Even as the muted euphoria over the re-induction of cricket into the Asian Games continues to do the rounds, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is having to deal once more with the WADA’s BCCI headache as the Olympics deadline looms perilously close.
The WADA, or the World Anti-Doping Agency, is the longest, perhaps trickiest obstacle for the ICC en route to seriously making a case for cricket to make the disciplines at the global sports event, the Olympics. While the percentage of opposition towards becoming WADA compliant is minuscule in terms of numbers, it is a powerful obstacle standing in the way given that it is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), arguably the richest and most powerful cricket board in the world, which has not only been resistant to the idea of pushing cricket at a global event but also, and perhaps more importantly, been opposed to bringing the cricketers under the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) towards making becoming WADA compliant.
With less a week before the review committee of the WADA accepting the ICC proposal for the induction of cricket into the Olympics, once again the BCCI’s opposition is proving to be a perennial thorn in the flesh, once more hurting the agenda of the ICC to push for its globalization efforts through giving cricket exposure through the world sporting events.
While the BCCI is complying with another WADA approved anti doping and testing agency, that it has had its reservations about NADA and therefore, refusing to allow its cricketers to follow through with the NADA regulations compliant for other sports in the country, unless the sport as a whole comes under WADA including the Indian cricket team under the NADA regulations, the ICC will have a tough task pushing its agenda forth. The BCCI, on its part, has stated categorically in the past that given certain discrepancies that involved NADA in other sports, it is not trusting enough of the agency to subject its cricketers to testing under that body.
Although the rest of the cricket playing nations have raised no objections even a decade ago, the BCCI has long been withholding its cricketers from being subjected to the NADA testing, which has made compelling the Indian cricket team to come under WADA impossible and the ICC left languishing for want of unanimous support. The BCCI has been solitary but staunch in its opposition to the point that the ICC’s ambitions for cricket’s global landscape have had to repeatedly bite the dust.
However, notwithstanding India’s opposition, the ICC is determined to make a push once more, this time sending forth its strongest member in the ICC Chairman himself who was the BCCI chief before abdicating the latter position. However, while the BCCI officials might lend their ear, it is highly unlikely that the BCCI would be immediately in agreement. While the ICC will look to buy time, there is, also, a concern that given the fallout of Shashank Manohar with key BCCI officials in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s involvement, the issue could become more personal than professional which could further stall the ICC’s Olympics ambitions for as early as 2028 in Los Angeles.