Cricket World Cup 2019: Why is India playing their first match so late?

It's more than six days since the start of the World Cup, the question on the minds of most cricket fans is why has their team not played a single match yet.

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The cricket world cup is taking shape and points tables are changing. There are 5 teams who have already played 2 matches in the tournament. Besides all the rest 4 teams have played at least one match each.

The question however in the minds of most cricket fans, then, is natural: why has their team not played a single match yet?

But the answer for the delay apparently has got nothing to do with getting used to the English condition. Furthermore, the question would arise why others team do not have the same priviledge

Lodha Committee recommendations

Lodha Committee recommendations

The answer given is very simple. It is part of the reforms suggested by the Lodha Committee, which was instituted after the match-fixing and spot-fixing scandal that erupted during the Indian Premier League in 2013.

The Supreme Court of India appointed a four-member committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal to conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations of corruptions and the involvement of officials and players.

The court then appointed another committee under Justice R.M. Lodha, which was called the Lodha Committee. It mainly focused on three major tasks: punishing those found guilty by the Mudgal Committee, scrutinizing the role of COO Sundar Raman in the IPL spot-fixing scam and providing more transparency in the functioning of BCCI to avoid further stings.

15 Day recovery period or something else?

Among the key recommendations, it is also mandatory for the Indian cricket team to have at least 15 days recovery period between the Indian Premier League and any future international fixtures.

According to reports, India were supposed to play their first match on June 2 against Bangladesh but the International Cricket Council (ICC) changed the schedule at the request of the all-powerful Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).

But to be fair, according to the initial schedule, the final of IPL 12 was to be held on May 19. Fifteen days from then would have been June 3, so it would have fallen in that 15-day window. However, the dates of the tournament were revised to avoid a clash with the general elections.

The all powerful BCCI

The question then arises is, why did the International Cricket Council heed to the BCCI’s request after the IPL dates were already preponed?

Notwithstanding the fact that even the Lodha Committee guidelines are not binding on it. It could have always asked the BCCI to change the schedule of the IPL, a domestic tournament, and not tinker with the timetable of the World Cup.

The answer then is also very simple: it is a well-known fact that India has financial muscle in cricket and the BCCI is not scared of flexing it.

Angering the BCCI could have put the entire tournament in jeopardy which was already angry about the match with Pakistan and it was in best interests of the ICC to humor the request by the Indian board.

This, however, raises eyebrows about the very sanctity of the fixtures of the premier cricket tournament in the world. Such a thing would have never been possible in any other popular sport.

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