Image courtesy of IndianExpress.
Before Narhari Amin, the ex-president of the GCA (Gujarat Cricket Association) was ousted from office through a legal ruling and the subsequent free and fair ballot for the CBCA (Central Board of Cricket, Ahmedabad), which forms the bulk of the GCA voting rights, I had spoken with several ex-cricketers and officials from Gujarat about the environment that cricket and sports in general were being run in my state. The consensus I had been able to form at that point agreed about the necessity of freeing Indian sports (not just the GCA or Gujarat counterpart) from the clutches of bureaucrats and politicians. That, Indian sports should be led by ex-sportsmen, women and experts who know the intricacies of sports-management, was a unanimous decision.
At the same time none of them believed in any such changes taking place any sooner either. Most of them were reluctant to be quoted publicly as well out of fear of the clout (of various kinds) Narhari Amin enjoys. However, most of them did opine if there was anybody who could grab the GCA from Amin’s clutches, then it had to be Narendra Modi, the Gujarat CM. Sportsmen, including cricketers thought, Modi had the acumen, charisma and desire to make changes in the way sports was being manged in the state of Gujarat. In this context, Amin’s ouster from the GCA by Modi’ followers (read Amit Shah et all) was a long awaited and foregone conclusion. However, Modi himself occupying the GCA presidency was a tad shocking even for this author.
This is the second time, I’ve found myself disagreeing from Modi’s decisions in the last few weeks, the first one being Gujarat Government’s ban on Jaswant Singh’s Jinnah book. It had no basic reasoning or justification, apart from showing perhaps Modi’s political insecurity post the 2009-polls debacle. However, having scored a landslide win in the recently held state assembly by-polls, Modi seems to awoken to the lure of public life with a new-found zest. Power savvy politicians and bureaucrats have always loved Indian cricket for reasons other than sports and there is no better a way for Modi’s team to take on some of their political adversaries who incidentally do also have presence in the BCCI.
Modi’s thanksgiving speech did promise sports lovers of some imminent changes in the way the GCA and Gujarat sports were being run. Modi’s admirers, including this author, would only hope those changes do take place in reality. However, a larger question “what after Modi” needs being unanswered for the sake of sports lovers here. Will there be another politico, ex-bureaucrat or aristocrat trying to grab up the coveted position once Modi makes way, or will there be a transfer of power to true sportsmen, women and sports fans finally, after him?
Debate the issue here: NAMO Taking Up The GCA Job – What Does It Say?