-If you see Soccer Thaksin in EPL,Gulf Sheikhs,Italian League,Spanish league.In India Cricket is doing well inspite of the Politicians ,if even half of them had sports on their mind and turned their energies to Hockey sincerely-India would have regained its glory.

  4. Why are politicians hell bent on improving cricket? Your question is RIGHT.

    But why did you wake up to ask it NOW? When Lalu grabbed BCA, it was ok.

    Sir, your timing is SUSPECT.

    • Sir, my timing is just fine, what is suspect is your jump to judgement. Please see responses to earlier comments — I’ve been talking about this for over a decade now.

  5. As much money as top industries do? BCCI, even with IPL and all that, hardly makes 150-200 million dollars per year. That wouldn’t even qualify as a mid-sized corporation.

    • right.. but that 150-200 Million $ per year is whats remaining after corruption etc etc… what would be the profit if there were no politics or corruption in BCCI (IPL, State boards etc)

  6. If instead of the Politicians,it had been the film stars vying for cricket associations similar to T 20:
    a)Our cricketers would not have dallied with the lady politicos(They would have still stuck to daughters of badminton stars)
    b)KKR might have had Karan Johar as a Technical Director and Coach (They would not have done any worse than John- the players would have behaved well,as he might be their ticket to “stardom”
    c)If Salman gets to own a team”only 10 will take the field as Dus Ka dum is enough”-and if Chappell is the Coach-instead of Bono they will have to watch David Dhawan for light “weight performances”
    d)Wonder why Saif is not owning a team?He has the right pedigree-Cricket and Films-the team will be in Saif Hands!
    e)If Akshay owns a team-warm up will be Taichi Exercises, his outfit might be known International Khiladi
    f)If Shoaib owns a team-it will be called “Chuck De Express”
    g)If Amitabh-then the man of the series award will be -Kaun Bangega Karodpati
    h)If Rajnikant-There is only one “Boss”,no coach.
    i)Aditya Pancholi-Only All Rounder
    j)End of match presentations would be more colourful and musical,maybe RaviShastri and co would have balloting on who would do the dais.

    • PostMatch Presentations:
      Consider the match to be live on ESPN, there would be a reality show on Starsports or Starplus to decide who will host the Presentation ceremony and the participants in the reality show will be Our famous Cricket Commentators.

      Any suggestions, what to name that reality show?!

      Also I would like to see Rajnikanth’s team:
      Toss: Coin spins and lands with no team winning the toss
      Bowling: The ball comes straight from the Dressing Room and one ball will last 50 overs… no controversies or chucking, no ball, wide etc… One will Do all..

      Appeal: No HOWZZAAAtttt… its just a warning to umpire ‘Mind IT’

      • On the Title of the reality show:the Glam stars will be on the dais and our ex cricketers are vying to be on the dais
        a)Who dares wins !
        b)Who bares wins (Maybe Kambli will win it hands down)
        c)The X Factor
        d)Bakwas Band
        e)3 is a crowd
        f)”How is That”
        g)Cricket ka swayamvar
        If they go by stats-Gavaskar will win every show till Sachin qualifies-Rameez/Wasim and Waqar may cry foul and revive the ICL.(Ravi may join the Bold and the Beautiful) ,Harsha will think out of the box,so Gavaskar might prefer calling it Sunny Days

        On Rajni’s team toss-instead of the coin-he would prefer to use a cigarette-if you see his movies the cigs spin better,unless if he is using the Sivaji the Boss coin
        Another take On the appeal by Rajni’s team-if the bowlers asks “Howzat”,the umpire can say Mind IT to the bowler,and if he bowls a no ball he can say Ennai da rascala..

  7. Prem,
    You were not too vocal when the Pawar,Kalmadi in IOA,Lalit Modi et all were running the show ,all of them were chasing big money as well.
    On a lighter note though since you mentioned about :
    a)VS in Kerala:On the field decisions will be made by the “Politburo”
    b)MK in TN:Official TV Cricket Telecast would either be on Sun Tv or Kalaignar TV
    c)Pawar:We will not have a selection lobby-we will have a sugar lobby
    d)Narendra M:We will decide first and meet later,any cricket books may be “banned”
    e)If it is Delhi Durbar:Madam has to select the team irrespective of past performance or form,allegiance to the first family is paramount
    f)If Pranab Mukherjee-Teams will have to curtail travel,so if they finish the Compaq cup,they have to remain there till they travel to CT in South Africa,all their expenses will be borne by Sri Lanka Board
    g)If Pratibha:Only bankers are qualified to be “Presidents “of respective associations especially those who “write off” loans
    h)If Lalu-Bowling should not be easy “Fodder “to the batsmen
    i)If Azhar -Associations need to be “fixed”
    j)If N Sreenivasan-IMG could not “cement” their place inspite of so many chances

    Disclaimer:The above may closely resemble fiction,but as we know Politics is a game ,Let’s play on…..

    • Mahesh, a point: Absolute statements, such as “you were not vocal when…” is in order only if you’ve read everything I’ve written. If you had, you will have noted that this is the latest, not the first, time I’ve “been vocal” about politicians in sport. Cheers.

      • Prem,
        I meant it more as a degree of comparision ‘not too vocal”
        I have read your earlier posts on the issue agree this was not the first time-so did not use the word “silent”,you tried to cover it up with the pseudo secular take,and you should agree that we “the readers ” sensed a strong reaction from you,but for me it helped to take off on a lighter note,not sure how much effort it was on your part to zero in on MK and VS-as not too many states have no political patrons,Given that cricket is almost a religion in India,most politicos find it worthwhile to jump on the bandwagon and not necessarily for the “moolah” but even for the trappings which come with it including media publicity for free,easily seen by the crowding of the dais for every post match presentation.

  8. Gujarat is small state as compared to say UP, Bihar or MP . But Gujarat has 3 Ranji Trophy teams Gujrat, Saurashtra and Baroda. Modi will head just one of the Ranji teams. Only other state that 3 Ranji teams is Maharashtra with Bombay, Maharshtra and Vidarbha as their Ranji teams. Also another interesting tidbit the West zone comprises teams from just 2 states (actually less than 2 states since Vidarbha competes in the Central zone) . The other zones have teams from at least 4 different states.

    Considering this lopsided states per zone equation one would assume that a cricketer from Gujarat and Maharashtra has a better chance in making into the Indian team. But in actual fact that Mumbai simply dominates the zone as far playing for India goes . Other Ranji teams in West Zone rarely produce a India player. Apart from wks Mongia, More and Parthiv Patel , and in recent times Baroda has produced Pathan Brothers , Munaf and Zaheer Khan ( who now plays for Mumbai).

    May be the hidden zonal quota system works against non Mumbai west zone teams since Mumbai players manage to fill the west zone quota on their own.

  9. Dear Prem “Rip Van Winkle” Paniker,

    When you were away, we had Sharad Pawar as the BCCI President & ICC Vice-Chairman. Our friend, Arun Jaitley juggles Supreme court cases & Delhi Cricket Association Presidency even to date.

    Your Well Wisher …

    Sarcasm apart, Isn’t money & power the reason why Jagmohan Dalmiya, Lalit Modi and hundred other businessmen & politicians turned their eyes to Cricket.

    In fact, not just cricket, every sports organization is run by a politician. I believe Priyaranjan Das Munshi is still the Football Association President even though he has been battling illness for i guess more than 2 years.

    And do we even need to talk about Suresh Kalmadi …

    • Dear Well Wisher: These points you make [including about Priyaranjan Das Munshi with football, KPS Gill with Hockey, and Suresh Kalmadi with the Olympics] are ones I have repeatedly made in my Rip Van Winkle avtaar. I don’t blame you for not having read every single thing I’ve written — that would be horribly tedious, since I’ve been writing for 20 years, and on Rediff and related blogs for nearly 13 — it would be nice if you do not sweep away an entire career on the strength of the little that you *have* read.

      If that sounds like I’m miffed, well not really, call it a weary amusement. If I blame one player, I have guys responding: oh, but you never blamed Sachin Tendulkar. And I’m going, in my mind, oh really?

    • Oh, also, friend and Well Wisher, let me give you an example: A board meeting — the one that installed Dr A C Muthaiah on the BCCI throne — was manipulated by P Chidambaram behind the scenes. His lawyer wife Nalini was the one who appeared for the BCCI against the dissidents. The unspoken threat was that PC’s minions in the tax department would come down hot and heavy on those who did not fall into line. *That* was the first time I wrote about politicians in sport — over a decade ago.

      So what exactly are you and Mahesh and the others worked up about? This: the story involves Modi, I was fairly vocal in my criticism, ergo, I am writing not from the point of view of cricket, but from my anti-Modi stance. Immediate, automatic assumption. Unfortunately, the wrong one.

  10. “of her playing a cover drive,” LOL 😀 too good… imagine chairs in the stadium replaced by elephant statues… and people asked to sit on that… also if any game is played in UP.. there would be a Bhenji statue next to the umpire and one next to legumpire…

    if it’s a test match then a white statue, for ODIs and T20s it will be black statue!! 😛 😀

  11. Besides the money, there’s the not too small matter of visibility. That just makes cricket irresistible I would guess.

    The games that our politicians play. It’s just not cricket! And yet it is.

  12. Wish our politicians were more transparent in their ambitions. 🙂

    Yes – I see that there is a lot of money to be made here. Why should I not make hay when my sun is still shining bright!!?!!

    I may sound like one of those doomsday believers, but cricket is dying a slow death and such people are only hastening the end.

  13. Prem, we don’t need to make the CMs as state cricket board presidents. Its too complex. A simpler thing to do would be to just create a “Ministry for Cricket”. Heck we have so many ministries (including a ministry of sports) what is one more going to do. You could then have published policies on reservations, state quotas etc and cricket would be much better off for being a truly representative sport of India. Can somebody remind me what is our national sport again?

      • Too late: Ten CMs including Mayawati, Rosiah, Yeddurappa have setup a committee (what, you think anything happens in Indian politics without a committee!) to examine the requirement of ‘Ministry of Cricket’.

        When contacted, Rosiah said that since Cricket is a matter of ‘national interest’ and politicans’ role is to protect ‘national interest’, the move to create a committee which will pronounce judgment on the requirement for ‘Ministry of Cricket’


    • It sounds so bloody obvious once you mention it, I am surprised our dear rulers haven’t thought of it yet.
      Although I do agree with you, I hope you realise you’re stating the bleeding obvious. The post just forces me to think what part of my life is free from the influence of Congress, BJP & co.

  14. Ah….I almost imagined Mayawati playing a cover drive with her purse still dangling on one of her hands!

    I understood the importance of cricket to Politicians the day when Sharad Pawar took to heading BCCI. Sharad Pawar is perhaps more shrewd and seasoned politician than any other you will find in the country. When he takes up heading BCCI, you know there is some real goooooood money out there for taking.

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