Monday, September 03, 2007

Do a 1991 on cricket August 26, 2007

Not unlike other unrepentant fans of Indian cricket, I have been feeling pretty low ever since our ignominious exit from the World Cup. Although we managed to defeat England recently, there is something rotten with our cricket and it lies in the monopoly of our cricket board (BCCI). I am no cricket expert but I do know something about how organizations work and the damage that monopolies can cause.

BCCI is reminiscent of the ugly days of License Raj when you could choose any TV channel as long it was Doordarshan and fly any airline as long as long as it was Indian Airlines. You could queue up and wait forever for a telephone, a gas connection or an Ambassador car. Our lives changed after 1991 because economic reforms brought competition. Waiting lines disappeared, prices came down, quality went up, and service improved. If there is one lesson we have learned as a nation, it is that competition can transform the lives of citizens, producers, and even regulators.

Some areas have not experienced reform, however. One of these is electric power; another is cricket. Like the old department of telecom (DOT), our cricket board is both a player and an umpire. It is the only buyer of cricket talent, the only supplier of matches, the monopoly controller of cricket infrastructure and the sole regulator. Despite its tall talk, BCCI has never bothered to nurture talent. If it had there would be a hundred Kanga Leagues in a hundred Indian towns. BCCI is mainly focused on 11 players for the national team. This is why no one watches Ranji Trophy. Thus, the market for cricket players remains tiny, much as the telephone market was before the reforms. In 1990, there were only 5 million telephones in the whole of India; today there are 200 million, growing by 8 million a month. The old DOT was politicised—you needed a political connection to get a telephone. So is the BCCI, whose corrupt and dysfunctional state cricket associations are run mostly by politicians. With Indian agriculture in deep trouble should the honourable minister, who is the head of BCCI, worry about 11 men in whites? No wonder a nation of a billion people can’t produce a decent cricket team.

Things are about to change, however. A new venture, the Indian Cricket League (ICL), will soon begin playing cricket with six local teams, and this will grow to sixteen in three years. When 176 players play on television night after night, millions of viewers will judge them. Talent will no longer remain hidden. Rishwat and sifarish will not get you selected by state cricket associations. ICL will become a nursery for talent like the professional sports leagues in America and Europe, and India might even field a world beating cricket team soon. BCCI will fight tooth and claw to defend its monopoly, of course, but it will fail in the end. For Subhash Chandra, the man behind ICL, knows how to break monopolies. It was his Zee Televison that broke the Doordarshan’s monopoly in the 1990’s.

India was a sick economy in 1991. It took the medicine of competition and went on to become the second fastest growing economy in the world. The same could happen to Indian cricket. Competition is like a school in which companies learn to improve. Competition created excellent companies like Infosys, Airtel, Jet Airways, and ICICI Bank. Indian Cricket League could also become a world class brand as international players vie to play in it. So BCCI, don’t play spoilsport. Let’s do a 1991 on Indian cricket.


Achintya Nath Sexena said...

Very true.At the same time quality of play & players should not be compromised.Competition has been by & large good for India but in sectors like education,we have a long way to go before we can ensure a sufficiently high standard of quality education in Primary,Secondary as well as higher education.

Benedict G said...

Agreed how wonderful it would have been if BCCI had genuinely welcomed ICL. BCCI reaction clearly reveals the fact that they run cricket not with the cause in mind. Its the bureaucratic process that they revel in.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mr. Gurucharan Das - India was bankrupt in 1991 and had to accept the world bank policies and scummb to the GAAT treaty due to the pressure from Washington and the rest as is history.

Why are you pushing dust into the eyes of the people from the truth...
At least you should not, there are many others who are doing that.

Rinki Battacharya

srjwebsolutions said...

We are leading responsive website designing and development company in Noida.
We are offering mobile friendly responsive website designing, website development, e-commerce website, seo service and sem services in Noida.

Responsive Website Designing Company in Noida
Website Designing Company in Noida
SEO Services in Noida
SMO Services in Noida

Unknown said... is online medical store pharmacy in laxmi nagar Delhi. You can Order prescription/OTC medicines online.
Cash on Delivery available. Free Home Delivery

Online Pharmacy in Delhi
Buy Online medicine in Delhi
Online Pharmacy in laxmi nagar
Buy Online medicine in laxmi nagar
Onine Medical Store in Delhi
Online Medical store in laxmi nagar
Online medicine store in delhi
online medicine store in laxmi nagar
Purchase Medicine Online
Online Pharmacy India
Online Medical Store

Unknown said...

We are uhe solid first platform for modeling newcomers to achieve there new dreams. The first to train and promote out models at our expense to avoid burden on them. Join the most popular agency if you modelling jobs in Delhi for female freshers, models, students, housewives aiming to start there modeling career. We are top modelling agency in Delhi offering modelling jobs in Delhi for upcoming female freshers or experienced models who want to join lingerie modeling agencies.

modeling agencies in Delhi
modeling agencies
modeling jobs
modeling auditions
model coordinators
modeling jobs in Delhi

Unknown said...

We are specialized in Mechanised cleaning of Underground and Overhead Water Tanks of all sizes. Door Step services across Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.

Water tank cleaning services in Noida
Water tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Water tank cleaning services in Delhi

Drain cleaning services in Noida

Drain cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Drain cleaning services in Delhi
Pipeline Cleaning Service in Noida

Pipeline cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Pipeline cleaning services in Delhi

Tank cleaning services in Noida

Tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Tank cleaning services in Delhi

Unknown said...

Battery Mantra Buy Car and Inverter battery online in India. BatteryMantra is Noida based India's No. 1 online battery store offering you genuine batteries of all the well-known battery brands at best prices.

Online Inverter Battery Store
Online Car Battery Store
Buy Inverter battery Dealer Noida
Buy battery online Noida
Online Inverter Battery Store
Buy car battery Noida