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India shot down Test championship - WICB chief

Ajay S Shankar

August 28, 2009

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Julian Hunte, the West Indies board chairman, at the ICC executive meeting, Dubai, April 18, 2009
Julian Hunte also claimed that some ICC full members remain suspicious of the motives of private promoters in the game © Getty Images
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Julian Hunte, the West Indies board president, has said that the Indian cricket board shot down a proposal mooted by the ICC to organise Test cricket around the four-year Test championship cycle.

Hunte's revelation - the first official disclosure by an ICC board member following reports that the Test championship plan had faded - came in his report at the annual general meeting of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) this month.

"Initially, the ICC attempted to change the structure of the FTP beginning from 2012 in which international cricket would have more content and would play more as a Super League with a 4-year structure resulting in a World Cricket Championship [but this] failed when the BCCI rejected that proposal," Hunte said. "This meant a return to the old practice of full members agreeing to a schedule of tours, which in effect places the power in the hands of the four biggest commercially valued members."

Hunte does not mention who those four are, but it is common knowledge that the boards of India, England, Australia and South Africa enjoy a dominating presence in the ICC boardroom. India earns a bulk of its revenue from TV rights and hence is not keen on a championship model that would lead to the setting up of a common broadcast cash pot. It has, consequently, successfully pushed for the existing model, where members arrive at bilateral agreements with the danger of those at the bottom of the table being marginalised.

The post-2012 FTP is currently being finalised by the ICC, and Hunte said that the WICB "will seek to ensure that it is not disadvantaged" in the new schedule.

Hunte also claimed, in a section of the report that deals with IPL, that some ICC full members remain suspicious of the motives of private promoters in the game, and concluded by saying that world cricket is at the crossroads and much depends on decisions that will be taken by the ICC.

Hunte's report deals extensively with the WICB's dispute with its players that forced West Indies to name a second-string squad for the series against Bangladesh and the forthcoming Champions Trophy. But those comments are on expected and previously stated lines and Hunte blames the players for choosing not to represent the team and showing the "highest form of disregard and disdain for West Indies cricket". What is surprising, though, is that the document, which is essentially a report on West Indies cricket, contains significant comments on the FTP and IPL.

He lists a set of concerns related to the rise of Twenty20 cricket while also admitting that players have "embraced" the BCCI's IPL with its auctions and high-profile owners.

"The emergence of private promoters in cricket has been much debated and some Full Member countries retain their inherent suspicion of the real objectives of such promoters. The ICC has drawn the line in relation to other leagues such the as ICL, which are not recognised by their home boards. Conversely, decision-making at the ICC affecting the IPL is often seemingly under the influence of some Full Members. The WICB remains convinced that Full Members should in some way benefit financially from the IPL and expect to see a general tightening up with respect to the issuance of Non-Objection Certificates. With many challenges to be faced and overcome, the future of world cricket is now at the crossroads and much depends on the decisions which will have to be taken by ICC in the near future."

Hunte's concerns about the IPL are not surprising given that one of the roadblocks in the dispute between the West Indies board and players is the question of participation in the IPL. Many of the West Indies players, including Chris Gayle, had wanted to be part of this year's IPL but were forced to fly to England midway to take part in a Test series that they claimed was arranged without obtaining prior consent from their association.

The IPL - which comes under the BCCI - has since clarified that players who have retired and even those not on central contracts with their national boards need to get a two-year NOC from their boards to be eligible for the IPL. The Champions League Twenty20, of which the BCCI is a founding partner, has also invited Trinidad and Tobago, the West Indies' domestic toppers in the format, to participate in the tournament starting October 8 with total prize money of $6 million and a guaranteed fee of $500,000, apart from an unspecified payment for the respective national boards.

Ajay Shankar is a deputy editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by lazytrini on (August 30, 2009, 22:01 GMT)

As much as I detest the inordinate influence the BCCI has in the world game, the reality for me is that Julian Hunte has neither credibility nor relevance and is not in a position to better cricket as a sport.

Posted by ProdigyA on (August 30, 2009, 20:54 GMT)

Well Chandran, its not about in whose hands the power is, its about how efficient the ICC is, that it cant take its own decisions but has to depend on other countries. If the ICC has taken a decision it should be strong enough to stand by it, even if other countries agree or not. So accept the fact that ICC is inept and stop cribbing on India. As far as playing with other less competent teams is concerned, thats solely the decision of the respective boards. So if u wanna play srilanka the whole year with Aus or SA go ahead but stop pointing fingers and tell somebody else what they are supposed to do. Finally, As far as friendship is concerned, the world knows srilanks keeps begging BCCI for money on the name of friendship, so the less talked about the friendship the better it is for you.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 30, 2009, 19:57 GMT)

On a related issue, I am pissed off that BCCI decided unilaterally without discussing it franchises and inspite of opposition to terminating the deal from Lalit Modi. It is the unprofessional side of BCCI. The latest news I heard is that the franchise owners like Ambani and Shah Rukh are up in arms against BCCI on this and there is an emergency meeting called by BCCI on September 2nd to reconsider the issue. I am glad the franchises are putting the BCCI on check and taking them to cleaners. IMG is very much needed to ensure the success of IPL and I am sure the franchises will force BCCI to backdown. They need to someone whip them up now and then to keep them in check.

Posted by DaveT on (August 30, 2009, 19:21 GMT)

My perception is that India have an ageing core of great players, and that Australia seem reluctant to arrange test matches on the subcontintent, whilst playing home matches to suit themselves every Christmas. Something smells. At least there are 4 teams in this league with around 119 points. Does anyone care?

Posted by ajoy.d on (August 30, 2009, 18:35 GMT)

A document containing a report on WI cricket turns into a discussion on how money minded and greedy BCCI/IPlL is !! How much time has Hunte spent in examing why WI cricketers show "highest form of disregard and disdain for West Indies cricket" and finding solutions for the real problems in WI compared to obsessing on the IPL/BCCI , private promoters , etc bogey...?. I'm guess not a lot. One more example of an amazing lack of clear thinking from the WI board.

@Frais: This India bashing (BCCI/IPL) stuff used to upset folks earlier.. now Yawwnnnnnnnnn. I fell down laughing when i read that "the ashes is the pinnacle of Test Cricket" and that we need to " Build some tradition and passion for test cricket India and you will get the respect you so much desire". Where did you get that india still "so much desires respect" - this used to be the case up until the 90s. Try to catch up with the times !!

Posted by skilly21 on (August 30, 2009, 18:13 GMT)

quite frankly, Test Cricket needs some sort of rejuvenation. Aside from the Ashes and other such rivalry like India vs Pakistan, Test Cricket is played in nearly empty stadia for atleast 3 of the 5 days. As it is now, most cricket fans dont really follow or even care what happens to other nation's matches. They only know and are concerned with what happens to their home team and any other favourite. Here in the West Indies, most cricket fans are clueless as to what is happening with other Test matches. The only exception is India's tours due to a large indian population in the caribbean.

The real philosophical reasons for Sport being so popular and important is due to the competitive nature of humans. We like to support our team and hope that they become the best. Right now, Test Cricket offers no real competition. It seems as if it is played simply for the fun of it. What happens after a contry wins a test match? what are the consequences of losing?

Posted by IPLFan on (August 30, 2009, 14:54 GMT)

Well argued BangaloreKid, but unfortunately these supporters of "pinnacle of the game" will never understand simple logic. Only solution is for market to take its course and BCCI to take over entire world cricket soon. Only then will these stupid arguments be put to rest (and Cricinfo shut down for good).

Posted by Charindra on (August 30, 2009, 13:16 GMT)

I can't believe one country is being allowed to monopolize cricket in this manner. In the last century small nations like Sri Lanka suffered at the hands of Australia and England. Now we are suffering at the hands of our so called friend, India. The main reason Bangladesh was granted test status is India but they refuse to host them because it's not profitable. But BCCI still wants to keep their test status as it is a valuable vote at the ICC decisions! They also bought Zimbabwe over. And then they leave the dirty work of actually playing against these useless teams to Sri Lanka. Oh the injustice.... If India is actually helping Sri Lanka, how on earth are we playing only TWO TEST MATCHES next year??? And that too against the West Indies?!?!

Posted by TwitterJitter on (August 30, 2009, 12:46 GMT)

@Frais- Nobody cares what you or the rest of your clan thinks about how India plays its cricket. Infact, I have been a long time proponent of India getting out of ICC and going the American way for sports i.e have its own domestic league. The world cricket has become a parasitic organization where many boards do not have a clue of how to run a company profitably but want other organizations to share their profit for their own ineptness. Americans have long smelt this socialist drivel and made sure all their leagues are run domestically, profitably, and successfully like any business. BCCI has a long way to go as far as running it professionally is concerned. I have been a fervent critic of that. Atleast, they know how to run business profitably. Once India gets out of ICC, ECB will soon realize that the rest of the parasites will now be jumping on them and it wont be long before they follow suit.

Posted by CricFan78 on (August 30, 2009, 12:12 GMT)

Yes Frais Ashes was clearly pinnacle of Test cricket when we saw two average teams slug it out recently by playing average cricket. Even SL-Pak was far more interesting in contrast. As for England's tradition surely its just a tradition now that they havent produced a Test batsman with 50+ avg in last 20 yrs or a bowler which can take 300+ wkts. So keep bleating about tradition it only makes you and your ilk laughing stock.

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