Lalit Modi, singularly credited with creating the thriving financial cricket module called the Indian Premier League, has decided to take a bow from cricket administration.
In a statement on Saturday, Modi, now living in exile in London, said, “I want to bid goodbye to cricket administration for now.”
Retirement or sabbatical? The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, viewed the development with caution. “Goodbye for now. Does he intend to return?” a senior Board official wondered.
“I feel that the time is now ripe to pass on the baton to the next generation. Thus, today I want to bid goodbye to cricket administration for now. I honestly believe that I have contributed even if it is in my small way to the progress and well-being of cricket in India at all levels,” said Modi.
Reflecting on his tenure, Modi, facing charges of alleged money laundering, noted, “In 2010 it (IPL) was valued at $11 billion and today the value of IPL has fallen to $4 billion due to lack of innovation. It is the sixth most valuable sporting property in the world. That has still increased the value of cricket in India by nearly eight times. Columbia and Stanford University have done case studies on how I built the league and sustained it.”
The former BCCI vice-president appealed for financial support to the Rajasthan Cricket Association, which has implemented the Lodha reforms in toto.
“The funds to RCA from BCCI were blocked, ostensibly because of my presence in the system. I would, therefore, request you to release the funds due to RCA as soon as possible. With my exit from all forms of cricket, at all levels, for ever, I think RCA deserves to reclaim their share and presence on the Indian cricket map.”
The Board official meanwhile clarified, “The BCCI had issues with the RCA because it had elected Modi as its president. Now that he has resigned, there is no cause for BCCI to keep RCA away. But RCA would have to first withdraw all the cases it has filed against the BCCI.
Modi did not lose the opportunity to criticise former Board president N. Srinivasan.
“While demanding high levels of probity and propriety from some is certainly laudable, I wonder why the same standards are not applied to some like N Srinivasan. After all, Indian cricket administration is in a state of upheaval because of Srinivasan. The Supreme Court has ticked him off too for his involvement in Indian cricket and has also asked him to stay away. On the contrary, I continue to be penalized for a crime that I have not committed, even after being cleared by all the investigating agencies. But Srinivasan continues to attend BCCI meetings, despite apex court’s scathing observations.”