Boria Majumdar vs Wriddhiman Saha Row: How It Came to This & What Can BCCI Do

BCCI banned Boria Majumdar for two years for threatening Wriddhiman Saha over a series of texts.

4 min read
Boria Majumdar vs Wriddhiman Saha Row: How It Came to This & What Can BCCI Do

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

It all started on 19 February, when Wriddhiman Saha tweeted a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation, where a nameless ‘respected journalist’ had threatened him. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) then appointed a three-member committee, consisting of vice president Rajeev Shukla, treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal, and councillor Prabhtej Singh Bhatia, to investigate. On 5 March, Boria Majumdar posted an elaborate video, identifying himself as the ‘respected journalist’ from Saha’s tweet, presenting his version, and announcing a potential lawsuit against Saha.

On conclusion of the BCCI's investigation, the board banned Majumdar for two years. For this period, he will not have accreditations for matches in India, be allowed to interview cricketers registered with the BCCI, or have access to cricket facilities of the BCCI or its member associations.

With the facts out of the way, let us ask ourselves a few questions.

Were Journalists Ever This Powerful?

Journalists of the yesteryear held a basic advantage over their counterparts today: they used to be the only source of information about cricketers and cricket matches. If a fan did not physically go to watch a match, all they had was next day’s newspaper report. Live radio commentary or grainy Doordarshan coverage filled some gaps, but it did not provide a concise summary of the events. The same held for cricketers’ interviews.

This left both cricketers and fans at the mercy of the journalists. Given their influence, the journalists had the power to change the course of a cricketer’s career. While most did not abuse the power, there are examples of some who did, particularly with young cricketers.

In 1968-69, when Sunil Gavaskar was a teenager playing in the inter-zonal Vizzy Trophy in Delhi, a ‘Delhi reporter’ made an ‘indecent advance.’ When a repulsed Gavaskar told the reporter was ‘like an uncle’ to him, the latter’s response was simple: ‘Do not tell anybody, or else I will ruin your career.’


Despite confiding in close circles, it had taken Gavaskar over 16 years to go public. The ‘Delhi reporter,’ an influential man, often targeted Gavaskar in his reports. One wonders how many victims he, and reporters similar to him, claimed.

However, while journalists were powerful, they seldom reached a point where they could threaten top Test cricketers. That happened with the advent of television. Contacts, both among cricketers as well as inside the BCCI, became the new currency.

To quote Joy Bhattacharjya, who has seen cricket media from closer quarters than most, "If you happen to be that kind of journalist who claims to be able to put in a good word for you for selection, or selectively plant a rumour against a rival, you have it made."

It was a faulty system lying to be taken advantage of. People did take advantage to rise up the ladder. It was only a matter of time before someone became too powerful.

The Role BCCI Can Play

When captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi missed a Test match in 1974-75, Gavaskar was named captain but he was asked to keep it a secret from the media. In 1984-85, after being retained as captain, Gavaskar was asked to scale the wall of a hotel to avoid the media.

In 1997, they went the other way: Sachin Tendulkar got to know of his sacking as captain from the media. In 2021, when Virat Kohli was replaced as ODI captain, it was something the world got to know from a tweet. Much confusion occurred when BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, followed by Kohli, came up with contradictory versions of what actually happened.

These are only a handful of instances, out of many, that a press conference in the presence of the cricketers would have addressed. However, transparency has seldom been the BCCI’s forte.

The BCCI’s ordinary handling of media is not restricted to team selections or axing captains. In the early 2010s, they barred television commentators from speaking against the Indian team’s selection policies, BCCI’s administration, or their stance on the DRS. Ian Chappell refused to accept the conditions and opted out when Australia toured India in 2012-13.

How long before similar instructions are rolled out to all accredited media personnel?


Is There a Threat?

The impact of Majumdar’s ban can be far-reaching. While it is likely to prevent journalists from an encore in the near future, it will empower cricketers more than before. This has a potentially dangerous flip side.

If a journalist criticises a cricketer – rightfully or otherwise – it sometimes creates a rift between the two. In the aftermath of Majumdar’s ban, the cricketers now know what that they can do – provided they have the evidence (or influence) – get a journalist banned.

The obvious threat is hard to ignore. While most cricketers are unlikely to exploit this, someone could at some point. They could cite the recent instance, which also demonstrated that the fans are probably likelier to sympathise with a cricketer than the journalist.

Yet again, the BCCI can address this by making the findings of every enquiry public to ensure there is no ambiguity. Whether they want to, is another question. The cricketers are the BCCI’s greatest assets. If there is a clash between a cricketer and a journalist, the BCCI – more powerful than before – is likelier to side with the cricketer.

When India won a thriller against Bangladesh at the 2016 T20 World Cup, Amitabh Bachchan expressed his annoyance when an Indian commentator (referring to Harsha Bhogle) did not speak enough about the Indian cricketers. MS Dhoni echoed Bachchan’s thoughts. Bhogle explained that as part of a global commentary team, it was his job to speak about all teams.

Bhogle was left out of that year's IPL commentary panel. There is no evidence that connects the two instances, but the power of the cricketers cannot be overstated.

We shall perhaps never know the exact evidence based on which Majumdar was banned. However, if the situation is flipped, and a journalist is ever at the receiving end, it is unlikely that a cricketer will receive an identical ban.

Tricky times lie ahead.


(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor of CricketNews by day and biryani demolisher at night. He is the co-author of Sachin and Azhar at Cape Town, and tweets @ovshake42.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from sports and cricket

Topics:  BCCI   Wriddhiman Saha   Boria Majumdar 

Edited By :Tejas Harad
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
More News