August 8, 2008

Split wide open

Cricket's clash of cultures is now more pronounced than ever, and money lies at the root
33



India and England find themselves at opposite poles and the ICC won't be able to bring them together in a hurry © Getty Images

Cricket, like much else, can only be a product of the world it operates in. Few things exist in a vacuum and cricket isn't one of them. The world we inhabit today is polarised and split. Lines have been drawn, sides taken and wars begun, geographically, culturally, religiously; between injustices of the past and redressals of the future, between haves and have-nots; this world is divided. Perhaps it was never united.

The same can be said of cricket and no matter how deep into Dubai's sands the ICC sinks its head, it cannot run away from this truth. How else to explain the funk cricket finds itself in over Zimbabwe, or the Champions Trophy, or over Twenty20 leagues? Over each matter cricket has fought within itself - a battle not of ideas, visions, morals or principles, but between cultures and geography, power and money.

Mostly but not always, the Asian countries have come together. They continue to back full membership for Zimbabwe, for example, despite doubts over whether there is any cricket worth its name being played there. Australia, England, New Zealand, and now even South Africa, want Zimbabwe out, yet Pakistan's academy side will soon be touring there. Ostensibly the quibble has been over whether sports and politics should mix, but the issue essentially is of realpolitik for the Asian bloc: in a ten-member body, each vote, no matter how dysfunctional the body that casts it, is crucial.

Similar lines have been drawn over the issues of security, though here it is more difficult to sit in judgment. The non-Asian bloc is not willing to travel to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, for they don't think it safe. Yet, not two months ago, the Asia Cup was played not only in Pakistan, but mostly in Karachi, without so much as a second thought about the security situation. One visiting security official wanting to interview Indian and Sri Lankan team members is believed to have had difficulties chasing players, so often were they out of their hotels. In contrast, teams from England and South Africa worry about cabin fever and not having anything to do apart from keeping safe inside the hotel room. Some countries are more attuned - and immune - to instability than others.

The most blurred battle is the one being fought over money, about power: who has it and who doesn't, and these are the splits most difficult to patch up. India currently has it all with the IPL and a leading stake in the Champions League. England once had it all and is riled. Stanford and plans for another Champions League are their counters. Those two may not seem like much now, but ultimately if either offers players more money, the IPL may not be the only sugar daddy around. Asia, predictably, is bending over backwards to accommodate the region's big brother. Australia, strangely, is not as riled as England and is happy to throw their lot in with India. Money breeds strange loyalties.

Can the ICC bring all this together? Doubtful, for the ICC is what it is: it represents only the stakes of each member and nothing more. Its decisions are dictated only by its members. So it is up to individual boards, particularly the big three, to act, and not just in their own interests.

Australia are the game's leaders on the field, but off it they are curiously reticent. They will follow the BCCI gladly to where the money is, and why not? The market is big and India provides them with a luscious, lucrative modern-day rivalry. Yet, elsewhere they are backwards in coming forward. Shamefully, they haven't visited Pakistan in over ten years, in which time they've visited even Zimbabwe once. What that says for the FTP is too rude to print here. If Australia are brave and take the plunge by coming to Pakistan this September, countries such as England, South Africa and New Zealand will surely follow. If Australia are smart they will also mediate more actively between India and England, who also provide them with their highest-profile contests.

England must understand that cricket may have begun with the Ashes, but it no longer ends with it. Their obsession with it to the exclusion of all else is frightening and demeaning. Kevin Pietersen has barely begun in the captaincy before hopes and fears are being expressed over a contest 11 months away. Tours to India and West Indies - vital, important, tough tours, which take them into the Ashes - suddenly have all the significance of an invitational 12-a-side tour game. Both have been rejigged, one for the IPL and one because the BCCI said so. Instead of trying to ensure another Test against India, perhaps to build a sustainable rivalry from a magnificent contest last summer, they complain that the venues are a pain in the ass. Acknowledging that India now is the financial power might allow England to focus more on the role for which they are suited: shaping the game's character and development.

 
 
Can the ICC bring all this together? Doubtful, for the ICC is what it is: it represents only the stakes of each member and nothing more. It decisions are dictated only by its members
 

To all their power, India need to add grace, as well as some of the humility for which they were once renowned. And stop thinking of each victory on and off the field as a righting of past wrongs. They need to work with the game, with other countries, and recognise the need for compromise; because no matter how much revenue they generate, playing by yourself isn't much fun. A superpower in a world of one is not so super.

So the house of cricket stands divided. Maybe it has always been; after all when England and Australia ran the game, only the roles were reversed. Cricket remains a confined, claustrophobic sport. That one country ruled over most of the rest - in fact planted the game in those countries - till recently complicates matters. Colonial wounds are fresh enough, so ensuing relations are complex.

And if the sport were a social class, it would be nouveau riche. Big money has come to it only recently, and there are signs it could get bigger. As with the class, the acquisition of money, and not necessarily the able handling of it, is more notable. The truth that more money brings more problems wasn't realised only by Biggie Smalls.

The imbalances are also now graver, as most of the money comes from one country. The longer this remains the case, the more splits will fester. For now, Zimbabwe is not going anywhere, neither is the civil war in Sri Lanka or the war on terror in Pakistan. Men such as Stanford and competitions such as the IPL are not running out of cash soon.

Lest this period of disquiet be labelled a one-off, it is not. For a time in the summer of 2006, a similar polarisation occurred. The Test formerly known as the forfeited one; South Africa leaving Sri Lanka after bomb blasts (India played on); Dean Jones' ignorance in stereotyping Hashim Amla, all brought out cricket's ugly divisions.

To pretend they don't exist is to add to the problem. Cricket is moving hastily into a new age. To do so successfully it needs to heal its wounds and first find peace within itself.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dogevpr2 on August 10, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    Whilst I might disagree with taking no action in Zimbabwe it's fitting that BCCI should strive to balance the longterm dominance by the Britsh and Australian of the ICC. Cricket not being in the Olympics is an example of a policy which does India (and Pakistan,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) no good.There is Volleyball and Beach Volleyball but no cricket? If China can host the Olympics Cricket2012Games.com can't understand why the world would deny India,the world's largest democracy, the chance to win a Medal in cricket in 2012. As for the T20 IPL/ICL type leagues-they are great for the game and can happily coexist with Test cricket. It's also neccessary for the survival of the game as it faces competition from basketball,baseball and golf.

  • michaelfernando on August 9, 2008, 20:06 GMT

    IPLFan (Posted on Aug 8, 04:12 AM GMT) is correct. The time has come to move on from the country vs. country top level cricket. The cure for the imbalance is parity. Parity between teams, between population centers and what markets can sustain cricket teams. And, the top level of professional cricket needs a better structure. Once that happens, people will enjoy cricket for the game, not for the blind national pride. Expanded articles are at:

    http://inningsbreak.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.cricinfo.com/inbox/archives/2008/08/first_icl_now_wcl.php

  • AsherCA on August 9, 2008, 18:44 GMT

    ICC's treatment of India & Pakistan -

    1. Human errors from ICC's "neutral umpires" against India every time Australia is in trouble.

    2. Visible inconsistency from even match referees who simply ignore code of conduct violations by Aussie / WI / SA cricketers, but apply the toughest permitted penalty when Indians / Pakistanis are at apparently fault. There is inconsistency in evidence requirement also. Blatant code of conduct violations by Keppler Wessels, Andrew Symonds, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting et al have been brushed under the carpet by ICC match referees who regularly hit Indians / Pakistanis with the toughest permitted penalties.

    3. The whole world saw that Indian Harbhajan Singh was penalised by an ICC match referee without sufficient evidence the first time round. On review with more evidence, Harbhajan's offence was at par with that of an Australian. There is no penalty to the Australian, Indian Harbhajan has suffered a penalty.

    WHO IS BULLYING - INDIA OR AUSTRALIA !

  • Kirk-at-Lords on August 9, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    Sometimes it takes a person with both wisdom and courage to identify the elephants (in this case both Indian and African) filling most of the room. Thanks to Osman Samiuddin for being that person. What is needed now is something beyond ICC action (if such a thing is even possible). Cricket needs a grand restructuring of its basic governance. Consider the case of the young USA, saddled with a hotch-potch "Confederation" government that was a laughingstock to its own citizens. The solution was a great Convention that produced a new Constitution. Having made no immense proposals recently, I herby offer one. Convene a Cricket Convention in Philadelphia USA, the birthplace of the US Constitution. Hold the Convention at America's one historically well-established cricket centre: Haverford College, which happens to be in Philadelphia. Have delegates from each cricketing nation (Test, Affiliates, Candidates, everyone!) attend. Let them create a "cricketing republic" worth keeping.

  • jaskaranjw on August 9, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    I fully agree with redneck here,IPL sucks(and I couldn't care less about ICL),I as an Indian am not hesitant to say it out loud. IPL was exciting for like the first week or so there was no national pride in it,I'd rather see a well contested Test match between India and Australia(which was way more exciting,controversial but exciting,than the IPL's..enough of them already).

    The recent test series between India and Sri Lanka has been far better cricketing experience for me and I feel that the upcoming ODI's(with SL) and the Test series(vs Australia) and the series against England would be exciting to watch as well.

    Although I fear that Modi is going to come up with some more idiotic plans in the near future which would include more crappy IPL and less international matches....I'd love to see 3 test matches,5 odi's maybe 3 T20 series as opposed to the two whole seasons of IPL.

  • JackJ on August 9, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    Osman sums up the situation well. That there are divisive forces in the ICC is obvious. I discern two major problems: Firstly the BCCI and India trying to dominate, and then the excessive hype over T20. T20 cannot be allowed to dominate or disrupt cricket. Being a purist, I see this format as naked money-making, in catering for non-cricket fans. Cricket was the favoured sport in India long before T20! The best way to handle it is to have all T20 controlled by the ICC and have one gap time when its played. Get the money-making over quickly. The other issue is more intractable. Just because England/Australia once dominated is no valid reason for India to try to follow suit! England invented cricket and they and Aus have by far the longest history in the game. In any case, these 2 long ago showed their maturity by giving up their ICC vetoes. Its time BCCI grew up and stopped trying to bully the others. If they don't, they will become outcasts! 2008 is not 1948, the world has moved on.

  • asim1 on August 9, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    I enjoyed reading the article , however i believe that the politics and the divide , are not always visible, and they tend to evaporate once the games actually begin...... clear the air, play cricket (well) and no one will care about what the boards are trying to do ... id like to remain oblivious to all of the nonsense , I'm a fan of cricket, not its administration.

  • vswami on August 9, 2008, 2:20 GMT

    Its incredibly funny to see whats happening now where every board wants to publicly attack BCCI and then send an official soon after to negotiate with BCCI to send a team over to play and earn some money. ECB takes the cake in this .. firstly denouncing all things organised by BCCI in the strongest terms and then begging BCCI to play in its Champions League. Its the biggest laugh I have had in recent times.

  • fataquie on August 8, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    Truth is always bitter, especially in ICC's case. I found Osman's article to be very balanced. But again, it seems people commenting on Osman's personality should either contribute to the discussion's topic as opposed to the writer's personality.

    Truth hurts and that is why, I believe most people commenting are making irrational comments on the writers personality......Where is the moderator?

  • Sky-Walker on August 8, 2008, 22:59 GMT

    I like the way Osman writes as most of the time he provides true picture of what is going on in Pakistan team as he has more information and knowledge about each player and their culture. However in the above article I did not get clearly what he wants BCCI to do ?, can he explain little bit what he meant by " Grace and Humanity" Is Indian team disgraceful and inhuman ? What does he meant by "righting of past wrongs"? Is BCCI not working with other Boards ? Are they arrogant to other boards ? Yes, they are very very arrogant to ICL , to media , to other state associations but not to other Countries as they need players for IPL! . If any other reader picked up Osman's mind pl. pl. explain it to me the meaning of the above ,thanks.

  • Dogevpr2 on August 10, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    Whilst I might disagree with taking no action in Zimbabwe it's fitting that BCCI should strive to balance the longterm dominance by the Britsh and Australian of the ICC. Cricket not being in the Olympics is an example of a policy which does India (and Pakistan,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) no good.There is Volleyball and Beach Volleyball but no cricket? If China can host the Olympics Cricket2012Games.com can't understand why the world would deny India,the world's largest democracy, the chance to win a Medal in cricket in 2012. As for the T20 IPL/ICL type leagues-they are great for the game and can happily coexist with Test cricket. It's also neccessary for the survival of the game as it faces competition from basketball,baseball and golf.

  • michaelfernando on August 9, 2008, 20:06 GMT

    IPLFan (Posted on Aug 8, 04:12 AM GMT) is correct. The time has come to move on from the country vs. country top level cricket. The cure for the imbalance is parity. Parity between teams, between population centers and what markets can sustain cricket teams. And, the top level of professional cricket needs a better structure. Once that happens, people will enjoy cricket for the game, not for the blind national pride. Expanded articles are at:

    http://inningsbreak.blogspot.com/ and http://blogs.cricinfo.com/inbox/archives/2008/08/first_icl_now_wcl.php

  • AsherCA on August 9, 2008, 18:44 GMT

    ICC's treatment of India & Pakistan -

    1. Human errors from ICC's "neutral umpires" against India every time Australia is in trouble.

    2. Visible inconsistency from even match referees who simply ignore code of conduct violations by Aussie / WI / SA cricketers, but apply the toughest permitted penalty when Indians / Pakistanis are at apparently fault. There is inconsistency in evidence requirement also. Blatant code of conduct violations by Keppler Wessels, Andrew Symonds, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting et al have been brushed under the carpet by ICC match referees who regularly hit Indians / Pakistanis with the toughest permitted penalties.

    3. The whole world saw that Indian Harbhajan Singh was penalised by an ICC match referee without sufficient evidence the first time round. On review with more evidence, Harbhajan's offence was at par with that of an Australian. There is no penalty to the Australian, Indian Harbhajan has suffered a penalty.

    WHO IS BULLYING - INDIA OR AUSTRALIA !

  • Kirk-at-Lords on August 9, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    Sometimes it takes a person with both wisdom and courage to identify the elephants (in this case both Indian and African) filling most of the room. Thanks to Osman Samiuddin for being that person. What is needed now is something beyond ICC action (if such a thing is even possible). Cricket needs a grand restructuring of its basic governance. Consider the case of the young USA, saddled with a hotch-potch "Confederation" government that was a laughingstock to its own citizens. The solution was a great Convention that produced a new Constitution. Having made no immense proposals recently, I herby offer one. Convene a Cricket Convention in Philadelphia USA, the birthplace of the US Constitution. Hold the Convention at America's one historically well-established cricket centre: Haverford College, which happens to be in Philadelphia. Have delegates from each cricketing nation (Test, Affiliates, Candidates, everyone!) attend. Let them create a "cricketing republic" worth keeping.

  • jaskaranjw on August 9, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    I fully agree with redneck here,IPL sucks(and I couldn't care less about ICL),I as an Indian am not hesitant to say it out loud. IPL was exciting for like the first week or so there was no national pride in it,I'd rather see a well contested Test match between India and Australia(which was way more exciting,controversial but exciting,than the IPL's..enough of them already).

    The recent test series between India and Sri Lanka has been far better cricketing experience for me and I feel that the upcoming ODI's(with SL) and the Test series(vs Australia) and the series against England would be exciting to watch as well.

    Although I fear that Modi is going to come up with some more idiotic plans in the near future which would include more crappy IPL and less international matches....I'd love to see 3 test matches,5 odi's maybe 3 T20 series as opposed to the two whole seasons of IPL.

  • JackJ on August 9, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    Osman sums up the situation well. That there are divisive forces in the ICC is obvious. I discern two major problems: Firstly the BCCI and India trying to dominate, and then the excessive hype over T20. T20 cannot be allowed to dominate or disrupt cricket. Being a purist, I see this format as naked money-making, in catering for non-cricket fans. Cricket was the favoured sport in India long before T20! The best way to handle it is to have all T20 controlled by the ICC and have one gap time when its played. Get the money-making over quickly. The other issue is more intractable. Just because England/Australia once dominated is no valid reason for India to try to follow suit! England invented cricket and they and Aus have by far the longest history in the game. In any case, these 2 long ago showed their maturity by giving up their ICC vetoes. Its time BCCI grew up and stopped trying to bully the others. If they don't, they will become outcasts! 2008 is not 1948, the world has moved on.

  • asim1 on August 9, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    I enjoyed reading the article , however i believe that the politics and the divide , are not always visible, and they tend to evaporate once the games actually begin...... clear the air, play cricket (well) and no one will care about what the boards are trying to do ... id like to remain oblivious to all of the nonsense , I'm a fan of cricket, not its administration.

  • vswami on August 9, 2008, 2:20 GMT

    Its incredibly funny to see whats happening now where every board wants to publicly attack BCCI and then send an official soon after to negotiate with BCCI to send a team over to play and earn some money. ECB takes the cake in this .. firstly denouncing all things organised by BCCI in the strongest terms and then begging BCCI to play in its Champions League. Its the biggest laugh I have had in recent times.

  • fataquie on August 8, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    Truth is always bitter, especially in ICC's case. I found Osman's article to be very balanced. But again, it seems people commenting on Osman's personality should either contribute to the discussion's topic as opposed to the writer's personality.

    Truth hurts and that is why, I believe most people commenting are making irrational comments on the writers personality......Where is the moderator?

  • Sky-Walker on August 8, 2008, 22:59 GMT

    I like the way Osman writes as most of the time he provides true picture of what is going on in Pakistan team as he has more information and knowledge about each player and their culture. However in the above article I did not get clearly what he wants BCCI to do ?, can he explain little bit what he meant by " Grace and Humanity" Is Indian team disgraceful and inhuman ? What does he meant by "righting of past wrongs"? Is BCCI not working with other Boards ? Are they arrogant to other boards ? Yes, they are very very arrogant to ICL , to media , to other state associations but not to other Countries as they need players for IPL! . If any other reader picked up Osman's mind pl. pl. explain it to me the meaning of the above ,thanks.

  • ladycricfan on August 8, 2008, 21:42 GMT

    Out of 10 ICC members, four are so called asian bloc (IND,PAK,SL,BANG). Four are western countries (ENG,AUS,SA,NZ). The other two are WI and ZIM. For any voting to be successful in the ICC you need a 7-3 majority. Usually other 3 members in the asian bloc vote with BCCI (so far 4 votes). Take WI and ZIM also vote with BCCI (= 6 votes now). That leaves BCCI needing atleast one vote from the western bloc get the 7-3 majority. That means everytime BCCI is on the winning side one or more western members are voting with BCCI. Contrary to popular belief, BCCI has more friends than enemies. BCCI is not causing any "splits". There aren't any splits.

  • cricketmad on August 8, 2008, 20:20 GMT

    Osman, Its always a pleasure to read your articles. This one is again balanced. People seem to pick things in the article they dont like and conveniently forget the rest of it!! You are doing a grand job in Karachi. keep it up.

  • sami1284 on August 8, 2008, 19:18 GMT

    Firstly, it is a well written article, and on the contrary the issues discussed hold cricket's future in its hands.

    1. Test cricket is the only 'real' format, everything else is for money. 2. India should remember "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." And they are only proving this old yet true cliche as completely true. 3. Someone mentioned it, however let me say it. It is each individual country's board to blame. As the administrations are there to make money, and don't make decisions in the interest of the game. 4. IPL/ICL issue, I mean someone wanted to make the ICL happen and why not? I mean why don't other boards and ICC speak out about this monopolization. I'm from Canada and creating monopolies in this country is illegal. Solution: More captains need to speak up, boards need to speak up like Jawardene. Champions league great idea for once a year event with clubs from all nations. If India don't agree, boycott them - then India vs. No-One

  • kumars on August 8, 2008, 18:55 GMT

    OK then how will the author explain the cricket boards of south africa and Australia cow towing the lines of BCCI in the case of Twenty20 games that are played in india....

  • faziz on August 8, 2008, 17:43 GMT

    Osman stated the obvious and he has every right to do this (minus the comment about colonial wounds... not sure that is the thought of the majority). If I were to venture to guess, the responses are also based on cultural and political lines. With all that said, it would be great if we could have a world league for clubs and for countries.

  • king1985 on August 8, 2008, 13:41 GMT

    All those who have a problem with the article! why dont you ignore it and move to another one, why read it and post comments!!! why waste time. I advise the Cricinfo management to ignore the comments of the people who are posting off topic and about their personal views about the writer! As far as the article is concerned, it gives a great picture of what is going on in ICC and the cricketing world. Its divided and boards are hungry to eat each other up! From the very beginning it has been the case, English and Aussies dominating the sport off the field for a long time. Now its time for India to do the same. But when it was England and Australia no body dared to write against them! why? now when its the 3rd world nations coming together and being the leaders of the game. Everyone has articles and writings against them! Its perfectly ok to have more importance for India, they have more money! Always remember ...Might is Right!!! In the past, in present and in the future will be same!!!!

  • shashtri on August 8, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    I dont like Osman's articles. The reason is that it spreads hate. You can be right about relations and tensions but why to put a fuel in fire. Osman can say that he is not promoting hatred but just reporting the facts but reporting this polarization just brings more hatred in the cricket world. For a journalist, it is his/her responsibility that he should not spread hate on name of speaking truth. Also they should not write sensational articles to become more famous and for money, if they have integrity. I am not sure if Osman has integrity or good journalistic attitude. He is just there to make money on reporting sensationalism(division, hatred, dirty politics). By the way I am not from Pakistan but I agree with Khan's post. He is just a puppet to please Cricinfo.

    Suresh

  • karthi52 on August 8, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    @ sridharps.very good; nice comment;finally it is just cricket.Particulary this author always writes negative comments about other countries .osman is the first person who publicly advertised that IPL should fail from first ball;He never wants cricket to develop.But you people happily critise ICC (for not develoing cricket)sitting in the cricinfo chair.Away from cricket there is good relation between india and all western nations.india never wants to degrade others,her only point is ICL.After ICL ,so many things happened.i wish good luck for both ICL and IPL.which will improve good cricket.please! Osman,atleast next time write any sensible article.Even people from England will not praise your article.You never wrote any good article.FINALLY ONE QUESTION?What do you want to say from this article?

  • Anjo on August 8, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    "Colonial wounds are fresh enough, so ensuing relations are complex." Really? If 40 years after the civil rights movement a black man can overcome all racial wounds to seriously contend the US presidency, why should Asian countries still complain about colonial wounds 60 years after independence? This colonial line is a hackneyed and quite ludicrous assertion. I honestly don't see why it is essential to have a united cricket body. Is the sport in immediate danger? With time, things will play themselves out, and who's to say whether one path is better than the other. I don't see cricket dying a sudden death, and I'm quite sure if that scenario does arrive the administrators of every board will act accordingly to ensure its survival. The spat between the Indian and English boards only highlights how petty the administrators in both boards are.

  • sap1979 on August 8, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    England must understand that cricket may have begun with the Ashes, but it no longer ends with it. Their obsession with it to the exclusion of all else is frightening and demeaning. Crux of the matter my celtic pal Mc Donalds oops i mean mc tell

  • TwitterJitter on August 8, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    "Everything that has to be said on this topic has been said, but not everyone said it. So let me take my dig at it" seems to be the attitude of CI editors towards this topic. My question is "Are there any more editors left who have not touched on this topic yet?". If so if you could please get it off your chest soon, you can move on discussing other issues. The article attempts to give a balanced look, but I don't see it as a big problem as people make it out to be. If people discuss the same topic 100 times, the problem appears more magnified than it actually is. I actually agree with IPLFan on this topic. The imbalance is partly because India generates more than 60% of cricket revenues. It is not good for other countries. It is also not good for India because instead of focusing on further growth, it is now more focused on how to increase its say. Competition like ICL in the gave BCCI the right kick to focus more on maximizing its revenues (IPL, CL) and it will only get better for it

  • K.Khan. on August 8, 2008, 10:26 GMT

    If you want to degrade a player on such an informative website, ciricinfo, ask Osman to write his profile. If you want to degrade a country ask Osman to write its profile, if you want to degrade a team asks Osman to write about. Overall who will be degraded, definitely cricket and cricinfo.

    The most ill sports writer I have ever found in my life so far is Osman. He is mentally depressed and have obsession for fame. He doesn't have gets to write but he wants to write just to put the title of cricket journalist.

    But still some people at cricinfo needs him (plus another Pakistani writer), why? Because he can write against Pakistan or Pakistani culture (but not against the president), he can write against the religious tradition in Pakistan team, which foreign writers can't do so easily.

    The best solution is that, "never read an article written by Osman Samiuddin", simple ignore it and try to read something written by other good Asian and English writers.

  • Ralph_McTell on August 8, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    "And stop thinking of each victory on and off the field as a righting of past wrongs."

    The crux of the matter.

  • sridharps on August 8, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Osman, one more article which itself polarises readers on this website. Approx 15 days back, I posted a comment that every 15 days we have an article from someone on such topics on this website. Please let us stop such discussions for some time. Can we pls discuss cricket for a change and politics less? You say, the world is divided, it never was united. yes, but don't you think we have progressed? When a Tsunami happens in Srilanka, some other country like Australia sends aid for relief! In India, we have so many who come to our country to learn yoga, for cultural programmes etc etc...could you imagine such global travel & exchange on such a scale between cultures even 65 years back when India/Pakistan were ruled by colonials? How much the world has changed! Racism, casteism are all on the decline. It will take time for such things to go, But I would much rather focus on how much we have moved ahead. But, unfortunately, for scribes of your ilk, 'bad news' is good news.

  • redneck on August 8, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    cont... cricket is the only international sport which gets played in every city of aus by makeing cricket a domestic game for most of the year it would mean smaller cites eg adelaide, perth, hobart who pack out there stadiums to see australia take on whoever would miss out on seeing their national team (just like in every other sport!) as sydney and melbourne would get every match involving australia. im sure other countries would have similar problems

  • redneck on August 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    well balanced article! regardless if australia send a second string team or a full strength side to pakistan the important thing is that australia (& eng, nz, sa) send a representative team. then when the tournament goes off with out incedent the players who pulled out this time for safety reasons will see that they will be safe and will tour pakistan next time! on the other hand if something does happen during the champions trophy... well lets just hope for pakistans sake that it doesnt or they may not play to many home games for a while??? and well said king of spain! any true cricket fan love tests the most! iplfan what you say might suit you in india but there isnt much in it for the rest of the cricket world eg us aussies want to see our national team not the redbacks playing the bushrangers no matter who is playing as there is no nationl pride at stake! if any aussie wants a domestic league we have enough aussie rules and rugby to go round twice over...cont

  • Brendanvio on August 8, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    An intriguing article, and very balanced. In regards to Australia, they do need to be more mediative between bitter off field foes India and England.

    I do feel that India cannot afford to be impatient with Australia as they are critical in terms of providing the most competition for their national team and thus people through the turnstiles. People will greatly prefer to see a clash between India and Australia than India and England.

    Although I can understand from a certain point why they woyuld be reluctant to tour, there have never been any cases of cricketers being in any danger. I agree with Osman that it would show great initiative for Australia to send a full strength team not only for the benefit of Pakistan cricket but for world cricket.

  • markgm on August 8, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    A lot of this article certainly rings true - whilst the ICC continues to be a forum for each member country to advance their own cause rather than a body that truly represents the interests of cricket, these problems will continue to exist. In relation to the upcoming Champions Trophy and the participation of non-Asian bloc countries (especially England and Australia) there is deep-seated concerns about the safety of their players in Pakistan, given the role their respective countries have played in current regional wars. Whilst these concerns are more a statement of the temper of the times rather than being reflective of any 'real' evidence of any threats to the players safety, in the current environment it is going to be impossible for players in these countries (Australia and England) to ignore any suggested threat (even if that may be trumped up local media/politicians). As such, this excellent article does well to reflect that cricket cannot be viewed in a vacuum!

  • pragmatist on August 8, 2008, 4:25 GMT

    What is needed is a stronger ICC. Perhaps even a new body that has some geniune wish to get involved rather than to wash its hands of trouble and dismiss serious cricketing, financial and political issues as "local matters". For the time being India leads the world game (partly due to the ICC voting structure, partly due to financial might) but focuses on shorter term gains with little regard for the game's long-term future. Not that England is without guilt - their own dash for cash is shameful, especially their recent TV deal extension which keeps cricket off TV for the masses for the next five years at least.

  • IPLFan on August 8, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Sensible article. Imbalance (of market, power, etc.) is the problem, but the only solution to it is to get rid of this nation vs nation structure and move to a club-based league. Indian market will only grow and grow, so how are you going to address the imbalance? By making sure that you don't just have one team accounting for 90% of the market. The present structure just doesn't make any sense. IPL-like structure is the only solution going forward. Disband ICC, stop playing these meaningless bilateral/trilateral series, restrict nation vs nation matches to a biennial or quadrennial world cup and let most of the cricket rest of the time be IPL like leagues. If those leagues can play T20 8 months a year and 5-day cricket 3 months, so much the better.

  • vswami on August 8, 2008, 4:03 GMT

    We have gone along this tired path of ICC being useless, Indian monster, terrorism in Pakistan etc. many times on this website. I was trying to find whats new that hasnt been said before and I could find nothing. Pointless and non value adding article.

  • kingofspain on August 8, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    Real cricket supporters, regardless of nationality, hate 20/20 and love tests. That much is surely beyond debate!

  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on August 8, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    It all began in 1990 during the ICC president elections. England & Australia knew that the associate nations were solidly on Indian/Asian side for the first time & it could well have been a situation when an Indian president gets elected that year, a Pakistani next year, then Sri Lankan, then again India. England & Australia got panicked since adminstratively they were the sole rulers in world cricket till that point. This is when David Richards played the mastercard. David Richards effectively played on an individual (president hopeful) ambitions, and sold him on the idea of the rota system it was decided that each Test nation in turn will get a chance to be president. When Australia/England were the ICC kingmakers for 4 decades they didn't have any problem. When Asians & in particular Indians came into prominence they drafted this rule basically to ensure that they are not left out. They are still clinging on that mentality that they only have the right to govern cricket.

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  • Davesh_cricket_analyst on August 8, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    It all began in 1990 during the ICC president elections. England & Australia knew that the associate nations were solidly on Indian/Asian side for the first time & it could well have been a situation when an Indian president gets elected that year, a Pakistani next year, then Sri Lankan, then again India. England & Australia got panicked since adminstratively they were the sole rulers in world cricket till that point. This is when David Richards played the mastercard. David Richards effectively played on an individual (president hopeful) ambitions, and sold him on the idea of the rota system it was decided that each Test nation in turn will get a chance to be president. When Australia/England were the ICC kingmakers for 4 decades they didn't have any problem. When Asians & in particular Indians came into prominence they drafted this rule basically to ensure that they are not left out. They are still clinging on that mentality that they only have the right to govern cricket.

  • kingofspain on August 8, 2008, 3:42 GMT

    Real cricket supporters, regardless of nationality, hate 20/20 and love tests. That much is surely beyond debate!

  • vswami on August 8, 2008, 4:03 GMT

    We have gone along this tired path of ICC being useless, Indian monster, terrorism in Pakistan etc. many times on this website. I was trying to find whats new that hasnt been said before and I could find nothing. Pointless and non value adding article.

  • IPLFan on August 8, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Sensible article. Imbalance (of market, power, etc.) is the problem, but the only solution to it is to get rid of this nation vs nation structure and move to a club-based league. Indian market will only grow and grow, so how are you going to address the imbalance? By making sure that you don't just have one team accounting for 90% of the market. The present structure just doesn't make any sense. IPL-like structure is the only solution going forward. Disband ICC, stop playing these meaningless bilateral/trilateral series, restrict nation vs nation matches to a biennial or quadrennial world cup and let most of the cricket rest of the time be IPL like leagues. If those leagues can play T20 8 months a year and 5-day cricket 3 months, so much the better.

  • pragmatist on August 8, 2008, 4:25 GMT

    What is needed is a stronger ICC. Perhaps even a new body that has some geniune wish to get involved rather than to wash its hands of trouble and dismiss serious cricketing, financial and political issues as "local matters". For the time being India leads the world game (partly due to the ICC voting structure, partly due to financial might) but focuses on shorter term gains with little regard for the game's long-term future. Not that England is without guilt - their own dash for cash is shameful, especially their recent TV deal extension which keeps cricket off TV for the masses for the next five years at least.

  • markgm on August 8, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    A lot of this article certainly rings true - whilst the ICC continues to be a forum for each member country to advance their own cause rather than a body that truly represents the interests of cricket, these problems will continue to exist. In relation to the upcoming Champions Trophy and the participation of non-Asian bloc countries (especially England and Australia) there is deep-seated concerns about the safety of their players in Pakistan, given the role their respective countries have played in current regional wars. Whilst these concerns are more a statement of the temper of the times rather than being reflective of any 'real' evidence of any threats to the players safety, in the current environment it is going to be impossible for players in these countries (Australia and England) to ignore any suggested threat (even if that may be trumped up local media/politicians). As such, this excellent article does well to reflect that cricket cannot be viewed in a vacuum!

  • Brendanvio on August 8, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    An intriguing article, and very balanced. In regards to Australia, they do need to be more mediative between bitter off field foes India and England.

    I do feel that India cannot afford to be impatient with Australia as they are critical in terms of providing the most competition for their national team and thus people through the turnstiles. People will greatly prefer to see a clash between India and Australia than India and England.

    Although I can understand from a certain point why they woyuld be reluctant to tour, there have never been any cases of cricketers being in any danger. I agree with Osman that it would show great initiative for Australia to send a full strength team not only for the benefit of Pakistan cricket but for world cricket.

  • redneck on August 8, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    well balanced article! regardless if australia send a second string team or a full strength side to pakistan the important thing is that australia (& eng, nz, sa) send a representative team. then when the tournament goes off with out incedent the players who pulled out this time for safety reasons will see that they will be safe and will tour pakistan next time! on the other hand if something does happen during the champions trophy... well lets just hope for pakistans sake that it doesnt or they may not play to many home games for a while??? and well said king of spain! any true cricket fan love tests the most! iplfan what you say might suit you in india but there isnt much in it for the rest of the cricket world eg us aussies want to see our national team not the redbacks playing the bushrangers no matter who is playing as there is no nationl pride at stake! if any aussie wants a domestic league we have enough aussie rules and rugby to go round twice over...cont

  • redneck on August 8, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    cont... cricket is the only international sport which gets played in every city of aus by makeing cricket a domestic game for most of the year it would mean smaller cites eg adelaide, perth, hobart who pack out there stadiums to see australia take on whoever would miss out on seeing their national team (just like in every other sport!) as sydney and melbourne would get every match involving australia. im sure other countries would have similar problems

  • sridharps on August 8, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Osman, one more article which itself polarises readers on this website. Approx 15 days back, I posted a comment that every 15 days we have an article from someone on such topics on this website. Please let us stop such discussions for some time. Can we pls discuss cricket for a change and politics less? You say, the world is divided, it never was united. yes, but don't you think we have progressed? When a Tsunami happens in Srilanka, some other country like Australia sends aid for relief! In India, we have so many who come to our country to learn yoga, for cultural programmes etc etc...could you imagine such global travel & exchange on such a scale between cultures even 65 years back when India/Pakistan were ruled by colonials? How much the world has changed! Racism, casteism are all on the decline. It will take time for such things to go, But I would much rather focus on how much we have moved ahead. But, unfortunately, for scribes of your ilk, 'bad news' is good news.