Even as someone who has believed that post his retirement from the first-class level, Sunil Gavaskar has contributed little to Indian cricket, I do not think it is necessary to list the positions he has held in various committees at the national and international level or to raise questions about his inadequate contributions.
It is critical that we all believe Gavaskar can still throw up a surprise or three, in his inimitable style, now that the Supreme Court has now afforded him a chance to showcase that his heart does care for cricket by under-taking Operation Credibility for the Indian Premier League.
Fans of Indian cricket in general and IPL in particular will forever be grateful to Gavaskar if he sparks off Operation Credibility. It is of greater importance to oversee this rather than be in the United Arab Emirates where the first leg of the tournament this season will be played.
If he did not already know it, he would have found out by now that there is a whole army of personnel to conduct IPL – starting with Governing Council Chairman Ranjib Biswal, Council members, IPL COO Sundar Raman and the event management agency IMG. Gavaskar does not need to be present there to oversee the tournament.
Justice Mudgal Committee also recommended that player agents should not be allowed to travel with the team or stay in the same hotel as the team, especially when it is in proximity to the date of a match being played by a player who the agent represents.
Gavaskar, who is Chairman of PMG (Professional Management Group) that manages players like Virender Sehwag, Varun Aaron and Manoj Tiwary, must stay away from Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils. In fact, it is imperative that he stays from all games and focuses on the larger task on hand.
To begin with, as BCCI President in-charge, he can ask each of the eight franchises to come up with a clear, simple document about their respective ownership. No longer should an IPL COO tell a Supreme Court-appointed committee that ownership structures of the teams are, in general, ambiguous.
Then, Gavaskar can call for a Working Committee meeting to start the disciplinary process against team officials found guilty of betting. If the Board could suspend and then, after due process, ban players for varying periods, surely it could get the ball rolling against officials who have brought the game to disrepute.
He could also take steps to include, as Justice Mudgal Committee suggested, representatives of the franchises in the Governing Council and ensure that each team honours the ethical and moral code that makes cricket such a beautiful game but one that has been sullied by a few self-seeking individuals.
Above all, Gavaskar can use his Supreme Court-backed clout as BCCI President to actively campaign for a law against corruption in sport so that India can punish all those who dare to tarnish the image of the sport and their teams for a variety of despicable acts.
Gavaskar does not need to prove anything to anyone but he owes it to the sport that he played with immense pride and to the sport that has sustained his interest for more than a quarter century post his retirement that he takes the baby steps to launch Operation Credibility.
The last of his 10,122 Test runs and 3092 ODI runs were scored well before the IPL generation was born. To most of the contemporary cricket fans, he is but a TV commentator. He now has a great chance to change that perspective and add a glorious chapter to his association with Indian cricket. There is no reason to be cynical. There is no reason to doubt him. We must believe that he will deliver.