Following the sad demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, better known as the BCCI, has got a new chief in Shashank Manohar. He comes in at a time when the confidence of the public in the Indian cricketing administration is at a big low. Of course that did not have a lot to do with the late Dalmiya since he couldn't do much to rescue the situation as he was ill by the time he took over as BCCI chief again. He had to step in as N. Srinivasan had to step out amid the numerous controversies surrounding the IPL, conflict of interest, and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
Since so much has gone wrong in the IPL in the last couple of years, with cricketers going to jail, and the Supreme Court also having a say, Manohar has a massive task on hand. Yes, he has been at the helm of the BCCI in the past, but that was in an altogether different time. He did not have to deal with the IPL fixing or a similar controversy back then although there remained issues. Also, the politics that is being played around was perhaps not as rampant back then as it is now. Of course, one cannot be sure of the same, but it certainly looks so to the outsider who has no access to the happenings inside the BCCI.
Looking at the current state of affairs, putting the IPL in place will be the biggest challenge for Manohar. Ironic that while India play so much international cricket, the focus is heavily on a domestic league. But, that's how messy things have got in the IPL. Unless something is done to sort that out, there will be further disasters in store. The first step towards putting things back on track would be acceptance of the fact that a lot indeed is rotten in the Indian cash-rich domestic league. Till now, the revamp has been affected as people who run the show have been unwilling to accept the same. Hopefully, Manohar, who is known for his credibility, can bring about a change for good.
What the IPL needs at the present is transparency. So far, this crucial aspect has been definitely missing. Right from the players to team owners, franchisees and even umpires, everyone has been put under the corruption scanner. There isn't much accountability as to how teams function, as a result of which two teams have been disbanded in the past, and for the current season, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, two of the strongest sides in the competition and former champions, have been suspended. There have been allegations of spot-fixing and players have been banned and suspended for corrupt activities even before the 2013 IPL fixing scandal broke.
Apart from getting things in order in the IPL, there is a 'small matter' of taking care of things when it comes to the national side as well. India may have beaten Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka after 22 years, but before that they were thrashed mercilessly in Australia and England twice and failed in South Africa and New Zealand as well. While earlier they were woeful against pace, they are now faltering against spin abroad, which is supposed to be their strength. With Umesh Yadav getting a hundred in Ranji Trophy, the domestic structure definitely needs a relook. Last, but not the least, India have to host the next World T20. Manohar already has his plate full.
-- By A Cricket Analyst