Saad Raja on why the BCCI’s drug stance is a concern to the sport of cricket

We all know that Board of Control for Cricket in India is the most powerful body in cricket. India commands by far the largest market for cricket,which in turn generates the largest revenues. Money is king. Which therefor means the BCCI is the king around our beloved sports negotiating table.

The BCCI thinks it is impermeable to rules and can operate as it sees fit. This is rarely questioned and unfortunately for cricket, the board hardly ever acts in a manner that benefits anything other than itself, it repeatedly refuses to tackle obvious conflicts of interest, conduct serous investigations into match fixing or even take the matter of doping at all seriously.

Srinivasan is perhaps the finest example of someone in a position of power who stands to directly gain from their positions. The former BCCI star and millionaire mogul owned the now obsolete Indian Premier League franchise, Chennai Super Kings. The CSK were disqualified after the capsizing of match fixing allegations against the franchise. Srinivasan was at one point head of one of the BCCI’s major sponsors, then head of the BCCI, then owner of one Indian cricket’s major franchises. Baffling…

It was Srinivasan’s son in law who was pushed under the bus in the CSK fall out. The BCCI corruptly overlooked allegations against him, flat out refused to note Supreme Court orders and even pushed him on to become president of the ICC (yes I’m not making this up, this really did happen).

Most damaging in the CSK case was the involvement of then India captain, Dhoni. Match fixing took place, but the captain knew nothing. Nor the owner. Supposedly.

It should be with some outrage then, that the news of the BCCI’s approach to doping arrived recently. “BCCI is an autonomous sports organisation affiliated to the International Cricket Council, which governs the game of cricket globally,” Rahul Johri, BCCI’s CEO, said. “Accordingly, BCCI is required to operate within the rules and regulations set by the ICC.

“It is clear that BCCI already has a robust dope testing mechanism which is employed for both during competitions and out of competitions. It is also relevant to mention here that BCCI is not a National Sports Federation. Accordingly, NADA does not have jurisdiction to conduct dope testing of Indian cricketers in any domestic competition or international event organised by or under the aegis of BCCI.” The National Anti Doping Agency in India falls under the purview of the World Anti Doping Agency.

The integrity of cricket is in question. The BCCI is widely regarded as the most corrupt sporting body in the world (although some would argue FIFA would give them a run for their money, quite literally) and has shown itself incapable of dealing with major issues such as conflicts of interest and match fixing.

So, with its doping stance now coming into the limelight, what if Kohli, for example, fails one of the BCCI’s in-house tests? Now we’re not suggesting he is taking performance enhancing drugs (not for a second) but what if he was? Would the BCCI really make it public knowledge and ban one of their star players?

Saad Raja will let you decide that one.