|Player:||BP Patel, BKV Prasad, RS Dravid|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2007/08|
DateLine: 9th May 2008
Watching the nervous energy that emanated from Charu Sharma in one of his stints as a guest on the studio of the pre-match show of the telecast, one could have been lulled into believing that Sharma was not only the CEO of the team, but also someone who had punted heavily on the fortunes of the Royal Challengers. Many would have brushed that aside as a gesture of playing to the galleries – remember he was on the telly – or an attempt at a show of loyalist attitude. Little did anyone know that in less than a week, Charu Sharma would be on his way out of the position that he held for the short period of time, sacked, and replaced by ex-Indian cricketer, Brijesh Patel.
For years, one of the most important stake holders of this game in India, the viewing public, have been crying out hoarse in desire of an iota of accountability in cricket, but far too often the BCCI has gotten away under the guise of it being an honorary job for most of the office bearers. For all its demerits, Indian Premier League was supposed to bring about a shift from that mentality; it was hypothesized to bring about accountability between the owners, players – and as the case in point has proved, the support staff as well.
While it is easy to argue for Charu Sharma – and quite frankly, it is not easy to pin the blame on his shoulder – the fact of the matter is that the team that did get selected was at the behest of Raul Dravid and Charu Sharma. And the prophetic line that almost every expert used for the team – the best Test XI at IPL – has come true so far. Sacking an icon player, who is also a captain, and in all probabilities one of the more marketable guys in the team was never an option. There were also reports of some of the players not hurting as much as it hit the owner himself, and there had to be a statement made. The timing is a matter of conjecture, but then those close to Dr. Mallaya would argue that not all is lost. Bangalore RCs could still make a comeback if they pulled up their socks and got it all together and such a dismissal may help get the team closer. Amongst the support staff, Venkatesh Prasad, the coach, Charu Sharma and Martin Crowe – the COO – were the only potential ‘candidates’, and by the theory of elimination, and a little ill-luck, it was Sharma who bore the brunt.
Cricket’s no longer a game, at least not at IPL; it has slowly evolved into a business. And hence, cricket needs to be run as it would be by any other honcho, there would be hirings, and then there would be firings, there would be appraisals, and sometime, there would be pink slips. The message is loud and clear, perform or perish, this is not the BCCI anymore, and reputations may just not be enough to sustain one’s spot in the side.
$111.6 million is not exactly loose change. Results matter.