ESPNcricinfo for Cricket Summit November 19, 2013

Atherton calls for more even distribution of game's profits

ESPNcricinfo staff
59

Internet rights in their infancy - Michael Atherton

Mike Atherton, the former England captain, has called on cricket's most powerful nations to do more for the wellbeing of the weaker Test teams, including a more even distribution of the game's profits between the sides.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the ESPNcricinfo at 20 event in Brisbane on Tuesday night, where he was joined by former Australia captain Steve Waugh, commentator Jim Maxwell and Cricket New South Wales CEO Andrew Jones, Atherton raised the widening chasm between the richer and poorer countries as a major issue for the future of the sport. He highlighted the IPL as one example of the way teams like New Zealand and West Indies were disadvantaged.

"I think strategically it's the biggest issue that faces the game, really," Atherton said. "You've got four very strong nations [financially] in India, England, Australia and South Africa to a lesser extent, and then a lot of ailing nations. So you're getting a kind of two-tiered system at the moment, and the IPL particularly impacts upon New Zealand and West Indies, who can't quite pay their players the same amount.

"Their players are very interested in going and playing in the IPL, as we would all be. It doubly impacts upon the Caribbean because the whole season for the Caribbean is February, March, April, which is exactly the time for the IPL. It's in the long-term interests of England, India, Australia and South Africa to have eight strong nations rather than four.

"If you only have three or four strong nations, cricket is diminishing all the time and you get what's happening at the moment, with England playing Australia more often and playing India more often, and that fixture list diminishes. You can't call it the world game if only four nations play the gameā€¦ It's in the long-term interests to make sure the other countries are strong."

While television rights are a major revenue source for the stronger boards and are therefore unlikely to be given up lightly, Atherton believed there was another possibility for a more even spread of profits. He used the example of the way Major League Baseball splits its broadcasting rights between teams, and said cricket might be able to use a similar system for internet rights.

"Internet rights are in their infancy," Atherton said. "What happens in baseball is there's a kind of organisation jointly owned by the clubs, and internet rights are pooled together and then the profits are spread out between all the clubs, the weak clubs and the strong clubs. They're trying to create a level playing field.

"I think something like that has to happen with cricket. You won't get India giving away their television rights, you won't get Australia giving away their television rights, but internet rights are in their infancy and something like that [may work]."

Atherton also countered a suggestion from Waugh that the IPL was good for some of the weaker boards, as it enabled players to earn more of a livelihood and reduced the pressure on the home boards to raise their pay.

"Does it take pressure off their boards or put pressure on their boards?" Atherton said. "We have a Test series in England usually in early May ... it's often a two-Test series against what you might call the less powerful nations, a New Zealand or West Indies at the moment.

"Consequently the players are either not available because they're in the IPL or they're coming back from the IPL the day before a game and therefore under-prepared or badly prepared for Test cricket. It impacts Tests negatively and puts pressure on boards, I would say."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • landl47 on November 19, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Atherton's right, although the issue is much more complex than he makes it sound (I'm sure he realizes that and was keeping his remarks general, given the nature of the occasion). Money shared by the wealthier countries with those that generate less revenue must be used for the benefit of cricket; the problem is, defining what that means. It's obviously very different in New Zealand than it is in Bangladesh. In NZ, a small population limits the country's ability to produce large numbers of top-class players, so the priority might be keeping those that are available from becoming mercenaries. In Bangladesh, the need might be to create an infrastructure to develop talent among a large but relatively poor population. If money is just handed out willy-nilly, whose to say that it will be used for the right purposes? Yet it is important to respect the rights of each board to make it's own decisions.

    The ICC has a tough job and at the moment it doesn't seem to be getting it done.

  • on November 22, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Once again, Indians are getting touchy about what Atherton is saying. I expected it. Relax, people! Nobody's criticizing India. I think the point is that if things go on the way they are only 3-4 countries will end up playing cricket. I don't think that's good for India in the long run. If we want to save cricket then it's important for all the powerful countries to come together and make sure that the less powerful countries don't fall away.

  • Harmony111 on November 21, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @Biso:

    Yes it is true my dear. I do not say anything that I can't back.

    Pls search for this cricinfo article ------"IPL snub led to BCCI's county refusal"------.

    The 1st two paragraphs prove what I say.

    You can wait till Joe Root's retirement but you won't find any replies to what I've said.

  • pjd_Howzat on November 20, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Centuries???? thought is was only being played for just over 1 century

  • on November 20, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    The words by Mike is what most of us have been saying all along . The Most powerful cricket nations with the big dollars are calling the shots and undermining the teams that are not in the Top 5 . The West Indies are hardest hit and is being snub for being ruled the cricket world for 15 years . The plan is that this 3rd world team should never rule cricket again. Even when the WI were at the top of world cricket , no decisions were made by them , no cricket gear was made by them , all systems were put in place to make sure WI fell apart . Now WI are the laughing stock of the Cricket world ........SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS.

  • heathrf1974 on November 20, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    That's the ICC's job and not the BCCI's to assist other weaker nations.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    typical comments. jst coz the shoe is on the other foot now, suddenly everyone has had a change of heart, and wants "wats best for the game"! so hypocritical, that it made me laugh. lets take ather's suggestion then, and ECB will lead the way to show wat great servants of the game they r (ARE, and not WERE - wat great good hv they done in the last century? india has atleast made cricket richer n got t20 on the map through IPL, positively impacting the financial state of many lesser known players). do not take any player from ireland or any of ur neighbouring countries. instead put money into those boards so they become self sufficient. and how abt a full series against them? easy to preach, wen holding a mic, eh?

  • cricketforpeace on November 20, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Mr Atherton's suggestion, though sounds good to read is not practical in today's free market economy.From the time test cricket was being played,only two countries dominated the cricketing stratosphere.They did precious little for development of cricket in all the other cricket playing countries.Even when WI dominated the cricketing arena,they did not have the economic clout of today's India.The advent of T20 and the introduction of IPL changed the whole scene.Suddenly, players and boards from specially England started to feel left out of the economic windfall that IPL generated.The IPL happened at just the right time for India and for cricketers of other nations.The ECB should feel happy that their cricketers are now getting good money.Asking profits to be shared amongst other boards is not fair to India(who have conceived and executed it well).I however feel that the BCCI can do much more for cricket in the sub-continent,specially for Afghanistan.BCCI do not need to bother about ECB.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    What is being proven here is that everyone loves a free lunch. Atherton is no exception :) India too has football and basketball teams which are struggling to do anything meaningful due to lack of funds. Once the decades-old established leagues like EPL and NBA has shared their revenues equally so that the disadvantaged teams get their pie, we can talk about IPL revenues being shared. Fair play, eh?

    That something like this is even mulled over is outrageous, but to actually bring it up in an official forum...wow! It needs an Englishman to experiment such things :)

  • Ramesh_Joseph on November 20, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Great Idea. There should be even distribution of wealth. But why only cricket? In all sports the wealthier coiuntries (for example England in football or USA in basketball) should evenly distribute their profits across the world. But then why even stop at sports. I feel all the wealthy countries in the world and the oil rich countries should distribute all their weath evenly to poorer countries in Asia and Africa. Mike Atherton is a visionary and a revolutionary. Hail.

  • landl47 on November 19, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Atherton's right, although the issue is much more complex than he makes it sound (I'm sure he realizes that and was keeping his remarks general, given the nature of the occasion). Money shared by the wealthier countries with those that generate less revenue must be used for the benefit of cricket; the problem is, defining what that means. It's obviously very different in New Zealand than it is in Bangladesh. In NZ, a small population limits the country's ability to produce large numbers of top-class players, so the priority might be keeping those that are available from becoming mercenaries. In Bangladesh, the need might be to create an infrastructure to develop talent among a large but relatively poor population. If money is just handed out willy-nilly, whose to say that it will be used for the right purposes? Yet it is important to respect the rights of each board to make it's own decisions.

    The ICC has a tough job and at the moment it doesn't seem to be getting it done.

  • on November 22, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Once again, Indians are getting touchy about what Atherton is saying. I expected it. Relax, people! Nobody's criticizing India. I think the point is that if things go on the way they are only 3-4 countries will end up playing cricket. I don't think that's good for India in the long run. If we want to save cricket then it's important for all the powerful countries to come together and make sure that the less powerful countries don't fall away.

  • Harmony111 on November 21, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @Biso:

    Yes it is true my dear. I do not say anything that I can't back.

    Pls search for this cricinfo article ------"IPL snub led to BCCI's county refusal"------.

    The 1st two paragraphs prove what I say.

    You can wait till Joe Root's retirement but you won't find any replies to what I've said.

  • pjd_Howzat on November 20, 2013, 11:55 GMT

    Centuries???? thought is was only being played for just over 1 century

  • on November 20, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    The words by Mike is what most of us have been saying all along . The Most powerful cricket nations with the big dollars are calling the shots and undermining the teams that are not in the Top 5 . The West Indies are hardest hit and is being snub for being ruled the cricket world for 15 years . The plan is that this 3rd world team should never rule cricket again. Even when the WI were at the top of world cricket , no decisions were made by them , no cricket gear was made by them , all systems were put in place to make sure WI fell apart . Now WI are the laughing stock of the Cricket world ........SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS.

  • heathrf1974 on November 20, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    That's the ICC's job and not the BCCI's to assist other weaker nations.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    typical comments. jst coz the shoe is on the other foot now, suddenly everyone has had a change of heart, and wants "wats best for the game"! so hypocritical, that it made me laugh. lets take ather's suggestion then, and ECB will lead the way to show wat great servants of the game they r (ARE, and not WERE - wat great good hv they done in the last century? india has atleast made cricket richer n got t20 on the map through IPL, positively impacting the financial state of many lesser known players). do not take any player from ireland or any of ur neighbouring countries. instead put money into those boards so they become self sufficient. and how abt a full series against them? easy to preach, wen holding a mic, eh?

  • cricketforpeace on November 20, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Mr Atherton's suggestion, though sounds good to read is not practical in today's free market economy.From the time test cricket was being played,only two countries dominated the cricketing stratosphere.They did precious little for development of cricket in all the other cricket playing countries.Even when WI dominated the cricketing arena,they did not have the economic clout of today's India.The advent of T20 and the introduction of IPL changed the whole scene.Suddenly, players and boards from specially England started to feel left out of the economic windfall that IPL generated.The IPL happened at just the right time for India and for cricketers of other nations.The ECB should feel happy that their cricketers are now getting good money.Asking profits to be shared amongst other boards is not fair to India(who have conceived and executed it well).I however feel that the BCCI can do much more for cricket in the sub-continent,specially for Afghanistan.BCCI do not need to bother about ECB.

  • on November 20, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    What is being proven here is that everyone loves a free lunch. Atherton is no exception :) India too has football and basketball teams which are struggling to do anything meaningful due to lack of funds. Once the decades-old established leagues like EPL and NBA has shared their revenues equally so that the disadvantaged teams get their pie, we can talk about IPL revenues being shared. Fair play, eh?

    That something like this is even mulled over is outrageous, but to actually bring it up in an official forum...wow! It needs an Englishman to experiment such things :)

  • Ramesh_Joseph on November 20, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Great Idea. There should be even distribution of wealth. But why only cricket? In all sports the wealthier coiuntries (for example England in football or USA in basketball) should evenly distribute their profits across the world. But then why even stop at sports. I feel all the wealthy countries in the world and the oil rich countries should distribute all their weath evenly to poorer countries in Asia and Africa. Mike Atherton is a visionary and a revolutionary. Hail.

  • Biso on November 20, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    @Harmony111. Is it true what you have stated? ECB along with Sky Sports shot down the idea of exhibition matches between IPL teams in Ireland? Amazing! Now, are the hypocrites listening? I am yet to see any comment on your point. Very Interesting!

  • Biso on November 20, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @MrPotatoesTomatoes. Bang on! You sure know your onions. Athers expects everyone to take his comments at face value. LoL

  • 8Nirvana8 on November 20, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    I do not have a problem with the big players in the world of cricket helping poorer countries financially. The fairest way to do this would be to impose a levy on each participating country, with the funds thus raised to be distributed among poorer countries to enable them to develop the game.

    But what short memories we have! For decades, cricket was dominated by two countries that did little to help the rest that struggled financially. These poorer countries were not able to afford development of the sport in their country nor were they able to tour other countries easily.

    I support an arrangement whereby each of the Big Four would be levied an amount (to be determined through negotiation) for a fund to assist those in need. One must not forget that it takes far more money to fund, provide facilities and operate the game in a country of a billion people with under-developed logistics than it does in a smaller developed nation with state of the art logistics and facilities.

  • ladycricfan on November 20, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    Cricket survived for centuries with just two cpumtries playing each other. Other countries joined later. It is for the individual boards to develop and promote cricket in their own countries.

  • on November 20, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    As others have said this is pretty much a re-hash of the (sadly ignored by the ICC) Woolf Report. Cricket needs 10 competitive test teams, a clear pathway for Ireland, Afghanistan and potentially others to follow to enable them to become test nations, a 16 team World Cup, a 20 team World T20 (no preliminary round with all the associates in it as a half-measure either) and some visionary, unselfish leadership.

  • Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on November 20, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    I believe its mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption among cricket administrators that is the biggest threat to the game at the moment.While,a plea to share profits,is understandable a noble one,it just does not work.Simply because, one,it's going to fall into the hands of the administrators who carry the already mentioned deficiencies and two,it's not really needed. It's only recently that the financially weaker test-playing countries have fallen too far behind behind the top guns,and while its easier to lay it on the IPL and other T20 leagues and the top four,the shambolic management of cricket affairs in the lagging nations needs to be duly pointed out. You look at the WIndies, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the first thing that you would want with these nations is more efficient management of the sport in their respective countries.If they could sort their administrative mess out,there's no reason why they cant develop the game themselves by putting their heads together.

  • Harmony111 on November 20, 2013, 5:53 GMT

    Nothing but Woolf Report this.

    IIRC, a few months back there were talks between IPL & Ireland Cricket of holding exhibition matches between Ireland & IPL Teams in Ireland. A true cricket lover would have said Wow Wow, what a great idea. These matches would have promoted cricket in Ireland, given Ireland much needed exposure against teams & would have helped IPL become a known word in Ireland + most importantly, it would have given Ireland revenue. Guess who shot this idea down? It was ECB (along with Sky Sports) who said that Sky have the exclusive rights of broadcasting matches but still they would not show these matches & would not allow any other broadcaster to show them either.

    Did Atherton say anything about this act of ECB? His own board is not willing to allow its own Teams to get exposure & generate revenue and then Socialist Atherton is talking about other board sharing profits?

    Got no money but want to use 10,000 USD a day Hot Spot --- Epitome of ridiculousness.

  • crick_sucks on November 20, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    I have a question for you Atherton. As they say charity begins from your home, so how much has ECB done to support Irish cricket. All we hear from the media is that the ECB is poaching Irish players. Is this good for Irish cricket?

  • venkatesh018 on November 20, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    Excellent suggestions from Athers. But which dictator will give up powers without a rebellion?

  • on November 20, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    What is Atherton going on about? Hardly any cricketers from the test teams of New Zealand & West Indies play in the IPL. So how is IPL affecting the performance of these teams in England? Also, New Zealand has a good set of young players who might soon start challenging England at their home, so this "weaker team" talk might just fly back in Atherton's face. West Indies is a weak team because of their shambolic administration, inability to develop players. Criibbing about IPL is just fair dinkum for the English it seems. They have trouble making space for a mere 6 week window, whereas all other nations are expected to play around the June-Aug and Dec-Jan windows for Eng & Aus respectively. Wake up & smell the coffee man - cricket has always been dominated by 3-4 teams at any point....it was never a global game like football. If anything, T20 might just see it spread to more nations - not saying that format is necessarily a good thing

  • sherlockoz on November 20, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    I think many of you need to take of the blinkers and think about the bigger picture..the WORLD game. I for one do not want to see endless 5 test series between Eng,Aust,India & SA....if you want this, then watch the game die. We need 8 strong teams that can compete. How do WI , NZ , Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bagladesh improve their game without the help of the BIG 4? Two test series are not sufficent to do that, these teams will not improve without regular tough competition. Forget about the handouts of money & concentrate on growing the game via minimum 3 test series based on an equitable touring system for ALL countries.

  • vxttemp on November 20, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    Another lighter note! Has NBA killed basket ball? I think NBA is no different to IPL. It is just that circket has seen and being played for 5 days, now we are unable to digest t20 thinking test cricket is the best. I think t20 may make cricket popular. Remember all the jokes about cricket being played for 5 days :-)

  • vxttemp on November 20, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    @Shan_Karthic: Brilliant and Hilarious :-) I wonder how many cricketers Arther helped in England. I'm assuming England also has few poor people.

  • vxttemp on November 20, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    What about NBA and EPL sharing their profits with India? India is equally poor in both basketball and Soccer? Should I talk about other sports or how many medals India have won? I remember Jaspal Rana couldn't get a sponsor.

  • Aashiq.kb on November 20, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    Ha Ha Ha! It seems as if Mike Atherton is finding it hard to digest the fact that BCCI rules world Cricket. Hope he had the same vision when county cricket used to be "old IPL" in international Cricket!!

  • Shan_Karthic on November 20, 2013, 2:59 GMT

    Forget about extending this concept of even distribution of wealth to other fields of life. Just consider English cricket. What does he think about distributing the money made by top cricketers of England all the way down to lowest division in towns evenly amongst all those players? I mean, are not all those poor Division 3 players struggling to meet ends when star players in England team are earning millions? Has not the gap between what those Division 3 players earn to what brand endorsed mega stars earn widened?

    While we are at it, can we distribute what County players earn with struggling First Class players in BD & SL?

  • ShutTheGate on November 20, 2013, 2:11 GMT

    I'm no accountant but is it even legal to share profits globally with tax laws etc etc it would be an accounting nightmare - I imagine.

  • on November 20, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    I donot subscribe to the views of clan. ICC should play an effective role and send a powerful message to strong nation that we are for everyone

  • IAMGOD on November 20, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    I am very amused by the Western commentary.. On one hand they advise businesses and governments to move to a more Market Oriented approach - where the mightier/savvier survive. But in places where they lag, they promote a socialist approach... funny...

    I didn't hear a single voice when ECB/ABC/Packer were reaping profits - hardly anybody said anything about

    How about the EPL distribute its earnings to Indian Footballers - and help them achieve greatness!

    Just accept the fact that the stronger always rules.. Like everything in life, Nature ensures rotation (Remember Dinosaurs, Roman Empire)... Today's Bullies are future downtrodden. Enjoy while you rule!

  • gsingh7 on November 20, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    what is atherton complaining about.? wi sl nz pay their players very little in contracts while ipl pays more in few weeks that their players will earn in few years back home. who cares for underprepared 2 tests in may in england? players need money for families and ipl is their go-to option.mlb in usa is club level competition under few bussinessmen. cricket is a nation wide sports. the same thing he is talking is happening in ipl where 8 teams share profits.why will indian bcci board will share its multi billion dollar tv rights with wi or sl ?

  • roh.camp on November 20, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    @pull_shot....thats correct . Nowadays its like a trend or whatever you want to call it. If there are any problems in cricket, does not matter what nation, all want to blame the IPL or BCCI. ECB and CA have been making money since so long. BCCI just started to be a big giant one since the last 5-6-7 years. Why is no one talking about when ENG-AUS were on the top in ICC, what they did. So basically if New Zealand and West Indies cannot pay more, its IPL fault. How about them not finding talent or how about them not promoting cricket enough in their respective nation, why does no one say that.

  • demigoat on November 20, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    'But what about England for the past 200 years ....?'

    Yawn. Is that the model of governance we want to see carried on? I thought that it was generally considered to be a bad thing that England ran the game in their own interests for so long. If so, it's a bad thing now that India does.

    If Atherton had been criticising India's control of world cricket while defending England's control in years gone by, he'd be a hypocrite. But he didn't. What he said is plainly true and rejected only by the self-serving and stupid.

  • Zahidsaltin on November 20, 2013, 0:24 GMT

    What Atherton says here is the voice of many unbiased people in the cricket world. There are EASY SOULUTIONS to the problems but it needs that people who take decisions, specially ECB, CA and South Africans, have gutts to do it. Champions Trophy, for an example, should not be allowed to be administared by India as it's among clubs from various cricket nations. ICC should not only run the game among the national teams but also among the clubs from different countries. Just as in football, competitions among winners clubs of the 10 nations should play trophies in all 3 formates and it should be ICC who should run it and then equally distribute half of the net revenue among ten nations and the rest should be for smaller nations and some special developement projects.

  • on November 20, 2013, 0:16 GMT

    IPL attracts foreign players for a very short period, every year. England, for example, take away the best from the Irish national team. almost crippling them.

  • ElPhenomeno on November 20, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    As I said on another thread, what's in it for India? Why should they give away money that they generate to begin with? 80% of it. Its survival of the fittest people. If you cannot sustain your game on your own, why should others do handouts? Were Australia and England distributing their dollars when they ruled the game?

  • McGorium on November 19, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    This Marxism is all well and good, but does not change the fact that the IPL will still be far more lucrative than anything that a cricketer can hope to achieve playing international cricket alone (unless you're an elite Indian player like Dhoni, Kohli, for whom exclusive ad contracts are an order of magnitude larger than IPL contract money). Why else would KP, Mitch, Warner, etc. be lining up to play the IPL? After all, Eng and Aus pay their players well at all levels. Further, Atherton's contention is that taking funds from each according to his ability, to pay each according to his means will fix issues with boards like Zim, Pak, SL. This ignores that each of these boards have systemic issues stemming from incompetence, nepotism, politics, or some combination thereof. Throwing money at the problem will likely only entrench these elements. The ICC can enforce a fair FTP (rich nations playing the rest often, and more games per tour) and let Darwinism take its course.

  • roboh on November 19, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    Yes, share the wealth, but don't forget the Associates and Affiliates! Even teams like Zimbabwe who were in the cricket wilderness for so many years were still given millions, when not even playing. Meanwhile, Ireland, Afghanistan, and 70+ other countries are given the tiniest fraction of what the full members get.

    If you want the game to grow, invest in thest countries instead of trying to prop up the current full member nations!

  • on November 19, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    I'm perturbed by the comments along the lines of 'well England didn't redistribute when they were on top so logically India shouldn't now.' I can certainly understand the emotional appeal to Indian but ask yourself this: was it wrong for the MCC to act the way they did to dictate terms to the rest of the world and should something not have been done about that? If your answer to that is 'yes' then rationally something should be done about the way the BCCI now dictates terms in the way the MCC used to.

    Secondly, and this is something that's difficult to appreciate when you you're on Cricinfo lots or spend any length of time in India, but globally cricket is very much a minority sport. Even in countries like England, Australia, WI where it retains a considerable cultural pull it's facing encroachment. So surely the best way of revitalising interest in cricket in countries where interest and participation has or is declining is to make their teams more competitive.

  • rogues13 on November 19, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    I dunno why only IPL is pointed out...most of the WI and NZ players are playing every available T20 league....BPL, SLPL, BBL, Friends life t20....Why is athers only blaming IPL???

  • sherlockoz on November 19, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    I think Atherton has a great point here, but please don't shoot the messenger!!! The game needs a strong West Indies and a competitive New Zealand along with Pakistan, Zimbabwe & Bangladesh...if it is to survive as a World game. I can remember back to the days when the West Indies produced some of the greatest players the world has ever seen....Sobers, Richards, Richardson, Marshall, Ambrose........just to name a few. Where are the new stars of West Indies cricket, the game needs them. It needs the Hadlees & the Crowes, it needs the Flower brothers from Zimbabwe. The game is now being dominated by India (and it's money), before you Indian fans react....this is not a slur on India, it is a fact. As an example, the Indian's diminished tour of New Zealand this summer, as dictated by the Indian Cricket Board. If the ICC is adamant about growing the game Internationally (other than just in India) it needs to wrest back control of the game from India.

  • on November 19, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    The ICC 's revenues are already shared equally among the test playing nations. Even though Indian sponsors dominate ICC events. Now Atherton wants India to share its revenue from the IPL? on the same note how about the UK govt sharing its tax revenues with the Indian govt. Sounds equally fair to me!

  • Alexk400 on November 19, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    I am not for socialism. No equal profits. One guy work hard , other reap benefit. Not in my book. Bad idea. What i think is though top nations play minnows atleast few tests regularly.

    I also think IPL is killing the game. Before i was kinda IPL supporter but i think based on lack of real fast bowlers in the world and even lesser people wants to bowl fast.

    There are many mediocre bits and pieces cricketers who wants to quick buck than spend time to improve their skills.

    Its not T20 or IPL killing game skill wise ( i know its contradictory statement) , the money in IPL makes player choose easier option for quick money.

  • AjaySridharan on November 19, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    Money affects quality. That's what IPL has done. Ironically, it was the ECB that spread the T20 virus. You can't blame someone for making it a bigger commercial success. I can't see anyone challenging the BCCI to give up their strangle hold on the game or share their profits. Unless someone comes up with a viable competition, the game will continue to get polarized among the top 4 countries. Waugh has a point. If the boards of these smaller countries can't pay their players much, IPL might be the only reason why kids might even want to take up the sport in the first place.

    I think ODIs will have to die. There's no real context to those games and with the weird rules it has basically become 2 T20 innings rolled into one. Merge the T20 and ODIs into a single format of 30 overs a side, and revisit the rules to create an even contest between bat and ball. Get serious with international club cricket - international version of the IPL. You'll be able to attract investors in such a venture.

  • on November 19, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    This is so outrageous that it can only come from an Englishman. Why should one of the poorest countries in the world subsidize a sport in some of the world's richest countries like England, Australia and NZ. This is simply preposterous.

  • OttawaRocks on November 19, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    I don't really feel any sympathy for New Zealand as NZ was quite interested in organizing the next ODI World Cup without the participation of the non-test playing nations such as Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Namibia, Afghanistan, etc. So if India, England, Australia and SA decide to go it alone, all the more power to them. The only situation where I would welcome the contribution of funds from the Big 4 is if the non-test playing nations were included.

  • jokerbala on November 19, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    kumble's suggestion though radical seems to be the most sane thing I have heard.Have a test season for 5 months, an ODI season for 3 months and a T20 season for 2 months with the IPL and other leagues + 2 months for international t20. Each format to have a winner by two seasons and and overall winner with weighted scores more for test wins >odi>t20.

  • shillingsworth on November 19, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    @Srini_Chennai - Surely that was Atherton's point. If the ICC distributes its profits more evenly, professional leagues in Zimbabwe, Ireland and the like will offer better pay, reducing the incentive to play county cricket. Incidentally, those that do sign at the moment don't give up the right to play for their country of birth eg Ed Joyce. As for players retiring prematurely to play IPL - Warne, Gilchrist and Hayden would be a good starting point would it not? How do you suggest that the ICC stops people with dual nationality choosing which country they wish to represent?

  • ashok16 on November 19, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    I think a large part of the problem is that cricket needs a single format and not three different formats, each of which only satisfies a few people

  • aquarianx on November 19, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Reminds me of the novel "Atlas shrugged". More equitable distribution of the profits? Why now and not in the 200 years when England and Australia ruled the roost? All the same, India should do more to grow the game in countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal etc.

  • on November 19, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Atherton said. "What happens in baseball is there's a kind of organisation jointly owned by the clubs, and internet rights are pooled together and then the profits are spread out between all the clubs, the weak clubs and the strong clubs. They're trying to create a level playing field.

    Wrong example. This equitable distribution is done among the many clubs (of various caliber, quality and riches) in the SAME country (not ACROSS COUNTRIES).

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 19, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    It's ironic hearing this from an Englishman now that England are no longer top of the financial heap. Where was this sentiment the last 200 years?

  • samincolumbia on November 19, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    That won't solve anything, except more SA/Irish/Dutch players 'joining' England, since ECB follows an aggressive policy of replacing mediocre english players with players from those nations, rather than investing and building up talent within the counties.

  • kunderan on November 19, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Just like England has been doing all these years when it was the most powerful cricketing nation Athers?

  • on November 19, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    What about helping non-test nations like Ireland, Afghanistan, PNG, etc...?

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Absolutely spot on from Mike and it's no wonder we are seeing such a big gap now. In the last 20 years cricket has changed so much become far far more technical all the tops 4 nations have many academies and specialist facilities, trainers, video analysts e.t.c the others just cannot compete any-more. Take the W.I the natural talent is always and still is there seen by how u19 always perform decent in u19 World Cup and the T20 performance but when it comes to the longer modern game which requires ever heightened technical ability and pin point consistency they are now behind most County sides! It's a very sad serious issue and I agree the ICC and top 4 nations must step in urgently to help address the imbalance.

  • pull_shot on November 19, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Why everything points at IPL? Please if ur not interested don't send ur players, as simple as that and more ever foreign players playing rules r there in county cricket also but unfortunately nobody questions that.

  • TrueFactors on November 19, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    In that case, India wont play with Eng, and Eng will find themselves on other side playing with only other cricketing non-profit organizations sharing their bigger piece of pie with them. Mr. Atherton may think - giving is better than getting, but his board will not like it.

  • Srini_Indian on November 19, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Well, Atherton got most of the things spot on. But he forgot to mention county cricket kills Zimbabwe and Ireland. The players from these nations are giving up their right to represent their own country. Instead, they play in counties and try to qualify for "England". While I agree that IPL or any T20 leagues affect test cricket, I haven't seen any player retire premature to play only in IPL. It is the county cricket which does that. Maybe ICC needs to step in and stop these players qualifying for "England".

  • CricketMaan on November 19, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    The way forward is to scrap internaltional T20s and bilateral ODIs which are meaningless. Frainchise cricket will continue to rise and should be the only form of playing T20. Tests have to be 2 tiered with top 6 in one leage and the rest in other. This will give chance to Ireland and Afghanistan as well. What we have is a total 'masala' and wil continue to have imbalance, injuries and poor quality cricket.

  • CricketMaan on November 19, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    The way forward is to scrap internaltional T20s and bilateral ODIs which are meaningless. Frainchise cricket will continue to rise and should be the only form of playing T20. Tests have to be 2 tiered with top 6 in one leage and the rest in other. This will give chance to Ireland and Afghanistan as well. What we have is a total 'masala' and wil continue to have imbalance, injuries and poor quality cricket.

  • Srini_Indian on November 19, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    Well, Atherton got most of the things spot on. But he forgot to mention county cricket kills Zimbabwe and Ireland. The players from these nations are giving up their right to represent their own country. Instead, they play in counties and try to qualify for "England". While I agree that IPL or any T20 leagues affect test cricket, I haven't seen any player retire premature to play only in IPL. It is the county cricket which does that. Maybe ICC needs to step in and stop these players qualifying for "England".

  • TrueFactors on November 19, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    In that case, India wont play with Eng, and Eng will find themselves on other side playing with only other cricketing non-profit organizations sharing their bigger piece of pie with them. Mr. Atherton may think - giving is better than getting, but his board will not like it.

  • pull_shot on November 19, 2013, 14:48 GMT

    Why everything points at IPL? Please if ur not interested don't send ur players, as simple as that and more ever foreign players playing rules r there in county cricket also but unfortunately nobody questions that.

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Absolutely spot on from Mike and it's no wonder we are seeing such a big gap now. In the last 20 years cricket has changed so much become far far more technical all the tops 4 nations have many academies and specialist facilities, trainers, video analysts e.t.c the others just cannot compete any-more. Take the W.I the natural talent is always and still is there seen by how u19 always perform decent in u19 World Cup and the T20 performance but when it comes to the longer modern game which requires ever heightened technical ability and pin point consistency they are now behind most County sides! It's a very sad serious issue and I agree the ICC and top 4 nations must step in urgently to help address the imbalance.

  • on November 19, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    What about helping non-test nations like Ireland, Afghanistan, PNG, etc...?

  • kunderan on November 19, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Just like England has been doing all these years when it was the most powerful cricketing nation Athers?

  • samincolumbia on November 19, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    That won't solve anything, except more SA/Irish/Dutch players 'joining' England, since ECB follows an aggressive policy of replacing mediocre english players with players from those nations, rather than investing and building up talent within the counties.

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 19, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    It's ironic hearing this from an Englishman now that England are no longer top of the financial heap. Where was this sentiment the last 200 years?

  • on November 19, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Atherton said. "What happens in baseball is there's a kind of organisation jointly owned by the clubs, and internet rights are pooled together and then the profits are spread out between all the clubs, the weak clubs and the strong clubs. They're trying to create a level playing field.

    Wrong example. This equitable distribution is done among the many clubs (of various caliber, quality and riches) in the SAME country (not ACROSS COUNTRIES).