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BCCI’s stand is harmful to the game

Top news agencies’ boycott affected coverage of first Test against England

Image Credit: AFP
Cheteshwar Pujara's fine performance deserved full coverage.
Gulf News

Dubai: It’s a shame that a well-fought Test match between India and England at Ahmedabad did not get the kind of coverage it deserved.

The new restrictions of blocking photo-only agencies, introduced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has resulted in many top agencies completely boycotting the coverage of the event.

The result of all this was that only few images of the spectacular fighting knock by England skipper Alastair Cook or the epic effort by Cheteshwar Pujara emerged out of the Test, but one had to rely on a few Indian news agencies for the news. The BCCI is yet to explain why it is discriminating against photo-only agencies.

All that the BCCI did was to announce, through a press conference, that they have a policy not to accredit photo syndication services like Getty Images and other similar foreign and domestic agencies.

At a time when cricket is trying to reach a global market, such a conflict can result in serious damage to the popularity of the sport. It is true BCCI is a cash-rich cricket board but they also need to play their role in spreading the game around the world.

Cricket fans are spread all over the world and they should not be “punished” through such an adamant stand. In the long run, there is every chance that the BCCI’s revenue too can be hit with sponsors finding that their investment on cricket for mileage is not reaching out to every corner.

It’s time the International Cricket Council (ICC) steps forward to solve this matter and not leave it as an internal matter of one of its board members.

The International Olympic Committee has already criticised BCCI and accused them of attacking press freedom.

Kevan Gosper, the IOC Press Commission Chairman, has called on the ICC to intervene and allow news organisations free access to the cricket games between two of the world’s top teams.

Imagine India’s batting hero Sachin Tendulkar calls it a day during this series, it will be a huge injustice on him by his own board that his last few knocks and also images of his last few innings were stopped from reaching every corner of the world.