It would be so much better if Mr. Haigh were to set aside his set-piece, two-pronged formulation - first, that BCCI has too much power in world cricket, and second, that it is run by incompetent politicians who don't care about cricket, and actually try to trace associations instead of speculating about personality conflicts. Any grown up person will tell you that personality conflicts are usually less important than the deeper interests which each of the parties in the conflict are representing. The conflicts of interests that are pointed out in the article in the specific case of Mr. Srinivasan sound terrible, until you realize that the IPL has nothing to do with the Indian team, in the same way that owning an IPL franchise has nothing really to do with being a BCCI office bearer. If the Captain of India and the Chairman of Selectors of the Indian team being on the same IPL franchise is a conflict of interest, then how much of a conflict of interest is it for a regular in the Australian side playing for an IPL franchise captained by the current Sri Lankan captain, just before an Australia v Sri Lanka series (to take a hypothetical example)? Haigh insinuates plenty, but establishes nothing. He is in effect banking on the fact that he is preaching to the choir - after all, who doesn't like to say that the powers that be are totally incompetent and that they are destroying everything?
A deeper question, one that a columnist should grapple with, would be about the size of the IPL. How big should the IPL be? Is the addition of two franchises and the prospective addition of a few more franchises in the coming decade good for cricket? If someone thinks, as Mr. Haigh appears to, that the IPL has been a good thing for cricket, how does one fit this innovation into cricket as it originally was?
As for Ramchandra Guha's notion that "The truth is that citizenship and cricket have been comprehensively trumped by the claims of commerce." - what dreamworld is Mr. Guha (and Mr. Haigh, who so faithfully quotes him) living in? There already exists an equitable set of teams in India, distributed according to citizenship (to borrow Guha's usage) - they are called Ranji Trophy teams. Have Mr. Modi or Mr. Pawar ever been asked why they chose to pitch for new franchises, rather than a more modest partnership with existing Ranji Trophy teams? Obviously, India or Citizenship had nothing to do with anything in the IPL.
Until the advent of the IPL, top level cricket was played as a sport - because the focus of everyone's attention was the sport. Money was important to the extent that the sport remained a viable professional option, and to the extent that it remained solvent and some amount of money could be invested in the future and given to associate members of the ICC. With the IPL, the focus became the bottom line, in the pursuit of which Cricket was a mere vehicle. Thats the only reason why the T20 format was invented.
Gideon Haigh asks whether it is a scandal that BCCI spends only 8% of it's annual revenue on "actual cricket promotion" (whatever that means). Well, it's far from clear that it is a scandal. Should this not depend on how much actual money that 8% amounts to? If the BCCI is making ridiculous sums of money, then it would be a scandal if they spent most of it on "actual cricket promotion"! After all, in a world consisting of real people and real problems, would it not be a scandal if an insane amount went in purchasing cricket bats and balls and stumps and painting stadia?
The fatal problem with Mr. Haigh's article is that it fails to present the distinction between cricket as a sport and cricket as a business. The IPL is the latter, where as BCCI is an agency of the former. Unless this basic distance is tackled, Mr. Haigh has no option but to take refuge in nonsense like "corporate governance" - which basically amounts to a recommendation to make money, but do it "competently". Competence itself is a euphemism for "cover your rear-end".
It's sad to see a historian get stuck in the mire like this.