Big Brother BCCI's Watching!

By tightening its iron-fisted grip over the media, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has morphed into the thought police of a Big Brother.

In May and June this year, when the Indian Premier League (IPL) was, much to its self-regarding outrage, being hauled away for questioning, N Srinivasan, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), found himself trailed by reporters, cameras and mikes. Distinctly displeased, as he headed for his car on one occasion, Srinivasan (Srini, to friends) barked out: “Why are you hounding me?” The simple answer? His son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, “high official/team principal” of the Chennai Super Kings, Srinivasan’s beloved IPL team, had been arrested by the Mumbai police for placing bets during the IPL. On the day in question, Srinivasan was three stories on two legs – BCCI chief, IPL team owner, father-in-law. The most powerful man in cricket tripped up by a black sheep in the family who had toppled his business. What’s not to hound? A simple answer to that question: because Srini was in the dock, because the media are hounds, because they – we – can.

It was a twisted, ironic turning of the tables on the man under whose regime BCCI has become not only enormously richer but also enormously in control of the messages around Indian cricket. During the IPL corruption scandal, those messages, for perhaps the first time in his reign, had gone out of Srinivasan’s control. His otherwise glacial disdain for a notoriously fickle 24×7 media was suddenly put under unrelenting headlights and left unprotected by either his position or influence.

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