Modi the magician or just an idea-thief?

Even a lamp post in the BCCI could have launched the IPL and made it a success


BV Rao | April 20, 2010

This open-mouthed admiration for Lalit Modi as the whiz who made a business out of cricket is getting to me.

Of course, the IPL (Indian Premier League) is a money spinner and is giving the EPLs of the world a run for their money. But when we credit Lalit  Modi for this brilliant marriage of cricket, movie stars and the megabucks, we thrust greatness upon a man who is just a good idea-thief.

The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), the parent body of IPL, had almost a contemptuous outlook to T20 cricket till about the time that Zee's Shubhash Chandra came up with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and Dhoni's greenhorns redefined cricket with the T20 World Cup win.

Chandra's revolt was squished like a mosquito by the BCCI. Players who signed up for ICL were banned from playing in the BCCI's tournaments such as Ranji, Duleep and Test cricket; ICL was denied access to decent stadiums (all of which belong to BCCI or its state affiliates) and BCCI used its cricketing clout to lean on boards of other countries to ban their players from signing up for ICL. The BCCI's retribution went as far as to terminate the pension benefits of Kapil Dev and all other ex-cricketers who showed the temerity to go with Chandra.

In the big bad world of business, it is a legitimate exercise to employ all means to protect your market share. You earn your spurs for extirpating competition. But when we give the BCCI the credit for using every monopoly trick in its bag to protect its market share, we forget that the BCCI is not a business conglomerate but a trust that conducts cricket on behalf of the people of this country. It does not pay taxes because it is not a business. BCCI's sole objective is to promote cricket in the country, not to be the sole agency to do that.

Well, anyway, having so brutally murdered ICL, Modi launched the IPL. Not one idea of his was original. Chandra's ICL gave city-names to its eight teams, so did Modi's IPL. Chandra's ICL had a high quotient of entertainment, so does Modi's IPL. Chandra's ICL had foreign stars (retired, because BCCI's foreign friends would not allow their players to lend credence to ICL), so does Modi's IPL.

Yes, the IPL has gotten where nobody imagined cricket could go, and the ICL was certainly not allowed to go. The scale to which it has grown in such a short while is stunning, but why should I believe it's all because of this one whizkid called Lalit Modi?

Cricket is a religion in India. Movie stars are gods. And BCCI is a goddamned monopoly. In this grand world run by markets and brands, even a lamp post in the BCCI could have launched the IPL and made it a success. At least then we would have been spared of a certain blue suit strutting about the country like he runs it, just because he is such a brilliant copy-cat.




Other News

Gripping graphic narrative helps make sense of pandemics past

The Moral Contagion By Julia Hauser and Sarnath Banerjee HarperCollins, 140 pages, Rs 699 The world has lar

“Globally, there is unprecedented positivity for India”

Addressing the Viksit Bharat Viksit Uttar Pradesh program in Lucknow on Monday, prime minister Narendra Modi launched 14,000 projects across the state, worth more than Rs 10 lakh crore at the fourth groundbreaking ceremony of UP Global Investors Summit held in February 2023. The projects relate to sectors

World’s biggest bird-a-thon begins in India

During the four days from Feb 16, more than a thousand birdwatchers throughout India are coming together with the goal of documenting as many birds as possible across the country’s diverse locations. Over one lakh birdwatchers globally participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Coun

Comments sought on Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advt in Coaching Sector

The Central Consumer Protection Authority has sought public comments on the ‘Draft Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisement in Coaching Sector’. The draft guidelines are placed on the website of the Department of Consumer Affairs and are accessible through the link:

Electoral bond scheme unconstitutional: Supreme Court

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has held the anonymous, unregulated and unlimited funding through electoral bonds and companies as unconstitutional. The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court comprising chief justice DY Chandrachud and justices Sanjiv Khanna, B

Interim Budget and frontier technology: Sab ka Vikas, Sab ki Technology

The world is at the cusp of a revolution based on Industry 4.0 and green technologies, including AI, big data, IoT, EVs, solar power, etc., which offer developing countries the opportunity to leapfrog into economic prosperity. However, India’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) still stands at a mea

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Current Issue


Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter