November 7, 2012

What will the BCCI do with all its power?

The Indian board must think about its responsibilities and legacy
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All empires lose power. But their achievements - and their sins - long survive them. The judgement of history will not celebrate the gaining power, or even clinging on to it, but the manner in which power was exercised.

For Indian cricket, that is now the only question that matters. Everything else follows from that central debate. No one doubts that India is now cricket's preeminent power. Money will continue to pour in, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Contracts will come and go. Alliances with other cricket boards will form and then dissolve. These things will matter a great deal in the short term, little over the long term.

Because the big picture is settled: India is the country everyone wants to tour; India has the IPL; India is the country with the biggest markets and revenues; India has the loudest voice and the deepest pockets. India cannot quite do whatever it pleases, but it has far more autonomy and power than any other nation.

But what will India do with all this power? That is the issue. What is its vision for the world game? Has it even thought about it? Or has the thrilling accumulation of power been all-consuming? Has it acknowledged the responsibilities that follow?

Recent evidence suggests not. Consider its attitude to the future of Test cricket. The BCCI talks a good game about safeguarding the most precious form of the sport, but has done very little about it. Indian cricket has long endured the fact that the showpiece events of the Test match calendar, such as the Boxing Day Test, have been scheduled to suit other cultures. But nothing is now stopping India organising a home Test schedule that will attract the most local attention and the biggest crowds. If India wants to make every home Test match a major event, how about creating a bespoke Test match calendar - the right venue on the right date - to coincide with the prospect of drawing decent crowds?

The BCCI has been perfectly happy to block out international cricket during the IPL window. How about blocking in some high-profile Test matches, organised around Indian holidays, with the same kind of precision and determination? Test cricket needs help. The BCCI can provide it.

India has long aspired to leadership of the world game. But it should aspire to provide not only new leadership but better leadership. It is often said that England ruled international cricket for too long and with too much introspection. The first three World Cups were all hosted by England. Why was London the seat of cricketing power? The simple answer, I suppose, is because it always had been.

That is why I have long argued that there are some very good reasons for the game's axis of power to move to India. India has vastly more cricket fans than the rest of the world added up together. Democracy, in a way, has trumped history.

But do many people doubt, that for all their conservatism, the grey-haired Englishmen who once ran cricket did so largely for the right reasons, in the right spirit, in the hope that they were acting as custodians of the game? Does the same apply to the moneymen who drive decisions today?

All sports have an uneasy relationship with money. And, of course, entrepreneurs and marketeers have their role in the development of sport. But sports are never only businesses, especially not cricket. The game is manifestly very different from the more market-driven American model. American sports always follow the same pattern: the matches nearly always happen in America, and this product is sold around the world. So while global markets may evolve, the identity and flavour of the sport remains essentially American.

Cricket is different. It is a world game that serves many different constituencies. The dictates of the market cannot be allowed to determine who survives or dies. If international cricket consisted of franchises competing in a free market, Pakistan - let alone Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - would have folded and gone bust long ago. But cricket needs its precious breadth and diversity. So it must nurture the weak as well as the strong.

All sports have an uneasy relationship with money, but sports are never only businesses, especially not cricket

World cricket is not just a business. It is an organic being. The well-being of the whole influences the health of every aspect. That is why the leadership of world cricket is more like the stewardship of a trust than a straightforward business. India has a wonderful opportunity to show how well it can serve and administer a precious world enterprise.

International sport has a huge role in shaping a nation's global reputation. India should think carefully about the signals it sends when the BCCI makes sudden demands on broadcasters. For many people around the world, cricket is the only prism through which they see India. First impressions count.

Just think of the kudos New Zealand gains through the achievements and culture of All Black rugby. A nation of three million people produces not only the best team but a sporting dynasty that is an example to the rest of the world. The All Blacks do not trifle with their traditions and responsibilities. Even without the equivalent power exercised by Indian cricket, New Zealand's rugby punches far above its weight - in terms of victories and reputation.

I write as someone who loves India and Indian cricket. The piece of advice that most changed my cricket career came from Rahul Dravid. "Go to India," he said, "bat there, but also just spend time there." I flew myself to India several times in my early 20s and did just that. My exposure to Indian cricket and culture ranks as one of the most formative and valuable experiences of my life.

That was one of the reasons, when my father became seriously ill seven years ago, that I took him to India in the weeks preceding his operation. I knew he would be inspired and revived by the experience. One day we walked around the well-preserved Fatehpur Sikri, the city built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century. We stood in the courts of justice, we read about Akbar's policy of religious tolerance and his system of fairer taxation. We heard the story of Elizabeth I dispatching an envoy to express England's admiration.

Fatehpur Sikri was the seat of power for only 14 years. Its legacy? Elegance, tolerance and, briefly, an example to the rest of the world.

What will be the legacy of the BCCI's period as the most powerful court in world cricket? They should start thinking about that now. Power can fade as quickly as it arrives.

Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith's new book, Luck - What It Means and Why It Matters, is out now. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | November 10, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Ed - Yes, Rahul Dravid is spot on. In his famous Bradman Oration, Rahul stressed the need for cricket to balance all 3 formats. He also stressed the "cliched image" of Indian cricket - money & power - is misplaced. BCCI spreads its revenues far & wide, contributing ~70% of cricket's international revenues. Let's be clear: BCCI cannot be everything to everybody. Nor should it be held solely responsible or accountable. It's a shared lead responsibility, wherein ECB, CA & CSA must also assume active ownership of the cricket calendar to preserve Test cricket. Evidence from this past English season suggests not. Eng & SA played only 3 Tests versus a lopsided 5 ODIs/3 T20s. Plus Eng & Oz crammed in 5 ODIs. Couldn't the top 2 teams have played a full 5 Tests given the big prize? Why cram schedule with 13 shorter games? What's the urgency to invite Oz just for ODIs? And why schedule SA to clash with the London Olympic Games & distract from cricket? Where are these boards' priorities, Ed?

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | November 8, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Quality of a cricket board should be measured, not interms of bling bling, money etc .... its the quality of the national team in the world game. so!! what significant improvement in depth of talent you see in comparison to 80s , 90s, 2010s compared to now.... ????? And we rely on them for the world game to shape it for the future ....

  • POSTED BY kapilesh23 on | November 8, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Forget about leaving a legacy in the cricketing world. I am concerned about the BCCI's legacy in India. With all the financial and political power bcci is not able to form a good strong Indian cricket team. It is not as if there is no talent in India for fast bowling or overall bowling but the infrastructure is till super poor. There is still rampant corruption in Indian domestic leagues. Bcci can also help other sports in India by its financial prowess but it is not necessary. You expect that the strongest board should have strongest team but that is not the case with India.

  • POSTED BY common9 on | November 7, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    @Nutcutlet. Not exactly. If you still want to comment on cricket history, pickup a book. Read about beginnings of cricket in India. Assimilate what you read. I will not talk about cricket in England or Australia because I did not do all the things I prescribed you. I have followed Indian cricket for 20 yrs and I think the only way cricket in its current state can survive is if Indians decide to not flog the dead horse anymore and move on. The longer the dysfunctional relationship with its ever present shadows of the past is prolonged, the worst it will be for cricket. And Ed, no, cricket is not the thing that introduces India to majority of the people in the world. It is simply not true. Leave alone the people of countries which don't have cricket, if people of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and England know India through cricket first, their relations with India would be a lot better than they are now.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 7, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    When I started reading this article, I thought "Oh no, another piece criticizing BCCI blah bah blah...." but I was most impressed by Ed's thoughts. He's absolutely right regarding BCCI's attitude towards Test Cricket and I would point to the movement away from the 5 day game as far back as the 80s.

    Ed asks a very pertinent question regarding how an Empire is remembered. I hope the folks from the BCCI read this piece, it is not "presumptuous and patronizing" as @csr11 accuses; the argument about how Eng/Australia ran things in the past is a tired, haggard old horse now. Yes, we know, but we'll never improve if we keep talking about the sins of the past.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | November 7, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Well written ED, although I think most of the posters on here didn't get/read the article. Ed has not once directly condemed the BCCI for any of it's actions, perhaps just the lack of them.

    Are the BCCI just milking the game for every penny? which is fine, but in the long term the game as a whole needs to be looked after, otherwise it won't exsist, I want my children to grow up to love and enjoy the game that I do.

    Someone posted about the BCCI helping to develop cricket in Afganistan, they have done no such thing. Have a google about it, there is plenty to read. In other areas India has helped, but not in cricketing terms - Bangladesh, Pak and SL have all helped, offered matches but the BCCI won't, let's face it they won't even tour Bangladesh to help them. If you look, most of the cricket projects in the developing countries are funded and run by the MCC, still looking out for the future of the game, the BCCI, if it wishes to lead world cricket should focus on

  • POSTED BY ManoharVidhani on | November 7, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    This is nothing else but Sky Sports and BBC trying one more time to earn all the big bucks (which they can get from the sponsors) FREE...

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Canada on | November 7, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Cannot agree more with Sitaram Reddy. Great comparison.

  • POSTED BY UK_Chap on | November 7, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    Someone below commented that the BCCI will adopt the NBA model..., what a load of rubbish, I certainly do not believe that will happen. Can you imagine the downturn of the sport if cricket was only played in India. It WILL be the death of the game, we would be subjected to more mediocre "cricket" with even greater number of mediocre "cricketers". An even more ghastly thought is that the BCCI and some rabid Indian fans might actually like this idea because it means that they would probably win every world cup hence forth because they played at home all the time. I as a fan and cricket lover like many other thousands / millions around the world would abandon watching the sport if that happened.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | November 7, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Ed Smith - India cannot have a Boxing Day like test because Indians work 365 days round the clock and unlike English and Aussies dont have the luxury for 'SUMMER HOLIDAYS'. Balme it on system or culture or whatever there is simply no room these days for Tests or ODIs to be watched live during a working day and unfortunatley all we have is working days right from 01 Jan to 31 Dec. So you have written something without knowledge of cultural differences. You guys have no choice but to host Cricket in Summer and so celebrate it, but here in India that is not the case. Just coz people dont turn up in 1000s to witness a test live does not mean we dont follow, but the medium has changed. Its on internet, radio, facebook and Cricinfo that fans follow cricket today.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | November 10, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Ed - Yes, Rahul Dravid is spot on. In his famous Bradman Oration, Rahul stressed the need for cricket to balance all 3 formats. He also stressed the "cliched image" of Indian cricket - money & power - is misplaced. BCCI spreads its revenues far & wide, contributing ~70% of cricket's international revenues. Let's be clear: BCCI cannot be everything to everybody. Nor should it be held solely responsible or accountable. It's a shared lead responsibility, wherein ECB, CA & CSA must also assume active ownership of the cricket calendar to preserve Test cricket. Evidence from this past English season suggests not. Eng & SA played only 3 Tests versus a lopsided 5 ODIs/3 T20s. Plus Eng & Oz crammed in 5 ODIs. Couldn't the top 2 teams have played a full 5 Tests given the big prize? Why cram schedule with 13 shorter games? What's the urgency to invite Oz just for ODIs? And why schedule SA to clash with the London Olympic Games & distract from cricket? Where are these boards' priorities, Ed?

  • POSTED BY PadMarley on | November 8, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    Quality of a cricket board should be measured, not interms of bling bling, money etc .... its the quality of the national team in the world game. so!! what significant improvement in depth of talent you see in comparison to 80s , 90s, 2010s compared to now.... ????? And we rely on them for the world game to shape it for the future ....

  • POSTED BY kapilesh23 on | November 8, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Forget about leaving a legacy in the cricketing world. I am concerned about the BCCI's legacy in India. With all the financial and political power bcci is not able to form a good strong Indian cricket team. It is not as if there is no talent in India for fast bowling or overall bowling but the infrastructure is till super poor. There is still rampant corruption in Indian domestic leagues. Bcci can also help other sports in India by its financial prowess but it is not necessary. You expect that the strongest board should have strongest team but that is not the case with India.

  • POSTED BY common9 on | November 7, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    @Nutcutlet. Not exactly. If you still want to comment on cricket history, pickup a book. Read about beginnings of cricket in India. Assimilate what you read. I will not talk about cricket in England or Australia because I did not do all the things I prescribed you. I have followed Indian cricket for 20 yrs and I think the only way cricket in its current state can survive is if Indians decide to not flog the dead horse anymore and move on. The longer the dysfunctional relationship with its ever present shadows of the past is prolonged, the worst it will be for cricket. And Ed, no, cricket is not the thing that introduces India to majority of the people in the world. It is simply not true. Leave alone the people of countries which don't have cricket, if people of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and England know India through cricket first, their relations with India would be a lot better than they are now.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 7, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    When I started reading this article, I thought "Oh no, another piece criticizing BCCI blah bah blah...." but I was most impressed by Ed's thoughts. He's absolutely right regarding BCCI's attitude towards Test Cricket and I would point to the movement away from the 5 day game as far back as the 80s.

    Ed asks a very pertinent question regarding how an Empire is remembered. I hope the folks from the BCCI read this piece, it is not "presumptuous and patronizing" as @csr11 accuses; the argument about how Eng/Australia ran things in the past is a tired, haggard old horse now. Yes, we know, but we'll never improve if we keep talking about the sins of the past.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | November 7, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    Well written ED, although I think most of the posters on here didn't get/read the article. Ed has not once directly condemed the BCCI for any of it's actions, perhaps just the lack of them.

    Are the BCCI just milking the game for every penny? which is fine, but in the long term the game as a whole needs to be looked after, otherwise it won't exsist, I want my children to grow up to love and enjoy the game that I do.

    Someone posted about the BCCI helping to develop cricket in Afganistan, they have done no such thing. Have a google about it, there is plenty to read. In other areas India has helped, but not in cricketing terms - Bangladesh, Pak and SL have all helped, offered matches but the BCCI won't, let's face it they won't even tour Bangladesh to help them. If you look, most of the cricket projects in the developing countries are funded and run by the MCC, still looking out for the future of the game, the BCCI, if it wishes to lead world cricket should focus on

  • POSTED BY ManoharVidhani on | November 7, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    This is nothing else but Sky Sports and BBC trying one more time to earn all the big bucks (which they can get from the sponsors) FREE...

  • POSTED BY Sunil_Canada on | November 7, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Cannot agree more with Sitaram Reddy. Great comparison.

  • POSTED BY UK_Chap on | November 7, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    Someone below commented that the BCCI will adopt the NBA model..., what a load of rubbish, I certainly do not believe that will happen. Can you imagine the downturn of the sport if cricket was only played in India. It WILL be the death of the game, we would be subjected to more mediocre "cricket" with even greater number of mediocre "cricketers". An even more ghastly thought is that the BCCI and some rabid Indian fans might actually like this idea because it means that they would probably win every world cup hence forth because they played at home all the time. I as a fan and cricket lover like many other thousands / millions around the world would abandon watching the sport if that happened.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | November 7, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Ed Smith - India cannot have a Boxing Day like test because Indians work 365 days round the clock and unlike English and Aussies dont have the luxury for 'SUMMER HOLIDAYS'. Balme it on system or culture or whatever there is simply no room these days for Tests or ODIs to be watched live during a working day and unfortunatley all we have is working days right from 01 Jan to 31 Dec. So you have written something without knowledge of cultural differences. You guys have no choice but to host Cricket in Summer and so celebrate it, but here in India that is not the case. Just coz people dont turn up in 1000s to witness a test live does not mean we dont follow, but the medium has changed. Its on internet, radio, facebook and Cricinfo that fans follow cricket today.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Well... i have never seen an article bias as this one.. Sanjay Manjrekar or Ian chappell do it sometimes but this one has got the notch. From discrimination to being ill-minded it has got all.. I am from Pakistan, kind of dislike BCCI but this article just does not have rights to be on cricinfo.. and yes mr. smith mind you.. the business driven kalaa from this part of the world has this true nature of democracy that allows you to criticize him on the website owned by him.. HATS OFF....

  • POSTED BY shillingsworth on | November 7, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    Excellent thoughtful article. Predictably, it has up set the 'my national cricket board right or wrong' brigade but those with broader horizons appear to have appreciated the insight it provided.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @ hammond, tell me what have ecb done for Irish cricket besides poaching their players with the lure of the pound. i hear another player who represented ireland in the recent t20 wc is next on the list. ireland would have been way ahead of bangladesh in the pecking order had ecb been fair in supporting the growth of cricket there.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | November 7, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    I was betting dime-to dollar that the topic would eventually come down to the broadcast studio. Let me ask you mate. Company X(ESPN STAR) rents rights from a cricket board. X pays for "ONE" production studio and sells the UK "BROADCAST" rights with SKY. Now if the contract between ESPN -STAR does not include splitting the production studio(which is not feasible and I don't fault ESPN star for that) what can BCCI do about it? Charity? WHy? Last I checked Mr.Murdoch is a billionaire. Also mr Smith if you are not aware, the first test is schedule around the Indian festival of Diwali. As for the Christmas break, that was for the benefit of the English team, so that they can be with their families which I think is a very good gesture. Remember, that it was not mandatory. We just do such things because we put our guests' interests ahead of our own. Rest assured, our media or experts will not call names if England do poorly, and our players will not ask you go home either(unlike Bresnan)

  • POSTED BY zuber21886 on | November 7, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    truly agree, BCCI should lead and promote the game at large.

  • POSTED BY raghavmadan on | November 7, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    Good intentions but... Building legacies is the job of emperors, not administrators. BCCI is just an administrative body, not 'custodians of the game'... and they know it. That's why they listen to PEOPLE rather than try to force their whims over international cricket. The concept of 'showpiece events' is an archaic one. India is a country of more than 20 international cricket stadiums. Why should one city/stadium be given a premium status in the cricketing calender? India does well to rotate games between stadiums and should continue to do so IMO. Indian cricket has performed extremely well in attracting money and marketing itself. Is it BCCI's fault that other countries are unable to do so? Even in India, popularity of test cricket is receding. Should BCCI shove test cricket down throats of people? Should we remain stuck in history or should we move cricket towards its logical next step? Legacies are defined by those who you serve. BCCI is doing great for Indian Cricket Fans IMHO.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    @KS72 England and Australia play more T20's than India does. I didn't even have to look up the numbers. You can do so if you would like.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    Mr Smith

    Thats the backlash you can expect if you criticize BCCI even this much. :) but still you had the guts to atleast write what the other 20 % contributor (in terms of revenue).

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | November 7, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    @WhoWhat Why: That's an interesting rant of yours! Of course there are many millions all over the world who have time & space for Test cricket, even in this e-age of instant entertainment, just as people have time for classical music, or time to contemplate great art, or read long novels; not everything of value has to last ten minutes or less! Very much the reverse. That which endures is often of substance & high value, like Test matches; I see them as unscripted drama in 3 or 4 acts (the innings). The reason that China & the US have not embraced cricket in any form is historical (see my previous post); any form of cricket also require a flat strip & much curious equipment. I don't see baseball being played much outside the US, except Japan (post WW2 US influence). The idea of anyone laughing in anyone else's face bespeaks appalling manners, BTW. My friend, you really should allow those who love Test cricket to follow their passion, anything else smacks of totalitariansim. Not nice!

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    Why are the rest of the Cricket boards talking about power? If one sees the Cricket committee, they seem to want power, or they want to be powerful? I mean, the B. C. C. I. It seems to be some effort, to know that stadiums are working, and that there is parking space during Cricket matches. The T. V. viewer only sees the match, if there is no cancellation, because of a bad ground, etc. How, the ground today, is supposed to be as good as those in England, is impossible to understand, but perhaps, this is so, in India, according to the press. I mean, the pitch, and the surrounding area, for fielding. The ground is only as good as when a fielder is doing his job, and when he feels good. These gentlemen are not thinking about power, when they are normally not thinking about Cricket. Most of the board, are members, because they give this perception, and people can see it. These men, aren't supposed to feel they are powerful. If this changes, then people will ask the board to dissolve.

  • POSTED BY o-bomb on | November 7, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @kingcobra85 & mqry - Had the MCC (and others) not nurtured the game in the past there wouldn't be as many coutries even playing the game as there are now. It may not even have got to India in the first place. So in answer to your question what have England and Australia done to look after cricket's legacy - they have introduced it to other countries so we can all play this game we love so much. Do you really think that would have happened had they done nothing? Well said @nutcutlet!

  • POSTED BY Venkysays on | November 7, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    Well there is lot to be attributed to India for evolution of this game I suppose. India made this game the most popular in sub continent. When Sri Lanka were just minnows it let SL national team play with state team in India. When Tests were the pristine form of the game , it produced greats like Gavaskar and it strive hard to reach the peak . Then came the ODIs , where world cups were only held in England. Only after India won 83 World cup concept of holding it outside UK propped up. This eventually made ODI the most popular. Matches between India and Pakistan now a days are similar to a war. With the advent of IPL , it helped popularity of the game even more and made it popular even in far reaching countries. Now that T20 format is most usefu to make the game popular in regions where cricket is a game unheard of. !!

    Talk to me about India taking the game forward !!!!

  • POSTED BY Smithie on | November 7, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Show courtesy to the fans who support cricket and as a token announce NOW the schedule for the Aus India Test series in India FEB/MAR 2013 or explain why there is a delay and when a final decision will be made. Or is this more mind games to minimise Aussie support at the grounds? No doubt the BCCI is quaking in their boots if more than 10 Aussies turn up!

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | November 7, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    @mqry- if that were actually true don't you think that the MCC would still be in complete control of the game? Learn more about the history of cricket man!

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    The BCCI will adopt the NBA model. World class cricket will be played only in India. Cricket in other parts of the world (the Minor Leagues) will be the feeder for cricket in India. Cricketers all over the world will become free agents with a primary goal of obtaining a contract to play in India and in the short off season they will train and hone their skills in the Minors.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Can't agree more. I feel BCCI has slightly better vision than some of the other Indian establishments. May be it is not that evident currently. I am aware that a lot of things are being tried out such as the new Ranji Trophy format. But, only time will tell if they will work out in country's favor or will fizzle out due to mala fide intentions of some business entities who are the decision makers.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    Where there are markets, there is power. It's not about India alone. It could have been China. Educate about Global change affecting everyone, whether it is FMCG or sports. If Football were to be a crazy sport in India, the likes of FIFA would shiver. Its about markets. It's the power of the markets. Not purely about India or BCCI?

  • POSTED BY amitgarg78 on | November 7, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    But do many people doubt, that for all their conservatism, the grey-haired Englishmen who once ran cricket did so largely for the right reasons, in the right spirit, in the hope that they were acting as custodians of the game?

    This is where you lost me! Otherwise, this is a very well written piece.

    Misplaced righteousness is just as wrong an idea as the notion that the capitalists or politicians who run BCCI can do no right. The world of cricket changed significantly since the '87 World Cup in Asia. Your career choices might have been completely different if there was no money in the game. Bringing more players over to the game, that's BCCIs legacy!

  • POSTED BY Hardy1 on | November 7, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    It's not about what the ECB or CA have done for the rest of the world. Cricket more than any other major sport is not about taking revenge and if the Test game is to stay the countries must help each other, and that means most of all India. Having said that long-term I just can't see the Test game doing well for itself. I call myself a cricket lover but when it comes to Tests (and even ODIs except for the World Cup final really) I just watch highlights if I can or check the scorecard. That's a big problem that I can't see sorting itself out, it simply requires too much time to watch a Test match.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    I just wish BCCI pumps in money and draw attention to domestic cricketers so that playing domestic cricket can also become a lucrative career. It would be great if they could go a step ahead and also improve cricket at grassroots level.

    This will definitely ensure great future players.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | November 7, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    @mqry;@kingcobra85: What did England do? Spread cricket round the world! Good enough for you? First, informally, sailors playing matches as they showed the flag; army garrisons that, slowly at first, invited the indigenous people to join in, then, later, encouraging those countries (then part of the much abused - and, yes, often much abusing - British Empire) to develop their own cricket structures so that, country by country, several joined the Test playing fraternity. Australia had no need of such proselytizing having a good number of Prisoners Of His/Her Majesty ("PO[H]MS") to kick start the concept of Test cricket, but the Test playing countries & many others short of Test status are playing regularcricket today as fully independent countries because of this history. This, believe it or not, was a labour of love, built on a belief that the 'product' was worth exporting, because enthusiasm doesn't have a bank balance. Paternalism? Perhaps, but it seems to have caught on, doesn't it?

  • POSTED BY csr11 on | November 7, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    Ed Smith, you are articulate, and I am inclined not to doubt your intentions.. But I am sorry, I find your article presumptuous and patronizing.

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | November 7, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Dear Ed Smith,

    who will define what is the right areas to focus on for BCCI ?...you will ? or the English media will ?.....or will the paying customers that BCCI caters to entertain will set the agenda for BCCI's action and judge BCCI?........and why should for example as you have used the example...preserving test matches be a criteria to judge BCCI ??.... Why not consider that success is giving entertainement to the paying customers in thr form of IPL and CLT20....that billlions of followers in subcontinet prefer?......and that success is spreading the game to afganistan and China and Namibia and Bermuda?.....let psoterity judge BCCI in whatever way it judges......let not you or a few from western media pass a judgement today...in the name of what legacy will look like.....trying to sneak in your prefernces on cricket's world order. regards...a_D

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | November 7, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    Absolutely, Ed: with the great wealth & power of the BCCI comes a concomitant responsibility to act in the best interests of the game, not in the sectional interest of an inner sanctum of the Indian business community. There's nothing wrong with being wealthy (that's a morally neutral position) it's what is done with that wealth that determines the character of the organization that collectively wields these bags of gold. With values that extend upwards, beyond & above the accruing of yet more wealth, much good can come, but it takes men & women who can see the bigger picture, see that cricket is not first IPL & then the rest. That is short-sighted & profit-driven. Cricket has endured on the back of Test matches; the history of these contests are integral to the sporting traditions of the peoples that are privileged to play them; indeed they are, in part, defining of those nations' characters, none moreso that India. IPL doesn't do that. Let's hope for wisdom-in-wealth from the BCCI!

  • POSTED BY cricwick on | November 7, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    A very insightful article,Ed Smith.Surely, BCCI must act in the greater good of the world cricket.But,I would disagree with the word "custodian" as regards to ur countymen. It can be emphatically said that they were the reason that hindered cricket in becoming global game by restricting it to themselves first n then Comm nations which I suppose is done in the "right spirit" of the game.If we skip the past,I think ur article throws some light on how test cricket can flourish in India alongside it's shorter counterparts.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Oh, come on.....What is the legacy of MCC after being guardians of Cricket for so long.........................Live and let live, let others have thier fun when it is the time. You guys had the fun...............Seriously, yes your thoughts are good but then not asked for.......................

  • POSTED BY Aaryabhatta on | November 7, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Good write up..wid optimism..must direct mail 2BCCi

  • POSTED BY mqry on | November 7, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    So what has the ECB/CA done in their last 100 years of exitstence for other countries outside of their own agenda?

  • POSTED BY KS72 on | November 7, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    Fabulous article by ed smith.....as an Indian myself...i occasionally love it when the BCCI snubs the ECB or CA because I grew up in an era when the ECB and CA treated the Asian bloc countries very shabbily and even insultingly.....times when MCC was the be all and end all of cricket. I justify the retribution even if the BCCI act silly!!.....however I cannot but agree with Ed Smith that BCCI now has to lead the cricketing world in the right direction, if it continues its 'strangling the golden goose policy' by playing too much 20/20 cricket...soon the goose with die and the whole cricketing world will be poor for it. It has to lead with vision, shrewdness and charisma rater than just greed and strong arm tactics. PLEASE TAKE THE GAME FORWARD RATHER THAN JUST FILL THE BANKS WITH MONEY. After a long time India has go the power and position to lead the world in a particular field like it many centuries ago in the fields of medicine, arts, and science.......PLEASE DONT SCREW UP BCCI.....

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    so true.. but unfortunately nothing will change.. Money has overpowered every other aspect. BCCI in particular and ICC in general is determined to kill Cricket with its short sightedness. Take Test Cricket out of the picture and cricket wont survive a decade. T 20 is just a "upsize"" in a burger meal but in order to get an upsize one must buy a burger first.

  • POSTED BY mansman on | November 7, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Test cricket is in trouble because it is a decadent colonial format of the sport and no one has time for it anymore. BCCI or no BCCI, the writing is on the wall. The author has not cogitated on why America and China have not embraced Test cricket - the two top global powers. Let Dravid go and speak to a US national on the joys of Test cricket - he will laugh at Dravid's face (and for that matter Richie Benaud, or whoever else has the temerity) that 5 days are wasted playing a sport. I don't care what Dravid said to Ed, or what Tony Greig thinks. The simple fact is US and China and the other 150+ nations think Test cricket is a waste of time. The sooner India realizes that, the faster it will catch up with China. The colonial hang-over of Test cricket being the holy grail is a luxury, not a necessity - look at the list of countries that play it - Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa. Test cricket must be stopped.

  • POSTED BY Suresh_Joseph on | November 7, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    As always, Ed, a very well-written piece... (Some of you cricketers probably have a higher calling awaiting you with the pen, which could be the reason why destiny didn't have a hundred 100s in store for you). the main problem with the BCCI is that while it will have a legacy, no individual or set of people will necessarily be pinned to it. Things change, people come and go, and so nobody gives a damn as to what happens five years down the line... I'm sure the decision-makers who are savvy enough to bring in millions of dollars are smart enough to know that what goes up must come down... This era will end, like many others before it. The only reassurance for the men in power is that they won't be around when it happens...

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    I think BCCI should stop listening to foreign experts telling them what to do. BCCI should do what is good for Indian cricket, like how to make our domestic 4 days matches more interesting and perhaps profitable. How to ensure all first class criketers have decent salary and may be life long pension. How to improve coaching standard and facilities with in the country. Right now, we have too many states which lacks basic infrasturute. BCCI stop worrying what people outside are thinking about them, because end of the cricket with in India is what made them what they are.

  • POSTED BY SSRajan on | November 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Lol, now a guy who cannot get into his own country's test team is now going to teach BCCI how to run international cricket. BTW, why is the boxing day test scheduled to suit other cultures? Because the boxing day is not an Indian thing. It is not a big day in India. Even among the Indian Christians, I have never till date heard them talk about it. As for having an Indian test cricket calendar, does he know hat BCCI is considering it. They said as much, But it is not easy to implement as other boards have to agree as well since they have to consider their calendars, given that the FTP has already been framed. Hell, Aus and SA had a falling out over the boxing day test when it came to one touring the other. As for the BCCI's strategy for test cricket, I am sure it is under no obligation to call Ed Smith and tell him about it, whatever that strategy is. So his argument that he does not know what BCCI is doing for tests, it irrelevant. So Mr Smith, get off your high horse, will you.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | November 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    what did England or Australia do ? Nothing ! Expect nothing more or less from BCCI

  • POSTED BY Sakthiivel on | November 7, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Whatever good BCCI do the world will say that as bad. Also dont agree that cricket is not a business, Cricket is definitely a business. That's why BCCI became power. But what BCCI should do is that, develop good cricket in India and then help countries like SL, PAK and Bangladesh financially to bring them. Still those fan will bash india anyway.

  • POSTED BY ashish514 on | November 7, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    England have a cultural relationship with cricket. They are it's founders. Thus when they were at the helm they were bothered about the legacy and heritage. But even that didn't stop them from arm twisting everything cricket for their own benefits in their time. Indian cricket leadership though has seen cricket as one that brought a financial boom and a massive clout overnight. All we know is cricket has brought money and power we never had earlier. That's the only thing in which India figures as world's most powerful. Thus probably unlike England, Indian board is not that much bothered about the legacy or culture as they are about money and power. About tests in India, somehow they don't look as spectacular to me as they do in England or Australia. It may have to do with conditions, weather, pitches or general apathy of Indian fan with test cricket. But somehow I, being an Indian, like India to play tests outside rather than at home. I enjoy watching ODIs in India though.

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | November 7, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    BCCI can do everything, But first stop criticizing it for every other thing that is happening!

  • POSTED BY cshir on | November 7, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Ed Smith, you are one eloquent chap. Very well written. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • POSTED BY ianbellfan on | November 7, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    I am an Indian living in Chennai. I have to say 'Well said, Ed.' Indian history and mythology, even current day Indian policitcs, is replete with examples of people misusing/abusing their power and then being thrown out of their position of power. As an Indian it fills me with pride when I realize that India calls the shots in Cricket but also concerned with the hawkish, narrow minded protectionist stance that BCCI often takes in matters involving the health and well being of the game. Unfortunately, the learned men running BCCI do not have any aspirations of becoming a statesmen. I am reminded of an old saying - 'Almost everybody can withstand adversity. Give them power if you want to test their character'. Only time can tell how BCCI passes this test of character.

  • POSTED BY CricIndia208 on | November 7, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Not yet another BCCI article

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY CricIndia208 on | November 7, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Not yet another BCCI article

  • POSTED BY ianbellfan on | November 7, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    I am an Indian living in Chennai. I have to say 'Well said, Ed.' Indian history and mythology, even current day Indian policitcs, is replete with examples of people misusing/abusing their power and then being thrown out of their position of power. As an Indian it fills me with pride when I realize that India calls the shots in Cricket but also concerned with the hawkish, narrow minded protectionist stance that BCCI often takes in matters involving the health and well being of the game. Unfortunately, the learned men running BCCI do not have any aspirations of becoming a statesmen. I am reminded of an old saying - 'Almost everybody can withstand adversity. Give them power if you want to test their character'. Only time can tell how BCCI passes this test of character.

  • POSTED BY cshir on | November 7, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Ed Smith, you are one eloquent chap. Very well written. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | November 7, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    BCCI can do everything, But first stop criticizing it for every other thing that is happening!

  • POSTED BY ashish514 on | November 7, 2012, 4:44 GMT

    England have a cultural relationship with cricket. They are it's founders. Thus when they were at the helm they were bothered about the legacy and heritage. But even that didn't stop them from arm twisting everything cricket for their own benefits in their time. Indian cricket leadership though has seen cricket as one that brought a financial boom and a massive clout overnight. All we know is cricket has brought money and power we never had earlier. That's the only thing in which India figures as world's most powerful. Thus probably unlike England, Indian board is not that much bothered about the legacy or culture as they are about money and power. About tests in India, somehow they don't look as spectacular to me as they do in England or Australia. It may have to do with conditions, weather, pitches or general apathy of Indian fan with test cricket. But somehow I, being an Indian, like India to play tests outside rather than at home. I enjoy watching ODIs in India though.

  • POSTED BY Sakthiivel on | November 7, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Whatever good BCCI do the world will say that as bad. Also dont agree that cricket is not a business, Cricket is definitely a business. That's why BCCI became power. But what BCCI should do is that, develop good cricket in India and then help countries like SL, PAK and Bangladesh financially to bring them. Still those fan will bash india anyway.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | November 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    what did England or Australia do ? Nothing ! Expect nothing more or less from BCCI

  • POSTED BY SSRajan on | November 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Lol, now a guy who cannot get into his own country's test team is now going to teach BCCI how to run international cricket. BTW, why is the boxing day test scheduled to suit other cultures? Because the boxing day is not an Indian thing. It is not a big day in India. Even among the Indian Christians, I have never till date heard them talk about it. As for having an Indian test cricket calendar, does he know hat BCCI is considering it. They said as much, But it is not easy to implement as other boards have to agree as well since they have to consider their calendars, given that the FTP has already been framed. Hell, Aus and SA had a falling out over the boxing day test when it came to one touring the other. As for the BCCI's strategy for test cricket, I am sure it is under no obligation to call Ed Smith and tell him about it, whatever that strategy is. So his argument that he does not know what BCCI is doing for tests, it irrelevant. So Mr Smith, get off your high horse, will you.

  • POSTED BY on | November 7, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    I think BCCI should stop listening to foreign experts telling them what to do. BCCI should do what is good for Indian cricket, like how to make our domestic 4 days matches more interesting and perhaps profitable. How to ensure all first class criketers have decent salary and may be life long pension. How to improve coaching standard and facilities with in the country. Right now, we have too many states which lacks basic infrasturute. BCCI stop worrying what people outside are thinking about them, because end of the cricket with in India is what made them what they are.

  • POSTED BY Suresh_Joseph on | November 7, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    As always, Ed, a very well-written piece... (Some of you cricketers probably have a higher calling awaiting you with the pen, which could be the reason why destiny didn't have a hundred 100s in store for you). the main problem with the BCCI is that while it will have a legacy, no individual or set of people will necessarily be pinned to it. Things change, people come and go, and so nobody gives a damn as to what happens five years down the line... I'm sure the decision-makers who are savvy enough to bring in millions of dollars are smart enough to know that what goes up must come down... This era will end, like many others before it. The only reassurance for the men in power is that they won't be around when it happens...