Apres Modi

I have just been diagnosed with a rare, and potentially dangerous, medical condition: when the words ‘BCCI’ and ‘professional’ appear in some measure of proximity, I break out into paroxysms of laughter irrespective of where I am and what I may be doing.

Like this afternoon. I was enjoying a nice lunch, washed down with beer, when my cell phone beeped its message-waiting chirp. ‘Ravi Shastri being mooted by some franchises as IPL commissioner’, a friendly source had sms-ed me.

I ended up choking over my beer, spraying it around the table including a generous measure on my T-shirt, and needing emergency first aid in the form of firm slaps to the back [administered with more than necessary vigor by an embarrassed wife] before I could recover. Moments later, I almost had an encore over the follow up sms: “Board will appoint a professional commissioner”, it said. [Where Indian cricket is concerned, the ‘professional manager’ appears on the scene once in 10 years. I’d written about the last occasion here].

The emerging consensus among the franchises is that they would rather not have the boat rocked too violently just now. They’ve pumped in a ton of money; they’ve seen their coffers bleed over the course of three seasons [for all the hype, none of the franchises has made any profit yet]. They are more or less okay with that, their collective expectation being that as valuations rise through the roof, they will make their money back one way or the other [some, like the Ambanis and Mallya and the Chronicle group, see business possibilities; others see the opportunity to sell stake and make a killing — and while on that, some of the stuff floating around makes me wonder if Shah Rukh Khan, at this point in time, continues to own any stake in KKR].

The last thing they need is for someone new to come in and change the rules of the game on them. Hence Ravi Shastri, as “compromise candidate” — someone who is well networked into the IPL machinery, knows how the gears move, is okay with it all and thus can be trusted to keep his lip zipped and allow the business to continue more or less as usual. In other words, Modi-lite — a commissioner who is something of an attention magnet himself, but won’t be guilty of the sort of blatant wheeling and dealing that draws attention to the league.

As for the BCCI’s promise, don’t crack me up — not again. A professional is someone who brings to the table a combination of skills and capabilities you can put a value on. Per the BCCI’s definition, though, if you pay someone for something he automatically becomes a “professional”.

By that yardstick Sunny Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who are being paid for their role as ‘councillors’ in the IPL’s governing council — a role they have interpreted as an a-capella chorus of ‘all is well’, like the 3 Idiots — are ‘professional’ council members. In actuality, they are like Gandhi’s famous three monkeys, given seats at the head table as the token cricketers so the IPL and its commissioner can point to them and argue how well run the league is, with cricketers represented on the board.

What is clear at this point is that Modi’s defiance is at an end. He had hoped to clutch at a vague legal straw and string this thing out a while longer, spewing as much muck as he could in the meantime and hoping that time would provide a solution. That ploy ended when the board kindly pointed out to him that even if N Srinivasan was not entitled to summon the governing council meet, he could as secretary convene a special general body meeting of the BCCI itself — and at that meeting, a resolution could be made to expel Modi from the board.

And once Modi lost his seat at the BCCI [which came his way courtesy good friend IS Bindra], he would not be able to remain as IPL Commissioner anyway.

That possibility took the wind out of Modi’s sails. Rather than be exiled from the board itself, he decided to bite the bullet and give up his position in the IPL provided he was allowed to continue as board vice president — thus defining compromise as a solution that fully satisfies neither party, but permits each the satisfaction of knowing the other bugger has been done in, too. So come Sunday, he will swan in front of the television cameras for the last time, as IPL commissioner — and on Monday, meekly take his medicine, his non-attendance at the general council meet a last, futile show of bravado.

Shashank Manohar will step in as an interim commissioner, despite considerable jibbing by certain franchises. The board is in no mood to let franchises tell them how to run their business — give way on this one, and they fear that going forward the franchises will increasingly flex their financial muscle and begin to dictate to the board on matters large and small. Manohar’s taking charge is the line in the sand the board is drawing — and it will hold, since the franchises cannot operate independent of the board.

The unanswered question is, what next?

The stream of ‘revelations’ currently keeping the print and television media in ecstasies will ebb in the coming week — and by next weekend the leaks will most likely miraculously plug themselves. Absent fresh “information”, the media will congratulate itself on its ‘hard hitting coverage’ that saw the demise of the most powerful sports administrator in the cricketing world, and move seamlessly on to the next sleazy godman. The IPL will lie low, make some cosmetic changes, and the circus will surface again later this year, when the Champions’ League rolls into town.

That is one option.

The other is that the board voluntarily [or involuntarily, at the “urging” of the government] appoint a core team of persons of unquestioned probity, give them the brief of examining all aspects of IPL functioning [including the financial structure of the franchises] and spearhead a thorough clean-up. At that point, the board can hand the IPL’s conduct over to a team of highly qualified professionals [that definition not to mean paid yes-men] to run, while the board’s ‘honorary’ officials play an oversight role.

Those are the two ways this can go. At this point, I hope for the second — and fear the first.

PS: On Twitter tomorrow, during the final. And back on blog Monday.

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Apres Modi

  1. Prem,

    I have been following your blog for a while now (thanks to Ramesh Srivats’s tweet about it) and to quote Ramesh himself, this is the only blog which asks all the right questions and provides an all-round perspective of the murky muck that IPL has come to be! I guess that “drug-addict” analogy should seal anyone even remotely harbouring any thoughts about Modi continuing with IPL in whatever form. Yes, he’s done a great job, no doubt about that. But he could do what he did only because he had such a big political muscle, bureacratic clout and a free-hand all under the umbrella of assumed purity! Ramesh might want to believe otherwise, but the answer sadly is that any shrewd business guy could have managed IPL if not any better but with lesser taint/damage to the IPL brand !

    And yeah, +1 to your views about the match-fixing angle..I for one still believe it is logically improbable to “fix” the outcome of an IPL game but all this muck has certainly resulted in IPL slowly losing that credibility and could end up in a precarious position of being “ad hominem” for any counter claims put forward by IPL!

    Kudos, for doing what you do..and keep going!

    Cheers..Siva

  2. What guarantee that a private run firm will be free of malpractices / corruption? If anything it can be more corrupt for since then it won’t be a public entity and subject to such intense scrutiny. Satyam is a case in point.

  3. Pingback: The end of the beginning… « Smoke Signals

  4. This is not a regular game of chess ..this one was fixed even before the game was actually played. Shame on BCCI! the way they handled this.BCCI’s hurried action created more public sympathy for LM.They made LM an International hero and a legend… Outside India, people still think it is the handwork of the corrupt Indian Politicians and media that brought LM down because he exposed one minister..see it all started with that. Majority of the international cricketers and media still like him.. must have treated them well. Ravi Shastri did well in the final presentation ceremony and showed lot of “class”. ..that was missing in people in last few weeks.

  5. Lalit Modi was told that if he does not attend the IPL , Gc meeting on 26 th his days were numbered and he would be replaced. Some eminent gentlemen also put forth the view that he should attend the meeting so as to face the allegations.

    Now , when he is ready the BCCI comes up with a DOOSRA , which in itself is a pathetic attempt to try to wriggle itself from a embarassing situation. It is time the BCCI top brass are shown the door for the double speak.

  6. …they fear that going forward the franchises will increasingly flex their financial muscle and begin to dictate to the board…

    There is a strange echo of world cricket (and ICC’s) treatment of BCCI in that sentence.

  7. prem:

    i nominate ravi shastri as “bees saal pehle all rounder thaa, aaj bhee hoon, aur bees saal baad bhee rahoongaa!”

    “why?”, you ask? well, see now. he will be commissioner, commentator, (maybe) sweat equity parking lot for some (inegible) cricketer(s), owner too (maybe?).

    at least you choked over food and beer. i am choking on thin air as i roll on the floor laughing.

    but is he modi-lite or a (eye)patch over the modivirus?

    – s.b.

  8. “The names mentioned in the BCCI corridors are those of Arun Jaitley, Niranjan Shah, Ravi Shastri and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. All of them are members of IPL Governing Council headed by Modi whose days seem to be numbered.” Mr.DDCA does not have time look after DDCA or to provide a decent pitch,where he will have the time to run IPL? .Mr.Shah as VC of IPL was part to the crime if there was any. He was everywhere where LM was! .Tiger’s son Saif was an unsuccessful bidder for the Pune franchise,so Tiger is no saint. That leaves us with the best commentator ^^^1@$%#$%7$#&*!!! ..Your disease seems contagious.

  9. I am with SaHat, just bcoz he has a entreprenural zeal and built a brand does not mean he should be allowed to remain, as for the others folks who have built brands from scratch and has gotten away that was then, when in the “socialist” India one could get away with daylight robbery with no oversight. In this day and age process and oversight are absolute necessary otherwise you will be taken to cleaners, be it IPL, Goldman Sachs or Enron. Alas, in India we will handover the admin of IPL from one crook to another and the vicious cycle with continue

  10. Dear Mr.Ramesh and Mr. Safhat. Many thanks for your comments. Stuff like this helps mere mortals get a clearer sight of the story.Prem comments your posts attract are at times as good as the post. A tribute to the following you are building. More power to you.

  11. Heartily second RS for IPL commissioner. He might then go off the commentary team and there will one geezer less talking about the blimp!

  12. Media is overdoing IPL thing.Too much news is no news ..At one time people will stop believing it.
    You have mentioned LM as a poor chess player…I think his last move to ask for extra 5 days is great move. By next week people forget IPL and look forward to ICC T20. If BCCI sacks him on 26th, public sympathy will be with them. Everyone enjoyed IPL matches in last one and half month, it was good diversion & entertainment for the public.The move will back fire on BCCI. One gets the feeling Who ever runs the IPL in future it will never be the same.Not sure how many international players will come back to IPL..what with 90 matches in 2 months under scorching heat .They might prefer a offer from CA or ECB T20 league.

  13. I wish Lalit Modi continues.

    There, I’ve said it.

    Prem,

    It requires a certain audacity & drive to create something on the scale of the IPL. It is not just administrative ability. It is a certain single-minded obsessiveness and vision and huge amounts of ambition. Modi has it. I don’t think his touted replacements do.

    In spite of the commentary and blatant product placement, IPL is a great package for its consumers. On TV. As well as in the stadiums. There is entertainment, there are better facilities and there is an attitude of market friendliness which makes cricket-watching better than before.

    True, the cricket on display may be frowned upon by “purists” but frankly no one is forcing them to watch it. There are millions, including me, who enjoy these 6 weeks of entertainment.

    The innovations introduced have also been cool. Free telecast on youtube for one. And an actual live 3D telecast which, to my knowledge, no event in the world has tried.

    It is these kind of things that Modi has brought (frankly do you think these would have come about with a typical BCCI administrator?). So the franchises are happy, the players are happy and so are the viewers.

    The problem is that the people who have such creative zeal usually do come with negatives. Arrogance is always there. And in Modi’s case, perhaps he has crossed some sort of line in terms of dubious dealings. But the affected parties of these dealings have not been the three main stake-holders – the franchises, the players or the consumers.

    If the GOI finds there has been tax evasion, let them punish the tax evasion as they normally do. If the auctions were rigged, let the parties who lost the auction initiate civil proceedings against IPL. If there is betting going on, let the government punish the bookies (if they can find them). And if matches have been fixed, let BCCI take what steps are necessary to preserve the credibility of the brand.

    But let us not just bay for Modi’s blood because it gives us a momentary feeling of moral superiority or a perverse satisfaction of having brought a rich & famous guy down. (I really believe these are the underlying motivations that drive most of this non-violent lynching.)

    A far better solution would be to clean the processes, improve the oversight (by the BCCI) and let Modi continue. Sure, the BCCI has every right to replace Modi. They own the brand. But I wish, just wish, they would not take steps that will bridle the ambition of this league.

    • You must be joking.

      Have you forgotten Charles De Gaulle’s famous quote.

      “Graveyards are full of indispensable men.”

      The TINA factor is typically Indian. Who after Nehru? Who after Indira? Who after Rajiv? But as time shows life goes on and sometimes better than before.

      Did anyone ever believe that Ratan Tata would grow Tata Group to current levels when he took over and was being challenged by the old guard?

      Just because Modi brings an unquantifiable like entrepreneurship to the table all his sins should be overlooked. No way buddy.

      “… But the affected parties of these dealings have not been the three main stake-holders – the franchises, the players or the consumers.”

      Really. You must have completed your investigation in record time. Do share the report.

      Players: You should read what Rohit Mahajan has to say in the latest issue of Outlook as to how players are impacted. (http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?265190)
      Franchises: Have been helping all and sundry convert their ill gotten wealth to legitimate gains. But if this was ill gotten wealth who do you think was it stolen from? What if you discover D company has invested in some of the teams through these honest entities? How do you react to the fact that Mrs Ambani is lording over a team bought out of shareholders money (and not declaring this fact till this scam broke out, being a shareholder I feel cheated)?
      Consumers – Need I say anything there?

      “… If the GOI finds there has been tax evasion, let them punish the tax evasion as they normally do. If the auctions were rigged, let the parties who lost the auction initiate civil proceedings against IPL. If there is betting going on, let the government punish the bookies (if they can find them). And if matches have been fixed, let BCCI take what steps are necessary to preserve the credibility of the brand.”

      Do all of that but spare Modi. Ha. If all what you mention above comes true then who do you think was presiding over this den of crime?

      “But let us not just bay for Modi’s blood because it gives us a momentary feeling of moral superiority or a perverse satisfaction of having brought a rich & famous guy down. ”

      Why not? The rich and famous get away with so much everyday that once in a while one of them should crash and crash hard so that the rest don’t go berserk. In any case those gunning for Modi are aiming a bit too low. I hope one of the NCP duo also has to pay for this – preferably the senior one.

      • No I wasn’t joking. And I don’t know any quotes on this subject. So I’ll respond in my own words.

        This is not about TINA. Probably there is an alternative. My point was the replacements to Modi that are being discussed now – either a BCCI administrator or someone like Shastri do not have Modi’s vision & zeal. Does that mean there’s no one who in India who can take over. Of course not. There must be. But nobody is trying to find them. The whole tone of my article was – I “wish” Modi stays. Not that we are facing apocalypse if Modi goes.

        Thanks for your compliment on the speed of my investigations. The report has been lost. 🙂

        On the affected parties – What exactly does the Outlook article (that you have linked to) prove? It says the players (except for a few like Sehwag) are “willingly” attending parties. The author seems to think the evil influence of booze, smokes & white-skinned girls will corrupt the poor innocent players. And it talks about rich people paying money to hang out in these parties. So the article doesn’t prove that the players have a problem. It proves that the author has a problem.

        On to franchises. Again you are not telling me what problems the franchises have faced. You are telling me the problems that you have with the franchises. And the “what if” scenario of D company investing is not exactly basis of I-T harassment no? That what-if could apply to anything & everything. And if shareholders of Reliance have a problem with Nita, they are free to take it up with NIta or Mukesh or with SEBI. What on earth does it have to do with Lailt Modi being the commissioner?

        Consumers – Yes, there is a need to say something here. I’ve not conducted any surveys (in record time or otherwise), but the consumers are getting a great package of entertainment. On TV & in the stadium. And if a person doesn’t like the telecast, or the IPL, or T20s or cricket in general, he or she always has the option to not see it. Tomorrow, if you don’t like the programming of say Zee TV, you don’t send the ED after their chairman no?

        On sparing Modi – Look, all I’m saying is that if any of those things are proved, there is appropriate action involved. Some things involve the government, some things involve civil cases and some things are internal BCCI affairs. If Modi is involved, let him be punished appropriately. The point I was trying to make is that all the issues have been mixed-up, there’s no perspective on what the crime is and who the victim is and it has become a general free-for-all lynching.

        If you say “why not” to lynching the rich just because they are rich, on the grounds that one must set an example, I really have nothing to say in response. Did Charles De Gaulle by any chance also say “The graveyards are filled with people who were burned at the stake because the mob resented them”?

        • Sorry, was away for a few days.

          Most points understood, not all accepted and I guess that is the hallmark of a healthy discussion.

          What irked me most in your comment was your praise for Modi and the assertion that he and he alone could have done it and will continue to do. The replacements don’t seem up to it.

          PV Narasimha Rao was pulled out of retirement to keep a seat warm for the dynasty. He set in motion changes that have transformed the economy. The IPL in a way is a result of those few years in the early 90’s. When he came to power he was no leader to look up to. All he did was to back the right ideas and people.

          This is pretty much what Modi has done. Given a chance I am sure there are other people who can do this. Let this not be seen as the brilliance of Modi alone but of the eco-system that he has built and the freedom available to him to back the right ideas (and the fact that BCCI killed the only rival). A freedom he has liberally misused as well.

          Indispensable, he is certainly not. The replacements need not be as bad as they seem. Give them a chance before you pass judgment.

          The point about lynching the rich did not come across as I intended. Entirely my mistake in coming across as intended. I would rather join them than lynch them :).

          It was only a reaction to the brazen manner in which it seemed to be headed for a cover up. Similar things were said for Manu Sharma as well. The media is hounding Manu because he is rich but it was all worth it. Your comment invoked memories of that.

          The point about players in the Outlook article:
          I do not feel comfortable with the lifestyle that is literally thrust on these guys and feel that this can not be healthy for them. It is also obvious that all of them are not ready to handle the consequences – Shoaib Akhtar and his *ahem* warts :)). However, I will keep my opinions on the subject to myself. I have not right to give lectures on morals and ethics. So, point conceded.

          Do look for that report. I will be eagerly waiting. :))

    • Ramesh:Every start up founder is passionate about his own baby (They do not follow structure and procedure) ,but there comes a time when professional management is required.This is the time when LKM has to go and professionals have to step in,and noty the Ravi Shastri types who are as crooked if not more.
      Maybe time for BCCI to take a new direction

    • Ramesh, I’d have been tempted to take the cue from you and say, you are wrong. Only, I have for a long while been convinced there is no wrong and right about any of this. In the spirit of discussion, though, my thoughts:

      Ramesh Srivats :

      In spite of the commentary and blatant product placement, IPL is a great package for its consumers. On TV. As well as in the stadiums. There is entertainment, there are better facilities and there is an attitude of market friendliness which makes cricket-watching better than before.

      True, the cricket on display may be frowned upon by “purists” but frankly no one is forcing them to watch it. There are millions, including me, who enjoy these 6 weeks of entertainment.

      The innovations introduced have also been cool. Free telecast on youtube for one. And an actual live 3D telecast which, to my knowledge, no event in the world has tried.

      It is these kind of things that Modi has brought (frankly do you think these would have come about with a typical BCCI administrator?). So the franchises are happy, the players are happy and so are the viewers.

      Very true, all of this. I am cricket agnostic — while I like Test cricket, I am not one of those who sees all other forms as anathema. I don’t watch *all* of Test cricket, and neither do I watch all games in the other formats. The only criteria for me is that the game have a context, a frame for my enjoyment, and that the game itself be a real contest. Any time it fails to provide the first [yet another Test series against Sri Lanka, say] or stops being a contest [the IPL semifinals, say], I switch off. So the purist’s violent reaction to Modi the ringmaster is not where I am coming from on any of this.

      Ramesh Srivats :

      The problem is that the people who have such creative zeal usually do come with negatives. Arrogance is always there. And in Modi’s case, perhaps he has crossed some sort of line in terms of dubious dealings. But the affected parties of these dealings have not been the three main stake-holders – the franchises, the players or the consumers.

      If the GOI finds there has been tax evasion, let them punish the tax evasion as they normally do. If the auctions were rigged, let the parties who lost the auction initiate civil proceedings against IPL. If there is betting going on, let the government punish the bookies (if they can find them). And if matches have been fixed, let BCCI take what steps are necessary to preserve the credibility of the brand.

      Funnily enough, Ramesh, I feel exactly the same way, and have been arguing precisely this, throughout the course of last week’s serial insanities. My argument runs parallel to yours — that the IPL is potentially a great sporting brand [hell, as I once pointed out on this blog, and as I recall our chat when you had come home last weekend, it was an idea that had to wait a decade for its time to come]. And that is precisely why it is necessary, at this point, to clean it up.
      Let me back up for a moment. The media, television and print both, have created something of a crusade out of this. You know me well enough to know I am not following that lead — in fact, I have been pointing at the various conflicts of interest, and the questions they raise, way back from season one onwards.
      I did that then, and continue to do that now, for one reason: I like the IPL as an idea [again, to point at the obvious, I like the idea so much, I had suggested it in course of the vision statement I tried to write for the BCCI back in 2000]. It has the potential to grow to humongous proportions; it has the potential to actually revamp our cricket, both domestic and international — to improve the standards of our grounds, to accelerate the osmotic process of cricket’s assimilation into the hinterlands, to widen and deepen the pool of talent we have to pick from, and yes, to provide me and you with compelling entertainment in a sport both of us love.
      But to do all that, the league must like Caesar’s wife be seen to be above taint. You watched the final last night, and so did I. You probably saw, in the MI innings, a sign of how Sachin, undoubtedly a genius with bat in hand, is however prone to be fallible when fashioning strategy and tactics. It is not the first time he has tinkered with his team to its detriment, not the first time he has missed the most obvious bet [Mounting run rate, and Pollard in the hut while a Bajji, a Duminy, come ahead? You could argue that he would have looked like a genius if the move had come off — but the counter to that is, in must win games you are more careful with your experiments. You need to break the game open, you pick the person who has repeatedly proved to have the muscle to do it, no?].
      The reason for bringing it up is, while that was going on, I noticed on Twitter a stream of comments asking, is the match fixed? I had three friends call with the same question. One said, fuck this, I stopped watching.
      The unstated subtext is, is Sachin corrupt too?
      IMHO, the IPL cannot afford that. It cannot, especially at a point in its evolution when it is attempting to find its business model and to rationalize evaluations, afford the taint of corruption. And that is why, IMHO, it was necessary — it still is — to drag it all out into the open.
      It could be argued that the government could have probed all this and, as you say, punished wrongdoers for tax evasion or whatever. I would love to live in Utopia too, like you — but the fact remains, the government was aware of all this for close to a year now, at the least, and chose to do nothing about it. Had light not been inadvertently shed on the backroom wheelings and dealings thanks to one misguided tweet, the government would have continued to sit on this whole sorry mess — and we both know that.
      So, public noise became necessary. Much of it is hyper-ventilation, yes; much of it over the top, yes; a lot of it ill-informed, certainly. The noise in the media is not illuminative — but it serves as a spotlight of sorts, throwing the sleaze into sharp relief and indirectly, ensuring that pressure is on everyone concerned to do something, however small, in the form of course correction.
      And that brings me to the last point:

      Ramesh Srivats :

      It requires a certain audacity & drive to create something on the scale of the IPL. It is not just administrative ability. It is a certain single-minded obsessiveness and vision and huge amounts of ambition. Modi has it. I don’t think his touted replacements do.

      But let us not just bay for Modi’s blood because it gives us a momentary feeling of moral superiority or a perverse satisfaction of having brought a rich & famous guy down. (I really believe these are the underlying motivations that drive most of this non-violent lynching.)

      A far better solution would be to clean the processes, improve the oversight (by the BCCI) and let Modi continue. Sure, the BCCI has every right to replace Modi. They own the brand. But I wish, just wish, they would not take steps that will bridle the ambition of this league.

      I’d hope that as a friend, you know me better than to aim that bit about baying for Modi’s blood merely for the perverse satisfaction of bringing down someone rich and famous directly at me. Paparazzi journalism was never to my taste.
      To take the points in order: there is a tendency these days to somehow set the BCCI apart from Modi and vice versa. The common argument is, Modi could do it, could the BCCI?
      Modi *is* the BCCI. He did not come from outside to create something. He came from within the system; the idea for the IPL came from within the system — and similar ideas have been floating around for years. Dalmiya in his time toyed with one such; John Wright once submitted an incredibly detailed proposal for a compelling, condensed form of cricket played in indoor auditoriums. I saw the first cut — it was very well thought out.
      Modi is the one who eventually built this, and I salute him for it. I reject however the argument that Modi is the only one who *could* have done it. That, IMHO, is to sell the country’s talent pool very short. [Could anyone else in the BCCI have done it? Actually, yes – insiders will tell you that the BCCI’s administration was at its best when Bindra as president and Dalmiya as secretary worked in tandem — ISB was the ideas man; Dalmiya the guy who never took his hands off the wheel, and was prone to calling folks up at 3 am demanding to know progress. Long story, tell you all that at another time]. My point is merely that there is talent within – and the BCCI has enough money to go outside and hire the best talent in the country. So the choice is not between Modi and say a plain vanilla BCCI functionary — the choice really is between an admittedly driven man with a graveyard full of skeletons and a headful of demons, against a clean, professional management.
      So yeah, the solution we need is to clean the process and improve the oversight. I’d reject that third part, though, about handing the keys back to Modi. Would you, for instance, recommend that once Satyam has been cleaned up, we hand it back to Raju and family to run, on the grounds that he had the vision and drive to build something in the first place?
      However, I am totally with you on that last line: that neither the board nor the government take any steps to bridle the league’s ambition.
      Cheers, mate.

      • Prem,

        Firstly my apologies in the way I had structured my comment. I shouldn’t have addressed it to you (I just blindly did so because on all blogs, I start a comment by addressing the author). By no means was any of the stuff about baying for blood etc., directed at you. My mistake. In fact, as I’ve said on Twitter, Smoke Signals is the only place where this issue is covered the way it ought to be.

        Point taken on the other issues. Like in an earlier discussion (about muzzling Gambhir), I am totally with arguments that look at IPL as a brand and discuss what it needs to do for its own good.

        But our (and everybody’s) opinion on how the IPL ought to be run still does not give us the authority to use the force & harassment of govt. on issues they really have no authority on.

        This whole issue seems more like a public lynching than any justice with due process.

        Your point on the talent within the BCCI is very valid. Perhaps there is someone ad we really don’t know. But reacting to the names currently being discussed – the reason I feel none of the current crop in the BCCI is well equipped to take the IPL to greater heights is twofold :

        a) The IPL lies at the intersection of cricket administration (and the corporate world. Much much more than anything in Dalmiya’s time. IMHO, the Shastris & Manohars don’t seem to be equipped for handling this.

        b) The IPL is still not ready to move into maintenance mode. It has a few more years of unbridled growth before it can settle down (and the entrepreneurs can give way to professionals). My worry is, the focus will shift now in placing a commissioner who does nothing so that he doesn’t offend anybody. Whereas the brand still needs someone who is aggressive & audacious.

        What I would really like is for the BCCI to incorporate the IPL as a Pvt. Ltd. Co. (they can go for an IPO and take it public later). They can then appoint a CEO (which I still mulishly “hope” is Modi :-)), and BCCI and other eminent outsiders can constitute the board.

        • Hey, no offense taken, mate.

          The funny thing about this debate is, we are actually broadly in agreement about what needs to be done; where we differ is the minor details — and the not so minor detail of whether Modi should, or should not, continue to play a part post the clean up.

          There, the only comment I would make is, I wouldn’t want to make a drug addict (the analogy suggests itself for more reasons than one) the keeper of the keys of the medicine cabinet — even if I have, in the interim, cleaned up the stock taking and accounting process of the drugs contained therein. 🙂

          But yeah — creating a private limited company, putting in place an administrative mechanism of high quality professionals, with the board playing an oversight role, is clearly what is needed now. And while on that, I share your worry, that in typical knee jerk fashion the board’s response to the Modi imbroglio will be to put in place a caretaker, someone whose brief is to merely keep the lights switched on.

          More perhaps than Modi’s corruption, such a successor could be fatal to the dream of building the IPL into the entity it has the potential to become.

  14. Hey Prem,

    Do u really believe professional can replace an entrepreneur’s skills when venture are still naive & risky one.In my humble opinion professional are trained for running business & not for financial adventure unlike an entrepreneur.A professional ride on his/her created image in running business & he is conscious about maintaining it .An Entrepreneur is believed in creating image in odds.You can praise or scold Dhrubhai,Sahara or Lalit but you cannot ignore . Few points..

    1- LKM was an ambitious entrepreneur but I am sure he could not have ability in 2007 to overcome cynics of IPL success (in corporate world except people like Mallya or Ambani who has not problem to play gamble of 10 million per year) .However he was ambitious & that droved him.He has taken stakes in 3-4 franchise through proxy of branded people(and for crook entrepreneur thats not surprising).As there was no way he could have created hype.

    2-Now this proxy stakes might be getting reason of his fall as well.But believe me without those stakes no body could have created IPL in BCCI except Modi. Of course a risk taking entrepreneur takes profit in account as well, but the argument is how he would have known that it will get success when all cynics were in odd ?.

    3- Now when it is running, all cynics talks how to regulate it.There was no Reliance if there was no crooks of D Ambani, There was no Sahara if there was no crooks of Subrat roy …and there was no IPL if there was no crooks of LKM .You needed a crook to to cook a IPL like brand . But then every glorious success in capitalism has black window….take it or no ..

Comments are closed.