April 13, 2011

Cricket's impending crisis

The ICC board talks a lot about cleaning up the game. They might consider starting with themselves
63

Only those immersed in the thrills and spills of the IPL will be feeling confident that cricket is on the right track. Of course that includes the bulk of the leading players and a sizeable proportion of the commentariat. Exciting events tend to distract attention from broader truths. In some cases that is their intention; elsewhere it is a by-product.

Some observers, too, point out that cricket has just staged the best World Cup in a quarter of a century and that the 50-over game has proved it has plenty of life left in it. Not that thoughtful people ever doubted it. Recently, too, the Ashes series attracted big crowds. From the outside it might appear that all is well. But then, if cricket cannot rise in an Ashes and World Cup year, and with India staging the World Cup and also sitting on top of the rankings, it never will.

And, it is true, other consolations can be found. Bangladesh's enthusiasm for the game is a priceless asset. Anyone seeking sincere love for cricket ought to walk the streets of Dhaka on a match day. The rebuilding of the stadiums in India and elsewhere for the World Cup means that, at last, spectators are properly treated in that neck of the woods. In that regard India has had a wretched history. Not that the public was always given its due this time around. The lathi charges and ticketing scandals indicate otherwise.

The world is a battleground between the corrupt and the common man. Everyone has to choose his side. At present that struggle is unfolding in North Africa but eventually it will spread. The new media is not so easily contained because it expresses not the political aspiration of the few but the social requirements of the many.

Cricket also assisted supporters by providing cheaper tickets. Elsewhere, too, the rise of Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath into positions of influence in Karnataka is to be warmly welcomed. Cricket has few men of their calibre and cannot afford to waste them. Mostly, too, the international teams are well coached and led. That has not always been the case. How many captains have had their snouts in the trough in the last 30 years? Sir Paul Condon says match-fixing started in the early 1980s, and he counts among the most cautious of men.

If anything, the game on the field is more honest than it has been in recent times. Off the field, of course, cricket is at its lowest ebb. Allen Stanford and Lalit Modi knew they moved among fellow travellers, people prepared to do anything for a buck. In his compelling, compulsory and depressing book Sticky Wicket, Malcolm Speed recalls Desmond Haynes ranting and raving and Viv Richards banging his fist on the table after the ICC declined to accept Stanford's proposals. Speed is not the most diplomatic of men but even so the picture is remarkable.

In the fullness of time the disastrous nature of the last few months will be grasped. It will be seen as a period in which cricket spurned numerous opportunities, limiting itself to the old empire, disdaining due diligence and settling for compromised leadership. In that time cricket has concluded that corruption does not matter, conflicts of interest are irrelevant, and that power and money alone count. In that period cricket has rejected its best and embraced its worst.

Inevitably the ICC is blamed for all developments. It is a glib position to take. The ICC is not a powerful beast stalking the earth. Mostly it is an administrative body called upon to ensure that umpires and players turn up at the same place at the same time and play by more or less the same rules. Since the game is played at the highest level by a small group of nations burdened with alarming histories, conflicting religions and internal struggles, and mostly in the top half of the corruption table, it is hardly surprising that the ICC is constantly under pressure. Cricket is not played by a bunch of sweet-talking Nordic countries.

Moreover it is a mistake to regard the ICC as a unit. In effect it has two arms, administration and executive. The administration works admirably and contains many dedicated and honest servants with the game's best interests embedded in their souls. Considering all their efforts, in far-flung places and even at the recent World Cup, it must be galling to be blamed for decisions taken at the head table, where self-interest rules, resentment resides and cynicism is common practice.

Cricket's impending collapse - once the head rots the rest will follow - stems from the lack of principle displayed by the board. Consider the men - they are all men - sitting at the head table. Ordinarily Ijaz Butt represents Pakistan. If he were an isolated case the game might survive. In fact, he remains in charge in cricket's second-largest nation. Speed called him a buffoon and subsequently withdrew the remark on the grounds that it was unfair to buffoons. Sharad Pawar is president. To his chagrin he has recently been obliged to resign from a body set up to counter corruption in his country. At the least this shows the folly of involving a current politician in a game.

Dr Julian Hunte of the West Indies has so many plenipotentiaries that it's hard to believe he has any time for cricket. In any case he has hardly presided over triumph in his region. Giles Clarke of England considers himself a go-getter, and it is true he is decisive, though seldom wise. Jack Clarke of Australia is a likeable fellow, but his country did not consider him worthy of further elevation and on his watch Australia has spent most of its time snuggling up to India.

Alan Isaac of New Zealand is a capable man and so is Shashank Manohar of India, though as a busy lawyer he has little time for the game. N Srinivasan, India's supposedly strong man, seems to consider it appropriate to own an IPL franchise and to run the IPL, a novel view of governance.

Inevitably the ICC is blamed for all developments. It is a glib position to take. The ICC is not a powerful beast stalking the earth. Mostly it is an administrative body called upon to ensure that umpires and players turn up at the same place at the same time and play by more or less the same rules

South Africa's representative at the table changed after the incumbent chairman went on radio and accused his chief executive, Gerald Majola, of dishonest words and deeds. It is an internal matter concerning behind-the-scenes payments for extra work done when the IPL was hastily moved to Africa. Dr Nyoka contends that CSA paid itself bonuses and was entitled to know that the IPL had been extremely generous. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, the isolating of Nyoka, the whistle-blower, did not improve confidence. Happily the matter is to go before the courts, so perhaps they can sort it out.

Sri Lanka's inner sanctum is in such turmoil that it's hard to know where to start. There are disconcerting accusations about ticket scams, while the Daily Mirror, a local newspaper, has suggested that bankruptcy is looming. The resignations of an excellent captain and vice-captain, clearly under stress, after the World Cup, also raised eyebrows. It is ridiculous to say that these men are too old. Like India, Sri Lanka has of late been extremely lucky with its senior players. Likewise the sustained attacks on Arjuna Ranatunga were unwarranted. But then, he is a member of the opposition.

Although transparency has improved considerably in the last year or so, Zimbabwe is also represented by some curious coves. As the last generation was rightly judged by the stance it took on apartheid, so the reputation of moderns depends on the position they take on the Zimbabwean tyranny. God knows we are all flawed but some things are beyond the pale. Even a game cannot put its head in the sand.

Speed's chapters on the Zimbabwe issue brook no argument. They remove the fa├žade so diligently erected by the lickspittles. At first sight it does not seem unreasonable to expect that an audit confirming that Zimbabwe Cricket's financial accounts have been falsified might be referred to the ethics committee. But Peter Chingoka, ZC chairman, and the most powerful man in cricket, was able to persuade bitter and inadequate colleagues that no such action was needed. By all accounts Chingoka is a brilliant operator able to nurse along powerful allies at home and at the ICC. That is his job. The fault lies with supposedly responsible parties letting him get away with it.

Cricket's brave new world is deeply compromised. Once quality has been lost around the table - and cricket has produced lots of fine men, many of them West Indian, but also Ehsan Mani and David Morgan - then the decisions will deteriorate. Inexorably the forces of darkness are taking hold in cricket.

Two recent issues promote pessimism. It was arrogant, and too cute, of Cricket Australia to present John Howard as its candidate for the ICC presidency when New Zealand had a splendid alternative in Sir John Anderson, a man long involved in the game and a man of high integrity. It was equally ham-fisted of the overestimated businessman appointed to break the deadlock to prefer him to the Kiwi. But Howard was a legitimate nomination under the existing protocol and should have been accepted. Instead, those prepared to turn a blind eye to the failings of Ray Mali and Pawar rejected both Howard and the very system they had so recently introduced. And the reason was as simple as it was deplorable: he had a high profile and might use it to instill diligence.

Now the same disreputable board has ditched the idea of letting the top 10 teams play in the next World Cup. It was inevitable. A lot of money was at stake. And those pointing out that Ireland and company might get the chance in eight years' time merely pander to the powerful. Cricket is a closed shop pretending to be an open house. The ICC board talks a lot about cleaning up the game. They might consider starting with themselves. But that's not going to happen. Everyone is making too much easy money. Much easier to pick on a few shady players. The game is run by men making one-star decisions in five-star hotels. The only remaining hope lies with the creation of an independent commission.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crusty52 on April 16, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Thank you for your article Peter. It is not only at the international level that the games is sick.. Many Cricket Australia, COE, State and Territory cricket officials and coaches are often people of limited capacity - they appear to find themselves in roles they are not suited to or qualified for. Nevertheless, they have in their hands the cricket futures of many talented young Australians! The intelligent ones will inevitably choose an alternative path away from cricket.

  • on April 15, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Hi Peter, you've hit the bull's eye!!! I am not sure how long can we fight, but I am sure that there is a huge number of cricket enthusisats who want to see the game clean of corruption, clean of Sharad Pawars and the rut! Hail Cricket!!!!!

  • InnocentGuy on April 14, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    As I was reaching the end of the article, the idea of creating an independent body was taking shape in my mind. It was a pleasant surprise to read the last line. It is true that there is a deadlock. BCCI is the money muscle. And ICC wants money. BCCI doesn't care much beyond that. And frankly, no other cricket board can ever be like BCCI in terms of generating revenue because no other country will ever be cricket-thirsty like India. The only way this can be broken is through a 3rd and independent regulating body which will most likely stay an idea that never took shape. The current scene is an indication of how cricket, both as a game and as an industry, is evolving, nothing can be done to stop that. It is what it is. Sadly.

  • on April 14, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Colour me naive but I would have loved for the BCCI to flex some of that financial muscle to force ICC to reconsider their decision to remove the Associates from the next World Cup - at least it would have done the world of cricket some good beyond its own self serving needs but alas, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride....

  • greeny69 on April 14, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    good article peter yes cricket needs an independent commisson. there are 105 members of the icc but thay are only looking after 10 of them how can that be fair play. How can thay exclued ireland from the world cup when thay are ranked 10th in odi and zimbabwe at 11 gets in come on icc start looking after the game instead of destroying it

  • on April 14, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    I cant understand why in every article its the BCCI responsilble though Peter did balance this article well.I mean one should however see that its not just the BCCI responsible for Irelands exclusion.Even the ECB infact more is responsible for irelands non participation in this world cup.They have poached so many irish players and none of them are directed towards the english cricket board.good heavens tommorow if someone earthquake happens people will say BCCI is responsible as its money power led to eco destruction

  • manish053 on April 14, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Cricket in crisis , where, I think cricket is emerging as one of the powerful sports in the world . The several things may be called crisis but not blamed BCCI and their officials for it. Think ,IPL gave a open sky to cricket adrift into get place with most popular sports in the world and it got success some extent. so far as corruption is concern , you can not relent it due to administrable gaffs and can not be blamed cricket playing nations as you described in your article. this is galling domiciles of their country including me and these lines create resentment among Innocent cricket lovers from these counties. These countries pulled off cricket from its conventional shape where it was losing its aura and withering while Australia and England were apathy about it. There were Indian ocean countries which surged cricket to its new destiny and dazzled it. It is goof thing to blam econiomc condintion of countries for corruptions in cricket .

  • Cricket_Man on April 14, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Only few people from the richest cricket board, India, are not in favour of this article. I mean, don't you guys actually see that cricket is going down. Even some people from your own country feel that BCCI has too much influence on ICC. Tests are going down, people are saying One-Day is still alive. I mean why should there be a thought of seeing One-Dayer's as dead. Is cricket just for the IPL ? If so, then in few years time we'll only see India playing. Similarly cricket in Pakistan, is almost dead. No home matches and wrong decisions made at the helm and no one even bothers. I am sure there are issues in other boards too. Only, if we had a strong decision making body at the international level, things would've been better and ICC ISN'T that.

  • on April 14, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    A bit unrelated, but here's the Indian cricket fan broken down. 1) The Tea tasters (5%)- Have been watching since the 80's, listen to Cricket commentary on radio while driving. Fair knowledge of the game. Can fully explain the LBW rule. Love tests, ODIs & T20s. Comment on Cricinfo, try to flag off peace, bring reason. A fast dwindling population 2) The Nationalists(90%)- About 30% are women, mostly started watching after 96 world cup. Throng the stadiums(ODIs, T20). Mistake cricket for patriotism. Want their share of the giant screen time. Have lungs of steel. Unsure of the LBW rule. Includes celebrities. Have all the uniform and the paint and the flags. Dont talk cricket once match is over. 3) The caught-in-transits(5%) - Very vocal on cricinfo. Know all the rules, love all formats. Believe cricket is patriotism. Very strong with facts, threaten with statsguru. Still angry over the 'Raj'. Responsible for Non Indians hating Sachin Peace :)

  • simon_w on April 14, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    It's distressing how little I can find to disagree with in this article. I really, really want to disagree with it, but in all honesty I can't. My beloved cricket is one of the most corrupt and diseased sports on the planet. sob.

  • crusty52 on April 16, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    Thank you for your article Peter. It is not only at the international level that the games is sick.. Many Cricket Australia, COE, State and Territory cricket officials and coaches are often people of limited capacity - they appear to find themselves in roles they are not suited to or qualified for. Nevertheless, they have in their hands the cricket futures of many talented young Australians! The intelligent ones will inevitably choose an alternative path away from cricket.

  • on April 15, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    Hi Peter, you've hit the bull's eye!!! I am not sure how long can we fight, but I am sure that there is a huge number of cricket enthusisats who want to see the game clean of corruption, clean of Sharad Pawars and the rut! Hail Cricket!!!!!

  • InnocentGuy on April 14, 2011, 19:44 GMT

    As I was reaching the end of the article, the idea of creating an independent body was taking shape in my mind. It was a pleasant surprise to read the last line. It is true that there is a deadlock. BCCI is the money muscle. And ICC wants money. BCCI doesn't care much beyond that. And frankly, no other cricket board can ever be like BCCI in terms of generating revenue because no other country will ever be cricket-thirsty like India. The only way this can be broken is through a 3rd and independent regulating body which will most likely stay an idea that never took shape. The current scene is an indication of how cricket, both as a game and as an industry, is evolving, nothing can be done to stop that. It is what it is. Sadly.

  • on April 14, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    Colour me naive but I would have loved for the BCCI to flex some of that financial muscle to force ICC to reconsider their decision to remove the Associates from the next World Cup - at least it would have done the world of cricket some good beyond its own self serving needs but alas, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride....

  • greeny69 on April 14, 2011, 11:42 GMT

    good article peter yes cricket needs an independent commisson. there are 105 members of the icc but thay are only looking after 10 of them how can that be fair play. How can thay exclued ireland from the world cup when thay are ranked 10th in odi and zimbabwe at 11 gets in come on icc start looking after the game instead of destroying it

  • on April 14, 2011, 7:33 GMT

    I cant understand why in every article its the BCCI responsilble though Peter did balance this article well.I mean one should however see that its not just the BCCI responsible for Irelands exclusion.Even the ECB infact more is responsible for irelands non participation in this world cup.They have poached so many irish players and none of them are directed towards the english cricket board.good heavens tommorow if someone earthquake happens people will say BCCI is responsible as its money power led to eco destruction

  • manish053 on April 14, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    Cricket in crisis , where, I think cricket is emerging as one of the powerful sports in the world . The several things may be called crisis but not blamed BCCI and their officials for it. Think ,IPL gave a open sky to cricket adrift into get place with most popular sports in the world and it got success some extent. so far as corruption is concern , you can not relent it due to administrable gaffs and can not be blamed cricket playing nations as you described in your article. this is galling domiciles of their country including me and these lines create resentment among Innocent cricket lovers from these counties. These countries pulled off cricket from its conventional shape where it was losing its aura and withering while Australia and England were apathy about it. There were Indian ocean countries which surged cricket to its new destiny and dazzled it. It is goof thing to blam econiomc condintion of countries for corruptions in cricket .

  • Cricket_Man on April 14, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Only few people from the richest cricket board, India, are not in favour of this article. I mean, don't you guys actually see that cricket is going down. Even some people from your own country feel that BCCI has too much influence on ICC. Tests are going down, people are saying One-Day is still alive. I mean why should there be a thought of seeing One-Dayer's as dead. Is cricket just for the IPL ? If so, then in few years time we'll only see India playing. Similarly cricket in Pakistan, is almost dead. No home matches and wrong decisions made at the helm and no one even bothers. I am sure there are issues in other boards too. Only, if we had a strong decision making body at the international level, things would've been better and ICC ISN'T that.

  • on April 14, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    A bit unrelated, but here's the Indian cricket fan broken down. 1) The Tea tasters (5%)- Have been watching since the 80's, listen to Cricket commentary on radio while driving. Fair knowledge of the game. Can fully explain the LBW rule. Love tests, ODIs & T20s. Comment on Cricinfo, try to flag off peace, bring reason. A fast dwindling population 2) The Nationalists(90%)- About 30% are women, mostly started watching after 96 world cup. Throng the stadiums(ODIs, T20). Mistake cricket for patriotism. Want their share of the giant screen time. Have lungs of steel. Unsure of the LBW rule. Includes celebrities. Have all the uniform and the paint and the flags. Dont talk cricket once match is over. 3) The caught-in-transits(5%) - Very vocal on cricinfo. Know all the rules, love all formats. Believe cricket is patriotism. Very strong with facts, threaten with statsguru. Still angry over the 'Raj'. Responsible for Non Indians hating Sachin Peace :)

  • simon_w on April 14, 2011, 5:04 GMT

    It's distressing how little I can find to disagree with in this article. I really, really want to disagree with it, but in all honesty I can't. My beloved cricket is one of the most corrupt and diseased sports on the planet. sob.

  • Willowarriers on April 14, 2011, 4:57 GMT

    Cricket is fine. Just look at the world around you. Things are not exactly in perfect order anywhere. There is turbulence in the air in most spheres of life. Is it even realistic to expect cricket alone to be in perfect shape?

    Peter Roebuck's column here judt takes up space. There is nothing concrete recommended and there is just general rhetoric.

  • notvery on April 14, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Firstly im not fan of Peter Roebuck in general, i find him to be very much a turncoat . i think he generaly panders to the Indian majority(money) and will happily say what he has to to pocket the Ruppee or the Dollar from the Age/Herald and anywhere else that has a stable enough currency. However I think he has a VERY good writing style, could still get some pointers from Gideaon Haigh tho! But mostly i read him and enjoy it becase he will speak out about matters that matter. If that means i have to read 10 BCCI swooning articles to get the good one the it is worth it. I think this article was one of the good ones. Im sure if he didnt have the constraints of a word count he could and would explain all his points in detail but like us with our 1000 character limit he has column inches to pander to. Anyway if you have a brain and an interest we as readers can quite easily find the details that he has alluded to for ourselves. More power to your elbow Peter! keep the unwashed thinking!

  • katandthat3 on April 14, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Great article Peter. Needed to be said and needs to be followed. Best summed up at the end with 'One star decisions made in 5 star hotels' - brilliant.

  • Biggus on April 14, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    Sun_tsu-Gee mate, you think Peter should concentrate articles on how OZ can get back it's edge. Steady on! If we get it back too fast you other guys won't have a chance for your time in the sun. All those years of dreaming of beating us and now that you can you're not satisfied with that either. We won't be needing Peter's help to get our mojo back. We've been in this game so long that we've been on the top many times and taken quite a few tumbles too. This stuff happens every two or three decades. Enjoy your time in the sun. At some point we'll be coming out of hibernation and looking for a nice place to warm up.

  • on April 14, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    Having India run cricket either legitimately or via back door pressure is exactly to me like how the ancient Romans trying to preserve ancient Greek culture- ultimately the innate fair & equitable Englishness of cricket will be perverted and swamped by a different culture, which for better or worse will change the nature of the game, just like Rome changed the nature of democracy. A good example is the way Rome descended from Republic to Empire. If India is getting the ICC to play it's own tune (and every angle seems to point to this fact) then the game is already irrevocably lost. The only remaining hope for the game is the fact that the rules are still held in trust by the MCC. Maybe when 20/20 cricket becomes the norm and test cricket is reserved for only a few diehards will we truly see the effects of the imperial attitude of India to it's favourite sport. Who knows maybe by that stage most of us in the West would have already given up on the game.

  • on April 13, 2011, 23:50 GMT

    @Marcio, yes but if it wasn't for this country, none of the other country players would be making so much money. Yes, we are powerful and I know things are bad, but don't compare apples and oranges, please.

  • on April 13, 2011, 23:47 GMT

    Good article Peter. As an Indian I am sorry to say that I too feel that BCCI is too powerful and has direct effects in ICC decision. This WC might have been great but there were also problems. Selling tickets, only few thousand available at most games, and the rest reserved for the greed of ICC. This was a WORLD event and reserved tickets for the members of BCCI should have been a few hundred instead they were hogging 75% of the seats and in the final 90% which is not fair, not just to Indian public but also fans all over the world. And then ICC didn't do their so called investigation and no one is going to ask anymore. They made it even worse when they didn't pick Ireland for the next WC, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been playing professional for more than a decade and still are below par, Ireland would be a force if given the same timeline.

  • herodotus on April 13, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    There are more cricket playing nations than ever before and more countries that can play competitive series than ever before, when for a long time the sport was dominated by England and Australia, with a brief period of Windies domination. Players, commentators and many others can now expect to earn a good living playing cricket, like several other sports, than compared to ever before. The game is also generating new talent, providing good entertainment and good income to several players and associated staff from the IPL something akin to the italian League or English Premier League. All of this has happened with greater participation in ICC affairs by India and other resurgent teams. The missing factor here is the end of Australian domination in ICC affairs and competitive cricket. Australia did not make the World Cup semifinals after a long time..... Peter might be better advised to focus on how Australian cricket can regain its edge........

  • SagirParkar on April 13, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    a wonderfully thought out and executed article Mr Roebuck. I doff my hat to you. I wish there were people in the administrative circles of cricket that could perhaps take a lesson from the above article. Of late we have seen many officials in the ICC and the concerning boards do everything but advance the cause of cricket.

  • Naveed85 on April 13, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    Malcom Speed and Roebuck made few harsh comments during Pakistan tour of England. Speed even wanted pakistan to be banned . i'm afraid his new book might create sensation

  • on April 13, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    One of Peter Roebuck's finest articles. Wow.

  • hanskishore on April 13, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    This is really a nice behind the scenes and thought provoking article.. thanks peter

  • Sky-Walker on April 13, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    I am indeed fan of Peter and this is indeed much studied ,well drafted and thought provoking article. You highlighted good and bad events in each County /ICC . However in last 100 years when is not that true? You are going to get good and bad interest around always when there in money and fem! This is the best opportunity or breeding ground for politicians and they are not going to miss that. Tell me which world sport organization is exception - FIFA? IOC? . Your independent commission is a ridicules idea. On what basis you can have independent commissions ? such commission can be owned (or high jacked) by people like Modis, Ambanies, etc. or politicians . I read this article twice but fail to understand what exactly you are trying to put forward. I do not see that bad picture as you painted of world cricket (or as you see it from down under !) May be it takes time to realize down under that Asian Counties now to lead the world cricket.

  • Dev_Anand on April 13, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    John-Price: "So such comments as "of the field cricket is at its lowest ebb", "in the fullness of time the disastrous nature of the last few months will be grasped" are just presented without factual support. I must confess, I cannot see why the last few months are so disastrous and this article does not help explain why this may be so." - because India won the world cup.

  • on April 13, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    @Marcio I loved your rant.

  • Copernicus on April 13, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    The first thing the board needs to do is read and abide by its own Code of Ethics for the ICC - especially article 1.3 ("Directors' actions must be dedicated to the promotion and development of the sport of cricket worldwide"), article 3.2 ("Directors shall not promote their own (or a group of ) Cricket Board's interests at the expense of the dignity, integrity or interests of the ICC or of the sport of cricket in general.") and the whole of article 4 ("Conflicts of Interest").

  • bonaku on April 13, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Nice article as always. We also need some suggestions.

  • Quazar on April 13, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Despite the corruption, cricket will survive... even prosper. A sport that has survived with just 2 nations playing it for over a 100 years is not about to die out when the number of countries, fans and funding has multiplied manifold.

  • Quazar on April 13, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Peter, you've published this article on 3 different forums. All of us know big money and politicians (current or ex) have an adverse impact on sports governance. But where are your suggestions / recommendations on the right way forward? Who are the parties who can show the way? If Malcom Speed and his ilk at the ICC are so honourable and admirable, why don't they speak up and take action while in power? Instead of waiting till they have a book to peddle. Anyway, I disagree with your prediction about the demise of cricket. A sport that has survived with just 2 nations playing it for over a 100 years is not about to die out when the number of countries, fans and funding has multiplied manifold. Test cricket, ODIs and T20s... all 3 are here to stay.

  • Notredam on April 13, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    What sort of is the compensation by providing them chance for 16 teams in 20-20 cup.

    Even Bangladesh who are hopeless after so many years why did they get Test status in first place.

    A true ruler is one who doesn't look at Short time profits which you guys are looking at India. Even in due time India will be bored of cricket just like English, Aussies, Kiwis have been. So its time to look beyond that and market and explore the market beyond boundaries. Even rugby world cup has one-sided matches with Japan, Italy, and Georgia playing. Does that means they will 20 teams to reduce? Even FIFA world cup has teams like China, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, South Africa with lopsided results. Every match cannot be like Brazil versus Spain.

    Have 12 teams in 2015 world cup, with 2 pools of 6 each. Best two from each pool to reach semis and then the final.

    Result less matches, more competitiveness and can be done over in 30-35 days.

    Listen or die slow death, choice i

  • Notredam on April 13, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Kenya was the team that was really good in 2000 around and reached semis in 2003 but no tours after that were arranged for them and look what is the result of that in 2011. They were hopeless and clueless.

    Ireland in spite of all the obstacles fought till the end and was the best fielding unit and most spirited in the competition. Even gave eventual champions a good run for the money. They have produced players like Dockrell, Mooney, Johnston, Morgan, O Brien who can proudly walk into any side leave aside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Also Holland had Peter Seelar the best spinner and Ryan Doeschate the best all rounder and numbers don't lie. Canada had baghai, davison. But now it's complete waste of generation of talent and after all we won't be able to see such people as cricket as a sport will die slow death in these countries. Without any funding even their governments without world cup to look for will derecognize their efforts and no funds will be provided by them.

    Wha

  • Notredam on April 13, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Absolute disgrace to exclude Ireland from world cup. Hope it spells doom for the game of already dying sport. Look up and open up your eyes wise guys the game is popular only in Indian subcontinent. Rest everywhere it has bled to slow death. Examples West Indies, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Scotland, Canada, USA. Remember that oldest game was played between USA and Canada in 18 th century. Even AC Milan the famous football club is having cricket also in its name. The first Olympic had France and Great Britain playing. But no one cares. As long as you can fill your own pocket why it's development that should concern you.

    Ireland has played 60 Odi up till now and have won 30 and lost 30. Bangladesh have played 180 around and losing 80% of those. Same is the case with Zimbabwe.

  • Notredam on April 13, 2011, 10:11 GMT

    Ireland should play 2015 world cup..

  • on April 13, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    COMPLETE WASTE OF UR LITERARY SKILLS PETER I WAS EXPECTING MUCH BETTER!!!!!!

  • Shavi on April 13, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    So Sangakara, Jayawardene, and Aravinda De Silva step down from positions of leadership after the loss to India in the final and Shahid Afridi (not known as a man to hold a grudge) lashes out at the indian media and indians after a loss to India in the semis. Cause for suspicion on Indias victory?

  • on April 13, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    CricFan78

    If everybody already knows all this, then why don't they do something about it. The first thing I will be doing is boycotting all companies that are associated with this undemocratic excuse for a sporting body, particularly those sponsoring the crooked world cup of 2015

  • John-Price on April 13, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    I found this an astonishingly vague article - a great deal of name calling and prophesies of doom, but very little actual evidence of anything going wrong. The two matters cited were (1) the ICC presidency which is hard to judge and of limited relevance and (2) the unhappy decision to exclude associates from the next world cup, which I think will be reversed anyway. So such comments as "of the field cricket is at its lowest ebb", "in the fullness of time the disastrous nature of the last few months will be grasped" are just presented without factual support. I must confess, I cannot see why the last few months are so disastrous and this article does not help explain why this may be so.

  • sillymidcover on April 13, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    Well said that man. I rarely agree with PR, but here he is spot on.

  • sg3707 on April 13, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    Such a nice article. So much knowledge and depth in the subject.keep it up.

  • on April 13, 2011, 8:55 GMT

    One of the few articles where a man criticizing the ICC has made some good points.The rest (articles) just look a little Vindictive.I've always believed most of the ICCs decison have been good,even if ppl hav criticized them.No wonder, Cricket has become such a powerful game in the last 20 years.But this article has convinced me that all is not well within the ICC.The most interesting point he made was that most of the countries playing the game are in top half of the corruption table(which is where all the poison's cming from).Another problem is that there r a few cntries active in d administration of the game which is y Corruption escapes most eyes...

  • on April 13, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    I liked the article. I am very interested in reading Malcolm Speed's autobiography , now.

  • mumbaiscribe on April 13, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Cldnt agree with Mr.Roebuck more. IWell, uve been kind to d game's administrators. D cricket fan on d street will never hold himself back while lambasting these administrators.

  • raghavmadan on April 13, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    I have just one question. Why do Mr. Roebuck's articles always show Malcolm Speed in glowing light while criticizing everyone else?

  • on April 13, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    peter...your comments are more like a see saw. you say one thing one day and exactly the opposite the other day...maybe you are catering to a different client (readers of different countries), when you pen down your thoughts...or you are undecided yourself about what to write that can please all, maybe at different times...try writing something from your heart, like when you started writing.....when you analyse the game, the administrative and financial part of it, remember readers analyse you too....good day.

  • bala-chala on April 13, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    A cricket council setup between the 95 associate nations will do more good to the game than the ICC made up of 10 members full of themselves.

  • alexbraae on April 13, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    searing stuff peter, brilliant article. All nationalities need to ask their cricket representatives to shape up, it is unfair just to blame the Indians with the money. All the greedy men are fleecing all the fans in every country.

  • ram_sachin on April 13, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    "Cricket is a closed shop pretending to be an open house." Awesome said.. Superb article on the current scenario. Keep it up Pete

  • Biggus on April 13, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Well said Peter. I think I'll batten down the hatches and duck my head before the storm of retribution arrives however. Incoming......

  • indicricket on April 13, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    I completely agree it is a folly to involve a current politician in a game. But I'd add, it is also a folly to involve an ex-politician in a game.

  • on April 13, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    I have one thing to say.. Its ICC (Indian Cricket Council).

  • juliencahn on April 13, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    First class analysis Peter. . . but what's the solution?

  • Marcio on April 13, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    The problem here is just a mirror of the way the world is heading with certain very large countries assuming economic and political power way before they have achieved moral and psychological maturity, and political accountability. It is bringing out the very worst in all parties, as everyone tries to get on the easy money bandwagon. As for cricket, alll one has to do is look around at cricket blogs, media articles and youtube to see the sheer number of vitriolic, childlike comments coming from the individuals of one particular nation, polluting the web with hatred, blame and whining victimhood. But such is the power of that nation that even mentioning it results in one's comments being erased. One can only hope that the coming intrnational economic downturn (and possible collapse) will result in greater introspection and spiritual maturity all round. What boom in history has NOT been followed by a bust? Answer: none. :-(

  • on April 13, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    No game has ever had to deal with three versions so diverse. ICC the body over the years has hopelessly been at best a reluctant onlooker. Right now the limited player pool is getting drained and neither of the versions are getting the due it deserves. Hopeless bilateral series need to be scrapped and need some standard world championship format for tests, annual champions trophy and once in 5 years WC for 50-50 and 20-20 must be kept limited to leagues.

  • sewd on April 13, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    Excellent article. The last four lines surmise the whole situation.There has to be more writers coming up with such articles inorder to have an awakening amongst the cricket lovers of this noble game.More power to the pen and more transparency in the cricket world. And a reduction in the number of cricket ostriches in the world.

  • Willowarriers on April 13, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    There is nothing much wrong with the governance to warrant such an article. Other than obtaining some column space, this topic can be flayed to death and nothing will emerge out of it.

    What can be done? Can Mr. Roebuck skip the rhetoric and recommend something concrete if something is so seriously wrong? Where will the "independent commission," he devotes the last line to, come from? Obviously from the players in the world of cricket politics who call the shots.

    It is a good topic to hand out a moral lecture on. But doing something about it and thinking in concrete steps is the hard part.

  • on April 13, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Wow, what a insight of ICC. Brief but thoughtful article.

  • del_ on April 13, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    "The game is run by men making one-star decisions in five-star hotels." Haha, so true.

  • rik123 on April 13, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Another article about nothing. Peter your prose are well constructed, but your ideas are not well thought out.

  • on April 13, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Excellent article, these guys are ruining the game with their money obssessed ways.

  • CricFan78 on April 13, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Wow Mr. Roebuck you have told us something which we would have never known, not. What a waste of space

  • on April 13, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    "The game is run by men making one-star decisions in five-star hotels."

    Sad, but true. About time someone of note wrote about this somewhat touchy topic.

  • vishnu_8691 on April 13, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    It certainly was very curious to see the absolute silence from all the cricketers (well, apart from the Irish) after ICC's decision to have only 10teams. Its understandable to see the Windies and Bangladeshis keeping quiet, but what happened to the Sachins, the Sangakkaras, Smiths and Pontings?? They could have certainly added the pressure on ICC to reverse its decision! Seems like cricket needs a Anna Hazare to reverse the seemingly endless downhill ride!

  • Meety on April 13, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Hmmm! This is a topic I'm very interested in, but I honestly feel that the article was lacking any depth with only the last 2 paragraphs holding any meat. I had to re-read the bit about Ijaz Butt several times, I still don't get it? "Ordinarily Ijaz Butt represents Pakistan. If he were an isolated case the game might survive" - what's it suppose to mean? Peter - I wish you would go & re-write this article into something intelligible, as it really appears dis-jointed. Perhaps if you just focus on the last 2 paragraphs + corruption & expand your points. Also, the report on bankruptcy in Sri Lanka is as I understand it misleading as they are about $25m in debt which is roughly the estimated dividend they are to receive from the ICC from hosting the WC!!! This is not INSOLVENT.

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  • Meety on April 13, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Hmmm! This is a topic I'm very interested in, but I honestly feel that the article was lacking any depth with only the last 2 paragraphs holding any meat. I had to re-read the bit about Ijaz Butt several times, I still don't get it? "Ordinarily Ijaz Butt represents Pakistan. If he were an isolated case the game might survive" - what's it suppose to mean? Peter - I wish you would go & re-write this article into something intelligible, as it really appears dis-jointed. Perhaps if you just focus on the last 2 paragraphs + corruption & expand your points. Also, the report on bankruptcy in Sri Lanka is as I understand it misleading as they are about $25m in debt which is roughly the estimated dividend they are to receive from the ICC from hosting the WC!!! This is not INSOLVENT.

  • vishnu_8691 on April 13, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    It certainly was very curious to see the absolute silence from all the cricketers (well, apart from the Irish) after ICC's decision to have only 10teams. Its understandable to see the Windies and Bangladeshis keeping quiet, but what happened to the Sachins, the Sangakkaras, Smiths and Pontings?? They could have certainly added the pressure on ICC to reverse its decision! Seems like cricket needs a Anna Hazare to reverse the seemingly endless downhill ride!

  • on April 13, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    "The game is run by men making one-star decisions in five-star hotels."

    Sad, but true. About time someone of note wrote about this somewhat touchy topic.

  • CricFan78 on April 13, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    Wow Mr. Roebuck you have told us something which we would have never known, not. What a waste of space

  • on April 13, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Excellent article, these guys are ruining the game with their money obssessed ways.

  • rik123 on April 13, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    Another article about nothing. Peter your prose are well constructed, but your ideas are not well thought out.

  • del_ on April 13, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    "The game is run by men making one-star decisions in five-star hotels." Haha, so true.

  • on April 13, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Wow, what a insight of ICC. Brief but thoughtful article.

  • Willowarriers on April 13, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    There is nothing much wrong with the governance to warrant such an article. Other than obtaining some column space, this topic can be flayed to death and nothing will emerge out of it.

    What can be done? Can Mr. Roebuck skip the rhetoric and recommend something concrete if something is so seriously wrong? Where will the "independent commission," he devotes the last line to, come from? Obviously from the players in the world of cricket politics who call the shots.

    It is a good topic to hand out a moral lecture on. But doing something about it and thinking in concrete steps is the hard part.

  • sewd on April 13, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    Excellent article. The last four lines surmise the whole situation.There has to be more writers coming up with such articles inorder to have an awakening amongst the cricket lovers of this noble game.More power to the pen and more transparency in the cricket world. And a reduction in the number of cricket ostriches in the world.