Decade Review 2009

The world money made

Through the 2000s the BCCI has seen its power grow exponentially with its bank balance, and the rest of cricket has fallen in line, whether by choice or under duress

Osman Samiuddin

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A
Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan board, talks to Sharad Pawar, President of the BCCI, during a meeting of the four countries that are hosting the 2011 World Cup in Bhurban, June 18, 2007
'Here's how it's going to go down': Pakistan has largely been a loyal satellite to the Indian board © AFP
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There are better ways to bring in a new decade, but here are a few numbers. In 2007-08, the BCCI announced revenues of over US$213 million. Cricket's two other richest boards by comparison are not a world away. The ECB and CA, respectively, rolled in $148 million and $128 million, but it is the BCCI's spurt over the decade - and particularly the second half - that is to be noted. Only in 2005-06, for example, the BCCI's revenues were $91 million. At the turn of the decade, in 1998-99, their revenue was not even $2 million. In 1992 they were trying to wipe out a deficit of $150,000, which is the kind of chump change their peon might throw at you while driving you by now. The next few years the gap will only widen.

Various estimates have Indian cricket generating anywhere between 60 to 80% of the sport's entire revenue. Everybody wants a piece of India, everybody. Countries are desperate for them to tour. Some, like Bangladesh, don't even mind if they don't ever tour India. The PCB, more loyal than the king for much of the decade, is now striving hard to make light of the latest political fallout between the two countries. It's easy to see why; in 2003-04, India's tour to Pakistan saved the PCB from the financial ruin brought on by security concerns following 9/11 and the war on neighbouring Afghanistan. This year, security concerns have led to a $125 million loss for Ijaz Butt's administration, of which $40 million is just from the cancellation of an Indian visit. The PCB's $140-million TV deal is mostly pegged on Indian tours.

Others fare better. West Indies are granted the favours of pointless ODI series when the need arises, for votes they may have given or might soon give. Sri Lanka prefer handouts, looking at the BCCI as a kind of IMF or World Bank, without the debilitating repayment plan. Even richer boards like Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa want to piggyback on the BCCI for the Champions League. The ECB, meanwhile, is in a funk, not knowing whether to hitch a ride or try and emulate the Indian board's ways. And three modern-day truisms, finally, that confirm India's dominance. One, entire tournaments are said to be scuppered financially should India fall early, as happened during the 2007 World Cup and the 2009 World Twenty20.

Two, there was a time still, during the early years of the decade, when it took an Indian at the head of the ICC to symbolise the BCCI's growing clout. Now it doesn't matter if someone from Timbuktoo is at the head, for everyone knows who is running the show. And three, the IPL has become the new county cricket. Big benevolent India, doling out the cash everywhere, making sure the world game runs along. Everybody wants a piece of India, everybody.

Cricket has made more money this decade than in any other. The late Bill Sinrich of IMG, among the most influential sports-television executives, was the key instigator behind cricket's emergence into the broadcast limelight in the mid-90s. The 1996 World Cup changed cricket's financial equations. Across the board, cricket boards have benefited from bigger TV deals as the decade has worn on. Sky, for instance, paid the ECB $475 million for four-year rights last year. The ICC, which reportedly had $25,000 in its kitty in 1997, has not missed out, netting comfortably over a billion dollars for eight-year rights for its events.

But nobody has accrued more benefits than the BCCI, whose TV deals have not only gotten bigger but broader. Nimbus paid $612 million for four-year rights to Indian cricket, and separate deals came in with the IPL and Champions League. The country has changed as much as anything else. A newly liberalised economy, an electronic media boom, a growing, hungry and transformed middle class wanting to spend not save, and a huge captive population have all shaped the BCCI's rise. But it shouldn't be seen entirely as an accident of fate, however. Somehow, as they say of India itself, the BCCI has worked. At key moments it has worked.

. The problem is not that India enjoys and abuses the power. The problem is, as it was with the age of Australia and England before, that cricket seems so predisposed to concentrate so much power in so few hands

Not only was Twenty20, for example, not their idea, it was something they were entirely averse to, and nobody remembers the grudgingly organised domestic Twenty20 tournament they held before the IPL came along. The IPL wasn't even the first franchise-based Twenty20 league. In fact the idea for such a league, in different formats and shapes, had actually been kicking around India since the mid-90s - Lalit Modi himself and the late Madhavrao Scindia were the early floaters. The BCCI was forever wary, mostly of letting any kind of control slip out of their hands, and even at one stage objecting to foreign players participating.

But when the moment was right, just after the 2007 World Cup, they struck, spurred on by the arrival of the ICL and Misbah-ul-Haq's monumental mis-scoop. They chanced it and here came, with the IPL, the decisive shift of the decade; the then-gradual lurch of cricket's centre towards Mumbai in the decade between the mid-90s and the mid-noughties became speedier, much speedier.

Others did not take advantage. The people who created the very format, for example, sat around not knowing what to do with it. Just how and why the ECB didn't pre-empt the IPL will remain one of the mysteries of the decade. Back in 2003, when the format was first unveiled, England and the county circuit remained cricket's premier, most lucrative, destination outside of international cricket. Who would have turned down big deals to play Twenty20 for a county league? Instead the ECB came up with a belated, retrospective, utterly confused and ultimately embarrassing bid to outflank India; even if Allen Stanford was not now in jail, the dalliance with him marked a sorry nadir in the ECB's fortunes this decade.

Some boards, like Cricket Australia, haven't even made any attempt to outthink, outflank or out-innovate. Their bed was made early in the piece and nothing has been allowed to get in the way of that; no team has played more Tests against India this decade and only one team (Sri Lanka) has played more ODIs against them. A rivalry has been happily milked, understandably, even if the lengths to which they went to ensure Sydney 2008 didn't end in India abandoning the tour were less so. But what else has there been? Have Australia never felt the need, for example, to further illuminate the toughest domestic system in the world with more foreign players?

In as much the tale of the decade is about the BCCI taking a punt, it is also about the inertia of all else around them. In their immediate neighbourhood it has been supreme folly upon folly. At the start of this decade the concept of a powerful Asian bloc still existed. Project Snow was still fresh in the minds of many; the idea was mooted at a fractious ICC meeting in 1996, where Australia, England, New Zealand and the West Indies were prepared to break away from the ICC, threatened by the increasing influence of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

But both the PCB and SLC have spent the noughties slowly hacking at their own feet. Afflicted by such infighting, such crippling lack of leadership and governance, they have only been a threat to themselves and no one else. No administration has been able to look beyond its nose. The Asian Cricket Council has never been more nothing. There have been the same number of Asia Cups this decade as there were the last - three - but each one has seemed less significant, less relevant. Already it is difficult to see even that many over the next 10 years. And let alone finding enough mourners, are there enough souls who even remember the Afro-Asia Cup?

Allen Stanford poses with Giles Clarke and Julian Hunte after arriving by helicopter on the nursery ground for the launch of his 20-20 for 20 series, Lord's, June 11, 2008
The England board, in decline for much of the decade, hit a new low with its dalliance with Allen Stanford © Getty Images

So cricket feels it has a problem. The BCCI is ruining it with too much money, not enough direction. Players want to freelance, and representing their country suddenly seems not such a big deal. The very order of the game is being shaken, by the BCCI. Like America politically, they are an easy and fashionable scapegoat, not least because they don't really care about the sniping. Like with America, some of the barbs are justified. On at least two occasions this decade, in 2001 in South Africa and 2008 in Sydney, the BCCI has played a petulant bully in battles with the ICC. In the matter of the ICL it led what amounts to a witch-hunt.

The lust for owning production of the cricket broadcast is also unseemly; the replacement of commentators with cheerleaders, in particular, a tasteless fallout. The suspicion that it has tried to isolate Pakistan - albeit with help from the PCB itself - also lingers, and Lalit Modi does often seem to make up rules as he stomps along.

But the jibes are also, in a sense, misplaced. The problem is not that India enjoys and abuses the power. The problem is, as it was with the age of Australia and England before, that cricket seems so predisposed to concentrate so much power in so few hands. At some point over the next 10 years, the ICC must seriously ask itself: what is its purpose? It cannot be the UN of cricket, because there is no use for the UN. Because of its very format, the ICC has not been able to rise above the sum of its constituent units in governing the game. If the game is global now or is trying to be, either governance has to spread and involve everyone, not just one, or the ICC has to change its very structure and grow a spine.

Those who defend the BCCI's bullishness, that it is about time the old colonials got their comeuppance, often argue that had Australia or another country been so powerful, there wouldn't be such a fuss. The implication is that race plays a part in all this. Perhaps there is some truth in it; a group as small as cricket's, with the kind of unique coloniser-colony dynamics, cannot avoid that. And the ICC still feels at times like one of those old gentlemen's clubs that has finally given admission to the oppressed, where neither the old or new order seems comfortable with their new status.

But more and more this game is about money, about who has it and who doesn't and not race. Fourteen years ago Project Snow was baldly inspired by race. These days the new talk of breakaways stems from finance and power; cricket's new alliances between the BCCI, CA and CSA, for example, in the Champions League, and their joining hands with the ECB in opposing a Test championship, cut through colour and get to the heart of all matter in this new world. Cricket has come far and yet it hasn't come far at all.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo


Comments: 47 
Posted by Anil on (December 30, 2009, 15:30 GMT)

Thanks for the article. Having read all the interesting comments by our readers, I would like to add one more incident which need to be highlighted here. This is regarding the anti-doping policy. BCCI took a firm stance and stood behind its players to protect them. Although the policy is required but today some of the bigger sportsmen are such huge stars all over the world and there is such a security risk in the whereabouts. In fact what BCCI stood for was originally advocated by players such as Roger Federer and Nadal. This stance by BCCI should be commended too.

Posted by spirit on (December 30, 2009, 14:24 GMT)

@S_Marto....the two article given by u does'nt show any misuse of power by BCCI..the 1st article shows bcci rejecting test championship but da fact is even ECB is not in favor of test championship and bcci is one of da 10 boards present there so if icc had deemed it (championship) nessesary they would hav gone with the proposed championship,as a member bcci was entitled to put forward its view like any other...da 2nd article was about WADA act and many other boards and its players too hav reservations on its clauses and bcci just backed its player who wanted changes in some clauses...ECB & CA were calling all da shots in ICC until one decades back,changed da rules according to their needs,does'nt deemed it nessasary to tour sub-continent and were not helping da cash starved boards but now when bcci is actually helping players from other countries by introducing IPL, CL etc all r finding fault with bcci...does CA or ECB had ever helped any other nations financially??i don think so...

Posted by Ashok on (December 30, 2009, 11:10 GMT)

Superb article Dr. Samiuddin, I always enjoy reading your articles- you're one of the few writers who manage to avoid personal prejudices. Its a relief to see a foreign writer not railing against the BCCI for its supposed antics. Admittedly it is not the most professional body and there are times when the beaviour of BCCI officials has been plain embarrasing.

That said, all the talk about their arm-twisting and blackmail sounds ludicrous. Its amazing how no one seems to mention the enthusiasm of foreign players to play in the IPL. One wonders why other boards seem so happy to cooperate with the BCCI. Let's face it: money matters and the hand that holds the cash calls the shots. Others have done it before, now that its someone else who holds the reins, a lot of people are crying fowl.

Posted by Anil on (December 30, 2009, 10:37 GMT)

Good to see so many readers posting interesting comments. This is 21st century and no sport can survive without finance. The only problem with people is that its been financed by a so called "poor country"! Its hard to digest for apparent "rich countries" and sour grapes and jealousy for other developing countries who thought they were "equal" to the country financing. SIMPLE. Regards

Posted by Rana on (December 29, 2009, 22:25 GMT)

Jaztech, how can you make a statement about India's so called domination due to backmail and intimidation? Please take a peek at the the ICC world rankings for Test Cricket, ODI's and T20's and tell me that is all a result of blackmailing CA after Sydney 2008. Please, ECB and CA have been abusing their position of power pretty much since the invent of the game and you are using the example of ONE incident as a basis for this argument? To this day, no proof positive has surfaced in regards to that incident and oh, the main culprit in all this, A Symonds has been in trouble how many times since that incident. Australia has always been accused of sledging since way back when by every cricketing nation, especially the Waugh and Ponting captaincy years, what has ever been done about that. Heck, in the just concluded Aus-WI series, we saw an example of that yet again. That sounds like the classic,"pot calling the kettle black" scenario. I think its a very misplaced point of view.

Posted by Rana on (December 29, 2009, 21:40 GMT)

I'm sorry but the article seems to entertain a very myopic view of "The world money made", India and China are two the biggest booming economies in the world as we speak and everyone wants a piece of it...not just cricketing world but the entire globe. We are in a global recession and BCCI to generate cash and also share with the likes of CA, CSA and ECB is being looked down upon instead of smart business sense. Where else would the other boards come up with that kind of sponsorship cash, especially in the current economic climate? What is routinely forgotten is that MOST OF THE BIG SPONSORSHIP MONEY IS COMING OUT OF INDIA, and they invest heavily in their own product, so what is wrong with that? With money comes power and the fact that BCCI is willing to share the spoils with other boards says something. I doubt ECB and CA were EVER that generous along with their "we are better than you attitudes". Now the shoe is on the other foot, a certain jealously gene has kicked in.TOUGH

Posted by Imtiaz on (December 29, 2009, 15:03 GMT)

osman nice balanced column i really like the way u describe the role of bcci in international cricket, and the role of icc is just like a dummy. so rite

Posted by Imtiaz on (December 29, 2009, 14:07 GMT)

osama i m totally agree with you great work man! you have really exposed how bcci misusing there power and trying to dictate to icc who really look like a dummy with no powers.

Posted by The on (December 29, 2009, 13:19 GMT)

Maybe with all that money they could use some of it to produce a cricket pitch for an international that's good enough to at least walk a dog on. That's not asking too much is it? (Especially for a World Cup venue.) That, and getting through a tour without vetoing match officials or calling off tours when things don't go there way would be nice. And perhaps once in a while taking a stand against their players who are, after all, by far the worst behaved team in the international game. And cracking down on crowds when there is coordinated racial abuse of players (Mumbai). And supporting attempts to counter the blight on the game that is chucking. And developing all forms of the game, not just T20. Actually if they did even ONE of those things it would be an improvement.

Posted by Ravi on (December 29, 2009, 12:12 GMT)

Dear Osman, I have been reading your articles for quite some time and I must say that I really enjoy them very much.You are a fair and just assesor of people and events.Your present article on the BCCI is extremely well balanced.I might go so far as to say that you have been very kind to them in your assessment.Though they are virtually "laughing all the way to the bank"; their methodology is far from fair.The way the ICL has been treated is just one example.Personally,I feel that too much power concentrated in a few persons hands is not going to be good for progress of this wonderful game of cricket.If the BCCI decides to plough back some of their moola into not just development of the game in the country but into developing world-class infrastructure for the paying public which is right now plainly pathetic,I would not mind their excessive clout! And finally,you have guessed right.I am a supporter of Indian cricket and would like to see the game prosper on the subcontinent too.

Posted by Si on (December 29, 2009, 11:48 GMT)

Hey tgevens, I am curious to hear what your evidence is for Australia & England "misusing their power" as you so blatantly claim without actually backing it up. So here are a couple of articles for your reading of the BCCI misusing their power.

Posted by Sanjeev on (December 29, 2009, 10:37 GMT)

@tfjones1978..... Send your idea or concept as RFP (Request for Proposal) to ICC... Good Idea it is...Even though I'm very big fan of Test Cricket... But what i really want is that T20 Format should be developed as big as Fifa World Cup.... or even bigger and I'm sure IPL will Surpass EPL in another few years..... All the above things can happen only with innovative ideas of BCCI and other boards... @ James... PCB is poor will be Poor for ever..... they just don't know anything....

Posted by N on (December 29, 2009, 8:02 GMT)

As someone who has followed cricket for over forty five years, I can say without reservation that cricket's new-found wealth is entirely good for the health of the game. BCCI, a notoriously sclerotic organization, has done well to capitalize on the opportunities that came its way. The competition is not between BCCI and other cricket councils, but between cricket and other sports. With the advent of T20, we finally have a format that can draw in a larger circle of countries to the game. Contrary to the author's claims, there is no evidence as yet that India is misusing its powers, as England and Australia have in the past. India still has no elite umpires and certain match referees are still up to their old tricks. Cricket's trajectory has been mostly positive in the last few years, and we should be counting our blessings, not raining on the parade.

Posted by Ravish on (December 29, 2009, 5:56 GMT)

Osman - You being from Pakistan, there is a tendency or inclination among Indians to pre-suppose that you might be prejuidiced against India in your views. However, having read your articles for a while now, I can say that you are one of the most fair writers on this site that Indians can look forward to share their view point - even more than many Indian writers on this site I might add - and there in lies the biggest compliment that I can give you. Some of your other articles have a good touch of humility in them too (articles during Champions Trophy earlier this year where you described your experiences in SA). It is just a personal note of appreciation and does not have to be published. Keep up the good work and thanks!

Posted by Terry on (December 29, 2009, 4:14 GMT)

SanjeevAkki ("test championship comprising of top 8 test teams"), I agree, which is why I recommend 4 yr competition where 3 of 4 yrs is best 8 teams and final year is semis & final. Most Austs dont want to see the same old teams rotationally coming out and playing Australia (I imagine other countries are same). Steve Waugh (former Aust Captain) once said fun of cricket was getting to play against so many teams (scored 150+ against all 9 test countries, a feat current players cant match ... only 8 teams to play against now). A 4 year Test World Cup would have many advantages: 1. Top 8 play each other in a 4 test series (2 home & 2 away). 2. Associates get to play 2 tests (1 h & 1 a) against 2 of 8 top test countries. 3. All matches count towards end points (so no dead rubbers). 4. World Qualifiers for Affil (Y1) & Assoc (Y2-4) to get to next world cup. 5. Best players can be rested in Year 1 (decreasing injuries). 6. Short test tours of 4-6 weeks (players not on tour for 3-4 months).

Posted by sreeram on (December 29, 2009, 2:29 GMT)

I think we should stop the BCCI bashing - Some of the things potrayed as "evil" arent evil in any way - There is still no proof that Harbhajan used the monkey word against symonds - so, if BCCI questions a decision and refuses to continue the games without real proof other than "symonds said", I think it is only fair. Every nation's board with some sense of dignity should do that. BCCI's dominance is driven by the fact that you have 1 Crore consumers who love the game so much that every vendor out there wants to get Cricketing air time - BCCI's success is partly due to India's growth and partly due to some astute business sense and leadership demonstrated by the likes of Modi.His ability to pull an IPL off in SA with 3 weeks notice is phenominal. We are all happy when a board is invisible but when it demonstrates leadership and starts taking the game to a different level, we somehow think it has to be blamed! we should wake up and give BCCI the credit that is due.

Posted by bharath74 on (December 29, 2009, 0:51 GMT)

Its not only BCCI who is making money, its also cricketers who are making money.Without money in the game, do u think this game will survive? India has given lifeline to this DYING GAME. Can you dare to write same article about English premier league, where unimaginable amount of money is exchanging hands.

Posted by Ankur on (December 29, 2009, 0:50 GMT)

Between 1986 and 1996 India played Australia in 6 Tests all in Australia (1992). India played West Indies in 8 Tests (5 away in 1989 and 3 at home 1994). India played England in 6 Tests (3 Test away 1991 and 3 Test at home 1992).

Between 1998 and 2008. India has played Australia 25 Tests (14 at home and 11 away). India has played England in 15 Tests (7 away, 8 at home) and West Indies 13 Tests (10 away and 3 at home)

If you are a Indian supporter, you must why not? If you are an English, Aussie or Windies support you must ask if money the only reason for this transformation?

As an Indian fan I am very happy BCCI is pulling the strings. This decade what plummeted Indian cricket team from bottom to the top of Test rankings, simple reason, constantly playing better teams. Which looks like it can be done only by have a significant amount of cash

Posted by Siddhant on (December 28, 2009, 23:53 GMT)

I wonder why other writers don't provide such insight as you have. Most often the reader finds him/herself reading opinions (often served in an extremely hot platter) rather than facts. This article is a wonderful read, and just in time. It shows that there is a purpose of writing a sports column and the purpose is accomplished when the column is not open ended. And also that there is a purpose for a website like this one. The reader aspires to be just as knowledgeable as the writer but this is so often overlooked. Cricinfo should encourage delivering the facts rather than biased opinions. Opinions are for the reader to make. Only time will tell how things will pan out for BCCI and ICC, but meanwhile, your article demonstrates the potential to inform the reader in the right manner, and not one that is open ended. I hope it inspires others in your position to improve their writing skills.

Posted by Riju on (December 28, 2009, 23:42 GMT)

Fairly balanced article, though not harsh enough on BCCI's autocratic antics. Yes, money does make the world go round and so it is the color of money that rules the roost. Currently that is BCCI. However, nothing good comes out of too much greed. Any sport that does not have some semblance of balance becomes a sport in decline. So,bullying others might work to some extent but I hope BCCI does not kill the golden goose. All the major cricketing nations must earn enough and have a voice, and not simply when BCCI chooses to shower them with largesse.

Posted by Jason on (December 28, 2009, 22:06 GMT)

The problem is not that cricket, and the BCCI in particular, has or is making too much money, it's that it is using it's position of power to change the nature of cricket itself. The disgusting blackmailing of CA after the Sydney 2008 disgrace shows how money, not cricket rules or fairness or sportsmanship, is now ruling the roost. The BCCI, and Indian cricket as a proxy, have become the bullyboys of world cricket and if anyone trys to stand up to them it is money, not cricket, that is the victor. Good luck to India if they're the best team and they dominate the world, but it should be because their cricket is the best not because they can blackmail and intimidate other countries. That's just wrong. It is, so to speak, just not cricket.

Posted by James on (December 28, 2009, 20:41 GMT)

The author sounded just like a jealous Pakistani. There is nothing constructive mentioned in the article

Also before bashing BCCI, people should understand, they haven't done really bad. Yes, they haven't been perfect, but then nobody is. Yes, they can do better. But if they were really that bad or arrogant, nobody would want to collaborate with them. The fact that CA, CSA & others are willing to collaborate with them says that BCCI is not arrogant or impossible to deal with. CA, CSA are not so cash-strapped that they would swallow all their pride to collaborate with BCCI. Also there is nothing wrong with giving somebody the lead role and doing one's part. This is what teamwork is all about. Criticizing other boards for not competing with BCCI shows that the author knows nothing about teamwork. I am pleasantly surprised that BCCI & IPL have done reasonably well in organizing big events. Imagine if PCB were to call the shots, the world of cricket would be in chaos in less than 6 mnths.

Posted by Goku on (December 28, 2009, 19:48 GMT)

well i would keep this simple, whoever has money and power should rule.. common we are talking about stupid things in here.. why shouldnt india rule ? .. we have money so we should .. doesn't english premier league rule , doesn't spanish mundial rule , doesnt f1 rule.. well it does in any other sport for that matter is dependent on money .. so the board would be formed by the people in any other country who has power and money , england and australia ruled earlier , why not india now .... i dont understand the problem.. if wi/ sl / pak has the money then they would be doing the same..

Posted by Thank You on (December 28, 2009, 19:28 GMT)

BCCI is way too shrewd for any type of power sharing - this is a enterprise for profit. It is not a charitable organization - all those boards who are surviving on scraps need to accept the new-world order or be innovative so they can access the same riches. BCCI monitized the sport in a decade like no other board did in the past century. For all its faults, the bottom line is BCCI grew the pie - cricket is a rich vibrant enterprise now than it has ever been in its history. The demand for cricket in India is unsatiable- it has the largest market and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Growth created through innovation and operation of markets is real and sustainable compared to one obtained via bail-outs such as power sharing and revenue sharing arrangements. If the other boards don't like, they need to examine the alternatives - those alternatives are scary and lonely. Agree with Chin9 on Sydney 2008 - it is pathetic to see the aussies get away with bad behavior again and again.

Posted by abe on (December 28, 2009, 19:24 GMT)

For years thestruggle between the "white" dominated ICC and the Asian boards became a spectacle where the former dictated. Now the scales have tipped in India's favour. What causes me irritation is the totally unfair way in which Modi and his cronies are treating Pakistani players. Sad that the Indians have easily forgotten the support the Pakistanis gave when confronting the white-dominated ICC in the past. Sad that they are pandering to players from Australia/England/New Zealand...the same countries which ignored cricketing nations like India in the past.Hope the colonial mentality within the Indians is not coming back!

Posted by clint on (December 28, 2009, 18:35 GMT)

So Field Hockey died a natural death in India, when the intenational association switched to polygrass and astro turf. India just could not afford the changes. We did not have the clout at the inetrantional level to stop the introduction of the sythetic turf rule. I did not see any one weep then especially the europeans or kiwis or Aussie's they took advantage of that. End result after 8 gold medals a the olympics not one has come India's way since 1980. India now has the money and the clout starting with winning the world cup in 83 to concentrate its efforts and joys on cricket. I understand it may be a little difficult for the other countries to diggest but the NHL is not controlled by the canadians even though most of the players are from that country . The smart money is American and hence the hold on the game . Use common sense and follow the smart money and you will understand why india will dominate even if they do not haver the talent.

Posted by Scorpio on (December 28, 2009, 18:17 GMT)

HA HA HA !!!! Sour grapes ???? Get some life dude and stop such crap. Accept the fact. It is hard and cold fact. But it is. Either have guts & balls to do something radical like Lalit Modi (& BCCI) or just hide somewhere, but stop these nonsense. Writing these stuff is easy, get some dictionary, replace some simple words with over-academic, but acting & implementing ideas is the real thing to do. Even you must have benefited from the acts of Lalit Modi & BCCI. So don't be such looser. BTW, I really like the way people thinks about BCCI. ;-)

Posted by Atul on (December 28, 2009, 17:18 GMT)

Sorry Osman, Even though I am big fan of your wittings this is nothing but old wine in new bottle.

BCCI does what it does because it could do it and everyone benefited out of it (do the math). In Good old English (ECB) days similar bullying existed but with no money for others.. And am not fan of BCCI just because they are more politicians than administrators with so many factions...

Posted by Harshvardhan on (December 28, 2009, 16:44 GMT)

well first thigs first a nation or rather board makes money out of cricketers and if the cricketers dont play a high standard of game and dont talk a good game no ones gonna watch it and as far as BCCI is concerned it has to be a well mannered and you have got to have sense in making and appointing people who are good at it not the ex-cricketers governiing the body who have no experience and make a joke of a nation like pakistan has been made by the CEO the PRESIDENTand the other members of board who keep changing every six months and are inumerable changes in the system and has hell lot of flaws sorry Mr. Osman you got it half wrong

Posted by JAYANDHAN on (December 28, 2009, 16:34 GMT)

Well, nowadays it seems the BCCI has become the "object of hate" in cricketing circles. The two "incidents" (2001, 2008) mentioned in the article(involving BCCI) happened when indian cricketers got a rough deal from the match refrees. A match refree is suppossed to give "UNBIASED, FAIR VERDICTS!". Not like what Mr Chris Broad did to Suliemann Benn. Anybody would have challenged the "system" regardless of whether they "have money or clout". In that sense, I am surprised by the inaction of the WICB. Apart from these two incidents I dont see the BCCI "flexing, stretching its muscles or cardiogyming etc". What the hell is the problem in the BCCI being "rich"? They have an "audience base" and make full use of it. Instead of the author taking "potshots" at the BCCI, he could write something useful and meaningfull.

Posted by Phani on (December 28, 2009, 16:11 GMT)

Osman, I understand the kind of frustration that is bestowed upon you, but, I was reading all the article, thinking, some where you might want to mention about the security problems in pakistan, and the terrorist attack on the sri lankan cricket team, on their bus journey to the stadium. If you can understand, most of the revenue comes from the home tours and the matches played on the home turf...and if conditions which are not suitable for a touring country prevail, then where on earth can PCB earn money..and I also want to let you know, that, HAD PCB in a position with huge earning similar to BCCI, and had pakistan had good number of home games, WHAT WAS THE PROBABILITY THAT THIS ARTICLE WOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AND POSTED IN CRICINFO...india was no where responsible for the receding number in matches in pakistan, and no where was india responsible for the present situation in pakistan... I would one among the first few happy people to see india vs pak...thank you..

Posted by R on (December 28, 2009, 16:09 GMT)

"There are better ways to bring in a new decade, but here are a few numbers. In 2007-08, the BCCI announced revenues of over US$213 million."

Osman, you seem to suggest that BCCI making money is a bad thing. It is of course the exclusive right of England, Australia etc to make money !!! Is getting rich a crime ( for poor countries)?

Which sport doesn't make money? If India makes money in Cricket, it is a crime. Many countries make a lot of money in different sports, of course that is alright with you Osman. Isn't it?

"Everybody wants a piece of India" says Osman. But Osman, that was true even hundreds of years ago when all European explorers went in search of a sea route to India. History repeats itself. It is repeating itself for India and not just in cricket. Did you know that all Multinational companies want a " piece of India". Every business in Europe, America and Australia wants to establish themselves in India.

But THAT IS JUST NOT CRICKET for you Osman!!!

Posted by Ravish on (December 28, 2009, 16:01 GMT)

There was an interesting article in an Indian newspaper about the myth of workload on many Indian palyers and it shows that most overplayed players currently are Dwayne Smith and Sangakkaraa(117 days in 2009). Among Indians Dhoni is the most overplayed and he only played 83 days. Laxman and Murali Karthik played 104 and 101 days mostly at English counties. Gambhir (82), Yuvraj (80), Sehwag (73), Bhajji (81), Sachin (72) and Ishant (69). Gavaskar's take on it is also interesting. Here is the reference. ""

Posted by Arron on (December 28, 2009, 15:15 GMT)

To all Indian cricket fans, a genuine question:

What, right now, makes you most proud? Becoming the financial powerhouse of the world game, or becoming the number one ranked Test side?

The ones who answer the latter: good. It's the ones who answer the former that scare critics and cricket-lovers so much.

Posted by R on (December 28, 2009, 15:02 GMT)

Osman, In England we say "Money makes the mare go". We would expect the readers of cricinfo to have learnt this lesson in life by now.

It makes the money in UK/USA, that makes us decide how the world behaves. In Pakistan, it is American money that controls everything except Cricket ( Cricket as you say is controlled by India)

It is the colonial mentality of South Asians that makes them think the way they do. Your rather lengthy article is reflective of that.

Your article is a bit boring because it repeats what applies to everything in life.

Posted by Chin on (December 28, 2009, 14:12 GMT)

I am little confused. So the quality of the game has gone up. Players are making huge amount of money. Commentators, organizers and the whole industry of journalists, photographers and news publications are making more and more money. Yet for some reason this is BCCI's fault!

What's wrong in making more money? No one thought such money existed. Only BCCI (specially, Lalit Modi) knew where to dig. I don't see any evil in that.

Having said this I am not trying to defend BCCI. At the end of the day they are a vindictive, highly political and factious organization. But after 50 years or so, they are at least contributing positively to the world cricket and we should thank them for that.

About Sydney Test 2008, I would have supported BCCI's calling off the tour. Recent example of Suleman Benn getting suspension while Haddin just a fine illustrates why BCCI behaved in a particular way.

Posted by ashutosh on (December 28, 2009, 13:52 GMT)

Also, the BCCI/IPL is not encouraging freelancing in the strictest sense... It is doling out the cash to attract players but at the same time asking for a No Objection letter from respective boards...

And apart from those 2 incidents you mentioned, there are not many instances of BCCI flexing its muscle in rule-making. Even during both those times, most of the ex-cricketers from around the world agreed that Indians had got a raw deal... Personally, I wish the WI board too had enough clout to threaten CA and Chris Broad in the recent Benn incident...

These fiascos, however, happen because of a spineless and directionless ICC which still prefers to ignore such startling judgements by the Match Refrees... The BCCI could and did take matters in its own hand for self defence when the ICC failed...

I think you would make a better contribution by analysing the ICC's failures and stupidity rather than taking pot-shots at BCCI...

Posted by Sanjeev on (December 28, 2009, 12:03 GMT)

Nice Article.... Which sums of domination of BCCI in world Cricket. @ tfjones1978... Your recommendation to test Championship is spot on.. But your sentence "If the BCCI dont like it, they can pull up the stumps and go home!" doesnt hold good because apart from BCCI even ECB is not in favour of Test Championship... And More over if we include more test playing nations it will dilute the test cricket.... So Practically there should be some sort of format for test championship comprising of top 8 test teams........ For T20 we can have "N" of countries... which will not dilute the game at all..

Posted by Terry on (December 28, 2009, 9:16 GMT)

Osman is fairly accurate about a number of factors. Firstly cricket needs the ICC to be expanded to include ALL countries and not just top 10 (over 100 countries play it!). Secondly ICC needs to control the organisation of cricket, and NOT individual countries. If the BCCI dont like it, they can pull up the stumps and go home! Thirdly, Test Championship is a necessity. I recommend a 4 year World Test Cup (like ODI world cup but over 4 years). This would be Group stage (Yr 1, 4 groups of 5), Super Eights (Yrs2-3, 1 group of 8) and Finals (Yr 4, Semis & Grand Final). This could be done home & away, allowing a team to play max 44 tests against 11 opponents (half home & half away) over a 4 year period. Could even add ODI & T20I into it, and make a competition that includes all 3 formats of the game. It would be better for cricket over all. BUT wont happen as the financial powerhouses of cricket dont want cricket to be about playing cricket, but about MAKING MONEY!!!

Posted by Supratik on (December 28, 2009, 8:53 GMT)

What cricket badly needs currently is to be governed by market-driven structures accross the board. The irrelevance of the ICC in this decade and all the petty politics over issues driven by egos, racial feelings, etc which has taken place in the last 5 decades between the ICC's constituents, are a clear pointer to the fact that government by institution-based democratic structures (which the ICC is at the moment) has failed miserably on a global level. This is why it will be a good day when franchises with clear business bottom lines run all types of cricket. As can be seen across the commercial world the profit motive which franchises possess evidently results in more correct decisions than incorrect ones. The IPL and Champions League are a good introduction to this process and more must be done by way of organising big franchise tournaments to bridge the gap between domestic and intl cricket in terms of commercial viability.

Posted by Absar on (December 28, 2009, 8:34 GMT)

nice article... but i cant blame BCCI entirely.. money's gone to their heads.. with great power comes great responsibility is a phrase only suited for spiderman.. what do men with great power want?? more power.. haha.. since the time money was invented, it has blinded people into getting mroe and more.. has happened since 10000 BC, will continue happening always.. though i agree they should show better leadership and try preserving test cricket.

Posted by Ranjit on (December 28, 2009, 7:48 GMT)

A very balanced article. Though it is true that India is the financial super power in the cricketing world, the fact is India needs other countries doing well also. The passion which is aroused out of two nation rivalries is much more than a club rivalry. People will watch until the quality of cricket is maintained. One of the main reason some one is pulled to watch a match is that there is a chance that India might lose the match. If India keeps winning all the matches, the interest in the game will diminish.

Posted by Srin on (December 28, 2009, 7:45 GMT)

Good article. The author is making some valid points as compared to the recent one on this topic which was openly anti-India. Yes, the BCCI probably has to take some responsibility and show some leadership with regards to some of the vexing issues that have arisen because of the IPL - freelancers for instance. I personally only watch test cricket, but feel that it is wrong and futile to simply demonise the IPL and the BCCI and sit back and sulk. Solutions to problems have to be worked out. Some innovative thinking needed perhaps?

Posted by Satish on (December 28, 2009, 6:40 GMT)

Read a couple of paras and then grew tired of it all. Old whinging in a new article.

Posted by Vikas on (December 28, 2009, 5:27 GMT)

Spot on Osman,you are my favourite writer along with Peter Roebuck on cricinfo.How I wish the concept of Test championship is implemented just for the survival of Test cricket.It is Test cricket that is in imminent danger and not ODIs.

Posted by Ravish on (December 28, 2009, 4:40 GMT)

BCCI is recongnizing that with power comes responsibility. They did not appeal Dhoni's suspension and after the DDCA fiasco they immediately dismissed the pitches committee. They should not appeal any ban for Kotla for next 12 months also. Sydney 2008 was different in that there was an accusation of racism hurled at Harbhajan and the players felt they had to defend Harbhajan from that charge and the board backed them to the hilt. As for BCCI abusing power, I don't see anything that they are doing which England did not when they had it. All world cups were at England till 1987. English and Aussies had a say on every rule and anyone not complying was a paraiah. I can understand the circumstances and I think even the English and Aussie media should understand that someone else has the say at the table now and that they need not be afraid of that change. Change is always constant and that power will move somewhere else in future from India dictated by market forces. That's life.

Posted by Ravish on (December 28, 2009, 4:18 GMT)

Good article! It is not the usual BCCI/IPL/Lalit Modi bashing articles that many Australian, English sports writers in general and a few Indian writers here seem to constantly engage with. I think more than the race with the Aussies and English media (emphasis media), it is the fact that some third world country is dictating terms to them. All of a sudden they seem to have problem with a rumor from somewhere that BCCI is trying to move ICC headquarters to Mumbai and I see articles with headlines of "India's power grab of cricket" and too much power (money and now headquarters) in the same country. It is laughable considering that ICC was headquartered at Lords for long time and English and Aussies had all the power and English were holding all world cups until 1987. You laid out your arguments well in your article but somehow at the end, I ended up asking, "Isn't every sport today about money?" NBA, NFL, MLB, Soccer everything. So, how is cricket different? Nice stuff though!

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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