India’s “National” Cricket Team

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the national governing body for the sport of Cricket in India. The Indian government recognises it as one. But it does not come under nor is it funded by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) or the Sports Ministry and by extension, the Government of India. But being a registered organisation in India, it does have to follow the laws of the land, Supreme Court or lower, and pay its taxes, like any other private organisation in the country.

The truth is the BCCI is a for-profit private organisation, a business venture that makes money by milking the patriotism of a billion people for their country. BCCI spokespersons have explicitly gone on official record on multiple occasions in the past saying “Team India” is a product of the BCCI. They alone hold all rights for the team and its matters.

The Indian national cricket team, despite its misleading name, does not represent the Government and the People of India. In fact, there has been an instance in history when there were two Indian teams playing simultaneously, one for the BCCI and another actually representing the country.

Let us roll the years back to 1998. Amid a lot of controversy, Cricket was included in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was the first— and, to date, only— time cricket has been played at a Commonwealth Games. Matches were played over 50 overs, and had List A status, not full ODI status. The teams played in white clothing with their country flag/emblem as logo on their apparel.

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Sixteen teams entered the competition, including seven of the nine then Test-playing nations. West Indies entered as individual nations (Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados), while England declined to send a team at all. Among the other teams were Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Canada, Bangladesh, Kenya, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The strength of the teams that were entered varied somewhat. Strong squads including seasoned Test and ODI players were fielded by the three nations that eventually won medals: South Africa (Gold), Australia (Silver) and New Zealand (Bronze).

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India and Pakistan sent weakened teams as a result of the ongoing 1998 Sahara Cup. The following are the two different Indian teams- the team representing BCCI played in Canada, while the team representing the nation travelled to Malaysia.

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Ajay Jadeja, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar flew back to Canada to rejoin their team after fulfilling their national duty at the Games.

Source(s):
Cricket at the 1998 Commonwealth Games
Results|Global|ESPN Cricinfo
India Squad
Results|Wisden Almanack|ESPN Cricinfo


Update (9 February 2016):
For once, aren’t we happy that the management at BCCI can select the team they want? They are NOT answerable to the Government or the People of India. Do you know what that means?

No reservation in the Indian cricket team.

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