ESPNcricinfo for Cricket Summit November 19, 2013

Cricket leadership 'weak, self-interested'

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ian Chappell, the former Australia captain, has described the leadership of cricket as "weak and self-interested" and called on the game's administrators to do more to stamp out corruption. Delivering the keynote address at the ESPNcricinfo at 20 event in Brisbane on Tuesday night, Chappell said cricket had for some time been "a runaway train with no one at the lead", particularly in regard to scheduling between the three formats.

He described India's cricket administration as arrogant, but was equally critical of the other major nations for their failure to stand up to the BCCI on various issues. And while Chappell said an overcrowded schedule and disparity between the quality of Test teams were major issues for the game's administrators, he said corruption was clearly the most pressing problem in the sport.

"What has bothered me particularly in recent times has been this seeming obsession with the bottom line," Chappell said. "Most cricket administration decisions seem to be made purely with the bottom line in mind. I would like cricket administrators to get back to where priority number one, and easily priority number one, is the best interests of the game.

"I think now the most important issue for cricket administration is corruption. I can't think of anything other than corruption that can bring this game down. Players have got to become whistle-blowers, and they've got to be educated how important this is. You cannot tell me that if you're in a dressing room and there's some funny stuff going on, surely to Christ you're going to know.

"I think if you look at the history of people who have been pinged with corruption charges, not much of it has come from cricket. Not much of it has come from the anti-corruption unit. Most of it has come from television stings, newspaper stings."

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Chappell called for a zero-tolerance approach to fixing from the game's administrators, including bans for players suspected of corruption, regardless of whether such suspicions would hold up in court. Although he echoed Rahul Dravid's recent comments that making jail time would be the most effective deterrent to players tempted into corruption, he said cricket-based punishments were just as important.

"I think if cricket is going to rely on prosecuting these guys in court, you're going to catch about one every hundred years. It's damn near impossible," he said. "Cricket has to have a cricket punishment, which is obviously leaving guys out of the team if they think they're dodgy, and I know that can be fraught with danger, but this is not a Marquess of Queensberry game. They're not going to play by the rules, and I don't think cricket can afford to.

"If you look at what cricket has done, the only convictions cricket has got seem to me to be very, very soft targets. I don't think that all the people, all the players, mixed up in this are all soft targets."

Chappell said the only way for the game to deal with corruption and its other problems was through strong, impartial leadership at ICC level and through the national boards. But he believed the game's administrators had shown themselves to be too weak and self-interested to look beyond the bottom line of profit.

"The game needs strong leadership, both on and off the field," he said. "It's quite fashionable in recent times to blame India for arrogance in their administration, and I would have to say that I agree with those feelings. But equally, I feel that the rest of the countries, particularly the major nations, are equally to blame, because none of them have stood up to India, and if you're not going to stand up to India, then I don't think you can criticise India for the way they are administering the game.

"I think what the game needs is some strong and impartial leadership, and at the moment I think what it's getting is weak and self-interested leadership. Is it a game or is it a business? It needs a happy balance. It needs to take the middle ground somewhere."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Afsar on November 20, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    @Clavers - In last 4 years, IND visited twice, so did Sri Lanka. Pakistan visited this year and played tests too. You mean virtual civil war is for only AUS & ENG? If they fear so much then why dont they arrange a series in neutral ground or invite to home country? Those are excuses for not getting ($$) sponsoring to tour ZIM.

  • Vikas on November 20, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    The old cricket guys do indulge in these school boy debates as Ian Chappel has done now or continues to do. How relevant his debate is or does it carry much weight, I really don't lnow. He hs lost lot of value over years due to his talking too much. Then most of these guys are so much covered in nationality feeling due to their playing career, they become unbeliavable. When Australians were caught accepting money fr information, they played it cool an set a precedent. They do not really set god examples or are considered fair and relevant.

  • BN on November 20, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Its not about sports and business but there are politics and dynamics which is dominant.It exists across the sports ,nation and in every field .But people need to ask and workout on the following. ,Does ethics exist ?or neutral body and watchdog system exists?

  • alfred on November 20, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    "weak, self interested, arrogant"..... Spot on!!

  • Seshu on November 20, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    BCCI is not stopping all test playing nations to tour countries like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Recently India toured Zimbabwe......Aus came to India for what??? They would have went to bangladesh.... Ian Chappel's views are correct. Australia talk but can they do?

  • Marky on November 20, 2013, 9:15 GMT

    Ha Ha , this looks a BCCI Bashathon. Ian Chappel talking about Cricket as a Business, wasn't he the captain that joined Packer Series for More Money?

  • venu on November 20, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    @latecut_04: Dude, forget about the past(we knew who ruled most of the world in late 1800s and early 19th century), Has chappell tried to improve the technique of any player from any so called weak nation? This is not completely expected, Recently he was not allowed as a commentator in the recent series in India :-) Instead of talking all of this, Mike and Chappell can go and coach for the so called poor nations which will improve cricketing skills.

  • Arnav on November 20, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    Its so fashionable to blame the BCCI for every ill that plague cricket. Did BCCI invent ODI or T20 or professional cricket or the Packer Series..? They just marketed it better, invested in infrastructure which produced a generation of top class cricketers which led to exciting cricket that people pays money to watch. Does anyone for a moment think the Indian public would pay money and watch cricket or advertisers put money in the game, if the Indian team was not doing well??? The BCCI for all its issues , has invested in Indian cricket..look at all the players coming from rural areas now playing for India. Its unthinkable players of the class of Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer and Harbhajan are not in the test squad. T20 was blamed for the poor WI shows..But India plays more T20 then anyone..

    Is it wrong for BCCI to look primarily after welfare of Indian cricket? After all what this England and Australia did for cricket when they were dominating. They even had veto in ICC.!!!

  • venu on November 20, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Forget about everything. Just one plain question to both Chappell and Artherton. How many poor people they have helped in their entire life? I'm not asking about financial help. Have they ever even thought of visiting a nation like Afganistan or any other country and help them in bowling or batting techniques.

  • Rajkumar on November 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    I wasn't even born when ACA and ECB were ruling global cricket but I fully agree with Ian's comments here.Especially he needs to be commented for mentioning the muted response of other cricket boards for their own selfish interests.ECB would well have had a demon to deal with if the stanford Series fiasco made even a bit of sense.It is just that it was a non starter and English cricket only benefitted from its fast death.BCCI could have shown a model to the rest of the world(not only cricket)regarding what should be the ideal actions of the most powerful governing body.Instead it is governed by selfish,money driven interests of a few corporates.Two wrongs don't make a right and if BCCI is all set to return what ACA and ECB did then there would be no test cricket.