Millions of passionate Indian cricket fans must have despaired for a couple of weeks over the thought that they wouldn’t get to see the Indian team defend its Champions Trophy title next month in England. Some unknown BCCI officials had threatened to boycott the tournament, but those aware of their ‘posturing’ knew it was next to impossible. Nobody had the guts to take that unprecedented step, more so when the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is running the BCCI. Some Board officials who were planting these stories in the media—that India should boycott the Champions Trophy to “teach International Cricket Council (ICC) a lesson” for not giving the BCCI the justified lion’s share from its revenues— were nowhere to be seen when their game reached the tense death overs, so to speak.
With two deft strokes, Vinod Rai, heading the CoA, punctured the boycott calls. First he issued an open letter to BCCI office-bearers and state associations that if they insisted on a boycott, he would approach the Supreme Court for redressal. Then, he met the associations and explained to them the pitfalls of shunning the tournament in protest. Everyone quickly fell in line; when a crucial special BCCI general body meeting was convened the next day, on May 7, to decide on India’s participation, nobody demurred. The house decided to resolve the issues through dialogue with the ICC.