The Power Play: Jay Shah and the Influence of Indian Cricket

An in-depth look at Jay Shah’s rise to power and his control over the world of cricket

Two days after David Beckham’s appearance at India’s World Cup semi-final triumph, the focus shifted to an unassuming figure sitting next to him in the VVIP box – Jay Shah. As the head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the past four years, Shah wields unparalleled power in the world of cricket. This article delves into the influence of Jay Shah, his political connections, and the implications of his control over the sport.

The Man Behind the Curtain

Jay Shah’s rise to power within the BCCI at the age of 31 is remarkable. However, his surname – shared with Narendra Modi’s right-hand man and father, Amit Shah – raises questions about political appointments. Shah’s influence extends beyond the BCCI, as he controls the international cricket calendar, the County Championship, and even what viewers see on their screens. The connection between the BCCI and India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is profound, with executive members often being party sympathizers.

Cricket as a Political Tool

Cricket has long been a unifying force in India, and politicians have recognized its power to harness popular energy. From Indira Gandhi’s embrace of the 1983 World Cup victory to the boom of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the 1990s, cricket has played a role in shaping India’s national identity. Under Jay Shah’s leadership, the BCCI has become a cultural force, with the national team often associated with the ruling party. The current World Cup has been staged as a spectacle of hyper-nationalism, further blurring the lines between sport and politics.

Unchecked Power and Controversial Decisions

With Jay Shah at the helm, the BCCI operates with relative autonomy. Test series can be abandoned and resumed at will, the IPL has expanded into a de facto six-month season, and the Asia Cup was taken away from Pakistan due to security concerns. Shah’s decision-making power has faced criticism, with accusations of autocratic behavior and a lack of transparency. A detailed study of the BCCI by Sharda Ugra reveals a leader surrounded by sycophants and a lack of financial accountability.

The Future of Cricket

As the Narendra Modi Stadium hosts the World Cup final, the influence of Jay Shah on Indian cricket remains unquestioned. The spectacle will continue, seemingly unaffected by the concentration of power in the hands of one man. The implications of this control extend beyond the sport itself, raising concerns about the intertwining of politics and cricket in one of the world’s most passionate cricketing nations.


Jay Shah’s rise to power within the BCCI and his control over Indian cricket raises important questions about the influence of politics on the sport. As the most powerful person in any sport worldwide, Shah’s decisions shape the international cricket calendar and the future of the game. The close connection between the BCCI and the ruling BJP party underscores the need for transparency and accountability. As cricket continues to be a unifying force in India, it is essential to ensure that the sport remains free from undue political influence.






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