Politics in Cricket – Where are We, the Cricket Fans?


POLITICS IN CRICKET  – Where are We, the Cricket Fans?

Whenever there is a discussion of cricket going around, politics always finds its way to sneak into the heated conversation among the cricket lovers, be it in the form of discussions upon board administration or UDRS issue or be it the opinions upon controversies and ill-management. But it is also a certainty that you can’t isolate both. Here in this article I have tried to pour out my opinion about the involvement of politics in cricket.

politics in cricket
Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan during the Semi Finals of the 2011 WC

Generally we believe that politics is something related with the state and its affairs. It’s the way through which someone tends to get something they want, mostly the power to rule. But the entire description changes slightly when it comes to the Politics in Cricket. Similar as the democratic politics at top-level, politics in cricket also involves the joint involvement of players, selectors and support staffs but unlike the democratic politics, we the beloved cricket fans are not responsible for their appointment but the officials still have to be answerable to all of us because ultimately the cricket fans around the globe are responsible for their bread and butter. So ultimately money involved is the basic foundation of politics in cricket while the power in the hands of the people serves as the root below the entire democratic politics at top-level. And hence the description changes to , “ the way through which someone tends to obtain something they want, mostly money in this case.”

Politics in Cricket – The Reason behind it

Politics in Cricket
M.A. Chidambaram

Now let’s dive deep into the matter and try to figure out the influence of politics in cricket. When live video coverage of the match was far from the reality and the radio commentary was the only way to get connected with the game, then cricket used to be a mere gentleman’s game played for the entertainment and money was never an issue then. West was the epicenter for the game’s administrative and financial control and subcontinent was mere a part of the lot. Money used to be the result not the reason behind the game. And hence cricket and politics were still in the early days of their romantic journey.
After the commercialization of the game money became the reason behind the game and obviously politics followed. Though money helped in providing the game the place, the exposure it deserved, the politics attached with it went on to become dirtier by each passing day. But I won’t discuss the extent up to which it went on to diminish the purity of the gentleman’s game. The question is whether it’s involvement with the game is justified or not. Let’s think in a different way. After the commercialization of the game, cricket didn’t remain as simple as it used to be. Now the administrators had more responsibilities upon their shoulders and hence experience was needed at the top posts, the experience of running an organization which involves a mass import and export of finance and none of the ex-cricketers had that experience then. Thus the involvement of persons who were related with politics became the necessity then as they had the experience to run such organizations, but the things went worst when they brought up the politics too with them and merged it with cricket. Cricket was still running smoothly irrespective of the politics associated with it.

Politics in Cricket
Ganguly(left) and Dalmiya

There’s a very strong effect of the relation between the captain and the board president upon the performance of the team. When India was going through its dream phase under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly, his relationship with then board president Jagmohan Dalmiya was quite remarkable. Coming from the same state, both of them shared a strong bond between them and that allowed Ganguly to take brave decisions in the favor of the team which ultimately turned out to be for the betterment of the Indian team. A captain is needed to be bold enough to take brave decisions for the team, and he has to be accountable for them, and his good relation with the board president makes it easy for him and that’s what happened with Dhoni too. His brilliant understanding with N. Srinivasan has been a very strong reason behind his success tenure as a captain. But by stating these things I don’t want to say that politics have been for the betterment of the game always. But in this case I simply want to say that there is also something known as healthy politics and that’s what happened in both cases.

Politics in Cricket- The IPL Spot fixing scandal

Politics in Cricket

After the recently happened IPL Spot fixing scandal, there was a huge uproar over the resignation of N Srinivasan and he played like he was the boss and he showed as if he didn’t care about us, the cricket fans. Why did this situation arrive? Why wasn’t he accountable to us? It was because we were not the reason behind his appointment as the BCCI Chief and he knew well whatever happens we would keep loving cricket and hence BCCI’s bank balance would keep on increasing.

So I feel the only way through which cricket can be cleared is by making it accountable to its fans and the only way to do it is by giving power in the hands of the cricket devotees, be it in direct or indirect way. That would be the only way through which cricket and politics can enjoy a healthy relationship without any complexities. Appointing ex-cricketers as the administrators is not the solution as money can do wonders. Who knows if they will remain honest for long or not? Politics cannot be separated from cricket anymore. Our main aim should be converting it into healthy politics and hence making it beneficial for the beloved game of cricket.
“We are the ones who have made cricket what it is today and hence we have the right to decide who will be responsible for cricket’s administration.” Politics in Cricket ruins the Gentlemen’s game.

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Viplav Vishal
Viplav is a 21 year old journalism graduate who has been passionate about cricket and is the Managing Editor of Cricmatez. Do interact with him on social media to share your knowledge about the game and to listen to his thoughts. He has also covered international matches. Apart from being a cricket writer he has also been a sketch artist and write on other contemporary issues too. He has been working for women empowerment and got honoured for his work by National Commission for Women and Haryana Police. He is open to criticism and suggestions, so feel free to share your views in the comment section.