What started out as a decision to pull out the Indian cricketers from the Sri Lankan Premier League (another of those T20 offshoots), has blown out into a full-fledged war of words, in the conventional media and on Twitter between the BCCI, Sri Lanka Cricket and surprise, surprise, Lalit Modi.
The skeletal facts are as follows:
The Sri Lankan board decides to organise the SLPL T20, BCCI allows its players to compete in the tournament to begin with but takes a decision on Sunday that the Indian cricketers will not be allowed to play. The official reason cited is that the tournament is being organised, not by the Sri Lankan cricket board but is being outsourced to Somerset Ventures, a company in Singapore. The Sri Lankan boards refutes these allegations, says something to the effect of, they own the tournament as much as BCCI owns the IPL, and that Somerset Ventures is just the marketing arm of the venture. BCCI has not yet responded but depending on when they feel like, there may be a response soon.
So, you may ask, where does Modi come into the picture?
There was a report in one of India’s dailies on how the BCCI was worried that many of Modi’s former employees were now working for Somerset Ventures and hence, did not want its players to be associated with a league associated with the former chairman. Modi, incidentally, had been unceremoniously kicked out of his post of the chairman of the Indian Premier League, a tournament he had built from scratch.
In response, Modi began a series of tweets, which castigate his former employers, the BCCI, in a manner that has probably not been seen before. Here are a few excerpts from Modi’s Twitter handle:
“It just shows that mandarins at BCCI have no clue what is happening in the cricket world. They can't see beyond their own shadow.”
“It seems best way to scuttle any plans is to say Lalit Modi is behind it. Good to know that just mentioning my name can send a shiver down their spines. Guess, they are a bunch of spineless people running the show. Who have no clue as to what to do. Not that they ever had. I had to do it for them.”
Modi did not stop at panning the BCCI at this, but also raked up old issues like the ones associated with the Indian Cricket League. ICL was a private cricket tournament organised by the Zee group, in retaliation to not being given the contract to telecast international games despite having won the bid. BCCI had banned all the players featuring in the ICL and made life difficult for their existence by banning the usage of the stadiums.
“When I was at BCCI - the mandate given then was to scuttle ICL. BCCI arm-twisted every cricket board and ICC to change their constitution.”
Then, after a series of tweets on how the BCCI went about changing their own rules and those of the other country boards, Modi said, “All correspondence related to scuttling ICL and any unauthorized League - will be made available on my website www.lalitmodi.com soon.” That is going to be one hell of a bombshell if he reveals those correspondences!
Again, he goes on to reveal a lot about how BCCI went about their business against ICL on his Twitter handle, before acquitting himself by saying “Whether it is right or wrong - that question needs to be asked from the organizations. I did not run them - only part of them.”
As a by-product of these revelations, Modi has also revealed the reasons behind the axing of England from the Champions League T20 stake-holding – “BCCI used Champions League to induce other ICC members to vote on the resolution to outlaw ICL, that way they get part of the earnings. England resisted. Thus lost right to be a shareholder of Champions League. Eventually capitulated as the money was too big to ignore.”