Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Look ma, where I found a libertarian !

Lalit Modi is the new Vice President of the BCCI. Sharad Pawar has finally acceeded to the much vaulted port-key of Indian sport, which means rich rewards for all those on his side. One of Pawar's aide-de-camps has been Lalit Modi, the suave, tough-talking self-professed cricket afficanado from Rajasthan. In fact assuming from his previous track record as the Mumbai Cricket Association's President and the President of the Maharashtra Olympic Committee , Pawar as a Union minister will not have enough time to look after the day-to-day affairs of the Board, Lalit Modi is the man you should be courting in case you are in line for a favour with the BCCI. And if this is the case, then there is cause for joy - for, at least from what he says, Modi seems to want to make good, all the bad publicity a certain other person has brought to his particular family name.

Lalit Modi was the one of the foremost opponents of the Dalmiya regime, when the TV rights issue came up, arguing against various clauses in the agreement. He championed the cause of BCCI setting up it's own TV cricket channel, thus broadcasting to millions of viewers all the live action, including building up a strong programming portfolio for broadcasting quality content
when India is not playing. He argued that this would enable the BCCI to make more money, without periodic hassles over telecast rights and the subsequent debates over the advertising revenue cuts etc. His voice seemed to have been lost, especially since focus shifted to the crucial elections and the subsequent postponing of the telecast rights issue.

Now with the emergence of Pawar, Lalit Modi will probably get the free hand he long desired. He himself is a businessman, and seems to have a lot of new ideas and will bring some dynamism and professionalim to the post. He proposes hiring the best talent ( "IIM graduates" ) and appointing CEOs for the different areas like Finance, Advertising, Media and Public Relations. In fact, he has spoken out harshly against the much-criticized zonal selection process and proposes having a one or two person committee ("a Gavaskar for example") to do the job.

Modi points out the fact that the BCCI being the richest cricket body in the world and responsible for generating tremendous amounts of revenue for the ICC in particular, and the sport of cricket in general, fails to assert itself on the world stage. He cringes at the fact that the BCCI does not have a proper website, symbolizing a lack of profesionalism and transparency.

Many have pointed out these issues and indeed very simple solutions exist to solve these. The point to be made, is that, we now have a person with similar thoughts and ideas and a desire for action in a place of power. Modi fought a long battle to gain the presidency of the Rajasthan Cricket Association against a Dalmiya-backed incumbent of 33 years. He then vociferously held
up against the TV rights issue. Now that he is in a place where he can change things, he has a lot resting upon his shoulders.

With the vanishing of Ganguly's aura of invincibility and Dalmiya's omnipotence (and indeed a new 'academically sound' captain and a coach) one wonders if this really is the dawn of a new era in Indian cricket. However I find it necessary to put on record, my gratitude towards Ganguly and Dalmiya, for taking Indian criket on the front foot. There were a lot of positive things that
the duo gave to Indian cricket, which lent us some respectability on the world stage. However, in analogy with the timing of John Wright's departure, this is the right time for the changover of guard on the national scene.

And Lalit Modi, with a fresh infusion of ideas seems be the right man for the job.

6 comments:

APOOZ CRICKET said...

Hi Abhishek, You have written well on Lalit Modi. Do you have his mail add?

APOOZ CRICKET said...

You can contact me on agarwal.apoorv@gmail.com

APOOZ CRICKET said...

my email is agarwal.apoorv@gmail.com

APOOZ CRICKET said...

my email is agarwal.apoorv@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

great article......you have described him perfectly......He should now do the same for the olymics association

amit

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