Guha calls out the ‘superstar culture’ in Indian cricket

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Ramachandra Guha.

File photo of Ramachandra Guha.

A day after revealing that he has resigned from the post of a cricket administrator, historian Ramachandra Guha lashed out at the ‘superstar culture’ in Indian cricket his resignation letter to the Committee of Administrators.

Indian cricket’s “superstar culture”, unaddressed conflict of interest issues — noted historian Ramachandra Guha has opened a pandora’s box in .

Guha questioned skipper Virat Kohli’s role in selection of coach and BCCI’s “insensitive” handling of coach Anil Kumble’s fallout with Kohli.

In a seven-page letter, Guha expressed his disgust to Rai for the “extremely insensitive and unprofessional manner” that the speculated Kohli-Kumble fallout was handled by BCCI CEO (Rahul Johri) and the BCCI office-bearers (Amitabh Chaudhary).

He accused the COA of “silence and inaction”, claiming that the panel was “unfortunately being complicit in this regard.”

Guha also directly questioned Kohli’s “veto power” on deciding matters like appointment of a coach and even the commentators’ panel.

“If indeed the captain and the Head Coach were not getting along, why was not this attended to as soon as the Australia series was over in late March? Why was it left until the last minutes, when a major international tournament was imminent, and when the uncertainty would undermine the morale and ability to focus of the coach, the captain and the team, writes Guha”

“And surely giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country,” he categorically states.

“Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?” Guha writes while questioning Kohli.

He also attacks Dhoni for retaining a ‘Grade A’ contract.

“Unfortunately, this superstar syndrome has also distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding M S Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message,” he wrote.

Guha also doesn’t spare Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly or Rahul Dravid.

He criticised Rahul Dravid for having dual contracts with both the BCCI and IPL franchises.

“No person under contract with an India team, or with the NCA, should be allowed to moonlight for an IPL team too,” he pointed out.

“…BCCI has accorded preferential treatment to some national coaches, by giving them ten month contracts for national duty, thus allowing them to work as IPL coaches/mentors for the remaining two months…This was done in an ad-hoc and arbitrary manner; the more famous the former player-turned-coach, the more likely was the BCCI to allow him to draft his own contract that left loopholes that he exploited to dodge the conflict of interest issue,” Guha wrote.

Guha also had strong reservations about Sunil Gavaksar’s business interests in Professional Management Group (PMG) and his firm managing a current player — Shikhar Dhawan.

Another , who is a TV pundit apart from being current .

“Conflict of interest is rampant in the State Associations as well. One famous former cricketer is contracted by media houses to comment on active players while serving as President of his State Association,” wrote Guha while attacking former captain Sourav Ganguly for being a TV expert even while holding the post of the President in Cricket Association of Bengal.

Finally, Guha urged Rai and his colleagues to take some “bold decisions” on which the credibility of the committee rests.

“COA’s credibility and effectiveness hinges on our being able to take bold and correct decisions on such matters. The ‘superstar’ culture that afflicts the BCCI means that the more famous the player (former or present) the more leeway he is allowed in violating norms and procedures,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)