Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ICC Reorganization: A case of faulted logic.

India, Australia and England have created a triad of exclusivity to essentially take over the administration of cricket world wide. Each has their own logic to why they have worked secretly for months to hijack the cricket world and their logic is nonsensical to say the least. It ignores the welfare of the sport, scuttles the work to create a wider worldwide appeal (why else would we have T-20), and tries to create a Security Council type of structure which can hardly benefit anyone other than the three countries mooting this hair brained idea. England's argument would be simple; the inventors of the game, the home of the ICC till it was moved to Dubai, and essentially the people who taught the rest of the world the game of cricket and its bizarre rules that outsiders take a while to understand. I always argued that apart from the commercial reasons for colonization the purpose of the British Empire was to teach the world their sports so in time the former colonies would beat them at the very games they were taught. Need I say more than England's performance in Soccer, Rugby and Cricket? So other than a sense of nostalgic history England's claim to be in the elite Group of Three is without any basis. Australia, perhaps because of the longest run as the world's premier Test playing nation and one day side could lay better claim to an exalted position. However, performance on the field does not mean you end up with a position of power in the ICC other than what other nations would have. Besides when the fortunes of performance vane, as they eventually do, does the position of power be surrendered? Just because China dominates, say diving in the Olympics does not mean the power of the sport administration should shift to Beijing? By the argument of performance, South Africa has shown its mastery in test and one day cricket in recent years, why are they excluded? Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan have carved out their own short periods of supremacy on the cricket pitch; so do we end up with a power shifting structure that changes with each world cup? India's claim to be in the elite club and control the destiny of cricket is perhaps the most illogical. Its argument that it generates 80% of the viewership of the sport on TV media it deserves the right to be in the Group of Three is contradictory. While it argues this position on the world scene, its own Premier League (IPL) is based on a more equitable formula of revenue distribution where the last placed club would get perhaps 50% of what the winning club would get, but more importantly, this is based on a formula of the number of appearances and matches you play. If India's argument is based on viewership, considering its massive population, then asking for a different revenue sharing formula for matches that India plays would be fair, but to want a bigger share of ALL worldwide revenues even when India is not playing a series is arrogant to say the least. Another problem with India having the power within the ICC rests upon the state of cricket administration within India. To say that Indian cricket administration within the country is rotten to the core would be an understatement. The scandals involving IPL and members or relatives of members of the BCCI board are well documented. Why would the world cricket administration allow these rotten corrupt scoundrels into their portals of power? Will the code of ethics of the ICC be totally ignored? The fact that India offered side deals to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka where by saying that revenue sharing on bilateral series will be open for discussion and distribution/adjustment from India's share is really a form of bribery to get into the Group of Three. I would venture that South Africa would also have been offered some treats on the side to accept the new structure. But stop and ponder, if all the other countries stood together and told Australia, India, and England to pack their cricket bags and play amongst themselves, I doubt that it would have made a huge difference to the world of cricket. In the long run cricket would remain healthy as South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan combined have enough of a pull to keep their own audiences entertained. Sure an South Africa-Australia series would be missed but by the same token Australia beating England and India each time would get boring too. Sadly the future of cricket will be scuttled for ever by the problems that three countries will bring to the ICC and none of the other boards see that.