Reason: A greedy India is cricket's true villain

MARK REASON
Last updated 05:01 08/12/2013
Lalit Modi
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LEGAL BATTLE: Former Commissioner of Indian Premier League cricket Lalit Modi arrives at the High Court in London in March last year.

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OPINION: It is time for New Zealand cricket to take a stand. Cricket is rotten, and at the heart of that rottenness is not Chris Cairns or Lou Vincent or Daryl Tuffey, but the great, swirling sub-continent of India, ruled over by slumdog billionaires.

Last year I said that Chris Cairns had made a terrible mistake in taking Lalit Modi to court over a scarcely read tweet about match-fixing. It was a lose-lose situation. Cairns either lost in court or in the court of public opinion.

There was also the matter of revenge. Powerful men like Modi generally do not take kindly to being stripped of a million dollars, whether they are telling the truth or not. It is hard to think that the current investigation was not in some way prompted by Modi's influence.

This is not about three Kiwi has-beens, it is all about power. India is intent on a global takeover of cricket. A few days ago, although it has hardly been reported, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the president of Indian cricket, told the International Cricket Council that it wanted a bigger share of its profits.

India argues that it generates 75 per cent of the ICC's profits and therefore the current arrangement, whereby 75 per cent of the total profits is split equally between the full members (including New Zealand) is unfair.

The secretary of the BCCI (the Board of Control for Cricket in India) Sanjay Patel said, "It is nothing but a just and fair right we are asking for. It is not muscle-flexing. President Srinivasan, since last year, was looking into the financial details of ICC. He has made a private study about what could be the contribution of the BCCI into the revenue stream of ICC. On the basis of that some formulae have been discussed among us. His own acumen as a businessman has also helped us."

Ignoring the fact that India distributes equally amongst its own members and ignoring the principle of equal share as a means to a level playing field, there is a far more worrying aspect to this request. What is the extra money for? Where or rather to whom would it go?

Srinivasan should be nowhere near the BCCI, let alone be influencing the ICC, which many people think just stands for Indian Cricket Council, in any case.

Srinivasan has this week appeared in court along with former Indian ministers on charges of making illegal quid pro quo investments in a friend's company. There is a further conflict of interest case pending against Srinivisan in the Indian Supreme Courts because of his cement company owns the IPL team, the Chennai Super Kings.

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At the end of October, Modi's legal counsel - yes, it's him again - lodged a formal complaint against Srinivasan and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan. The charge is that they fixed a match between Chennai and the Rajasthan Royals earlier this year. Police are investigating at the direction of the courts.

Three players from the Royals were suspended earlier this year for spot-fixing and a former Indian Cricket League player Baburao Yadav, turned bookie, was arrested. Cairns, Tuffey and Vincent all played for the same team in the Indian Cricket League. It is all wheels within wheels and money makes them turn.

In this context it seems absolutely piffling that three retired New Zealand cricketers are being investigated for alleged former misdemeanours. Why is the ICC anti-corruption unit not doing a full investigation into Srinivasan and every other BCCI member.

The real questions that David White and New Zealand cricket have to answer is not about Cairns, Tuffey and Lou Vincent, but why on earth it has spent recent times cosying up to Indian cricket.

New Zealand's captain and a board member are involved in promoting a company that sells goods to India, a conflict of interests that is piffling by the standards, or lack of them, on the sub-continent. But it is indicative of the lack of moral backbone in New Zealand cricket. Anything for a fast buck.

With the World Cup due to be played in this country in 2015, White and his cronies are terrified of doing anything to offend the Indians. That probably also goes for John Key, who described the allegations against the New Zealand three as "very, very, very serious."

What is very, very, very serious, Mr Prime Minister, is the malign influence that India has on cricket. They just pressured South Africa into sacking their chief executive. Now they want a bigger share of the international pot. And all White and the rest of New Zealand cricket seem to say, is "yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir."

Time to take a stand. Let's see how India gets on without Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies. Let's see what their game is worth then.

- Sunday Star Times

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