“If people expect a bigger share of the pie for India on the grounds that we are a big country and we want to develop cricket, they should first be asked, what have you done to develop cricket until today? Show me,” Kumar said.
“It’s a matter of great pity that we are so rich and so much money is distributed to our states and never accounted for.”
While the bright lights and packed stadia of the IPL are associated with the rapid growth of cricket’s value in India, Kumar said that much of this was simply because of the size of the country, and that grassroots funding and development was still primarily the preserve of private backers, as opposed to cricket’s Indian governors.
India’s team to face Australia will be star-studded with the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja. In Kumar’s view, their success has come in spite of the BCCI, rather than because of any great leaps forward off the field.
“At the lower levels, the situation continues to be pathetic,” he said. “If anyone was to ask the BCCI, what are the various programs you’re running to develop cricket at the grassroots level, they would have very little to show for it.
“Would you believe in such a huge country we have one national cricket academy and that’s it. There is the pace academy run by MRF in Chennai, but you show me which great academies the BCCI has setup or is funding? There are none.”
After nearly 40 years of service in the Delhi police, Neeraj said his appointment by the BCCI in 2015 was essentially about keeping up appearances. He has chronicled his experiences in a book, A Cop In Cricket, published earlier this year.
“It was like ticking a box,” he said. “Unless you experience the BCCI it is very difficult to put in words what sort of organisation it is. It’s not a well-structured body, there’s no work ethos, it’s all a hodgepodge.”
By way of remedies, Kumar argued that cricket’s decision-makers needed to be made much more aware of corruption and integrity issues.
“In three years I was at the BCCI there was no such dialogue, ever. That is the problem. not only in India,” he said. “That lack of awareness about issues regarding corruption and integrity, is lacking in every board.
“The top level does not know the various issues involved. Because there is a lack of awareness, things will continue to be the same, until another scandal breaks out. Again, some heads will roll, some new people will come in, and again the same pattern will start. It’s a pity.”
The BCCI was contacted for comment.
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