Couch Talk 100 (Play)
Host: Subash Jayaraman
Subash Jayaraman (SJ)– Welcome to the show, Jarrod Kimber and SidVee
Jarrod Kimber (JK)– Oh, welcome! Thank you! Thank. You.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (SV)– Thank you, Subash!
JK– Congratulations, too, man, for being old – podcast wise.
SJ– Oh. Even otherwise, I am old, older than both of you, anyway.
JK– That is both of us put together.
SV– Did you take as much time going from 0 to 100 as Sachin (Tendulkar) took from 99 to 100?
SJ– No, I think Sachin took a shorter time.
SJ– Anyway, this is the 100th episode of Couch Talk. SidVee, thanks for being the first guest and getting the ball rolling, and Jarrod, thanks for all the plugs and being on the show the most number of times, this episode being your fifth.
JK– Wow! That shows you really don’t know many people.
SV– This is India–Sri Lanka level, for podcasts
JK– Exactly. I am just trying to prop him up, and I am keeping him on my side.
SJ– Thanks buddy!
Alright. Let’s talk cricket, more precisely, cricket administration. Based on the way things have been going lately, is cricket fucked, or is it proper fucked? Jarrod, why don’t you have a go at it, because you have the experience of speaking with cricket administrators worldwide for ‘Death of a Gentleman’ documentary?
JK– It is pretty fucked, but to be fair it could very well change with one Mr. Srinivasan not being voted in. How much that changes it or not, I don’t know, but it is in a situation where essentially, at the moment you have got one really pretty girl and 9 guys all trying to sleep with her at once. The really pretty girl is quite horrible, to be fair. There are not many different direction that cricket can go. The really pretty girl has two slightly more playing friends and she sort of formed this cabal with them.
Basically, right at the moment India, Australia and England are taking over world cricket and no one charged with running the game or their individual board is doing anything at all to stop that. That is from dubious people like (Peter) Chingoka who spent years using his votes to make Zimbabwe far more powerful than they ever deserve to be, and also from the other side of things – the countries that could band together like South Africa and other countries. It doesn’t matter in which direction you look at the moment – what you have is the three main countries all feeding themselves, India a little more, and no one else can even get close to the table.
SJ– Sid, what is your take? Is it fucked, or is it proper fucked?
SV-I think, at any point of time in cricket history you can say that cricket administration was fucked at some level. But, what is really worrying is that it has reached a state when the common man, the average viewer is directly impacted by the direct decisions. I am sure that was the case in various points in history as well. But a typical case of a tour being suddenly put at risk, two really good teams going to face off each other and suddenly the pretty girls, like Jarrod puts, says “No. It is not going to happen because we don’t think it should happen, it is not going to happen because we have an ego clash because somebody didn’t give us our ice-cream, so we are going to have another guy come and play.” Those are the kind of things that somebody who has taken a real interest in trying to take some days off to book some tickets and go for this tour, go and see India play South Africa, things like that – those are things how people are getting affected because of battles going on at some other level.
SJ– As you said, cricket administration has been screwed up at various levels over the history of the game. But now, we are in a situation where N. Srinivasan is saying who should or shouldn’t be the president of another national board. Jarrod, in your conversations with Mr. Srinivasan himself and various other people, is there this each-to-his-own cannibalization, basically?
JK– The fun thing is that it was India who hired Haroon Lorgat. This is how ridiculous the whole thing is. There were many people who were almost hired for that job, it is a shocking job – the CEO of the ICC because it is like being the manager at McDonald’s when the McDonald’s is owned by Robert Mugabe. It doesn’t work like a job, you are never actually in-charge of anything. You are paid a lot of money and you are a punching bag. These cricket boards, if anything goes wrong with the cricket, they will leak something automatically blaming the ICC, even though anyone with 1/10th of a brain will work out that the ICC isn’t the only cricket board.
So, you have a situation where what happened was that Haroon Lorgat got frustrated with his job, and Dave Richardson was frustrated of the job before he took it, let alone now. So, the situation was that Lorgat knew he was on his way out, and he went “I have got one chance” – this is to his credit, a lot of things he has and he hasn’t done we can get into specifics at times, one thing he did do is that “There is something wrong with the way the cricket is being run” and the cricket administration is being properly fucked – let’s be honest, cricket administration started only about 15 years ago, the rest of it wasn’t even administration but it was just shocking men drinking tea and touching each other – but what Lorgat tried to do was that if there is something wrong with the system, “we cannot move this game forward, we cannot bring more countries in, we cannot move it to the Olympics, we cannot actually grow the game in the way it should be grown, we cannot run the game the way it should be run. What we need is independence for that.”
That’s all he said. He didn’t say “Fuck India.” he didn’t say “Fuck Australia or England.” All he said was “what we need is an independent cricket board whose goal is to look after cricket, which is not what the ICC is currently doing.” For that, he has been blacklisted. For that there have been stories leaked. I don’t know who leaked them, about him being involved in corruption. You now have the BCCI wanting to look into his time in charge.
The only thing that I could see that you could possibly throw against him, like I said I don’t know the full details with a lot of rumors out there, but he did steer money towards Sri Lanka on more than one occasion towards the end of his reign and then went and took a job at Sri Lanka where he got paid money to consult for them. Now, I am not saying that it was dodgy at all, although if I was India and I wanted to smear him that’d the way I would try and smear him. But, essentially, all he said was “you know what, I really love cricket and I work for the ICC. Cricket isn’t being run properly, let’s try and run it correctly.” For that you have him being smeared, and now you have got his potential cricket board and all the cricket fans in South Africa and India being fucked up the arse by a bunch of arrogant bullies.
SJ– It is quite obvious which boards may have taken exceptions to it. But, deep beneath it, you can see that every single cricket board, every one of them may have had issues with it, right? In Haroon Lorgat saying they need to have independence?
JK– They didn’t all have issues with it. We don’t know what England’s response was, because once India came out and said they didn’t care about it, England didn’t even…no one forced, none of the media – international or English – forced England to make on record a statement on the Woolf Review. Australia were up for it, as far I can tell. Australia were trying to bring independence in their own cricket board at that time. New Zealand have a level of independence. So, there are a probably a couple of correct boards who would have liked it.
Realistically, I am putting my white person hat on here for a little bit – having talked to administrators of all nationalities, I think sometimes the sort of scrutiny and the sort of way that things have to be done in Australia and England are way different than the way they are to be done in India and Pakistan. That is just a reality. I think that if you will be able to bring the ICC and make it a 100% independent, then most white people will enjoy that just because they can’t play the game anywhere near the level, the BCCI, or people like Chingoka can. I was told recently that Chingoka was probably the best politician in cricket, and you only have to see how important Zimbabwe’s vote was back in the days when votes were actually counted.
Other than perhaps the people right at the top in English cricket, most people in cricket who come from the most Western countries would probably prefer if it was independent just because they would actually have a chance in having a say again because at the moment, Cricket Australia would privately will say that they don’t like dealing with India and they can’t handle dealing with India. But, as we all know, they are the new Sri Lanka – they are playing India so much.
SJ– I want to touch upon something that you mentioned, Jarrod, and I want to bring SidVee into it. It is a question from one of the listeners too – Jyoti Karthik Raja, who happens to know SidVee – is cricket relevant as a global sport? It has 10 full member nations. Even there, as you said Jarrod, 3 countries are running the sport and one of them being the pretty girl everybody wants to screw. But, you have the associates and the affiliates who are treated worse than your ugly stepchildren. This is no model for sustaining cricket as a sustaining sport, is it, Sid?
SV– No. I saw that question from Jyoti Karthik and that is a very valid question. It is a question that has been asked all the time. It is something that cricket needs to first get itself around to understand firstly, does it want to be a global sport? In terms of the economics of it, there are administrators in India – recently there was a book released, I think called “The Greatest Indian Tamasha” written by James Astill, the correspondent for The Economist – who quotes Niranjan Shah, the then secretary of the BCCI, who claims without absolutely any qualms that India are extremely happy being able to, more than sustain themselves, and are happy to not rely on anyone else and they are happy not to help anyone else. That is in essence the quote, I haven’t memorized the quote as such.
There is a general understating among a few administrators of India that they are more than happy just taking care of their interest, taking care of Indian cricket’s interest and moving on. That is fair enough, because BCCI is the Board of Cricket Control in India, but at some point you have to ask yourself if at all you are looking at making cricket a global sport, if at all you are trying to bring in various other associate nations and how they come into this whole thing, is there a kind of equilibrium that you can try and establish?
Or, you can use your franchise league, your IPL and the Big Bash to bring in cricketers from other countries. The MLB does that, NBA does that. Basketball is played all around the world, but the best players are always trying to play in the NBA. The best players in the world want to play in the NBA. Is that the case with cricket? Is the best player in Ireland or Uganda, do the best players there have any mechanism by which they can enter the IPL? As of now, I don’t think so. But, as of now, is anyone thinking of that kind of internationalization? I think those are issues that cricket needs to address which it is not getting to at the moment because Srinivasan and [Lorgat] are involved in a boxing match.
SJ– But, if that were to be the case, where BCCI goes into isolation and says whoever wants to make money, come here and do it, we are not going to play any international cricket – that is a travesty, isn’t it? Cricket has been built upon international contest.
JK– Whether or not it is, that may happen. What I would suggest is, and this is what I don’t get 100% yet, when I spoke to Lorgat he kept saying that all the other countries have to man up essentially and gang up. To a certain level, they can. The two that can actually stand up to India – and this going to sound weird because it is completely opposite of what you hear in world cricket – the two who could stand up to India are Australia and England. The reason they could is, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but let’s just say that half of Indian cricket’s income comes from the IPL and half comes from international cricket, if that actually continues to go in that way and India wants to make as much money as they can from the game; and England and Australia say “We don’t like the way you are running cricket, or the way you are dealing with us. We are not going to play you anymore. We know that we can make enough money from playing each other over and over again” and they could just start playing Ashes every year if they had to and the TV companies will be happy with that. They may not be able to make the money that they are making now but they will make enough money to be able to survive.
India would lose somewhere between 15-30% of their overall revenue because when STAR paid that money for cricket in India, they are paying for the fact that India are playing England and Australia. Pakistan, they hardly play, so they are out of it. It would hurt India’s bottom line massively if Australia and England would stop playing them. That is a lot of moral stuff and a lot of nonsense. But realistically, and I have been a massive proponent of the fact that eventually you could have a moron in charge of the BCCI who says, “Fuck it. We don’t want to play international cricket anymore and we are not going to.” I can understand why that could happen. But, that is a lot of money to say goodbye to, and you have to be 100% sure that the IPL is always going to be around. It wasn’t that long ago when ODI cricket was the biggest selling format of the sport around the world. It just isn’t that big a selling factor any more. It is dying in certain places and it certainly doesn’t have the excitement that the IPL has or the ODIs of the late 1990s had, the early 2000s even.
So, what we are saying is, could they internalize and turn this into an NBA? Yes. But, they have to give up a lot of money. What you said, Subash, is 100% correct – cricket has always been an international game, and there is a lot of money to make from an international game. I think you will have to be a moron to turn your back until it completely dies. I just don’t think it is going to die. Virat Kohli makes 300 against Australia in a Test match, every Indian is going to want to watch that, and that is where money comes from.
SJ– And also, I want to add to that point, Jarrod, is that the reputation of the player – he may be gaining $ 1.5m for a 8-week tournament in the IPL – but the reputation of the player is built in the international arena. Everyone knows that, the TV companies are willing to shell out their money because they have seen your standard, the guy’s market value in the international sports, so he is going to be successful. If that were not to happen, the international concept, then it becomes a complete crapshoot.
JK– The other thing is the NBA model- it does work… I’ve been talking about it almost since the IPL started. But the one thing that doesn’t work about it is, every American sport, by the time the American leagues were the biggest leagues in the sport, which is almost when they all came in, America was already a superpower. America was pretty much already respected right across the world by the time these sports became professional and massive. India is not at that level yet, and Indian fans probably as much as any fans that I have met, they really see their dominance by beating other countries. You take that away from them, it doesn’t go well.
To America, the rest of the world doesn’t exist. To India, the rest of the world very much does exist.
SV– And that is one other point that I wanted to bring in. What Jarrod says is absolutely true. India beating other teams, going abroad to England and Australia and doing really well, winning series, going to South Africa is a big deal. It is a huge deal. There is absolutely no doubt that an Indian fan would want to see that when India goes to Australia and has a really good Test series, happens to win a Test series, not only will there be a huge amount of interest, but there will also be a huge amount of money that follows from it.
Now, the issue that I have been having with the BCCI for a really long time is that they have everything that they need to make India the best team in all three formats. A shrewd politician or a shrewd leader or a shrewd administrator would try to find ways in which you can arm-twist and lobby and do things to make sure that your players are very best and your domestic system and your franchise system and everything you do is at its very best. But, the BCCI seems to be doing a lot of things that go against this particular direction. Not sending the Indian players to play in English county circlet – classic example of how you can shoot yourself in the foot. When you can actually get your players to play at a really good level when playing abroad you stop them, you prohibit them from going because you have this ego clash going.
The big problem I have with the BCCI is that they seem to be taking a lot of decisions and they seem to be throwing around a lot of their power with money and ego in mind rather than the bottom line aim of making India the best team in all forms of the game and making the Indian cricket the best system all over the world. A shrewd leader would do that, and would have done that.
SJ- Could it be possible that the BCCI officials realize that no matter what, as long as it is some form of cricket, they are going to get hundreds of millions of people watching it, so they don’t really care how the team is doing? As long as there is cricket on TV, it’s going to get watched, and sponsorship money is going to come in, so what the hell?
SV- It’s possible. It’s probably the reason why it’s happening. Otherwise, there is absolutely no reason why India shouldn’t have become a consistently good team, and the Indian system shouldn’t have become consistently good over the last 5-6 years when the BCCI had everything going for them.
SJ- Jarrod, from your interactions, is it true that boards think “Well, let’s put some cricket on TV, we’re going to get the money, so how does it matter how our team is doing?”
JK- It shouldn’t be. The most important thing when talking about the BCCI is to forget any inkling that they are of one mind. If they had someone like [Lalit] Modi or [Sundar] Raman dictating…
Srinivasan dictates in his bullish ways but as we all know, there are so many factions there and he hasn’t dragged everyone across. The more important thing is, we know how much money they are making, but if you look at the amount of money they are letting out in developing their game, it is exactly what SidVee is talking about – I’d say Indian cricket hasn’t spent, in the last 5 years, anywhere near the amount of money the ECB has spent.
When it comes down to it in professional sports, occasionally, you’re going to have an amazing team with some top players, but realistically, Australia got to the top with two brilliant bowlers and bunch of really good batsmen. A lot of those batsmen came through a system that was run far more professionally than anywhere else. India has the opportunity to do that. They have the opportunity to blow out everyone else in world cricket but they don’t do it, and it’s still a mess. I think the mess side of it is probably less to do with “let’s put something on TV and people will watch it” and more to do with the fact that it’s not one vision.
To be fair to Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa at times, they usually have had one vision and they have chased it. If BCCI could have ever done anything similar to what other countries have done… It’s quite easy to do it in smaller countries, and in England where Cricket is a small sport – trying to bring all those cricket unions together and get them to push ahead, when you have to spend most of your time paying them off is probably not the easiest thing in the world.
SJ- With all these T20 leagues, it seems there is a new one coming up every week, we saw in the Caribbean that it played out to packed stands. Somewhere like Antigua where it is rare to find even 25 people in the stands when an International match is going on, the CPL played out to packed grounds, which then motivates the board officials to think, “T20 domestic league is the way to go”. Then, you have the Champions League etc, which further marginalizes international competition. Even when Test matches are scheduled, you have situations like what’s going on between CSA and BCCI now, Sri Lanka tour the West Indies but the Tests are scrapped and they play a trination series featuring India, Pakistan traveled to West Indies and played only ODIs and T20s, no Tests… So international competition is getting marginalized further and further.
JK- Yes, it is for Tests. ODIs seem to be going on fine, which makes no sense to me. I suppose a big part of it is that administrators across the world are no different to anyone else in that, if I’m the owner of McDonald’s right now… I’ll stop using McDonald’s as an example; I’ll use Burger King.
If Burger King were to come up with Salami Panini, and it’s their biggest selling item for the next year and their Whopper is slipping back… If they’d just chase the instant money, they’d go with the Panini. I’d think there’d be people in Burger King who would be saying “That’s right, that makes sense but let’s be honest. People have been eating Whoppers for 40-50 years. Even when its sales dip because of other burgers or health food or whatever, Whopper remains quite good. Perhaps, what we have to figure out is to pack it in a slightly different way, or perhaps remarket it again.”
It doesn’t make any sense to me at all that you can have 5 days of a Test match, and you know that the audience is going to be roughly the same as any day of an ODI on TV, and yet you’d scrap the Test match. There is something actually wrong in the way the administrators are thinking if that’s the case. You should be able to make three to four times as much money from any Test match as you can from any ODI.
In Sri Lanka and the West Indies, they don’t make any money from the crowd turn out. That’s just a fact of how money works in those countries. In Sri Lanka, you could walk in to a Test match for free. I know how much it is to go an ODI there and get good seats – every thing is quite cheap there. They are not making any money off that. The money is always, from here on in and until Internet takes over, is through TV. What you can get from a Test match on TV is three, four, five days of ad revenues rather than one. You do have to outlay a bit more because you have to get security guards, people to work at the ground at the ticket turnstiles for extra days, but if you are a good enough administrator, it is a no brainer that 10 days of cricket is better than five days if you outlay a bit more for other expenses.
The only thing Test cricket isn’t doing is day-night. I know a lot of the people don’t like day-night Test. But realistically, there is a reason why ODIs get slightly higher ad revenues per day than Test cricket and it’s because it’s played in prime time.
SJ- Sid, your thoughts?
SV- I couldn’t agree more. You don’t even have to have the inclination for nostalgic value and say, “Oh, Test cricket is the greatest cricket. It’s been played for so long”. You don’t even need to be of that persuasion. A smart businessman, who is keen on selling a product to make money, even if you go to that extent, I’d still think that, as Jarrod says, Test cricket is a great product. It’s a fantastic product to sell. You can make tons of money with it if you are smart enough with it. They would have tried and done everything in their capacity to get more people in.
If it’s Day-Night cricket, if it’s the matter of getting the right ball whatever, if they were keen about it, if they were shrewd about it, they would have done it. They would be moving towards having certain number of series every few years so that you can get some context, like the Ashes. Even if it’s a three Test series, you can get some context and you could play it every 2 years and build up to it. But playing a T20 game or arranging a T20 league is going on autopilot at the moment. So everyone is just sitting back and saying, “Okay, let’s start another league here. Let’s play another set of ODI matches there and make whatever money we want.” I don’t think there has been too much thought put in to how not only can you make the sport better – an ideal administrator would do that, but even to just do business better. If you were a smart businessman, you would not be working this way.
JK- Why would you want to give up on a product when you know millions of people on earth are interested in it? It just doesn’t make any sense. It defies logic to go towards the T20 leagues.
There are few T20 leagues that are good – the Caribbean one may actually be one of the better ones. All the money and all the extra promotion and information that has gone in to the Big Bash League (BBL), I’m not sure it’s making that much more money than it would have made, had it been kept in its original format and slightly repackaged. We have already seen that these leagues in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have failed. Pakistan couldn’t get theirs up; Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are pretty much gone. T20 league is not a license to print money and so many of these leagues got that massively wrong. The boards believe honestly that this is going to go on forever.
When I talk to the TV executives who buy cricket rights, they say to me that they cannot understand why they can buy Test cricket so cheaply considering the amount of people who watch it and they have to pay a fortune for the T20 leagues which sometimes don’t even have that many more fans. They’re getting a bargain with Test cricket over and over again.
SV- I can quickly tell you that I’ve had few conversations with Peter Della Penna, who is an American with deep interest in cricket and writes for various outlets. Both of us agree that the notion that the only way to sell cricket to Americans is through T20 is nonsense. A smart, shrewd American businessman will take Test cricket and find a way to sell it to the U.S. and trust me he’ll probably be more successful with Test cricket than with T20.
SJ- So, we all agree that Test cricket is the superior cricketing product and makes more business sense, but we have no idea why some of the boards won’t push for it, Is that right?
JK- Yeah. Essentially, I’ve been traveling all around the world asking people why they won’t do it, and they have given up on it. I can’t give you a better answer than that they just don’t know what to do and they’ve given up on it.
If I am correct, there is less than $10 million being spent on the pink ball, day-night Test cricket. I shit you not, that’s a trillion dollar idea if it works. Over the next 50 years, it’s a trillion dollar idea because it could change it forever.
If you could tell the Golf experts around the world that you could play Golf in the nighttime, during prime time, if they could work it out properly, they would do it. The amount of revenue you can generate from it changes it 100%.
I can’t see any cricket board other than ECB that are interested in Test cricket at the moment. South Africa are definitely not; Australia are completely bought in to the BBL; ECB are the only ones selling out their Test matches every year, even some of the smaller nations and dodgier time Tests such as early season or late season Tests. It is possible to do that. If you look at footage of Test cricket from the early 80’s when cricket was a far bigger sport, with far more number of people interested in it in the U.K., you can see Botham winning Test matches with 7 or 8 people in the crowd. Look at the last few days of the Ashes now.
SV- Exactly! The ’81 Ashes, the most famous picture probably in all of cricket where Botham is swinging without a helmet at Headingley, you look at the crowd. It probably wasn’t even one-fourth full when he was playing that innings.
SJ- Let’s talk about ECB, CA and BCCI a little bit. This is a question from Shyam and it’s for both of you. If you held a position of power within either ECB or CA, how would your interaction with BCCI be? How would it be any different from what it is now?
JK- You can take that one SidVee.
SV- First of all, as Jarrod said, ECB and CA are the only two boards that can take on BCCI without taking as massive a hit as any other smaller boards, Bangladesh, West Indies or whoever, but there is absolutely not even a semblance of protest from these 2 boards. Occasionally, you will see an interview or someone make a comment here and there but when it actually comes to the nitty-gritty of sitting down at a meeting, voting, or if you look at the minutes of the ICC meeting, there doesn’t seem to be much that CA and ECB are saying or doing. Which means, they are happy to piggy back along, happy to play as many series as possible (with India) and make as much money as possible and I think at some point, they should start administratively and legislatively protesting. I don’t mean that tomorrow they say “Good bye BCCI. We’re going to play cricket on our own.” That of course would the ultimate and last drastic step. I’m saying that it should start somewhere. BCCI from their point of view are thinking, “Well, these guys are giving some side interviews about us and cribbing about us but at the end of the day, they’re going to do whatever we tell them to do. So, fuck it, we will do whatever we like to do.”
SJ- What would you do, Jarrod?
JK- I was talking to a cricket administrator recently and his plan was to shame people in to doing the right thing. There’s not much you can do. I think the only thing you can do is if I were part of ECB or CA, I would publicly table that the Woolf Report independence to be brought in. But the problem is, if you were to do that, it is the end of your career in cricket. You have to be a bit like I suppose Haroon Lorgat, yu have to be almost on your way out when you do it. There is nothing that I think I could do right now that would, from an administration point of view, necessarily change anything. I suppose what I would do is to use all the information and contacts I have to get a dossier up and leak it to someone like Cricinfo or other cricket source or newspaper and I’d leak every single thing no matter how dodgy it was, and then I’d say, “This is why we need independence. Keep my name out of it. You guys can print everything you can find here” because essentially you have to shame them in to doing the right thing.
Just because Srinivasan is like the way he is, it doesn’t necessarily mean the next person is going to be the same way. You have to understand this – As full on as Giles Clarke is, the next person to be the chairman of the ECB probably isn’t going to be as full on. You have to shame the people that are there and try and get the truth out. Lot of the truth, I wish we could talk about here and I wish I could back it with sources, and I don’t even know if all of it is true or how much of it is rumors. If I were involved, I would get the details out to the media and shame them as morons in public which I think is the only thing you can do.
SJ- So, the only way the status quo changes is if we have our own version of wikileaks?
JK- Yeah. And then what you’ve to do, whoever it is that does this – It’s a risky thing to do. I can only speak from personal experience and I can’t give you any of the exact stories but I could tell you that these people have come after my career for what I’m trying to do and I’m a nobody! They’ve come after Haroon Lorgat’s career. We haven’t outed anything massive either. We have only talked about what’s going on in vague terms, in the loosest way that we can.
If you were to do this, they will come after your career but someone has to step up for cricket eventually. May be, it will be a 70 year old guy on his way out and doesn’t care. I don’t care if he is from Bangladesh or Zimbabwe or one of the Associate countries. People know what’s going on and it needs to come out. It cannot continue to go this way.
SV- The worrying thing is that even when things have come out in India, if you take the classic example of the IPL and the fixing allegations, Srinivasan and a few others have chosen to brazen it out. They seem to think, “Okay, this has come out. This is what it is. My son-in-law may be involved but I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here and you are not going to be able to push me out, and I’m gonna stick around.” That’s the worrying bit.
Even if tomorrow Lalit Modi leaks some sensational news about Srinivasan, and were to expose him, the worrying bit is that these are administrators willing to simply brazen it out and they know that given the structure of the BCCI and ICC, and the whole universe they are operating in, given how little the cricket fan can do about this, they can very well sit on their backsides and nobody can do anything about it.
JK- I agree with you except I’ll say this- We are as close as we have ever been to Srinivasan to being pushed out and it’s only because of stories like this. I’d be surprised if the current story with Guru(nath Meiyappan) is anywhere near the worst thing that Srinivasan has been involved with over the last couple of years. If that’s the case, there are far worse things to come. Good luck trying to stick it out.
The other thing is, why are they sticking it out? Unless they are being financially remunerated, surely after a while even Srini has to think, “What is the point of all this? I’m already mega rich. Do I need to really be abused every day for the next three years of my life?”
All you can do is continue to get to the truth. The problem with cricket is that it’s such a big, stretching sport. So much of cricket is written by sports journalists who won’t be able to get to the truth and the rest of it is written by cricket journalists who have to suck at the teat of these cricket boards, and so it has to be someone from inside the establishment that has to step up. We get little bits leaked every now and then. Now there is more than enough evidence to suggest that there hasn’t been a vote in the ICC chairman’s meeting in probably 3-4 years.
BCCI have been involved a lot of things in the last few years. It’s only recently that they are starting to get stung by the rumors against them. You have Laxman [Sivaramakrishnan] ousting Tim May. They really got stung rather than just a little bit of rumor mill. Now, they are getting stung by the Lorgat thing. They are putting their own feet in it sometimes with [Jagmohan] Dalmiya saying it would nice if Lorgat apologized. Apologize for what? Apologize for trying to have cricket run correctly? If I was Haroon Lorgat – there is a good reason I am not Haroon Lorgat because if I were, I’d tell them “You can suck on my cock. I really don’t give a fuck. Tell me exactly what you want me to apologize for or shut the fuck up. Do it publicly or shut the fuck up.” That’s probably how I’d deal with things, which is why I probably would never get that position, which makes the question I suppose, a bit ridiculous.
All we can do, at any level, is to continue to out these things. I do believe there are good people within the BCCI who are sick and tired of dealing with the morons and bullies as much as the rest of us are.
SJ- So, there is reason for hope?
JK- Yes, there is hope. I can’t tell you right now how it could change. That’s my biggest worry but at the same time, when it changes, it may do so quickly and it could just be that Srini doesn’t get voted in and the next guy in thinks, “I don’t want to be in charge of this. This is nonsense. Let’s fix cricket.” Who doesn’t want to be the guy who fixes cricket?
SV- The other point I wanted to bring in connected to this is that we also must remember that we are among the tiny sliver of cricket fans who are just deeply following all that’s going on, trying to track who’s winning what political battle but a large number of cricket fans probably don’t really care. I think the only thing they care about is their connection to the sport isn’t really messed with. I think that’s where a lot of the administration is screwing them over because scheduling, FTP, the kind of series that are being played, the balance between the different formats of the game, the kind of surfaces that are being prepared, all that is now connected to the larger issue of administration. I think that’s what an average fan cares about. I don’t think the average cricket fan is as clued in as Jarrod is or, may of us who are tracking this are. The worrying part is that what the average fan cares for is now being meddled with.
JK- You’re right. If this series between SA and India is canceled, that’s everyone. You know what I mean?
SV- Yes, that’s what I’m saying. That’s the crux of my point. If it was just Lorgat and Srini fighting it over and slinging mud at each other, while the series still went on, then things would be different. But the fact that the whole series may just be scrapped is a huge deal.
JK- I think you could interview a 100 people at any cricket ground in the world and ask them about the Tim May-Laxman situation, I doubt you’d get 2-3 people who would even know anything about it to chat about it.
SJ- I agree. Now that the average cricket fan’s happiness is getting screwed over, that could be the tipping point where the whole clean up could happen.
JK- Look, it’s important to say that the fans and the players have absolutely no voice at all. It doesn’t matter. That’s the way cricket is set up which is part of the overall problem.
SJ- Alright. On that reasonably hopeful and depressing point, thanks a lot for coming on the 100th episode of the show, Jarrod and Sid. Thanks a lot!
JK- No worries. When am I getting paid for all the shows?
SJ- When you come to America in a few weeks.
SV- Subash, I’m already in America, so you can pay me.
SJ- You’re on the West coast, which is farther than England.
Alright, thanks guys!