January 23, 2014

Give administrators the freedom to eat themselves

Let the Australian, English and Indian boards do what they want regardless of our wishes. They'll soon learn

"Now that we've sorted the cricket, will you scratch my back - there's a spot I just can't reach" © Getty Images

A friend of a friend operates according to the "oh let him, he'll soon learn" parental philosophy. The central tenet is that you should let your son do any old stupid thing because "he'll soon learn".

For example, if your toddler is wending his way towards a roaring open fire, rather than allowing any nearby adult to intervene in order to protect him from harm, you instead hold everyone back, saying: "Oh let him - he'll soon learn." The child promptly sustains a severe injury, but presumably doesn't make the same mistake again.

Well, I vote we adopt this laissez-faire approach to nannying with the cricket administrators of Australia, England and India. We can't control them; they do what they want regardless of our wishes. Why don't we leave them to it? They'll soon learn.

So Pakistan, South Africa, Ireland, Afghanistan, Disneyland, Narnia and every other cricketing nation with half an ounce of sense should say to the big league trio: "Okay, off you go. We'll give you free rein to do your own thing for the next decade. Go and create the cricket world you've dreamed of and we'll keep ourselves busy doing something completely different. If, at the end of that ten-year period you still want to persist with things, we'll make it all official and that will be that. However, if, against all the odds, it turns out that your brave new world turns into a foetid dung heap, we'll welcome you back into the fold - only this time we'll do things our way."

So Australia, England and India do an awkward and embarrassing three-way high-five thing and promptly set about drawing up plans for Shangri-La. India will play endless home one-dayers against Australia, who will also have to find the time to play home and away Ashes series each year. The Elite T20 World Cup will involve all three and will move from nation to nation, year by year.

The year one financial results come in and huzzah, everyone's absolutely coining it in. The year-two results are slightly down, but that's explained away by the fact that some of the cricket wasn't as competitive as in year one. Hopefully things will bounce back in year three.

In year three, the cricket's worse and the viewing figures are worse. In year four, the cricket improves but the viewing figures are down again. TV rights negotiations then become an exercise in trying to make broadcasters somehow see a mirror image of all your graphs.

By year ten, this insular, idiotic monster has eaten itself. Starved of outside sustenance, the body has had to resort to drawing energy from within in order to keep itself alive - but you can only rely on your fat reserves to last so long. Sooner or later you have to put something in.

What is the most basic impulse in the natural world? It is surely the urge to eat. Even the stupidest animal alive knows that it isn't a self-contained unit. It might not understand that what it consumes eventually turns into its physical form, but there is nevertheless a fundamental understanding that it can't just sit there, blocking out the wider world and hope to survive.

However, the administrators of Australia, England and India appear to believe precisely that. They think that just because they've got a window of opportunity to sit down and groom themselves right now, this is all they're ever going to need to do. There's no plan for the future here, only a plan for some fictional timeline where actions don't have consequences.

If these three nations want to join hands and set off skipping gaily down the idyllic road they think they've found, admiring the flowers and gently kissed by a warm summer sun, then let them. They'll soon learn.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ajit on January 25, 2014, 5:24 GMT

    It is painfully obvious that higher future revenues can be earned by having more countries playing the game at highest levels rather than having a league of 3 in the world of 190+ countries. The fable of killing the goose which laid golden eggs was taught to all students by 4th grade. Maybe the people running the 3 boards have forgotten this tale. Or maybe they never reached 4th grade in school :)

  • steve on January 24, 2014, 19:53 GMT

    @common9, The BCCI is free, under the existing system, to make as much money as they like from there own market. What the big three are trying to do is grab the lions share of revenue generated from ICC events such as the world cup. It takes more than three nations to make such events attractive. I don't know why we need to be parochial about this, all real cricket fans will lose if this comes into force.

  • Hrithik on January 24, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    @ Salobaby So u watch cricket for the sake of nationalism? That's no podium to lecture others from. And @fastbowling ever wonder why there are no good fast bowlers in India? Why the stadiums and other facilities are inadequate? That is because the money bcci makes now is not enough to develop cricket in 1/6 th of humanity. They will all the money they can get and more just for cricket in India.

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2014, 8:55 GMT

    @Bowden : Then you must be watching your incompetent English County & dying clubs for lack of funds. So will be these boards other than 3 big boys. SL not able to pay its players, SA makes less money than Pak, Pak is playing in empty stadium, NZ is running by IPL payments to its participants. WI no money, no players. BD is crawling. Zimbabwe no body knows what is going on. So expecting to give permission to put your hand on till by big 3 is very ambitious. Empty Ego is useless without money in the pocket.this can not pay bills, remunerations & maintain facilities. I am aware Indian companies are advertising in SA - PAK marches shown in mid east to sustain. It is the ability of BCCI not privileges of SA & PAK.

  • suresh kumar on January 24, 2014, 5:15 GMT

    @fastbowler there is no demand for fast bowler, spin friendly track would do the job.

  • fast on January 23, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    @common9 - yes india can have 500 teams but there will be zero fast bowlers! Then they can all score 500 runs in a T20 match woohoo!!

  • Salman on January 23, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    @common9 Really? How long as an Indian fan will you watch Indian players play among themselves ? Will you not miss to support India against other countries rather than supporting Indian clubs or states? India does not own cricket, it is one big part of it.

  • Hrithik on January 23, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    @Richard Payne: I don't think India will be playing Eng and Aus in 10 years. And I don't think they want to play anybody else. I don't know if this is good or not but that is pretty obvious. India can have 20 teams of its own, if she really wanted, who wants Aus and Eng?

  • Rob on January 23, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    @ramesh Cricket survived fine before Indian money. As a fan I don't care who gets paid what, who gets broadcasting rights, whether the facilities hold some gold standard. A flat grassy field, a unique pitch for each venue and broadcast video (can be done by any 15 year old these days to a higher quality than the 70s which were fine) is all I need. And of course players from different countries. If these countries include Afganistan, namibia, Ireland, Canada, Sotland, Kenya, USA, Wales, China and exclude England, Australia and India, I'll get used to it. If the players earn normal salaries and have to engage the public face-to-face with coaching/participation games/talks etc to make a livelihood, the game will be richer. If the TV cannot afford another overpaid old star pontifying on , who cares. In a nutshell: if it is a non profit played and watched for enjoyment - the world wins

  • Dummy4 on January 23, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    @ramli, can you seriously not see the problem if the other 7 nations pull out? How long would it take for Indian fans to get bored watching their team only ever playing against Australia and England? It would be about 2 years before fans would be rioting in the streets and baying for the administrators' blood.

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