Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Lalit Modi - Please Sit Down


Or shut your trap. Or zip your gob. Or - you get the picture. The reason for my request, you ask? Put it down to a superbly articulate, reasonable and impressive riposte from Inderjit Singh Bindra to Mike Coward's outrageous insinuations in The Australian. In Eminem's words, the real Slim Shady has indeed stood up.

I would not ordinarily endorse an organisation such as the BCCI replying to absurd and unfounded criticisms by a particular journalist or media outlet. However, I get the feeling that Bindra's (and by association, the BCCI's) response is out of shear frustration at the innuendo, posing as comments, being published by "respected" cricket experts and journalists. It seems to me that Coward's musings were merely the final straw, hence, he copped it from Bindra - in fine style too.

This situation was calling out for a respected and reasonable member of the reigning BCCI regime to present a sophisticated and pointed response to the rubbish that has been gushing from the pens of the said writers. For this reason alone, I applaud Bindra for taking this step. I continually fail to understand why widespread panic and sinister implications must follow any announcements by non-Anglo-Australian organisations with regard to employing ingenious strategies for their betterment. This issue, however, is best left for another post.

In his piece, Bindra has allegedly admitted that Lalit Modi has often exhibited "excessive zeal and volatility". He dilutes his assessment by implying that these characteristics are only exhibited after provocation from his adversaries. I beg to differ.

Modi has made an embarrassing habit of slogging when he should be letting one pass to the 'keeper. Sensationalists such as Coward, Mike Atherton and Scyld Berry (strange how they both write for The Telegraph) have graciously accepted more fodder than Laloo Prasad Yadav could poke a stick at, thanks to ill-conceived and whimsical comments emanating from Lalit Modi.

Modi seems like a great ideas man. If all white-coated scientists were also geniuses at marketing then they would not retain advisors and consultants to help sell their inventions. Similarly, Modi needs to be kept in the background (take a leaf out of John Wright's book if you will). Sure, allow him a prominent position on the various sub-committees of the BCCI. Involve him in generating ideas for new revenue sources and opportunities. Allow him to offer his opinion on how to rankle a badly administered, toothless and thoughtless behemoth, that is the ICC. But, for God's sake, do not let him talk to the media.

The corporate world goes ga-ga over specialists. They are paid large sums to do an effective job, with efficiency. It is high time the BCCI was run like a prudent corporate entity. Hire a Media Manager and ensure that all incoming calls to Modi's phone from journalists are diverted to the new Media Manager, before Modi has the slightest chance to be tempted to blurt angry nonsense.

In the meantime, let people of the calibre of Bindra do the talking - with the ICC and to the media. He may not be everyone's knight in shining armour. He may have made mistakes in his past life, too. However, where the world is on its axis at the minute, Bindra and all of his ilk are best placed to progress the interests of the BCCI and Indian cricket in general, ambitious or otherwise (depending on the colour of your glasses).

Lalit Modi, please sit down.

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