One hand clapping

Just when you think you’ve seen/heard it all, you see/hear some more, courtesy the always reliable BCCI.

Here’s the news du jour:

The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has decided not to allow spectators inside the Rajiv International Cricket Stadium for the Duleep Trophy final between South Zone and West Zone. It is understood that the HCA was fearing crowd trouble due to the political situation in Andhra Pradesh.

There was a security lapse on January 21 during a Twenty20 match at the venue, when a crowd walked up to the pitch, uprooted the stumps and staged a sit-in halfway to the pavilion before they were cleared by policemen. The match had to be cancelled eventually.

“The gates have been closed due to security reasons, we wanted the match to go on uninterrupted,” Shivlal Yadav, the HCA vice president, told Cricinfo. “There aren’t many spectators who come to domestic matches anyway, if you observe last year’s Ranji final, barely 500 spectators turned up. We did not want to take chances pertaining to the conduct of the match. The BCCI does not give us any instructions with regards to such matters. It is up to the hosting board.”

The news is appalling at so many levels you lose count. Firstly, you have a former player/selector and current official casually dismissing the final of a premier domestic competition as not being worth the spectators’ time. Does it occur to him — and to the larger group of honchos who run cricket in this country — that the fault lies not with the players, but with the administrators like himself? That spectators do not come because you do not (a) provide good conditions for competitive cricket; (b) provide the sort of facilities that will help spectators enjoy the game, not the kind that makes watching a day’s cricket a physical torture; (c) proselytize these contests in order to build interest levels?

Yadav and his ilk forget that less than a month ago, spectators thronged through the gates, while more of their number lined up outside, for the Ranji final between Karnataka and Mumbai.

At another level, where was the imperative in hosting the Duleep final in Hyderabad? If you knew ahead of time that there were security implications, surely it would have been a simple matter to shift the venue — especially given there is no dearth of cricket venues in this country?

It is startling just how callous the attitude of the BCCI and its affiliates is towards the spectator. The other day, the Eden Gardens announced that for the second time running, it would not be selling tickets for an international event.

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5 thoughts on “One hand clapping

  1. Prem

    Eventhough HCA’s decision first sounded a shocker, I later thought the blame does not necessarily fall on them. I do not have much insight into what exactly is going on in Hyderabad, but it appears to me that there is indeed some issue there. It is a miniature version of the Pakistan issue – it is not a problem with the PCB or the Pakistani players that the other countries are not going there. It is because of a security issue. Just because we are Indians, and since we are talking about a domestic competition, we cannot say that there is no security threat. If HCA believed it is there, then lets trust them on that. Of course, BCCI could have shifted the venue- but what if it was too late to shift? I think the statement came on the eve of the match. If we start blaming BCCI or HCA for this, we are no different from those Pakistani politicians and media who blame India for every single problem of theirs. Primarily, it is a problem with people and culture – if they think that as a mob they can dictate terms to everybody else, whether Cricket match or Bollywood movie or Swearing-in ceremony or Parliament session. Lets spare BCCI and HCA from the primary blame.

  2. Prem
    Agree 100%, This is the appalling state of affairs thanks to the BCCI. Duleep trophy finals is a premier event – guys trying to break into the national team show their wares and Shivlal Yadav cares two hoots. BCCI and HCA are interested in everything but cricket. IPL has given the BCCI so much money that key doemstic tournaments are totally neglected in favour of the dancing girls cricket. I guess BCCI is now competing with Hockey India as to who can be more detrimental to the game they are supposed to foster and grow. This is indeed a sad day for cricket in India. imagine how the two teams will be feeking playing to an empty stadium. I hope the whole HCA office bearers get sacked for this single blunder.

  3. The other appalling thing is that half the SZ team and half of the WZ teams that won the semi finals are busy playing against visiting SA side. Can’t the scheduling (atleast when its a final of a premier domestic tournament) be done so that you have the best domestic players available to play in the finals?

    • Exactly — as you say, that is the other sucky bit. The final could have easily been postponed by four days or so, to allow the SZ and WZ players to rejoin their teams. But then, the BCCI merely wants to tick off to-do items: host Ranji, host Duleep, etc. Quality be damned.

      • I read Laxmans iinterview on Cricinfo with Harsha and his opinion on English county, we will never reach those levels of fan following with attitudes like this. Yadav anyway is a scoundrel who tried his best to push his whole family into Hyderabad cricket team resulting in Rayadu others joining ICL

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