July 22, 2008

The Indianisation of cricket

The concentration of power in the hands of the BCCI is not necessarily bad, but India should understand that it is one thing to have earned the right to wield unipolar power, another to demonstrate deserving it
  shares 106



Sharad Pawar now leads cricket's unipolar world © AFP

When the Cold War abruptly thawed almost 20 years ago, political strategists launched the expression "unipolar world" to describe global realpolitik in which the United States was the solitary superpower. In the last five years cricket has realigned to reflect a similar world order. Where it was once ritually complained that the ICC is weak, inconsistent, reactive, lacking in leadership, we now know exactly what that body will do on every issue before it: what India wishes. Sometimes not exactly; sometimes not without qualification. But in the main, no significant motion can advance without India's patronage, and nothing to which India is resistant has a hope in hell. On India's nod, the ICC can even change the result of Test matches. Hell, why play Test matches at all? Let's just decide them by vote at the ICC!

In one sense at least, a unipolar ICC is long overdue. India has always been the most populous, and arguably also the most passionate, of cricket nations. But its house has commonly been divided, and its stock abroad poor. In Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, we saw little of Indian teams - frustratingly little, for they were a purist's delight to watch. While the West Indies seemed to tour every other summer, Australians were denied a Sachin Tendulkar Test innings for almost eight years. The reason? India were not perceived as sufficiently bankable - and this is worth remembering lest it be imagined that the BCCI somehow introduced the evils of money to a cricket world of prelapsarian innocence.

The reasons for India's belated eminence are not far to seek either. Its democracy is stable, its economy vital, its political and media elite rich beyond the dreams of avarice; they covet cultural clout due their wealth. I suspect it is no longer correct to talk about the "globalisation" of cricket; rather is the game being "Indianised", subordinated to Indian commercial agendas. That is to say, the emphasis has moved from taking the game to new frontiers for its benefit and furtherance, but to spreading the sphere of the BCCI's influence and providing content for the consumption of its domestic market. And in a lot of ways this is actually no big deal. There are worse cultural values to be pervaded by; and, well, most commercial agendas are alike, no matter where they're from, and India's commercial sector is no more rapacious and vulgar than those of other countries. At its best, in fact, the BCCI has shown an élan and imagination that other boards, and other sporting bodies, must eye enviously. At its worst, however, it exhibits the characteristics of chip-on-the-shoulder superpower and insatiable monopoly capitalist.

Take, for example, the maintenance of Indian power at ICC level. In discussing the BCCI's shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity with Zimbabwe at the ICC, for example, one of my esteemed Cricinfo colleagues offered as explanation "a deep-rooted suspicion about Western double standards", commenting with particular asperity on the involvement of Australian and British troops in the furtherance of US foreign policy in Iraq. It was hard not to savour the irony, for India's indulgence of Peter Chingoka is reminiscent of nothing so much as that famous US State Department endorsement of foreign dictatorship: "He might be a sonofabitch but he's our sonofabitch." It's also, of course, pure obfuscation to say that "practically every cricket-playing country has blood on its hands". The difference in Zimbabwe is that its cricket has been degraded and exploited by the ruling junta, and that to continue allocating ICC monies to Zimbabwe Cricket is to collude in the vandalisation of the country.

 
 
At its best the BCCI has shown an élan and imagination that other boards, and other sporting bodies, must eye enviously. At its worst, however, it exhibits the characteristics of chip-on-the-shoulder superpower and insatiable monopoly capitalist
 

This "double-standards" charge really needs picking over because it is symptomatic of thinking as widespread as it is lazy, not just in cricket but generally. The accusation has become one of the bluntest, and also crudest, tools in the kit of argumentation. It is popular because it saves the labour of thought, because it can pass for debate when it is actually a substitute for it, and because it leaves a pleasing sensation of smugness. You believe in climate change... but you drive a car! You speak of family values... yet you once ogled a waitress! Smackdown! High-fives all round! Yet if a smoker tells you smoking is bad for you, he may appear a little conflicted, but he's not wrong. As George Orwell said: "Some things are true even if they appear in the Daily Telegraph." What the BCCI has wrought in preserving Zimbabwe's full member status at the ICC is nothing more or less than a public bribe: the BCCI will protect the flow of money to ZC in return for its vote. You have to admire the straight faces at the BCCI as they piously proclaim that "sport and politics must not mix" while striking such nakedly political arrangements: they have nothing to learn from "Western double standards".

As a matter of fact, the compromise reached at Dubai in the matter of Zimbabwe was not the worst that could have been reached. South Africa showed unanticipated fortitude; England was not obviously humiliated; Australia left fairly satisfied; Sharad Pawar got to pretend to be a statesman while defending the indefensible. By the ICC's abysmal standards this almost merits a ticker-tape parade. And in cricket's unipolar world this is how it will have to be - although that's not quite how it is yet.

If you're a student of political power, there are some parallels between cricket's geopolitical tectonics and diplomatic responses to Suez in 1956. After the lack of US support undermined Britain's hopeless mission, other powers were left with a choice. Britain cleaved to the US, hoping to exercise influence as "Greece to their Rome"; France, still nourishing imperial fantasies, began leaning against the American hegemon. Cricket Australia has kept its relations with the BCCI in good repair, believing this to be in its best interests. The ECB has reversed its country's post-Suez strategy by trying to become a countervailing force, seizing whatever support might be passing, clutching for Allen Stanford like the proverbial drunk for a lamppost.

Time will tell who has made the right call. Cricket Australia's strategy is essentially a rationalisation of weakness, as the country lacks the commercial heft to sustain its own Australian Premier League. Just as the country has become more or less a Chinese mine economically, so it faces a cricket future as essentially a mine of playing talent for mainly Indian consumption, especially if the IPL is expanded to three or four seasons in a year. The ECB, meanwhile, looks increasingly shambolic, its mercurial chairman running hard but gathering no real support, either nationally or internationally.



Cricket Australia has kept its relations with the Indian board in good repair, believing this to be in its best interests © Getty Images

Will the rest of the world ever learn to love the BCCI? The US has found that unipolar power is no guarantee of popularity - quite the opposite. And for a group arrogating so much power to itself, the BCCI is not always its own best advertisement, presenting a streamlined corporate image while maintaining standards of governance apparently patterned after Tammany Hall, with its immortal distinction between "honest graft" and "dishonest graft", and commitment to "rewardin' the men that won the victory".

Its Chief Financial Officer is among the owners of the franchise for the Chennai Super Kings. Its IPL administrators work as commentators. One of Lalit Modi's advantages in having baked such a big pie is the room for a few of his own fingers. If India's voting clout at ICC were not enough, new CEO Haroon Lorgat has the services of IS Bindra, the BCCI's grey eminence, as "adviser". Bindra is probably the most impressive of all Indian administrators - strong when he has to be, supple when he needs to be - but his position is a favour neither to Lorgat nor himself, inviting doubts about the ICC's transparency, and eroding Lorgat's standing as an honest broker. David Morgan, meanwhile, will spend his presidency at the ICC listening to Pawar, as vice-president, drumming his fingers waiting to take over. Actually, someone should tell Pawar that his Wikipedia entry introduces him thus: "The MARATHA warrior Mr Sharad Pawar is MOST DANGEROUS politician in Asia." [This has since been removed --Ed] On second thoughts, perhaps they should tell Morgan first.

In the near term, evaluating cricket's future direction may become like a species of Kremlinology, studying who is taking the various salutes alongside Modi, Bindra, Pawar, and his successor as BCCI president, Shashank Manohar. Which could be quite fun. If the ICC can vote on the results of cricket matches, perhaps games could be used to decide votes at the ICC: how about a tape-ball test in the office to decide whether the ICL receives official recognition? Power begetting responsibility, the sustainability of that model is another matter. The BCCI should understand that it is one thing to have earned the right to wield unipolar power, another to demonstrate deserving it.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY leartiste on | July 24, 2008, 21:56 GMT

    Another point is that no matter how much control the BCCI has, if it does not know it by now, it will soon learn that its influence must not be used merely for nationalist concerns.

    People do get sick of being bullied, and they do get sick of preciousness and poor sportsmanship.

    No matter how much money it has, the BCCI can't do much if its sidelined and isolated by the rest of the world. There will come a time when the rest of the world will say, "To hell with you and your money!" What then for the BCCI?

    The BCCI also has to accept that if its antics make the Indian team the most disliked team in the world (which is happening fast), eventually cricket lovers around the world will start voting with their feet.

    After the BCCI's (and the Indian team's) antics on their last tour here in Australia, I personally don't care if India never tours here again. I was one of many who refused to attend matches involving India, and I stopped watching the cricket after the second Test.

  • POSTED BY JackJ on | July 24, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Actually, for a body such as the BCCI to dominate the ICC is not auspicious at all. It comprises a collection of shady, venal politicians! The ICC needs an infusion of genuine cricket lovers, uninfluenced by money, into its ranks. I'm very sorry David Richardson doesnt have a higher profile. As an ex-test player, he's steeped in cricket. He is qualified in law, which I suppose is required in the present day ICC, more's the pity! Nonetheless, it shows he has a sharp mind. David is also a man of considerable integrity who would bring a refreshing new ethos to a body fast losing all credibility. The ICC has also become a bit lop-sided. By far the top country where cricket excellence is concerned, Australia should have a bigger influence there. CA has constructed the best cricketing systems in the world in Aus. The standard of their FC remains the highest of all countries and their excellent academy system is the envy of all. Its only appropriate that the leading land has greater power.

  • POSTED BY VivaVizag on | July 24, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    "Cricket is quintessentially an Indian game, accidentally invented by the British".

    So why is all this fuss?

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    My dear Dan, 1. BCCI did not force ECB to come up with *their own T20 league* 2. ECB does have their own T20 league already. 3. if you think it will kill the game in England, listen to all your pundits who are crying that domestic cricket leagues are not good enough to produce international quality players due to inferior quality, and packed schedule. _____________ Stop whinging mate.

  • POSTED BY Dan._-._-._- on | July 24, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    Creating the IPL has almost killed English cricket; now the ECB has to have its own version - this means that England will soon have considerably more Twenty20 domestic games than 40-50 over games, even though more ODIs (approx. 5-7 per series) are played than T20 Internationals (one or two per tour); this will surely lower the quality of players hoping to play ODIs (which are a greater test of skill than T20s). It is also making players focus more on the money side of cricket, rather than the pride and honour of playing Test matches. This nearly destroyed the County Championship, the greatest prize in English domestic cricket, which has lasted for nearly 120 years. Gideon Haigh should be rewarded for pointing out what many people all around the world have realised - cricket should not revolve solely around what the BCCI wishes.

  • POSTED BY ayanraja on | July 24, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    To all the poms: Yes, we have the money. We have the clout. If you don't like it, its not our problem.

    Its strange hearing stuff about morality from a country that kept denying half of the world their independence (including India) and that too in the 20th century.

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Bayman: India can play even other forms of the game better than most of other countries. especially England. Also, you don't like Sridhar's opinion, you criticize it. Most of us dont like Gideon's opinions, we criticize it. its a different matter that we are right and you are wrong.

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Michael Artherton was found tampering the ball with dust from his pocket, and got away with £2000 fine....... Sachin was found 'cleaning the seam' in South Africa (clearly NOT ball tampering), and was given suspended ban. Pakistan did nothing and were accused of and penalised ball tampering.

    It was time someone stood up for justice and BCCI did just that. A lesson needed to be taught to the match officials from England and Australia, and its done. There still is an incompetant west indian loose out there. something needs to be done about him too.

  • POSTED BY Bayman on | July 24, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    I always find it interesting when people cannot accept criticism or when they attack anything that's not obviously supportive of their particular point of view, e.g. sridharps, who wishes to suppress anything with which he does not agree. I imagine Robert Mugabe feels and acts the same way. Or any dictator, for that matter. Unlike most of the commentators here I've actually met Gideon Haigh a few times and had the chance to discuss cricket with him. I've found no evidence whatsoever that he's anti-Indian, quite the opposite. He may not like the lack of ethics and morality within the BCCI but, then, who does? I'm not sure creating IPL entitles the BCCI to be beyond criticism. And what if India had not won the T20 World Cup? Would the IPL even exist? At least it's a form of the game India can play.

  • POSTED BY Batmanian on | July 23, 2008, 23:42 GMT

    I just worry that the proliferation of limit overs matches - Twenty20 the apotheosis - will distract the Indian board from concentrating what has always been most important in cricket, winning Test series. For forty years, India has easily had the talent pool to succeed at Test level, but for many reasons, including a crippling fear of losing which ensured many lifeless draws (esp. vs Pakistan, but against other sides too), it has not done so consistently. Even when Australia was so low on talent Greg Ritchie got a game, it set out, often endearingly, trying to win matches and series. The raison d'etre of the BCCI is and should be understood to be to instil in the Indians a desire to win at the highest level, with defensiveness a fallback.

  • POSTED BY leartiste on | July 24, 2008, 21:56 GMT

    Another point is that no matter how much control the BCCI has, if it does not know it by now, it will soon learn that its influence must not be used merely for nationalist concerns.

    People do get sick of being bullied, and they do get sick of preciousness and poor sportsmanship.

    No matter how much money it has, the BCCI can't do much if its sidelined and isolated by the rest of the world. There will come a time when the rest of the world will say, "To hell with you and your money!" What then for the BCCI?

    The BCCI also has to accept that if its antics make the Indian team the most disliked team in the world (which is happening fast), eventually cricket lovers around the world will start voting with their feet.

    After the BCCI's (and the Indian team's) antics on their last tour here in Australia, I personally don't care if India never tours here again. I was one of many who refused to attend matches involving India, and I stopped watching the cricket after the second Test.

  • POSTED BY JackJ on | July 24, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Actually, for a body such as the BCCI to dominate the ICC is not auspicious at all. It comprises a collection of shady, venal politicians! The ICC needs an infusion of genuine cricket lovers, uninfluenced by money, into its ranks. I'm very sorry David Richardson doesnt have a higher profile. As an ex-test player, he's steeped in cricket. He is qualified in law, which I suppose is required in the present day ICC, more's the pity! Nonetheless, it shows he has a sharp mind. David is also a man of considerable integrity who would bring a refreshing new ethos to a body fast losing all credibility. The ICC has also become a bit lop-sided. By far the top country where cricket excellence is concerned, Australia should have a bigger influence there. CA has constructed the best cricketing systems in the world in Aus. The standard of their FC remains the highest of all countries and their excellent academy system is the envy of all. Its only appropriate that the leading land has greater power.

  • POSTED BY VivaVizag on | July 24, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    "Cricket is quintessentially an Indian game, accidentally invented by the British".

    So why is all this fuss?

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    My dear Dan, 1. BCCI did not force ECB to come up with *their own T20 league* 2. ECB does have their own T20 league already. 3. if you think it will kill the game in England, listen to all your pundits who are crying that domestic cricket leagues are not good enough to produce international quality players due to inferior quality, and packed schedule. _____________ Stop whinging mate.

  • POSTED BY Dan._-._-._- on | July 24, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    Creating the IPL has almost killed English cricket; now the ECB has to have its own version - this means that England will soon have considerably more Twenty20 domestic games than 40-50 over games, even though more ODIs (approx. 5-7 per series) are played than T20 Internationals (one or two per tour); this will surely lower the quality of players hoping to play ODIs (which are a greater test of skill than T20s). It is also making players focus more on the money side of cricket, rather than the pride and honour of playing Test matches. This nearly destroyed the County Championship, the greatest prize in English domestic cricket, which has lasted for nearly 120 years. Gideon Haigh should be rewarded for pointing out what many people all around the world have realised - cricket should not revolve solely around what the BCCI wishes.

  • POSTED BY ayanraja on | July 24, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    To all the poms: Yes, we have the money. We have the clout. If you don't like it, its not our problem.

    Its strange hearing stuff about morality from a country that kept denying half of the world their independence (including India) and that too in the 20th century.

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Bayman: India can play even other forms of the game better than most of other countries. especially England. Also, you don't like Sridhar's opinion, you criticize it. Most of us dont like Gideon's opinions, we criticize it. its a different matter that we are right and you are wrong.

  • POSTED BY pom_basher on | July 24, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Michael Artherton was found tampering the ball with dust from his pocket, and got away with £2000 fine....... Sachin was found 'cleaning the seam' in South Africa (clearly NOT ball tampering), and was given suspended ban. Pakistan did nothing and were accused of and penalised ball tampering.

    It was time someone stood up for justice and BCCI did just that. A lesson needed to be taught to the match officials from England and Australia, and its done. There still is an incompetant west indian loose out there. something needs to be done about him too.

  • POSTED BY Bayman on | July 24, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    I always find it interesting when people cannot accept criticism or when they attack anything that's not obviously supportive of their particular point of view, e.g. sridharps, who wishes to suppress anything with which he does not agree. I imagine Robert Mugabe feels and acts the same way. Or any dictator, for that matter. Unlike most of the commentators here I've actually met Gideon Haigh a few times and had the chance to discuss cricket with him. I've found no evidence whatsoever that he's anti-Indian, quite the opposite. He may not like the lack of ethics and morality within the BCCI but, then, who does? I'm not sure creating IPL entitles the BCCI to be beyond criticism. And what if India had not won the T20 World Cup? Would the IPL even exist? At least it's a form of the game India can play.

  • POSTED BY Batmanian on | July 23, 2008, 23:42 GMT

    I just worry that the proliferation of limit overs matches - Twenty20 the apotheosis - will distract the Indian board from concentrating what has always been most important in cricket, winning Test series. For forty years, India has easily had the talent pool to succeed at Test level, but for many reasons, including a crippling fear of losing which ensured many lifeless draws (esp. vs Pakistan, but against other sides too), it has not done so consistently. Even when Australia was so low on talent Greg Ritchie got a game, it set out, often endearingly, trying to win matches and series. The raison d'etre of the BCCI is and should be understood to be to instil in the Indians a desire to win at the highest level, with defensiveness a fallback.

  • POSTED BY jayray999 on | July 23, 2008, 22:23 GMT

    @homer2007: Unless you are careful with your remarks Mr Haigh will soon accuse you of laziness and moral equivalence. Mr Haigh professes a love for debate but don't get too excited because he also likes to decide in advance what constitutes legitimate debate. In particular any allusion to "Western double standards" even when backed up by carefully researched examples, fails to pass muster. Mr Haigh is happiest when preaching from his bully pulpit. Perhaps, his parents, detecting these Elmer Gantry like talents early, named him after the world renowned distributors of the book he was destined to thump every Sunday. Alas, he appears to have developed a fondness for Wisden Cricketer's Almanack instead.

  • POSTED BY HBt20 on | July 23, 2008, 21:09 GMT

    Hi Homer2007. Not sure if I fully understand the point that you are making regarding your reference to China & Hong Kong. I guess the reason you haven't heard any worthy talk of an embargo on the monies due to Hong Kong or China in response to China's veto vote is because there aren't many (if any) to make. This is probably because the ICC doesn't (as far as I'm aware) make funding decisions based upon the voting taken by sovereign states in the UN.

  • POSTED BY Bytes4Lunch on | July 23, 2008, 20:35 GMT

    This is interesting when a Journalist uses quotes from Wikipedia for his information sources. Does he have any clue how information is gathered in Wikipedia. I could go and edit Gideon Haigh's entry as the most stupid sports writer in cricket history and if he himself or his supporters fail to modify that content, that stays there. This article is more of a rant which deserves to be in a blog than an expert author's views. His hatred of despising people from the subcontinent taking over cricket's highest echelon is so clearly visible. Its interesting that he never wrote such caustic reviews of ICC administrators when they were from England, Australia or New Zealand. Or maybe, lemme guess, they were more superior than their sub continental counterparts.

  • POSTED BY aditya87 on | July 23, 2008, 19:55 GMT

    As an Indian I don't like the BCCI. The way budding talents have been destroyed through the banning of the ICL, and the way Kapil Dev has been treated really rankles. And the way they recently disallowed a few Indian cricketers to improve their game by playing county cricket just because those counties that offered them the contract had ICL players in them simply makes you cringe. And their stance on Zimbabwe has really not done them any good...especially as a democratic country we have to stand against tyranny wherever it happens. To be fair the IPL is not a new innovation, it only happened after the ICL. And the way players like S. Badrinath, Kaif and Ranadeb Bose have been treated, I wouldn't be surprised if we are unable to produce the next generation of classical Test players to succeed Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman.

  • POSTED BY Krooks on | July 23, 2008, 18:55 GMT

    I am surprised that my comment did not get published yesterday, perhaps the author did not like what I wrote, even though I wrote supporting his cause.

    Shall I defect to BCCI now :- )

  • POSTED BY NewSchoolCricket on | July 23, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    There is a big difference between how England and Australia controlled the ICC and how the BCCI is controlling it now. Back then, England and Australia had veto power and did whatever they wanted using that power in a oligarchical setup. What BCCI is doing now is entirely different. The ICC is a democratic setup but India generate more than 80% of its revenue. So the BCCI gets its way by dangling the proverbial carrot. Fellow member countries have an easy way to defy the BCCI, which the BCCI or PCB could have never done in the past(veto power). All they have to do is to say no the lucre of India, and vote against the BCCI.

    There is a new world order and it is a perfectly legitimate one, unlike the erstwhile Imperial Cricket Conference. It seems to me, as an Indian, there is a lot of angst among the Aussies and Englishmen. They just can't seem to stomach the fact that the epicenter of cricket has moved to the subcontinent.

  • POSTED BY Atul on | July 23, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    I was once writing an essay on 'India in 2020' and my first point was that I would like a strong and independent nation which shows the way to others but never enforces its own decision, at the same time maintaining its sovereignty and pride. Sadly, atleast Cricketing wise, this is not the case.

    At the same time, I must say it is the politicians who are solely responsible for this state of affairs. If Cricket administration were left to Cricketers, they would never think of how many votes they would get at the next meeting; they would be too occupied with developing the game they love. But the BCCI is filled with politicians who are bringing their disgusting vote politics into the global administration of Cricket.

    Though the Western countries can hardly take a higher moral ground here, I just find it sad that India had a chance to do it but it chose to follow suit.

  • POSTED BY tri400 on | July 23, 2008, 16:26 GMT

    Indians dont agree with the BCCI on most issues:

    Indians believe that ICL-players should not be banned. Indians believe that selectors should be paid. Indians believe that most cricket stadiums in India are 3rd class, while the BCCI has been the richest cricket body in the world for years, and now with the IPL, is one of the richest sports bodies in the world. Yet, the vast majority of the cricketing infrastructure in the country is still 3rd class. Indians want a rotation policy to give players a proper rest, etc. The BCCI doesnt.

    So you see, Indians dont agree with the BCCI on most things!

  • POSTED BY Homer2007 on | July 23, 2008, 16:12 GMT

    Interesting comment there HBt20. Since we are talking right and wrong, here is an interesting tidbit - Hong Kong is an Associate member of the ICC. China is an affiliated member.

    Haroon Lorgat recently announced " From 2009, the ICC will pump almost US$300 million into our 94 Associate and Affiliate Members that make up the developing cricket world. "

    China is one of the two permanent members of the Security Council to veto sanctions against Zimbabwe.

    I have yet to hear any worthy talk of an embargo on the monies due to Hong Kong or China in response to CHina's veto vote.

    Cheers,

  • POSTED BY Homer2007 on | July 23, 2008, 16:01 GMT

    1988-89 (India) The five-Test tour never happened after India refused to grant visas to two of the England side - Graham Gooch, the captain, and Rob Bailey - and the selectors would not replace them. Peter May, the chairman of selectors, said that "England did not pick teams for political reasons"; but India were angry that Gooch had never apologised for going on a rebel tour in 1981-82. [http://content-www.cricinfo.com/engvind/content/story/235051.html]

    India paid the price for its sporting boycott of South Africa ( defaulting on the Davis Cup finals, the 5 Test tour against England that never was).

    What price have the ECB and CA paid in lieu for their opposition to Zimbabwe?

    Cheers,

  • POSTED BY Homer2007 on | July 23, 2008, 15:56 GMT

    Dear StaalBurgher,

    "Why did India vote to ban SA, but not ZIM?" A valid question, except that India never had a vote in banning South Africa - ever.

    And since Mr Haigh has quoted from the Wikipedia, here are a few links from the very same source

    1. The Indian government was an outspoken critic of the apartheid-era South African government, refusing to maintain diplomatic relations. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-South_African_relations]

    2. South African prime minister BJ Vorster had already made it clear that D'Oliveira's inclusion was not acceptable and despite many negotiations the tour was cancelled. This was seen as a watershed in the sporting boycott of apartheid South Africa. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_D%27Oliveira]

    3. India refused to travel to South Africa for the final, in protest of the South African government's apartheid policies. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Davis_Cup]

    And finally ...

  • POSTED BY HBt20 on | July 23, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    Interesting to see in the news today, the EU has seen fit to impose a visa ban and asset freeze upon Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket. Furthermore, it appears that Switzerland and the other European Free Trade Association countries also support the ban. This suggests that there is sufficient evidence to convince the foreign ministries of 30 individual sovereign states that cricket in Zimbabwe is linked to terror and violence. Further shame on the ICC and BCCI. This is not a case of East versus West. It is a case of Right versus Wrong.

  • POSTED BY Reg_Dyer on | July 23, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    Before anymore people complain of Cricinfo's anti-India bias (!) here's an excerpt from an article I was asked to write in 2006 just prior to the Indian tour of England and in response to some highly anti-English articles. It was turned down eventually; at the time I assumed it was because of a pro-India bias, but it is nevertheless still germane, post-IPL. For your edification and provocation: 'A mixture of personal prejudice, perceived slights and immature ambition mixed with giddy triumphalism now runs through a significant constituency within Indian cricket it would seem, all underpinned and gently warmed by a pervasive but skewed view of Britain's relationship to India going back to before 1947. In short, England and Australia may have ran cricket before but now it's our turn and by heaven we're going to make sure the rest of them know it! In fact, the running of the game and who has power seems to be the real obsession of cricket fans in India rather than the actual game.'

  • POSTED BY jadedfan on | July 23, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    Realpolitik is what it is. There are double standards everywhere, but that doesn't mean "obvious" Western double standards are just a flogging device. These obvious double standards have caused untold misery for many years and are still doing so (so, Mr.Haigh, it is not just a colonial thing that Indians have developed a chip for). And I wonder why Mr.Haigh sounds almost personally offended at this suggestion. What seems a black and white issue, as we have learned well, is certainly not so. May be someone can find out if bored British politicians were busy plotting a coup against Mugabe.

  • POSTED BY sridharps on | July 23, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    Mr.SAMBIT BAL, I am very disappointed with you that, every once in 2-3 weeks, you allow such articles to be published on Cricinfo, which split readers along on racial lines. Cricinfo is a very popular website and does not need sensationalist journalism. I have written to you in the past, but looks like this type of stuff is going to continue. Well, it may not matter to you much, but a lot of people like me are getting switched off and may eventually drop off. Don't get me wrong. I am all for constructive debate. But this nonsense about "Indian Monopoly" or the other extreme, "Western Double Standards" has gone on for too long. For God's sake, pls stop it.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | July 23, 2008, 12:57 GMT

    I will agree that Mr Haigh should be more careful in his title selection. "Indianisation" got this whole discussion off on a bad foot. When I read it I did not see the word in a negative light, but obviously Indian readers are sensitive and did see it as an insult. So please, guys, it is a distinct minority in the Western countries that are bothered about India being in the pound seat. Don't be so sensitive. Go read some other articles here and you will see that the flak is spread around quite evenly. His point is not to BCCI bash. His concerns about certain ICC rulings are valid. Why did India vote to ban SA, but not ZIM? That is a glaring double standard which makes accusing the other countries of the same quite ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY Overdrive on | July 23, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Though i partly agree with the BCCI demonstrating their power, some of the arguments in this article as to why they shouldnt just made me cringe. But when one does look retrospectively the history of cricket the author must agree that Cricket has now a broader audience all over the world and not just restricted to Common-wealth cricket supporters. One of my Austrian friends was enquiring me about the details of Twenty20 and IPL.Am sure he has never read anything about cricket till the entire "Indianisation"(Gideon Style) of cricket took place. Cricket has revamped itself into a new commercial phenomenon.. I personally dont like the policies of BCCI by banning ICL.. but Haigh has taken the BCCI bashing to a ridiculously different level.. some of the analogies here are definitly irrational!

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | July 23, 2008, 9:22 GMT

    Every test playing country except England banned ICL players in their domestic and international teams. ICC rules prohibit players from participating in tournaments not sanctioned by ICC. ICL is one such unsanctioned tournament. So don't blame BCCI for S.Bond's plight. It is NZ board who banned S.Bond. They are simply following ICC rules.

  • POSTED BY HBt20 on | July 23, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    If politics and sport don't mix then what were the reasons behind banning international sport with South Africa during the dark days of Apartheid? The failure of the ICC to remove Zimbabwe and continue funding them - and by direct association Mugabe's personal fortune - is a disgrace, whatever the reasons! The point that Gideon makes is a valid one - with great power comes great responsibility. Sometimes one just has to do the right thing and in this examination the ICC & the BCCI have failed and it is patently clear to all and sundry - unless of course one chooses a position through strictly nationalistic lines. It is possible to support one's team and not one's board. I support the England team yet I deplore the ECB's tacit support of the rewriting of the result of the disputed test with Pakistan in an obvious attempt at securing votes to remove Zimbabwe. I wish more Indian cricket supporters would come out and criticize the BCCI where criticism is due.

  • POSTED BY flatout on | July 23, 2008, 9:07 GMT

    The difference between Zimbabwe and countries such as the US/UK is this: Zimbabwe doesn't make a pretence of morality. The US/UK etc are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, all in the name of "liberation". At least Mugabe isn't hypocritical and doesn't go off launching wars for fake reasons.

  • POSTED BY NumberXI on | July 23, 2008, 7:33 GMT

    It is amusing to read about some people resorting to that old tested and tried "India's-away-record" shibboleth to counter anything the BCCI does. To those smart people, all I can say is that they should try and find out which was the last team to win ONE TEST in Australia, leave alone an entire series. In the last five years, Australia have only lost two tests at home - and they were not lost to England, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. The point is that India's away record has often been used to berate the BCCI, despite the fact that India has the second best away record after Australia in recent years. In other words, India not only wields financial muscle, but also the results on the cricket field to show for it. That is a whole lot better than rolling over and begging for a bone because a Texan with millions to spare happened to come your way. Haigh, of course, has no comment to offer on that. Yet.

  • POSTED BY shumit on | July 23, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    On the BCCI's support of ZIM cricket - Diabolical and unpardonable. Politicking at its nadir!

    On Gideon Haigh's irritable whine on the power shift - Controversial but a good reality check on how an author can regress from a world-class product to a spokesman for his tribe!

  • POSTED BY Anjo on | July 23, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    You know the sad part about most of these comments? Many of the people who have criticized Haigh know that how corrupt the BCCI is. Their support seems to fall along patriotic lines and their hatred for criticism leveled at their national board by the West. It reminds me of the gullibility of a few in Zimbabwe who are willing to ignore the dire circumstances they find themselves and blame everything on the West and opposition. They can't defend how Gavaskar and Shastri have commentary positions despite being on the council for the IPL? How the CFO is among the owners of the Chennai Super Kings? How a $50 million contract was given to a Canadian company to produce a shoddy IPL website? How Pakistan's test result was overturned because their captains don't seem to know the rules? What it takes to join the BCCI? Why foreign players are banned from their own country's domestic leagues for being associated with the ICL? Not so naive as misplaced motives which harm their own credibility.

  • POSTED BY fletchnz on | July 23, 2008, 2:31 GMT

    Ok. I get a bit rattled by all the bollocks. Especially having to give up so much private info just to comment on cricinfo.

    However, I am a person who has bowled off-spin all my life (since the age of 7), played what most people call 'county 2nds' for many years while waiting for the senior spin bowler to retire (which he never did).

    The main discussion here has to be the overall country and monetary relationships between test v 50 over v 20/20.

    Personally I believe every cricketing nation should go to India and sit down and work it out.

    India has the TV money. However, that's mainly for 20/20 and the players they're buying from other countries at huge prices is going to cause internal problems in those other countries.

    Classic example. Shayne Bond chose ICL instead of IPL two weeks early from what I understand. So NZ isn't legally allowed to pick him even though his pace would have made the NZ v England test series considerably more interesting all round. I've run out of space.

  • POSTED BY Bpositive on | July 23, 2008, 2:12 GMT

    Mr. Haigh - Pray tell us - which power has demonstrated that they deserved control of cricket? Look at yourself in a mirror and you'll know what's bothering you....Classic....I have experienced reactions such as yours many times in my career. As I (of Indian origin) grew into leadership positions in the West. The 'milk of human kindness' (PGW) oozes when you not in a position of power..oh your english is so quaint etc...but when you reach a position of power, the claws come out..confusion and amazement abounds and questions such as 'one thing to have earned the right to wield unipolar power, another to demonstrate deserving it' are asked...Mr. Haigh...take a 'chill pill'

  • POSTED BY Bharat_number_1 on | July 23, 2008, 0:24 GMT

    Rather than comment on the deteriorating standards of the ICC and the bigoted approach of the BCCI, I would like to applaud Gideon Haigh's brilliant articulation of the current status quo in our cricket world.

    I especially enjoyed the example of the smoker who tells others to stop smoking, brilliantly used as a tool to explain the obvious and boring fall-back reason of 'western double standards'.

    I would however like to raise one point about the BCCI, yes they might all be politicians, but most are businessmen. All the rest of the world has to do is make an offer they can't refuse.

  • POSTED BY promal on | July 23, 2008, 0:24 GMT

    Hello Mr. MadScientist, Australia were denied a Sachin Tendulkar test innings for 8 years from 1992-92 to 20001-01. India didn't tour Aus between those two periods and now they play each other virtually every year with a test series every two years! I know exactly how it felt as a kid growing up not to see India playing Aus during many winter mornings waking up in India between 1992 and 2000. It was an utter shame that India finally a re-toured Aus only after 8 yrs and Sachin still sparkled as he continues to do so...... Hope he tours Aus on India's next tour there, but for now we await Aus' tour of India in the autumn.

  • POSTED BY leartiste on | July 22, 2008, 22:48 GMT

    It's not such a bad thing if you don't mind corruption or nepotism. Besides. The BCCI running world cricket will never make them number 1 in test cricket or one day cricket. You have to do that on the field as it can't be done in the boardroom. There's not a lot about Indian cricket that I particularly like to watch, so when they tour here I use the opportunity to sleep in front of the TV.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | July 22, 2008, 22:26 GMT

    I agree with the fact that BCCI is running the cricket world now. But there is nothing wrong in doing so. Until now the English and Aussies were doing all the administration and how well the cricket world was in the period was evedent to all. Though BCCI is now going in its own way, surely it cant do more damage than the ones who ruled until now. Finally as a Indian i d say, HATS OFF to Pawar and Modi. Finally the Indians are going to rule the place belonging to them without being the ones who give money and beg for respect. Nothing wrong with BCCI dudes. ICC CAN'T RUN WITHOUT OUR MONEY.

  • POSTED BY HetalK on | July 22, 2008, 21:59 GMT

    Also, adding up to my previous comment. I agree with the author in the sense that with power comes tremendous responsibility, and I'm sure BCCI will act positively as it matures at this position. Its a new position for it and give it some time, I'm sure it will take this game to a level that the previous superpowers couldnt have even dreamt of. Like someone said in this discussion, cricket has been like this for 150 years, means there hasnt been any significant effort made to make this a global sport by the powerhouses of the past.

  • POSTED BY esarun on | July 22, 2008, 21:51 GMT

    One more person to question if the Indians are capable of running World Cricket. Heartburn, that the game's been hijacked by a third world country, I bet !! You join the likes of CMJ and Atherton who have questioned India's ability to be a caretaker of the global game. Other countries have had their chances to take over the Sport but they couldn't. Now it's India's turn. If it's too much of a heartburn, I suggest you consume less of cricket.

  • POSTED BY TwitterJitter on | July 22, 2008, 20:22 GMT

    Does anyone know when BCCI is getting their own website? It was supposed to be available before the start of India-SriLanka series. I hope there are some blogs and active discussion forum there. Atleast, I can hope to read some cricket related articles other than Indian board bashing.

  • POSTED BY chrisdcruz on | July 22, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    I'm Indian and I do not like the BCCI and think that their only purpose in life is to enrich themselves.I find it really silly and childish that they banned the ICL and do agree that they have used their clout but I dont see anything wrong in that as they havent done anything morally wrong except ban the ICL.Having said that I have to say that this article caters wonderfully to its audience, Australia, England,NZ etc and the writer has done an exceptional job for which he deserves to be knighted for upholding the cause.When the above mentioned countries dominated the ICC, all was fine but when India comes along..we have a problem.Not liking the BCCI is one thing but accusing it of things it hasnt done is a little childish Mr. Haigh.

    I sincerely believe that Gideon Haigh should join the ICC and start voting to decide test matches...or better still..start tossing coins and leave us cricket lovers to enjoy that game that we love rather than subject us to his ridiculous views

  • POSTED BY Linas on | July 22, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    I like the ICC better now that it is being run by India. The appeal of cricket will increase and gain better acceptance worldwide. When the British ran the ICC, cricket was stuck to tradition and catered to the elitist and purist and tradition was used as an excuse to disallow colored clothing, limit use of technology in cricket, unchallenged power for the umpire, etc. I follow American sports and find them to be much more spectator friendly than cricket. I did not take much time to understand them and learn their rules.

  • POSTED BY Krooks on | July 22, 2008, 17:29 GMT

    I am posting on this, as I feel that the author of this article has been unfairly criticized for sharing his views. Every fan from the cricket playing countries knows that BCCI is drunk with power. Even Indians agree to that. Behing a cricketing superpower does not mean that every toes the line as per BCCI Diktat. My one real hope is that the current BCCI team loses it's power in India in the next elections(Call me a romantic)but that will help in arresting the slide of the game in India as well as World. BCCI may ask other countries to work as per their whim and fancy but if every other nation collectively boycotts BCCI then it may be forced to re-think. For e.g. stop the national team members from attending the farce of cricket called IPL. With added pressure from Corporates BCCI will have to rethink and maybe just maybe they will be ready to reconcicle. The game started eroding due to T20,think about it "What if India had not won the T20 WC?"- I Rest My Case

  • POSTED BY abhikhare7 on | July 22, 2008, 17:08 GMT

    Is there a criterion in cricinfo that the person whose article has the maximum hits has the highest pay? Gideon here certainly knows how to open a can of worms here by tapping into the perennial reservoir of BCCI-bashing. What I can summarize from this mess is that 'when Eng/Aus ruled world cricket then I had no problems with it...but when India rules it then I become insecure'... when has India ever changed the result of a match? also even if India supports the ban on Zim, would that remedy matters in Zim? Seeing that Zim is participating in the olympics i see that not many countries have banned Zim...and about the ICL... if there is ever created, a league in England, not sanctioned by the ECB and it declares itself as opposition to the ECB, would the ECB say 'thats not a problem.... continue to bring us down'?

  • POSTED BY Balajee_23 on | July 22, 2008, 17:05 GMT

    People talk about the money that the Zimbabwe takes from ICC. The fact is that 80% of the money for ICC comes from BCCI, so when they allow the country that dont even support the BCCI to share (who can never ever expect that kind of money without BCCI), why shouldnt they allow a country (even if that country malpracites) to be the part of ICC and also the country that supports BCCI. ECB and CA, both of them have not done much to the cricketing world, why should they be worried about the money that is from BCCI. They should keep their mouth shut and listen what the BCCI says.. I have heard that ECB is going to start EPL, oh god without BCCI's permission their players will not be allowed, and when Indians are not included we do not see those matches. Even if the ECB allow English players to play in IPL, there are not too many great cricketers except Peterson to make any mark of it, and we all know he is also from South Africa, ..... England think .....

  • POSTED BY BellCurve on | July 22, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    There is an obvious reason for India backing Zimbabwe: they are desperate to win an away test series. Money can buy you many things but not genuine talent.

  • POSTED BY MadScientist on | July 22, 2008, 16:06 GMT

    "While the West Indies seemed to tour every other summer, Australians were denied a Sachin Tendulkar Test innings for almost eight years."

    As far s I know Sachin's first test series was in 92-93 and he debuted in 89, so how were Australians denied a Sachin Tendulkar innings for almost eight years?

  • POSTED BY Clean_hitter on | July 22, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    India being a cricket superpower is no problem, in fact it could do some good with regard to the commercial aspect. HOWEVER the problem is that the BCCI is unashamedly abusing that position simply to meet it's own ends, and ensure it stays at the top. It's becoming a tale of greed and naked politicking, and the BCCI using is position to snub Eng. and Aus. at every opportunity.

  • POSTED BY Daniel_Smith on | July 22, 2008, 15:27 GMT

    I can understand why a cricket historian would try to make this comparison: India's pre-eminent position in the cricketing world versus the USA's pre-eminent position in the political world. Although at times it seems to be the ramblings of a man enjoying a few pints in the pub with his friends. I don't really see it as bashing India. There are a lot of comments here which can be summarised thus 'our tyrant is better than yours'. Money corrupts, as does power.

    Still, what do I care? It's only a game when all is said and done. Although you might pause to reflect on whose game it is, because to the vast majority of the posters here our views count for nothing, only how much money we are prepared to give.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | July 22, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    I have no problem what-so-ever that the BCCI has a lot of power. You are right money talks. However, most Indian supporters seem to think that the BCCI is justified in abusing its power by over turning tests results and covering up blatant corruption by Zimbabwe because they were wronged 40 years ago!? When did ENG/AUS ever do that? If that is so then India is as pathetic as they are so shrilly claiming ENG and AUS to be and are not deserving of any respect. If India really has this "stuff-you" attitude about cricket then I foresee a very dark future for cricket as other countries will only put up with it for so long. Mostly, however, I suspect India is suffering from low self-esteem that they are so smug of being able to throw their weight around.

  • POSTED BY Irishfan on | July 22, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    Gideon has some valid points. Certainly, the BCCI doesn't always get it right, and often makes decisions based on politics and race. But the IPL is no doubt good for the game, which, contrary to the opinion of JAMESB, can become a thriving global sport.

  • POSTED BY Gareth_Griffis on | July 22, 2008, 14:44 GMT

    sap1979 "britain, NZ and australia which in my opinion are satellite countries of USA with no dignity or identity of their own". All I can say is you are ignorant and a racist. I am a NZer, and I challenge you to go to NZ and say to us that we are satellites of the US. Since World War II, NZ has had numerous disagreements with the US including free trade, nuclear policy, their war in Iraq (which we refused to take part in) and the fact that even though France more or less committed a war act against us in 1985, our "ally" the US said and did nothing against France. So if you are going to basically lie out of your ignorance of the world, please leave my country out of it. We are no more a satellite of the US, than India is a satellite of Mongolia.

  • POSTED BY HetalK on | July 22, 2008, 14:38 GMT

    The author's saying that BCCI is supporting Zimbabwe for it's vote. On the other hand, it can be said that ECB is trying to ban Zimbabwe to keep BCCI with 1 less vote. It's upto you where you want to look at it from.

  • POSTED BY Manuvimal on | July 22, 2008, 13:28 GMT

    Is it just me or all the sentences in the article read "I hate BCCI for monopolising ICC, it would have been alright if it was the boards of England or Australia".

  • POSTED BY NormalHuman on | July 22, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    Even when India had won the most coveted tournament in the cricket world(World Cup 1983), they might not have thought, that they would be wielding a unipopular power. However they definitely do now & very much deservedly. No second thoughts on that! However, can India maintain the same intensity over the coming years is the most beckoned question? Every country has their ups & downs, but the Windies & Australia seemed to have shown more maturity in maintaining their consistency level. However the former now for the last few years is no longer a threat which it used to be. However for Australia, their character is very seldom tested as mostly due to lack of belief in their opponents. For India to have the same supremacy which it does now, they should maintain their positive attitude for one & temperament. This team is young & is already lured by loads of fame & capital. Sreesant & Harbajan issue is an example of what this fame can make attitudes like. Aggressive but lack of discipline.

  • POSTED BY tusharkardile on | July 22, 2008, 13:03 GMT

    I think its good BCCI is running the show. Had ECB been driving the ICC, it would have been a great embarassment and the game would have been on a big decline. If you dont believe, just look at the state of cricket in England (and Wales.... is this some kind of joke?).

  • POSTED BY Yaksha on | July 22, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    I am a strong believer of what goes around comes around. Years of neglect and apathy towards plight of Indian cricketers outside India (actually not just India, but subcontinent countries) from ICC has come to haunt them. English never thought I would become so strong. But then she went on the win the world cup. Played in semi-finals and finals of following editions. Got more money and eventually successfully demonstrated her money power with IPL. Look all you morons... is it so difficult to understand that money talks? And yes.. now that the challenge system is going into effect (thanks to 7 dismissals of Sachin).. I dare ICC and bucknor to give Sachin out one more time... shall we talk about UNIPOLAR world now? Coming back to what goes around, comes around... BCCI keeps abusing its privilege... karma will bring it down. Till then.. suck it up.

  • POSTED BY Jaysun on | July 22, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    I fully subscribe to the comments made by Posted by SN_INDIAN on July 22 2008, 11:02 AM GMT and the comments posted by Posted by mirchy on July 22 2008, 10:28 AM GMT.

    Well done guys!!!

    I don't understand how can one earn a position without demonstrating that they have the capabilities to hold the position.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | July 22, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    I get a distinct sense of smugness emanating from many of these comments. It is as if many of these Indian commentators are relishing the chance to abuse their new-found power. Which makes no sense, as any abuse that happened to India some 50 years ago has been more than made up by billions of $ in economical aid over the last several decades. If you think it is justified to abuse your power now then be so kind as to repay all that aid.

    As to ENG, AUS and NZ being satellite countries of the US and having no seperate culture of their own? I think you should travel a bit more. That is the same as me saying, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is the same country.

    In relation to the ZIM issue. Well, India was happy to ban SAF, a white controlled entity. Does that make them racist? The only reason why ZIM should be banned is because they receive millions in aid which is being misappropriated. That and their standard of cricket is appalling. China does not receive any such aid.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | July 22, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    OK, BCCI may like to have Zim's vote to increase it's power. Who doesn't like to have power? On BCCI's stand on Zim cricket: 1) Who is better equipped to deal with politics, politicians or cricket administrators? I'm sure BCCI will take Indian government's advice on Zimbabwe. 2) ICC has appointed a sub-commitee to monitor Zim cricket and the way the ICC money is used in ZIM cricket. Isn't it better this way to develop cricket in ZIM which the BCCI supports than blocking ZIM from ICC and destroying it's cricket completely?.... On the issue of countries voting with BCCI: Of course finances are important to national boards which the indian board helps them enromously but will they vote with BCCI if they think the BCCI is morally wrong?

  • POSTED BY jayray999 on | July 22, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    11. Since the ICC can determine the outcomes of test matches (I thought it was India.), test matches should determine the outcomes of ICC votes. And then suddenly, sanctimoniously the moral: "t'is one thing to have earned the right to wield unipolar power, another to demonstrate deserving it." Which begs the question why anyone with "unipolar power" would bother with such a demonstration.

  • POSTED BY jayray999 on | July 22, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    5. In fact don't talk about double standards (or history?) at all. Just because western nations perpetrated colonialism or continue to emit the highest greenhouse gases per capita or started unnecessary wars, doesn't mean they cannot lecture on morality or the environment. Can't you see that their actions (past and present) that uniquely qualify them distinguish good from evil? 6. The compromise reached in Dubai was not bad as every board got something out of it. 7. Cricket Australia has chosen to be India's poodle while the ECB has chosen Allen Stanford. 8. Time will tell who chose wisely, Australia or England. Australia who for some reason chose to be a "Chinese mine economically" [sic] are choosing to be the IPL's cricketing mine. And England, they are just a bloody mess. 9. The BCCI should learn from the US that it is lonely at the top. 10. Gossip, gossip, gossip, Gideon. The Sun would surely hire you for writing this paragraph.

  • POSTED BY jayray999 on | July 22, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    Like many before me I failed to see the point of this article so I decided to paraphrase it by paragraph. 1. There is only one superpower in cricket politics, India and India can change the outcome of Test matches. 2. It's about time India, the most populous and passionate of cricketing nations, assumed the mantle of superpower although the legacy is already stained by the actions of countries like Australia who wore the mantle before India 3. There are good reasons for India's dizzying ascent to the top and in the world of cricket today, globalization is Indianization. The BCCI, by furthering the interests of the Indian domestic market (instead of?), is marching in rank with other countries that are just as morally compromised. 4. While discussing Zimbabwe do not complain about Western double standards or the British and Australian role in the Iraq war since Zimbabwe is different in that ICC cricketing monies will fall into the hands of those vandalizing the country.

  • POSTED BY stevebriggs on | July 22, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    This website was sold for over 4 million pounds...wonder why... this is starting for propaganda against Asian country and specially India. Dont be surprised you will see more articles like this in future... all you have to do is find alternative site... I used to check this site twice in day now I check once in week...will find something soon...

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | July 22, 2008, 11:25 GMT

    Mr. Haigh,

    Nice article. I am from India, get extremely embarassed when we have to put up with a money spinning board like the BCCI. The guys running the BCCI are a ridiculous bunch of business men, who know very well which hole to plug and button to switch to meet there needs. The handling of the whole ICL angle, going with bloody minded objective to wipe off anything coming as competition. Just the way Aust/Eng control of Cricket fell, the cycle is sure to come back. But who will be affected, sadly it will be deserving cricketers (like one Mr. Shane Bond) and cricketing fans. The handling of the whole monkeygate, jumping on 20-20 band wagon (A English tour of India has 2 test matches and meaningless one dayers), scheduling of matches, IPL, ICL saga, non-payment of dues to players/support staff, treating former greats badly all prove that this is a useless board and a few years will let us know the extent of the damage. Regards Vatsa(a passionate trad. cricket fan from India)

  • POSTED BY paramatma on | July 22, 2008, 11:22 GMT

    Gideon has been too diplomatic in this article. The BCCI is playing a big part in destroying the traditions and beauty of cricket through its actions. Dismantling the ICC throwing committee and handing it to the boards so that Akhtar can return to the game; bringing in Bangladesh to test cricket for purely political purposes; marginalising the value of the umpire by what they did to first Hair and then Bucknor; supporting Pakistan by allowing drug cheats Akhtar and Asif to continue; instituting the farcical 15 degree rule for throwing; siding with Zimbabwe for vote bank politics; wielding its financial clout on ICL players depriving test cricket of a star fast bowler like Shane Bond; changing the results of test matches against the laws of cricket are just some examples of the BCCI's impact on cricket. As Gideon rightly says, every board has tried to maximise its economic benefits, but the BCCI goes beyond that to destroy the fabric of the game. Test cricket fans - watch out!

  • POSTED BY Sky-Walker on | July 22, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    I think writer missed one important point here on ZC issue. BCCI may have been directed by Indian Govt. It is impossible to think that BCCI would not have taken external ministry opinion. I go further and say BCCI would have followed Govt. direction here.

  • POSTED BY SN_INDIAN on | July 22, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    What a rubbish article - Cricinfo where do you recruit these writers from?? Another one who makes his living by BCCI bashing - Wake up guys and smell the coffee. India is a force to be reckoned with - just admit it!

  • POSTED BY TwitterJitter on | July 22, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    One of the advantages of free market system is that people have a choice. Sooner or later market forces will dictate what people read and which sites people visit. If the India bashing trends continue here, there will be alternative sites coming up soon for Indian cricket aficionados to visit. One is smart enough to realize that the reason most of the revenues come from India is simple. Most of the loyal cricket following audience is also from India. It appears that most of these writers did not have a problem when England and Australia had the veto power. Just imagine the fury of some of these writers if Asia wielded the official veto power! As much as I detest the biased writings of the English and Aussie writers, I still continue to hope and believe that an average Aussie or British fan is much less biased (or less condescending towards Asian cricketers) than the writers who write for their web sites or papers.

  • POSTED BY Brendanvio on | July 22, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    I definitely concede that Indian readers view this as an attack on their board, and to some extent it may be. It's important that we all deal with the fact that the BCCI is the dominant force in cricket. It is equally important that the power they now have is used to better the game, not turn it into an exercise in marketing.

  • POSTED BY mirchy on | July 22, 2008, 10:28 GMT

    This article leaves a bad taste in the reader's mouth and smacks of sour grapes. For all its attempts at trying to be fair to Indian cricket and its administrators, it remains puerile, excelling only in rhetoric.

    Gideaon Haigh's lopsided views of who governs international cricket today reflect a keen awareness of happier bygone days when cricket was the sole domain of the English and Australians. Maybe an attempt to reason why the then imbalance now stands corrected would have found more knowledgeable ears and lent more substance, not only to his own credibility but also to the reader's understanding of the shifting of powers that be.

    As the article now stands, it is nothing but a delusion, written purely for consumption by those that are also friends of cheap wine with a slight touch of cork.

  • POSTED BY Brendanvio on | July 22, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    Mister sap1979, may I bring up the following quotes.

    'britain, NZ and australia which in my opinion are satellite countries of USA with no dignity or identity of their own.'- Racist, bigoted, and funnily enough not far off what some people in this forum are accusing Gideon of writing about India.

    'Waring the flower seller in Milan was just singing ur tune bcos he wanted to sell the flowers to you not bcos of what he thought about Indian cricket. His opinions I am sure were totally opposite to urs. Thats Indian for u "entrepreneurial".- Is there need to insult a man based on a story?

    The article was written to provoke debate, and while opinions from all circles are healthy, the several you have posted have been insulting, overly provocative, and downright immature. Grow up mate, and come back when you have something meaningful to contribute to the discussion.

  • POSTED BY app04 on | July 22, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    What is the exact point of this article? The Indianisation of cricket is not a bad thing if the game depends so heavily on India - in fact it is just natural and it would be a surprise if it were otherwise. Also cricket historians are supposed to be writing fact, not fiction. The wikipedia reference to Sharad Pawar seems to be fictional - unless Mr. Haigh has his own personal Wikipedia. I believe ICC is doing a fair job - to the extent that they can. Is it right that we blame ICC for every malaise that afflicts the cricket world? And what goes up, comes down. So, who knows, in about ten years time, it might be New Zealand's turn to rule the ICC

  • POSTED BY Aroldo on | July 22, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    I really resent the approach taken to the Zimbabwe situation by qwer.qwer and many others: that is, to attempt to reduce it to a set of cliches and analogies, which really don't apply because of the uniqueness of the situation. Sure, it's true that it would be best if sport and politics were not to mix. But Mugabe has mixed them, by instituting a board of cronies to funnel millions from the ICC to the pockets of a brutal dictator. Look up Zimbabwe's export figures and you'll see how important ICC money is to Mugabe. And true, the IOC and FIFA haven't expelled Zimbabwe, but the situation is not comparable: the IOC and FIFA do not pay Zimbabwe millions of dollars. The main problem with the status quo is not Zimbabwe's participation in international cricket, but rather their financial gain for playing less matches than the leading associates, and what happens to this money. This is entirely unique to cricket, and would have been rectified but for the inward focus of the BCCI

  • POSTED BY Jose on | July 22, 2008, 9:59 GMT

    This is one of the worst ever articles I read in recent times. The author don't know anything but to criticise BCCI without any substantial evidence or logic. This showcases the general attitude of West since centuries. They project themselves as victims and blame others to gain sympathy (eg. Great Rome was brought down by Paul in the similar fashion) or crush others without any respect to humanity and project as god-sent supreme race to save the planet (eg. countless atrocities in Africa, India, America, Australia etc.). I don't think Asia will fall like Rome despite numerous hideous plans to overthrow.

  • POSTED BY MaxLuther on | July 22, 2008, 9:43 GMT

    While it is easy to criticize the BCCI. Other Cricket Boards must also take responsibility for showing (or not showing) a backbone when dealing with the whims & fancies of the BCCI. For example many Cricket Boards (with the sole exception of ECB - thanks to its stringent labour laws) have decided to treat ICL as a Rebel League, without any sane rationale for the same. By their own actions these other Cricket Boards have indirectly boosted the power of the BCCI. What really smacks of subservient behaviour is if nations agree to the terms of the BCCI led Championship League, where foreign players will have to give preference to their IPL clubs over their home clubs. Which means that a Hayden or Hussey will play for Indian clubs instead of their Aus Clubs. Thats insane. However I would not blame the BCCI for wanting that clause, I would blame the other nations for agreeing to that clause. If they act subservient, they shall be treated so. But who has the balls to bell the cat ?

  • POSTED BY theq77 on | July 22, 2008, 9:35 GMT

    I completely agree with Mr Haigh. The moment money and power enters the building, ethics and morality exits.

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | July 22, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    Waring the flower seller in Milan was just singing ur tune bcos he wanted to sell the flowers to you not bcos of what he thought about Indian cricket. His opinions I am sure were totally opposite to urs. Thats Indian for u "entrepreneurial".

  • POSTED BY IPLFan on | July 22, 2008, 9:20 GMT

    MaxLuther: 8 teams is just the beginning. Soon IPL will expand to 16 or 20 teams (and as Mr. Haigh hinted, it will expand in duration too) and then there will be players from other countries, including the minnows. If there were an IPL during the time of Andy Flower and Heath Streak, they could have done much more to popularise cricket in Zimbabwe than they could do by playing for the weak Zimbabwe team.

    But anyway, point being that market is in India, so there is nothing wrong in bcci controlling cricket and restructuring it so that the Indian audience is served best.

  • POSTED BY Kiran_India on | July 22, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    I dont understand what Gideon is trying to tell. Stop making such nonsense and just agree the way the things are, Nobody asked any other board to vote as per BCCI. If he wants to take it on anyone then shout at cricket australia. Which didnt even backed the players after sydney test incident.As far as I can see these people are jealous with the power of BCCI and try to write such stupid articles. As Sunny Gavasker told these people think only they can run the cricket. They have did that until now it should change. The other worrying factor is a much respected web like Cricinfo is publishing these kind of articles. I strongly suggest cricinfo not to publish these biased articles anymore......

  • POSTED BY qwer.qwer on | July 22, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    If Zimbabwe can participate in Olympics where England ,Australia and South Africa are participating,if it can play other sports like football(and FIFA dose not ban Zimbabwe) why should Zimbabwe be stopped form playing cricket.

    England probably cant see the control of the game it started to go to a country like India...they are still living in the world where the Sun never set on the British Empire. However I do feel that sometimes BCCI does get over the top which is not good for the agme of cricket.

    Changing the Oval test result was one shameful act. And so is the fact that ICL players are not being allowed to play in ICC events.

    Finally for the game to succeed the game has to be commercialized.There is nothing wrong in it.Because that is the only way for the game to survive otherwise we can see that the game will go in the direction hockey is going in comparasion to cricket in India or cricket in comparision to football in England.

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | July 22, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    Luther as far as I know Zim is not a test playing nation and Taibu did play in IPL. SURPRISE SURPRISE

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 22, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    I have a proposal .. simply reject the Indian money as according to some it seems to have a peculiar smell resembling stink. Assume BCCI doesnt exist, and BCCI tournaments dont exist .. simply play your game and take the money on offer. After all, countries like England and Australia are rich nations .. their cricketers are not going to die of poverty because of not playing in IPL.

  • POSTED BY Aroldo on | July 22, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    To describe Compaddict's conception of the situation as naive would be kind. It's simply not true, the democracy is no more than a puppet democracy - India can rely on the votes of the 3 other Asian countries & Zimbabwe, beacuse those countries would have too much to lose if they became the BCCI's enemy. Together those 5 are half of the voting members. India's insistence that Zimbabwe stay a full member was clearly a measure not to lose 50% control - their arguments about sport and politics being immiscible don't stand up: the two do mix because Mugabe has made them mix, by instituting a board of cronies to funnel money from the ICC to the pockets of a brutal dictator. The BCCI, through their tough stance, will indirectly but undoubtedly caused the death of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans. I am prepared to an Indian body have the most power in cricket, if they use it responsibly and not tyrannically. The beareaucratic, selfish & avaricious BCCI is not such a body. Well done Gideon.

  • POSTED BY CPIN on | July 22, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    "On India's nod, the ICC can even change the result of Test matches. Hell, why play Test matches at all? Let's just decide them by vote at the ICC"

    I really do not understand why such a strange remark is been written in this article. Are there any data available for such remark. Even if it is true, then India will always be topping the so called ICC ratings.

    I think there is a real need of active review committe for Cricinfo to review the article before publishing it. Otherwsie cricinfo will become a place to publish your individual perceptions, exagerations & un ethical creativity.

    For the Author: The world is still good enough to appreciate hard work & good work. And thats the reason why BCCI is having its upperhand in the list. It is unevitable & you must be mature enough to appreciate it.

  • POSTED BY sap1979 on | July 22, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    Well I had made a comment in Andrew Miller's article that u might soon be about to write something. How true it has turned out to be. To all the Indians in the blog there is no need to get infuriated as power always brings criticisms with it and we have to live with that. The best option is to ignore people like gideon and with time u will see that he will himself stop writing. Also no need to play the racist card anymore, its almost 60 odd years we have been independent now and as evident the british influence is already waning from India. Its about time we focus more on our own development than thinking about britain, NZ and australia which in my opinion are satellite countries of USA with no dignity or identity of their own.

  • POSTED BY sharanrp on | July 22, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    What is the author trying to prove? When the Western nations had a major say in the running of the game no one ever shouted. How many times have we had Indian and Asian cricketers being banned and fined and their Australian, English and South African counterparts being let off relatively free for WORSE offenses.

    If you cannot accept being thrown about, you probably shouldn't have earlier. And speaking about it now shows desperation.

    My advice as someone whose followed the game over the last 12-15 years, use all this energy in a youth academy for England. Make English cricket interesting to say the least. You guys are a joke. We don't care if you reached the finals 10 times. World cup wins = 0. About time England realized their cricket's going down and how. 5-0 thrashing in the Ashes, a loss in SL (Tests), India beat them (Tests), and now SAF are doing the same.

    The BCCI is doing what they should have done a few years earlier. Sit back and enjoy being dominated. This is our show now

  • POSTED BY IndiaGoats on | July 22, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    Reg_Dyer, England appeared in 3 world cup finals and lost all. India appeared in 3 world cup finals and won 2 of them (including T20).

  • POSTED BY Waring on | July 22, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    Wow. A typically superb article - imaginatively far-sighted and well-organised - at least to these purblind eyes. Thank you.

    This makes the one-eyed opprobrium heaped on any writer who attempts to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the BCCI's current apotheosis to power even more inappropriate in this case than usual.

    The tidal wave of imbecility that engulfs any public attempt to discuss the future of cricket is in itself a cause for concern; the prickly abuse unecessarily divisive.

    After all, one of the game's great achievements is its power for unity. Only recently I had a very enthusiastic comment about the merits of Indian cricket with an India flower seller in Milan, where without a common tongue, enthusiasm was the only thing we shared.

  • POSTED BY MaxLuther on | July 22, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    I read with interest the comments of IPLFan "the good thing about POWER is that you dont need to deserve it". Maybe that is representative of the thought process of the BCCI as well. This is the problem. If the BCCI was being run by people who understood cricket, then such power may have had a silver lining. However we know the true story. Its run by a bania & a neta. Need I say more.

    I also loved the justification of the IPL-Fan for IPL by claiming it will encourage many young cricketers from non-test playing nations to do well at the IPL & gain international fame. What has he been smoking ? From the list of approx 75 intl cricketers signed up for IPL , the total number of players signed from non-test playing nations = ZERO. And if you know the rules, from the 75, only 4 X 8 or 32 (non-indian) players can play regularly. So dont even dream of it being an opportunity for players from non-test nations. Not now, not in a 100 years. IPL is NOT for development of cricket, its a business

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | July 22, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    In ICC there is a democratic voting system in place. BCCI has only ONE vote. If other members want to vote with BCCI, is it BCCI's fault?

  • POSTED BY MaxLuther on | July 22, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    I am an Indian - So maybe I should support everything the BCCI does , esp as I have always disliked the earlier high handedness of the 'white' nations. However even I find it almost impossible to support a more than diabolical BCCI. Run by a shrewd politician (minister of agriculture) & businessman (born rich businessman) .... who collectively don't know the ABC of Cricket but are experts in politics & commerce.

    Cricket is fast losing its innocence & evolving into a bollywood tamasha quicker that even Charles Darwin would have predicted for the fastest evolving species on earth. Its not evolution, its mutation & a ugly mutation at that.

    I see no hope for the other sub-continent teams as they will always be hand-in-glove with India for obvious commercial reasons. However I hope Aus, England, RSA & West Indies have the better sense to at least stand up to the whims & fancies of the BCCI.

    A starting point would be to stop treating the ICL as a Criminal League. Can they do that

  • POSTED BY Alex72 on | July 22, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    UK would never have been a Super power if only deserving states were to become Superpowers. But then superpower status is now an award to the most deserving, it can only be earned. Naturally, any Superpower will impose their values and way of doing things on others, those on the receiving end will complain exactly like in this article. Punishing Zimbabwe is not in interest of BCCI nor is part of the Indian style. Further more BCCI have no reason to follow UK on this issue. UK didn't do it any differently in the 19th century. Preaching differently today would mean practicing double standards.

  • POSTED BY NumberXI on | July 22, 2008, 8:11 GMT

    This article is yet another example of the anti-BCCI drivel that Gideon Haigh consistently churns out. Only, it is a pity that Cricinfo seems to shirk its responsibility by blindly running such nonsense. It is funny that after some of us pointed out how this entire Zimbabwe vote business at the ICC was something which seemed to concern Haigh and the ECB more than the BCCI, all references to the word "vote" in this article consist of puerile and nonsensical suggestions about "tape ball cricket" and the like. If you want serious debate, Mr Haigh, why don't you have something more substantial to offer than such rubbish?

  • POSTED BY Reg_Dyer on | July 22, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    About time somebody said it outside the comments section and a beautifully weighted argument to boot. However, the comments below unfortunately demonstrate that it is not just the BCCI who 'exhibit the characteristics of chip-on-the-shoulder superpower'. Thank goodness India is only a cricketing superpower; if these attitudes were translated to any real clout on the political scene I'd move from irritation to real concern. It's only a game after all. However, it's still a game I love and it is painful to see what is happening. (R.R.Madhav. We haven't won a World Cup, true, but we have reached the final many more times than India.)

  • POSTED BY jamesb on | July 22, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    I'm so fed up with people like madhav: whenever someone writes something critical of India, the 'racist' cliche is trotted out. Just because someone says something you don't like, it doesn't mean they're racist. It's lazy, and racist in itself. Had to take issue with IPLfan also: I'm sure Hitler, Stalin and Mugabe would agree with your rubbish about wielding power. You're also totally wrong about globalisation: there is no such thing ever going to happen with cricket. It will never be a global sport. It's been around for over 150 years, what makes you think it's going "global"? Cricket is a tiny minority sport. Cricket is going down the football route (a truly global sport: played everywhere in the world), that of money driving everything. Football survived, but is dominated by the wealthy, powerful few. Cricket cannot be like football in that there are ONLY a few! The biggest farce committed by the ICC was the reversal of the Oval test.

  • POSTED BY Dubby49 on | July 22, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    It is in no ones interests for one nation to dictate to others what should or should not be done.

    An example of the BCCI's clout is the way players who have participated in the ICL are being treated. It is one thing for the BCCI to bully and harass Indian players - present and past - including the peerless Kapil Dev. But for other countries to do so to their playerson the BCCIs say so passes understanding.

    If these boards don't have the cojones to stand up to the BCCI'sinterefernce in domestic affairs. they should stop whining, lie back and enjoy what they get.

  • POSTED BY shakyn on | July 22, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Just cos you are Indian doesnt mean you have to blindly support BCCI. Look at what they are doing! BCCI wants to destroy young cricketers just cos they joined ICL! They dont even want to acknowledge our 83 world cup victory cos the team was lead by Kapil! How does it make sense to any sensible person?? Isnt that blatant misuse of power? Supporting Zimbabwe is purely political. cmon now! dont tell me BCCI is basing its judgment purely on its principle of 'cricket and politics dont mix'! We need their VOTE! BCCI's misuse of power is not justified by "double standards" of earlier years! And better stop using the race card! We know there are racists everywhere. its not confined to england or australia. We should know it more than anybodyelse, living in India!

  • POSTED BY vj3478 on | July 22, 2008, 7:14 GMT

    China(guess England wanted to ban) can host Olympics..Zimbabwe can participate...Also England Olympic team is going to Beijing.. The biggest sporting body, FIFA didnt ban Zimbabwe. Not sure why ECB is so stubborn to ban ZCU and whine if India/Asia doesnt support the decision. Isnt that double standard or in one word hypocrisy? Regarding ICL, its aim is to work(run parallel board) against BCCI and so its no brainer that they are banned. Guess if this happens in Aus or Eng, they would also need support of other cricketing countries and should get it. Yes, BCCI did flex its muscles regarding the banned test and its wrong and its not the only one. But the author was too biased for most, sorry for the entire story. One thing is for sure, BCCI has given some crickets the much needed financial security and indirectly to ECB too via Stanford. Bottomline, BCCI is no purist but got most of the decisions right and did good to Cricket unlike Gideon's view.

  • POSTED BY andytheseafarer on | July 22, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    Excellent article. Whether the indian cricket administrators agree to it or not, this is a fact that BCCI is infact influencing every decision of ICC.

  • POSTED BY r.r.madhav on | July 22, 2008, 6:38 GMT

    Mr. Gideon Haigh's comments are highly hypocritical and a bit racist as well. ICC was totally an 'independent' organization till the time it was run as a fiefdom of England and Australia, but has become 'Indianised' once they have lost control.

    Its better for him to reflect on their own history of racism and the barbarism which they have inflicted on the rest of the world.

    While India's on-field cricketing capabilities are debated, they conveniently forget that England has never been able to win a World Cup despite being the inventor of the game!

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 22, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    Its useless to try making any point when such biased, virulent, one sided rambling pieces are encouraged by the editor, with only serves to reduce the prestige of this website. The last eight months or so have brought the worst prejudices out from a lot of otherwise seemingly educated people.

  • POSTED BY IPLFan on | July 22, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Good thing about having the power is that you don't need to demonstrate to anyone that you deserve it. You just wield your power.

    As for the question being asked - it is obviously a force for the good. There is a much higher likelihood of globalisation of cricket happening through this Indianisation route. As Harsha Bhogle has noted in his latest column, there will be the IPL, but there will also be smaller leagues in other countries which act as feeders for IPL. It is far easier for minnow countries to produce one good cricketer than an entire team. When that cricketer plays a significant role for some IPL team, it has a greater chance of inspiring youngsters in that country, than seeing their weak national team being thrashed by established teams at every outing.

  • POSTED BY Brendanvio on | July 22, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    When you look at the Stanford 20/20 game and the the disastrous proposal for the English Premier League, one gets the feeling that English cricket is trying to reassert itself at the top of the tree as the old guard gives way to the BCCI-era.

    I see no problem with the BCCI having the majority of power as long as it uses it responsibly and continues a trend of being imaginative and inventive. The IPL was a strong showing for India, but it needs to also encourage the rest of the world. As far as I'm concerned, Test cricket is still the number one game and needs the help of the stronger nations, namely India, Australia and South Africa, to keep it healthy.

    The BCCI needs to start waking up to the Zimbabwe issue and try and seperate an extra vote from the fact that cricket will die within that nation within 10 years if quick action is not taken.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Brendanvio on | July 22, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    When you look at the Stanford 20/20 game and the the disastrous proposal for the English Premier League, one gets the feeling that English cricket is trying to reassert itself at the top of the tree as the old guard gives way to the BCCI-era.

    I see no problem with the BCCI having the majority of power as long as it uses it responsibly and continues a trend of being imaginative and inventive. The IPL was a strong showing for India, but it needs to also encourage the rest of the world. As far as I'm concerned, Test cricket is still the number one game and needs the help of the stronger nations, namely India, Australia and South Africa, to keep it healthy.

    The BCCI needs to start waking up to the Zimbabwe issue and try and seperate an extra vote from the fact that cricket will die within that nation within 10 years if quick action is not taken.

  • POSTED BY IPLFan on | July 22, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Good thing about having the power is that you don't need to demonstrate to anyone that you deserve it. You just wield your power.

    As for the question being asked - it is obviously a force for the good. There is a much higher likelihood of globalisation of cricket happening through this Indianisation route. As Harsha Bhogle has noted in his latest column, there will be the IPL, but there will also be smaller leagues in other countries which act as feeders for IPL. It is far easier for minnow countries to produce one good cricketer than an entire team. When that cricketer plays a significant role for some IPL team, it has a greater chance of inspiring youngsters in that country, than seeing their weak national team being thrashed by established teams at every outing.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 22, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    Its useless to try making any point when such biased, virulent, one sided rambling pieces are encouraged by the editor, with only serves to reduce the prestige of this website. The last eight months or so have brought the worst prejudices out from a lot of otherwise seemingly educated people.

  • POSTED BY r.r.madhav on | July 22, 2008, 6:38 GMT

    Mr. Gideon Haigh's comments are highly hypocritical and a bit racist as well. ICC was totally an 'independent' organization till the time it was run as a fiefdom of England and Australia, but has become 'Indianised' once they have lost control.

    Its better for him to reflect on their own history of racism and the barbarism which they have inflicted on the rest of the world.

    While India's on-field cricketing capabilities are debated, they conveniently forget that England has never been able to win a World Cup despite being the inventor of the game!

  • POSTED BY andytheseafarer on | July 22, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    Excellent article. Whether the indian cricket administrators agree to it or not, this is a fact that BCCI is infact influencing every decision of ICC.

  • POSTED BY vj3478 on | July 22, 2008, 7:14 GMT

    China(guess England wanted to ban) can host Olympics..Zimbabwe can participate...Also England Olympic team is going to Beijing.. The biggest sporting body, FIFA didnt ban Zimbabwe. Not sure why ECB is so stubborn to ban ZCU and whine if India/Asia doesnt support the decision. Isnt that double standard or in one word hypocrisy? Regarding ICL, its aim is to work(run parallel board) against BCCI and so its no brainer that they are banned. Guess if this happens in Aus or Eng, they would also need support of other cricketing countries and should get it. Yes, BCCI did flex its muscles regarding the banned test and its wrong and its not the only one. But the author was too biased for most, sorry for the entire story. One thing is for sure, BCCI has given some crickets the much needed financial security and indirectly to ECB too via Stanford. Bottomline, BCCI is no purist but got most of the decisions right and did good to Cricket unlike Gideon's view.

  • POSTED BY shakyn on | July 22, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    Just cos you are Indian doesnt mean you have to blindly support BCCI. Look at what they are doing! BCCI wants to destroy young cricketers just cos they joined ICL! They dont even want to acknowledge our 83 world cup victory cos the team was lead by Kapil! How does it make sense to any sensible person?? Isnt that blatant misuse of power? Supporting Zimbabwe is purely political. cmon now! dont tell me BCCI is basing its judgment purely on its principle of 'cricket and politics dont mix'! We need their VOTE! BCCI's misuse of power is not justified by "double standards" of earlier years! And better stop using the race card! We know there are racists everywhere. its not confined to england or australia. We should know it more than anybodyelse, living in India!

  • POSTED BY Dubby49 on | July 22, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    It is in no ones interests for one nation to dictate to others what should or should not be done.

    An example of the BCCI's clout is the way players who have participated in the ICL are being treated. It is one thing for the BCCI to bully and harass Indian players - present and past - including the peerless Kapil Dev. But for other countries to do so to their playerson the BCCIs say so passes understanding.

    If these boards don't have the cojones to stand up to the BCCI'sinterefernce in domestic affairs. they should stop whining, lie back and enjoy what they get.

  • POSTED BY jamesb on | July 22, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    I'm so fed up with people like madhav: whenever someone writes something critical of India, the 'racist' cliche is trotted out. Just because someone says something you don't like, it doesn't mean they're racist. It's lazy, and racist in itself. Had to take issue with IPLfan also: I'm sure Hitler, Stalin and Mugabe would agree with your rubbish about wielding power. You're also totally wrong about globalisation: there is no such thing ever going to happen with cricket. It will never be a global sport. It's been around for over 150 years, what makes you think it's going "global"? Cricket is a tiny minority sport. Cricket is going down the football route (a truly global sport: played everywhere in the world), that of money driving everything. Football survived, but is dominated by the wealthy, powerful few. Cricket cannot be like football in that there are ONLY a few! The biggest farce committed by the ICC was the reversal of the Oval test.

  • POSTED BY Reg_Dyer on | July 22, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    About time somebody said it outside the comments section and a beautifully weighted argument to boot. However, the comments below unfortunately demonstrate that it is not just the BCCI who 'exhibit the characteristics of chip-on-the-shoulder superpower'. Thank goodness India is only a cricketing superpower; if these attitudes were translated to any real clout on the political scene I'd move from irritation to real concern. It's only a game after all. However, it's still a game I love and it is painful to see what is happening. (R.R.Madhav. We haven't won a World Cup, true, but we have reached the final many more times than India.)