BCCI appears to be heading for a split

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2000, 12:30 [IST]
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No one is yet coming out in the open to challenge the blind allegiance demanded, in thought, word and deed, by the top coterie in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). There is, however, no denying the fact that the BCCI is heading for a split.

Five months ago, there was just one common "enemy" in Inderjit Singh Bindra that had brought almost all the constituents of the Board together. But the way the whole issue of betting and match-fixing controversy has been handled so far, and, with several top officials themselves coming under investigation of the tax authorities, the forced unity of purpose has come under severe stress and strain.

The assertion of the diktat of the BCCI chief to see that tainted players were not picked amongst the probables for the Nairobi tournament, have had quite a few detractors from amongst the influential members of the BCCI, however much the move may have been welcomed publicly.

Finally, the needless the dilly-dallying over the Kapil Dev imbroglio, to sack or not to sack the Indian coach, has led to an aggressive debate within. The indications are that the BCCI is headed for a split of some sort.

The working committee of the BCCI, which had met in Bangalore on August 20, had fully authorised the BCCI chief Dr A C Muthiah to deal with Kapil Dev, in as much as to coax him into quitting on his own. An attempt was made by Board chief, of a friendly persuasion, when he visited New Delhi, for business reasons on the occasion of the Japanese Prime Minister's visit. The former Indian captain proved adamant and he made it known, in so many words "sack me, if you can".

On his return to Chennai, Dr Muthiah said that just one meeting was not enough and he would again try and talk to the Indian coach about an imminent sack.

But, in a matter of just a dew days, the BCCI chief changed the tune completely. A couple of days ago, he said that Kapil Dev may be allowed to continue as the coach of the Indian team right through the conditioning camp, as well as the ICC Knock Out tournament.

It is clear that pressure has been brought on the BCCI president by a group that wields a tremendous clout. This group is headed by the former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Jagmohan Dalmiya, and has the backing of the Rungtas and the BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele.

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