Hasan Minhaj Takes On BCCI, Cricket Corruption Ahead of World Cup

The comedian takes on BCCI’s control on cricket in the latest episode of his Netflix show. 

Updated29 May 2019, 01:32 PM IST
3 min read

With the excitement around Cricket World Cup 2019, which kicks off tomorrow, 30 May, only growing, Hasan Minhaj takes on the subject of the BCCI’s (Board for Cricket Control in India) control over ICC (International Cricket Council) and the corruption in cricket in the latest episode of his Netflix show, The Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj.

In the episode titled ‘Cricket Corruption’, constructed as an outsider’s guide to cricket politics, Hasan also interviews Lalit Modi, the first chairman and founder of the IPL (Indian Premiere League), who readily accepts he’s “shady”.

Here are some of the key moments in the stand-up act that should spark off a conversation around India’s monopoly over the sport and the lack of its global growth.

BCCI Not Letting Cricket Grow?

At first, for the sake of the American audience, the comedian compares the last India vs Pakistan Cricket World Cup match to other major television events in the US to establish how big the sport really is.

“Over 1 billion people tuned in. That’s 9 Super Bowl games, 52 Game of Thrones finales and 1 billion Murphy Brown reboots,” says Hasan Minhaj.

The comedian cites how the 2007 Cricket World Cup had 16 participating countries, while the 2019 World Cup has only 10. Instead of being more inclusive, the same old major teams are playing the game at the top level.

He observes that BCCI is using its power to stop cricket from spreading across the globe and being included in the Olympics because they are scared of their “power being diluted”.

“India has become so dominant, that it is stifling the growth of international cricket,” the comedian says.

“India commands 70 per cent of the global revenue and in 2017 generated $1 billion in sponsorships and its mostly thanks to the IPL. Its a shorter explosive type of cricket which took a game that looks like it was invented by Mitt f*****g Romney and turned it into a cultural phenomenon.”
Hasan Minhaj

Interview with Lalit Modi

Hasan Minhaj interviews Lalit Modi. 
Hasan Minhaj interviews Lalit Modi. 
(Photo Courtesy: Netflix)

Hasan’s interview with Lalit Modi was one of the most interesting segments of the episode.

Lalit Modi started the IPL with an initial investment of $22 million dollars. Two years later, the IPL was worth $4.1 billion. Modi fled to the UK after BCCI found him guilty on 8 counts of midconduct.

The best part was Modi’s hilarious responses to all the allegations. “They haven’t found zilch,” he said about the allegations of misconduct against him.

“Lalit Modi is complicit. His alleged corruption is indicative of how cricket is rotten to the core,” Hasan notes.

Hasan: Does the BCCI have too much power over the ICC?” Modi replies, “They control the bloody ICC. There is no ICC without the BCCI. You think even a single match can take place without India? No! You think any broadcaster will buy any rights of the ICC. No.”

When asked if he created this problem by creating the IPL? “I did and I didn’t foresee it.”

“Modi helped the cash cow that BCCI is today,” Hasan concludes.

Why Cricket Isn’t in the Olympics

Hasan critiqued the BCCI saying, they “put Indian cricket first” at the expense of the global game. He points out that the ICC has been trying to get cricket included in the Olympics because they think it will help the game grow, but “the BCCI, on the other hand, don’t want an Olympic committee interfering with their business.”

“We took something our colonisers forced on us and we made it our own. But my complaint is we’re so concerned with owning the sport that it isn’t about playing cricket anymore. It’s about colonising it for ourselves.”
Hasan Minhaj

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Published: 29 May 2019, 10:43 AM IST
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