India Cricket: Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar Serving Two Masters?

Linus Fernandes@mktimeforsportsAnalyst IIAugust 10, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 24:  Ex India captain Sunil Gavaskar waves to the crowd during a parade of past captains to mark the 100th test match between England and India during day four of the 1st npower test match between England and India at Lords on July 24, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

“No man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

That’s what the Good Book states.

An article in Outlook India highlighted the inherent conflict of interest in the job profiles of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri.

While they are supposed to provide unbiased, expert comments on games involving India, they are also contracted directly to the Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI).

The story was picked up by all the major news publications in the country.

Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri categorically denied that the commitment to the BCCI weighs on their minds when they air their opinions for various broadcasting bodies.

The controversy comes at a time when the BCCI has been roundly castigated for its reluctance to endorse the Hawkeye technology in the Decision Review System (DRS).

It is seen as no coincidence that Shastri and Gavaskar echo the BCCI’s point of view in their public posturing on the issue.

It could well be, as the duo argue, that their viewpoint (also Sachin Tendulkar’s) and the BCCI’s coincide on the matter. But when it comes to conflicts of interest, it is perception that plays the crucial part.

For most cricket fans, the information that the duo are employed with the national administrative body to the tune of Rs 3.6 crore each per annum was unwelcome news.

Certainly, every statement the pair make will now be taken with a grain of salt.

Sunny Gavaskar was characteristically nonchalant about the affair, claiming that every sphere of life has some conflict or the other.

He said: “But they (people) have got to remember that achievers, like them, also have two eyes, two hands—and a stomach (to feed)!”

Ravi Shastri brazened it out, saying that his “conscience is clear and clean.”

The interested reader can draw his or her own conclusions.

Either there exists a conflict of interest (not acknowledged by the parties concerned), or there is none and the BCCI—on matters cricketing—are Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar.

Quote of the day:
The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it. – Leo Rosten