It has been some time since Indian Police Service officer Neeraj Kumar’s book on his innings in the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been out in the market. Those who should have had something to say if he was less than honest or accurate have been seemingly impassively silent. Among other things, Kumar wrote that the BCCI gave huge amounts of money to state associations, mostly raked in through the Indian Premier League. There is no follow-up initiative, no utilisation papers being called for and it goes on like this, without any questions being asked, because it is essentially the systemic reward for loyalty, electoral or otherwise.
According to Kumar, game-related corruption ~ match-fixing, spot-fixing ~ is only the “tip of the iceberg” in Indian cricket, with squandering of money that could have gone into the game claiming the top perch in terms of unofficial but quite palpable organisational priorities. He was three years in the board, heading its grossly under-resourced anti-corruption unit and managing to stamp out some low-level Twenty20 experiments but his informant, legally appointed, was all glee and gratification when telling him of his being got rid of.
Also, he was treated quite shabbily while there, denied basic infrastructure and ignored by people he reported to. He saw the Committee of Administrators losing members and nothing being done to get new people in. All this was when, rocked by the IPL’s spot-fixing scandal, Indian cricket was doing its best to project a reformist image of itself, much in the same way as Fifa and the International Olympic Committee try in similar situations. And the board has this week let it be known that it is hiking its office-bearers’ allowances, all changes taking place with retrospective effect from October 2022.
There is a daily allowance in the package of $1000 on foreign tours apart, of course, from firstclass flying. All big boys will pocket Rs 40,000 a day for meetings in India, and travel on business class. For work-related travel, they get Rs 30,000 each day, plus a suite in the hotel where they put up. The IPL chairman is in the company of the office-bearers for this and the takings go up also for apex council worthies, aside from a Rs 30,000 daily bonanza for state unit cronies when they travel within the country and $400 when on a foreign tour. The going, you may conclude, is rather good.
Given that the juggernaut is always on the go, bank accounts, or the stash in whatever form, will be the size of an elephant with mumps. Kumar has written that Indian cricket stadiums are short on such fundamentals as even clean toilets. He charges officials with a single-minded pursuit of self-interest, and complete indifference to the game and the players. It is difficult to disagree with him.