Is the BCCI trying to use Sachin Tendulkar's 200th Test to mint money? (AFP Photo)
On the premises of displeasure and annoyance, the autocratic Board of Control for Cricket in India is hatching the plot of its latest deceit. But to Indian fans, always left in limbo, the motive is familiar: to milk cash. But the cow this time is more sacred: Sachin Tendulkar.
Veils of honesty are once again out of the BCCI wardrobe. A West Indies series at home never ever proposed has been approved. Using 'unacceptable South Africa tour itinerary' as the shoulder, BCCI wants to shoot down India's tour of SA to ensure Tendulkar's cash-rich 200th Test fills their coffers, not South Africa's.
South Africa were scheduled to hold Tendulkar's landmark Test when India tour there later this year. But the BCCI had other ideas.
The wily minds were at work during the working committee meeting and in no mood to let South Africa run away with the moolah that tags along with Sachin Tendulkar's name, especially at the fag end of his celebrated career. Conniving, they threw this bomb on South Africa: "The working committee has approved a proposed home series against the West Indies in the month of November 2013," a statement in the BCCI release after the meeting read.
South Africa was gung-ho about Tendulkar playing his 200th Test on its soil. But the move to squeeze in the West Indies series before the SA tour will make it impossible. It will financially incapacitate Cricket South Africa (CSA) that is already under the pump, while BCCI will buy another safe for its cash. The body blow can also be viewed as one to settle scores with CSA that - despite BCCI's displeasure - appointed Haroon Lorgat as its CEO. Quite evidently, BCCI wants to kill two birds with one stone.
But where does it leave Tendulkar, who has nothing to do with the game's administrative arm? A showcase Tendulkar vs Steyn battle has been jeopardised. A fight on sporting tracks between the world's best bowler and arguably the best batsman playing his 200th Test - the only man on earth to do so - will now be pushed onto the tailor-made dustbowls in India. Everything in that plot is scripted to the whims and fancies of the Indian board that is also exploiting the sentiments of Tendulkar fans.
The opinion on Tendulkar's 200th Test at home gets polarised taking his fans into equation. They won't see, maybe even won't mind, BCCI's selfish interests here - treating it as an exception - to see India's favourite son playing a Test at home for one last time. And some may even slyly smile at the opposition (West Indies) almost handpicked by BCCI to increase the percentage of Tendulkar's success. The fans won't mind that either.
But Tendulkar doesn't need any facilitation to succeed. He maybe 40, his reflexes maybe slow, his feet may not be moving as Tendulkar of old, he may be getting bowled more often, runs may not be flowing from his bat, but facilitation? It will be a disrespect to think on those lines. It will be like washing away all those memories when Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was the only reason India smiled in a whole day. No, that can never be true. Tendulkar will laugh that opinion off. Yes, he would love to play one last time at home, may be end his career at home, but not at the cost of facilitation, never.
But what stands apparent in this situation is the self-centred decision taken by the BCCI, which has nothing to do with India's interests, nothing to do with Indian cricket's interests and nothing to do with Tendulkar on a personal level. Because in BCCI, leaders of political parties - who almost come to blows in the parliament - wine and dine together for a common objective - money and more money, at any cost.