The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called a special general body meeting on May 7. Going by what many board mandarins have said after last week's International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai, India's participation in the Champions Trophy is foremost among the matters to be discussed. A number of members, including those who attended the Dubai meet, are in favour of pulling the team out. This, they think, is necessary to teach the other boards a lesson for voting against the BCCI on financial restructuring of the world body. They expect that robbing the Champions Trophy of cricket's most marquee team will push it into commercial jeopardy and remind other members how important BCCI is.
While the financial implications of India's absence in an ICC event merit another discussion, it is safe to say that withdrawing from Champions Trophy will lead to a publicity disaster for a board which has lost a considerable amount of credibility as well as face in the sanctions it has drawn from the Supreme Court. The court-appointed administrators running BCCI have already made an impression that they are against unnecessary disruptions in cricket.
By denying fans a chance to watch an event where India are defending champions, BCCI officials risk sending a message that they are anti-cricket and concerned only about money, a big part of which will eventually go to the state associations run by them.
For these reasons, pulling out of the Champions Trophy should be the last thought in the minds of these officials. But some of them are so blinded by the lucre that they refuse to foresee the repercussions. Used to having the better of both worlds, they are alienated from reality. Fortunately, there are other voices in the BCCI against this step. The minority at the moment, if they grow in number, will determine whether the BCCI embraces more embarrassment or wakes up to the new world order.