Saturday, September 24, 2011

The fall of Kochi Tuskers, and Tharoor's muddle

With the Kochi Tuskers exiting from IPL, indeed, it is Lalit Modi who is having the last laugh. I hate Modi, but when he says "I told you so", I think he is making a point.
Now, 18 months later, the BCCI has terminated the Kochi contract on the basis of an unpaid bank guarantee which, according to new President, N. Srinivasan, “ not capable of being remedied." As a consequence, the BCCI now stands to lose more than US $300 million by virtue of reduced commercial revenue because Kochi's suspension means fewer teams and therefore games - not to mention a loss of credibility for the IPL itself. It will be interesting to see who takes responsibility for an outcome I predicted even before the contract was signed. It is a situation that could have been avoided but what it shows is that the unsubstantiated accusations made against me suggesting I imposed ‘onerous’ conditions purely to try and manipulate the bidding process towards my preferred bidders has been shot to pieces.

Shashi Tharoor, on the other hand, has a weak and bizarre defense. His write-up is further evidence of his distorted developmental priorities for the State.
An IPL team for Kerala was a dream that few dared to dream. As a member of Parliament from the state, I was acutely aware that Keralites simply did not believe we could compete with the major cities of India to attract big-ticket investment and high-value enterprises to our state. That's why the establishment of a Kerala IPL team was all the more significant and important...When, as a Kerala MP, I pursued the opportunity of bringing an IPL team to Kerala, it was because I was convinced that the only antidote to the hidebound statist mentality that has produced such economic stagnation in Kerala in recent years would be the infusion of a venture that was as 21st century in its conception and execution as the IPL. I saw KTK as a venture that would not just boost the prospects of Kerala's cricketers, but spark the imaginations of our young people and open new vistas for businesses, as well as promote a new surge of "cricket-related tourism" in our beautiful state (whose advertising tagline is 'God's Own Country').

What lies ahead is not entirely clear. There is talk of a court case. Perhaps new owners can revive a franchise whose potential had barely begun to be tapped. For the moment, though, a larger dream has been nipped in the bud as it had barely begun to flower. Cricket, and the narrative of India's 21st century development, will be poorer for Kochi Tuskers Kerala's exit from the IPL.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My response to UIDAI's R. S. Sharma

Here is my response to UIDAI Mission Director R. S. Sharma's "clarification" published in The Hindu. Sharma had written his clarification in reply to my earlier piece titled "Aadhaar: On a Platform of Myths" in The Hindu.

Response to UIDAI's clarification

R. Ramakumar