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Sight Screen

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Spoke too soon...

Just the other day, I was suggesting that the BCCI deserved applause for agreeing to merge the women's cricketing body with the men's.
The women were quick off the mark to point out they weren't looking for money; that the real key was the expertise the BCCI had acquired, which women's cricket in the country needed to tap into.
But now comes word that the Board is not ready to finalize the merger. 'Unlikely in the near future'; 'hold on a final decision'; 'will discuss the issue' -- these are the noises emanating from the Board ahead of its working committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram beginning later this week.
Typical -- the administration will never do the right thing, without first 'discussing', 'putting it on hold', 'examining the issues', and in general, stalling endlessly, for no reason other than that they can.
Does the Board have any valid reason why such a merger should not take place? No. Does it have a good reason in favor of such a merger? Yes of course -- the ICC has proclaimed that no women's team that hasn't merged with the official men's body in its respective country will receive recognition.
In other words, the World Cup-runners up are in danger of not being recognized as an official cricket team, because the board 'has put the decision on hold'.
Oh, I forgot -- there is no real hurry; the ICC has extended the deadline till April 2006, so we can convene a few more meetings (which means more 'expense money' for the committee members) in the 10 months that remain before the deadline runs out.
In passing, Mithali Raj suggests that Twenty20 cricket might be a great platform to popularize women's cricket -- and she could be right. The format is spectator friendly; what it takes now is for some savvy sponsor to come forward and make this happen.
BTW, you can bet your bottom dollar that if such a sponsor does come forward, the BCCI will convene an emergency meeting and immediately ratify the merger -- as long as they think there is no money in such a move, they will 'put the decision on hold', but show Dalmiya and gang a hint of green, and see how fast they move.

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