Posts Tagged ‘Rajiv Shukla’

Sirf dekhneka, or IPL will sue the hell out of you!

5 April 2013

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Most people think the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is a body that controls cricket in India. This is only partly true though.

Cricket is after all a game of cause and effect, in a manner of speaking, but BCCI controls all aspect of the game including how you should watch cricket, read about cricket stars or see their pictures. You just can’t ‘Eat cricket, Sleep cricket’ the way you want, unless BCCI has approved it.

In the 1980s, the Dutch introduced ‘Total football’ when the likes of Rudd Gullit and Van Basten moved all over the ground looking for the ball and playing every position.

In a similar manner, BCCI has introduced ‘Total Control of Cricket’.

The Indian Premier League ( IPL), only in its sixth year, has  already seen life in full spectrum. After a great start it was banished to stage its second edition in South Africa on the orders of then home minister, P. Chidambaram, himself an all-rounder having handled various positions in government. Subsequently it banished Lalit Modi himself.

The issue of cheer girls issue went all the way up to Parliament with the House equally divided as in every household.

Each year, IPL has to usher something innovative in the cut-throat TRP game of television.

Now, in its sixth year, IPL6 has introduced some edicts that would put Moses’  Ten Commandments to shame.

I had a chance to talk to the affable IPL director Sundar Raman who was ever ready to dispel any thoughts of control.
We were seated at the Wankhede stadium where, for a change, commoners can come in and the king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, is banned.

Farah Khan and party were practicing the moves for IPL-6’s theme song ‘Jumping Zapak’‘ whose tagline reads, ‘Sirf dekhneka nahi’.

“Mr Raman, why are you so possessive about photographs of cricketers. You don’t let anybody else take pictures. I can’t even ask you a question that has the word IPL in it.”

“Look. IPL is not an acronym or a sports league anymore. It is now an international brand name on which millions of dollars ride. We can’t let all and sundry use the name, can we?”

“‘I am surprised you don’t let even the media use pictures or quotes without being risking being dragged to court or facing an IPL firing squad. Don’t forget, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla was himself a journalist not too long ago.”

“You are referring to Shuklaji’s status long time ago. I doubt whether even he remembers that!. He is also a minister of parliamentary affairs apart from being close to the vice-president of the Congress party.”

“My apologies, I forgot to add his  recent qualifications. The 8-point edict you have released on IPL reads like the dos and don’ts of a military academy for cadets joining fresh from college! It would do tribute to the best legal companies in the world like Baker and Mckenzie, Latham and Watkins, or Weil, Gotshal & Manges. After seeing your commandments they might be tempted to come to you to draft a clause or two.”

“Thank you, that would be nice. We drafted these ourselves. I drafted quite a few of them myself, when I was in my bathroom.”

“There is a particular clause which I have taken from sans serif;  I hope you don’t have any objection to this,

ii. publish any photograph that relates to the Pepsi IPL or any previous seasons of the IPL that is sponsored by any third party, or contain catchphrases that refer to any third party (e.g, “Entity A’ Moment of the Match”),

“How come this covers even previous seasons of IPL sponsored by any third party?” I asked.

“We just don’t want to leave anything to chance,” said Mr Raman.

“What if a spectator clicks any player or a ball going for a sixer which Ravi Shastri would call a  Pepsier? Would that constitute a serious offence and come in the area of infringing your draconian laws?”

“Again, it depends. Offhand I can’t answer that without consulting our legal team.  If along the trajectory of ball there is a Samsung Galaxy blimp in the sky and the spectator knowingly or unknowingly catches it I am afraid he will be in a problem. In fact our skysweepers might arrest him.”

‘Great!  What about pictures of cheer girls? They don’t wear too much of clothing anyway.”

“True. To be on the safer side, it’s better you don’t catch even an alphabet of our co-sponsors in any part of the body!” clarified Sundar Raman.

As we finished Farah Khan was making the housewives from Marine Drive dance to Jumping Zapak.

POLL: Should Sachin Tendulkar retire now?

26 November 2012

India’s defeat at the hands of England in the second Test match in Bombay has turned the spotlight not on the spinners who were supposed to take revenge on the Poms for what they did to us when we went to their country, but on India’s greatest ever cricketer, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

With the 39-year-old getting out cheaply twice in a row to the left arm spin of Madhusudhan Singh alias Monty Panesar—his last 10 Test innings have yielded just 153 runs at an average of 15.3—the calls for Sachin’s retirement are ringing aloud once again.

For its part, the BCCI says the maestro will himself decide when it is time to go.

“He will hang up his boots when he thinks it’s time for him to go. He does not need any advice on this. Before making a comment on his performance you have to see his colossal record and his past performance. “He will do well in forthcoming matches,” BCCI official Rajiv Shukla has said.

The irony will not be lost on many, that while Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman—no less contributors to the India Batting story—were given no such choice to decide their fate, the BCCI seems overly reluctant to make up its mind on Sachin’s future although Sachin himself indicated in a recent television interview that he was unlikely to play the next World Cup.

Question: should Sachin take the cue from his recent performances and pack up his bags or should he stay on because, well, a turnaround could still be around the corner?


We asked this in 2007 too: Should Sachin retire now?!

CHURUMURI POLL: Should Venky coach UP?

9 August 2012

Indian cricket is now an arena for astonishing conflict of interest. In the name of “making enough” in their prime years, players and administrators (and others outside the boundary) are involved so many kinds of wheels within wheels, deals within wheels that it no longer boggles the mind.

The chairman of the selection committee K. Srikkanth, for instance,was the man in charge of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings, which incidentally is owned by the BCCI president N. Srinivasan. KSCA chief Anil Kumble is also the “mentor” of Royal Challengers Bangalore, etcetera.

Now, B.K. Venkatesh Prasad, the former medium pacer, who is an assistant coach with RCB, is testing the conflict law to its limit. He has taken up coaching the Uttar Pradesh cricket team, which is run by the BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla, who is also a minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

Problem is Venkatesh Prasad is a prominent functionary on the Karnataka state cricket association (KSCA).

Which means, a player who has won an election to manage Karnataka cricket is going to be coaching a rival side, which may face his home-state. Prasad can argue that this gives him a chance to hone his coaching skills, etc, but are our cricketers having their bread buttered on all sides, including the edges? Or is the great game above such parochialism?

CHURUMURI POLL: A pardon for Mr Azharuddin?

22 November 2009

A classic cliche in Indian cinema is the criminal who tries to gain legitimacy by standing for an election and getting elected. Something quite like that but not the same thing is afoot with the former India captain and middle-order batsman Mohammed Azharuddin.

Consigned to the dustbin of cricketing memory by the matchfixing scandal, the gentle, softspoken Hyderabadi was magically thrust on the people of Moradabad by the Congress party, who not only flocked to his election meetings in droves but elected him with a thumping majority.

With the suffix “MP” now after Azhar’s name, a delegation of Congress leaders led by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh who has the ear of Rahul Gandhi, and including BCCI functionary and Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajiv Shukla, have petitioned BCCI president Sharad Pawar to lift the ban on Azhar.

“We want the lifetime ban to go from the man who brought laurels to the country with his skills. There were many players in the match-fixing case but they are all free of the ban. Why should the one on Azhar continue?” Singh is quoted as saying.

Since Azharuddin is too old to make a comeback, the lift-ban plea, according to reports, is designed to remove the taint on the “middle-order miyan” in the Congress’ bid to package him into a “Muslim mascot” in Uttar Pradesh, where the party has big plans.

Question: Should the ban be lifted? Was the ban too harsh to start with, especially with Azhar requiring just one Test to complete 100 in a career? Can politics be used to overturn a cricketing ban? If any crime is pardonable with the passage of time, is anything worth the time?