The decision of India’s original matchwinner, Kapil Dev Nikhanj, to also associate himself with the Indian Cricket League (ICL) set up by co-Jat Subhash Chandra of Zee, has led to much heartburn in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Although neither Sharad Pawar nor his mavens and minions are saying so openly, they want the all-rounder to either stay with the BCCI (he is the chief of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore) or face the ignominy of being sacked if he continues to align with ICL.
For his part, Kapil Dev claims, as all Indian cricketers do at the drop of a catch, that he is only trying to give back something to the game that has given him so much. He claims there is no conflict of interest by being part of ICL, which chose India’s high-speed exit from the World Cup to set itself up as a parallel body, more or less. And he says he will associate not just with ICL but with anybody else who wants to improve cricket in the country.
Is Kapil being a mercenary who wants his bread buttered on both sides—and maybe the crust too? Is BCCI overreacting? Is it illegal for any body other than the BCCI to build cricket or is Subhash Chandra only fishing in troubled waters by trying to do a Kerry Packer? And, even if Brian Lara and Shane Warne and Inzamam Ul Haq play in the ICL, will it improve Indian cricket or will it end up providing the software for Zee’s sports channels to make a bit of money?