January 20, 2014

Missing the fundamental point of sport

Cricket needs leadership and reform but setting up an oligarchy in the name of democracy reduces the sport to the level of commonplace commerce
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Cricket, with its tiny base, can't afford to shrink further © AFP

Let's dispense with the obvious first. Plenty of things in cricket need fixing, and the ICC would rank near the top of the chart. Cricket can't pretend that nothing has changed when everything has. Also, the changes have not been linear but radical and disruptive. It was about time that the administration caught up.

For the best part of the past ten years the ICC has been a governing body only in name, unable to meaningfully influence either the making of decisions or their implementation, or to discharge its basic fiduciary obligations to the game. The relationship between the executive board and the administrative wing has ranged between open hostility and simmering tension, making it an impossible structure for governance.

The administrators should be grateful that cricket is not a traditional business - if the fans had a vote, the whole lot would have been sacked long ago.

Thus, reform for cricket can come only from within, and it can only come with the BCCI, the game's biggest provider and the most powerful arbiter, leading the charge. However well-intentioned, the Woolf committee recommendations that called for the powerful to willingly disenfranchise themselves were always likely to land in the wastepaper bin. Cricket's shining knight was never likely to charge out of the shadows; change can only be driven by those with the means and the clout to carry it through. It may not be ideal but it is realistic.

Cricket is confronted by major challenges. The current Future Tours Programme, the document that lays the broad framework for bilateral engagements, doesn't take into account the IPL or most of the T20 leagues that have mushroomed around the world, even though it was rubber-stamped only three years ago; the financial disparity between the top three boards and the rest has widened; and the ICC has simply been unable to take a decision about the Test championship. So for the three most powerful cricket boards to start a process to reorganise cricket should only be welcome.

And so we come to the proposals, or the Position Paper as it has been labelled, from a "working group" of the ICC's Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee, which is expected to be put to vote in the final week of this month. The proposals were not, of course, meant for publication, but they fortuitously found their way to us and have been reported in detail on our website.

On the face of it, the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia taking charge of the world game is not such a terrible thing for cricket. If anything, it ends the charade. One way or the other, these three boards have written the rules of the game in the last two decades without being officially responsible for them. The ICC has become a euphemism for cricket's maladministration without ever having the mandate for it from its principal constituents, so for the proxy rulers to officially commit themselves to leadership cannot be the worst outcome.

The top countries playing each other would make economic sense in the short term but the emasculation of the game in the other parts will not merely drain cricket of flavour and colour, it will lead to ennui and fatigue

There are a few good ideas in the proposal. The establishment of a "Test match fund" to support Test cricket in the countries where it is no longer financially viable is a worthy concept. So too the proposals to streamline the spending of the ICC, and the institution of more checks and balances and transparency in the accounting systems. However, through the 21-page document one theme becomes increasingly pronounced: the stated objective is to establish the primacy of members over the ICC executive, but the underlying objective is to establish the supremacy of the three members over the rest. One troika to rule all, an oligarchy in the name of democracy.

And in this it fails the true test of leadership and militates against some of the fundamental canons of sport: to provide level playing fields, give the underdog an equal chance, and promote fair play. Without these values, sport will be stripped of dignity and honour and will be reduced to the level of commonplace commerce. In failing to grasp this, most administrators miss the fundamental point of sport.

Let's take the FTP as a case in point. True, the current structure doesn't work and Test matches between some nations aren't commercially viable. The first problem can be tackled by rationalising the schedule, and as for the second, isn't that the very purpose of the proposed Test match fund? The FTP was established on egalitarian principles, to give every team a fair chance of exposure. To replace it with strictly bilateral deals will be to leave the smaller boards to the benediction of the powerful ones. It carries the risk of turning an already lopsided equation into a hopeless one.

And then of course there is the case of promotion and relegation. I have long been a proponent of a two-tier system, though ESPNcricinfo columnist Martin Crowe has a passionately logical counter to it. This proposal, in fact, seeks to create a three-tier system - with protection granted to India, England and Australia, reducing the concept to a sham. In a hypothetical scenario of these three teams occupying the bottom of the table at six, seven and eight, the teams above them will be relegated. It has been explained away as a commercial decision because cricket will become financially unsustainable without a team like India. It is true - though that is also a good reason to ditch the idea completely. Moreover, if teams don't play each other in a structured format, how will the ranking system work on a fair basis?

That this is cricket's way of embracing market economics is a deceptive argument on two counts. One, sport isn't analogous to business. Two, cricket's ecosystem has been built and nurtured by interdependence. Even among sports, cricket is unique. It has a tiny base and can't afford to shrink further. The cricket boards of England and Australia are fortunate that a devotion to the tradition of Test cricket and the relative wealth of those nations keep cricket in good health, and the Indian board is lucky that the game it runs enjoys a monopoly in a billion-strong country.

The top countries playing each other would make economic sense in the short term but the emasculation of the game in the other parts of the world will not merely drain cricket of flavour and colour, it will lead to ennui and fatigue.

And last, who can miss the irony in the BCCI joining the Security Council-like executive committee with three permanent members? It does smell like a return to the days of the veto, which administrators in the subcontinent found so repugnant. Is the memory of the past so thin that they are condemned to repeat it?

The fears of cricket's apocalypse are perhaps exaggerated, and as it stands, the document is still a proposal. For it not to become policy, the members, while they still have the liberty, must speak with their votes.

Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • flickspin on January 20, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    im all for democracy 1 nation 1 vote.

    and the ceo of world cricket should alternate every year.

    1 year india, the next year new zealand, the next year bangladesh, the next year sri lanka, the next year england, the next year zimbabwe, the next year west indies, the next year south africa, the next year pakistan, the next year australia,

    this way every nation shares world cricket and its not a dictatorship of 3 nations.

    when zimbabwe have thier year as ceo they can tell the icc the problems they face, the sucesses they have and expertise they might require to improve.

    when australia are in charge they talk about 90000 fans at the boxing day test,the center of excellence, and getting people to fill up stadiums.

    this way the whole icc is touch with world cricket from the greatest to the least.

    i believe world cricket needs more teams.

    and the future tours program needs to be strictly obeyed and policed where teams are fined for not obeying its essential to world cricket

  • on January 22, 2014, 23:35 GMT

    Look, all this talk about growth means nothing until/unless the sport's powers decide to invest in the US. It's a long-term play, but the most obvious place to reach out to a relative large population of expats to get momentum started. It's unlikely that a US team will be a power on the world stage in my lifetime, but it will never, ever be so unless the sport makes an effort to reach out. The prize? The world's biggest exporter of culture. Get the US on board, other countries follow. Efforts to expand the game in Africa and Asia are small potatoes and don't create a material market. The last real effort was 10 years ago by Alan Sanford, and we know how that ended, but a legitimate grassroots effort could hold major promise. If the ICC continue to ignore the elephant outside its yard, though, cricket will be a regional, parochial sport governed by the few who are interested.

  • Neel_123 on January 22, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    @ web_guru2003: Fine points in a perfect universe but..

    a) to make cricket popular in other countries, most important thing you need is, unfortunately, MONEY. To earn money, you cut loss (i.e., no test matches which don't generate enough revenue; in other words: All test matches involving countries other 'Big 3'). Vicious cycle, you see.

    b) "Non-performing board should be held accountable".. How? Will Sri Lanka board allow BCCI to probe how they spend fund? Will PCB allow BCCI/ ICC to probe how much money actually go to facilities and how much to private coffers? No, right? That would be violating their sovereignty. So, only option is to cut the 'freebies' offered to such boards and let them run their cricket more efficiently! Otherwise these boards will leach-on to BCCI money for ever!

    And given that these people hate BCCI (and India) despite BCCI regularly 'helping' these boards out, it makes no sense to continue to do so!

  • web_guru2003 on January 21, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Primary objective of ICC is to make cricket popular and not make more money. All of the arguments I see in comments that are in favor of this draft proposal have one thing in common. "Big three should get more money coz they make more money" or "oh why should big three feed countries when they cant make money their own"

    Yes ICC should be run professionally but not for making money for his shareholders but for spreading the sport of cricket. If some country is not spending the funds properly, that board should be held accountable instead of stop funding to the board.

  • on January 21, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    Firstly the whole idea that every letter in the proposal is a farce is ridiculous.The proposal is masked in great ideas but nearly all are in the vested interests of the Big 3.The idea that NZ has less people than Delhi is true but to cut New Zealand is what is obscure.If you want more Indians in teams make a league don't demean black caps contribution to cricket.

    I agree with Indians on the idea of the distribution of wealth is unfair but other than that this proposal is preposterous and if passed will result in the end of ICC like the league of Nations

  • YorkshirePudding on January 21, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    @Argho5, what are you talking about there are rules in regards to the size of bats, the weight of the ball, etc, an adult Bat must weigh between certain 1.2 and 1.4kg, and cannot exceed 108mm in width, or 965mm in length. and must be made of wood (Appendix E dictate the specifications).

    In terms of the ball it must weigh between 156 and 163 grams, the colour has traditionally being a shade of red as it is the easiest colour for the eye to pick up. The White ball was introduced for ODI's as an aid for day/night games as its the easiest colour to pick up under flood lights.

  • on January 21, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    If we learn from history, eventually big three will get control they desire. They will also get supprt from likes of Mr. Sunil Gawasker who will spin the argument by saying why did the world take so long to raise voice against Australian/English dominance before 90s. NZL will happily tag along with CA. CSA is opposing only because their current relationship with BCCI is not good. In long term, teams like Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh will suffer most. Before FTP, it took TCCB ages to invite Srilankan team to visit England for their maiden series in England. We will return back to those days. Big three playing 5 tests series against each other while rest living off the scraps.

  • ooper_cut on January 21, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    If all 10 countries will get the same amount from the ICC, where is the need for countries like SL/BD etc to try to make revenues. All SL does is call India for a tour when their coffers are empty due to mismanagement. Say BCCI gives US$100 million to ICC and gets back 10 like every other country, what happens when they give 200 million the next year and get the same 10% and SL contributes nothing and still gets the whopping 10% ?

    I think its fair that the larger contributors take up a bigger role and play it impartially. After all they did not become big by sitting on their backsides. Let every country innovate and generate revenue. Hire Lalit Modi if you must !!!

  • contrast_swing on January 21, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    If you leave the administration in the hands of Lawyers and Businessmen, that is what you will get. The goal of a businessmen is to maximize the money and that is what will drive his/her decisions. In today's world, business is not anymore about maintaining or building a brand but to mint as maximum possible money and in shortest possible time.

    If ever there is a discussion to revamp ICC, first goal should be keep the people at the helm who know the game of cricket and understand its values beyond what money can measure. The lawyer and businessmen could stay at lower ranks to help but not to make decisions.

  • kav555 on January 21, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    The Big Three leading the world cricket would probably a good thing. As economics has proven time and again that when poor nations keep receiving aid from the rich ones they seldom prosper because much of the financial aid ends up in the pockets of the powers-that-be!

    Cricket has to take roots on its own. The big three can encourage to allow cricket to grow naturally; not merely by throwing money at smaller and weaker countries.

    With all the money that has so far been thrown at these 'infant' cricketing nations has only produced negligible results.

    Leadership is not about money but inspiring nations to create their own.

    Sometimes the adage 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. When countries realise that they have to find innovative ways to rise up, it might probably do a world of good.

    Many African countries have seen levels of poverty going down, not because of financial aid from the west but because they have come up with their own schemes to develop.

  • flickspin on January 20, 2014, 8:18 GMT

    im all for democracy 1 nation 1 vote.

    and the ceo of world cricket should alternate every year.

    1 year india, the next year new zealand, the next year bangladesh, the next year sri lanka, the next year england, the next year zimbabwe, the next year west indies, the next year south africa, the next year pakistan, the next year australia,

    this way every nation shares world cricket and its not a dictatorship of 3 nations.

    when zimbabwe have thier year as ceo they can tell the icc the problems they face, the sucesses they have and expertise they might require to improve.

    when australia are in charge they talk about 90000 fans at the boxing day test,the center of excellence, and getting people to fill up stadiums.

    this way the whole icc is touch with world cricket from the greatest to the least.

    i believe world cricket needs more teams.

    and the future tours program needs to be strictly obeyed and policed where teams are fined for not obeying its essential to world cricket

  • on January 22, 2014, 23:35 GMT

    Look, all this talk about growth means nothing until/unless the sport's powers decide to invest in the US. It's a long-term play, but the most obvious place to reach out to a relative large population of expats to get momentum started. It's unlikely that a US team will be a power on the world stage in my lifetime, but it will never, ever be so unless the sport makes an effort to reach out. The prize? The world's biggest exporter of culture. Get the US on board, other countries follow. Efforts to expand the game in Africa and Asia are small potatoes and don't create a material market. The last real effort was 10 years ago by Alan Sanford, and we know how that ended, but a legitimate grassroots effort could hold major promise. If the ICC continue to ignore the elephant outside its yard, though, cricket will be a regional, parochial sport governed by the few who are interested.

  • Neel_123 on January 22, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    @ web_guru2003: Fine points in a perfect universe but..

    a) to make cricket popular in other countries, most important thing you need is, unfortunately, MONEY. To earn money, you cut loss (i.e., no test matches which don't generate enough revenue; in other words: All test matches involving countries other 'Big 3'). Vicious cycle, you see.

    b) "Non-performing board should be held accountable".. How? Will Sri Lanka board allow BCCI to probe how they spend fund? Will PCB allow BCCI/ ICC to probe how much money actually go to facilities and how much to private coffers? No, right? That would be violating their sovereignty. So, only option is to cut the 'freebies' offered to such boards and let them run their cricket more efficiently! Otherwise these boards will leach-on to BCCI money for ever!

    And given that these people hate BCCI (and India) despite BCCI regularly 'helping' these boards out, it makes no sense to continue to do so!

  • web_guru2003 on January 21, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Primary objective of ICC is to make cricket popular and not make more money. All of the arguments I see in comments that are in favor of this draft proposal have one thing in common. "Big three should get more money coz they make more money" or "oh why should big three feed countries when they cant make money their own"

    Yes ICC should be run professionally but not for making money for his shareholders but for spreading the sport of cricket. If some country is not spending the funds properly, that board should be held accountable instead of stop funding to the board.

  • on January 21, 2014, 21:17 GMT

    Firstly the whole idea that every letter in the proposal is a farce is ridiculous.The proposal is masked in great ideas but nearly all are in the vested interests of the Big 3.The idea that NZ has less people than Delhi is true but to cut New Zealand is what is obscure.If you want more Indians in teams make a league don't demean black caps contribution to cricket.

    I agree with Indians on the idea of the distribution of wealth is unfair but other than that this proposal is preposterous and if passed will result in the end of ICC like the league of Nations

  • YorkshirePudding on January 21, 2014, 8:38 GMT

    @Argho5, what are you talking about there are rules in regards to the size of bats, the weight of the ball, etc, an adult Bat must weigh between certain 1.2 and 1.4kg, and cannot exceed 108mm in width, or 965mm in length. and must be made of wood (Appendix E dictate the specifications).

    In terms of the ball it must weigh between 156 and 163 grams, the colour has traditionally being a shade of red as it is the easiest colour for the eye to pick up. The White ball was introduced for ODI's as an aid for day/night games as its the easiest colour to pick up under flood lights.

  • on January 21, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    If we learn from history, eventually big three will get control they desire. They will also get supprt from likes of Mr. Sunil Gawasker who will spin the argument by saying why did the world take so long to raise voice against Australian/English dominance before 90s. NZL will happily tag along with CA. CSA is opposing only because their current relationship with BCCI is not good. In long term, teams like Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh will suffer most. Before FTP, it took TCCB ages to invite Srilankan team to visit England for their maiden series in England. We will return back to those days. Big three playing 5 tests series against each other while rest living off the scraps.

  • ooper_cut on January 21, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    If all 10 countries will get the same amount from the ICC, where is the need for countries like SL/BD etc to try to make revenues. All SL does is call India for a tour when their coffers are empty due to mismanagement. Say BCCI gives US$100 million to ICC and gets back 10 like every other country, what happens when they give 200 million the next year and get the same 10% and SL contributes nothing and still gets the whopping 10% ?

    I think its fair that the larger contributors take up a bigger role and play it impartially. After all they did not become big by sitting on their backsides. Let every country innovate and generate revenue. Hire Lalit Modi if you must !!!

  • contrast_swing on January 21, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    If you leave the administration in the hands of Lawyers and Businessmen, that is what you will get. The goal of a businessmen is to maximize the money and that is what will drive his/her decisions. In today's world, business is not anymore about maintaining or building a brand but to mint as maximum possible money and in shortest possible time.

    If ever there is a discussion to revamp ICC, first goal should be keep the people at the helm who know the game of cricket and understand its values beyond what money can measure. The lawyer and businessmen could stay at lower ranks to help but not to make decisions.

  • kav555 on January 21, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    The Big Three leading the world cricket would probably a good thing. As economics has proven time and again that when poor nations keep receiving aid from the rich ones they seldom prosper because much of the financial aid ends up in the pockets of the powers-that-be!

    Cricket has to take roots on its own. The big three can encourage to allow cricket to grow naturally; not merely by throwing money at smaller and weaker countries.

    With all the money that has so far been thrown at these 'infant' cricketing nations has only produced negligible results.

    Leadership is not about money but inspiring nations to create their own.

    Sometimes the adage 'necessity is the mother of invention' holds true. When countries realise that they have to find innovative ways to rise up, it might probably do a world of good.

    Many African countries have seen levels of poverty going down, not because of financial aid from the west but because they have come up with their own schemes to develop.

  • on January 21, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    Same with the opportunity for aspiring cricketers. An Indian kid has to compete with tens of millions of other kids to have his shot at limelight whereas an NZ kid has to compete with a only a few thousand at most. Who is at a disadvantage here?

    The obvious solution is to create more teams where there is a huge demand for cricket, where there is a huge number of kids aspiring to play the game. Forcing cricket down the throat of non-interested countries just to maintain status quo while also restricting opportunity (to both play at the highest level and watch highest level cricket) in places like India where there is a huge demand isn't going to help the game grow.

  • on January 21, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    I have a question - why are we assuming that the existing system is egalitarian? Shouldn't we be measuring equality at the level of individual fans and aspiring players rather than at the level of nations. When we do that, we will realize that the existing structure is anything but egalitarian. In fact, it is massively biased against large countries like India. Almost every Indian metropolis has 2-4 times the population of New Zealand and probably 8-10 times the number of cricket fans, considering that cricket isn't even the most popular sport in NZ. But compare how many international games does each Indian city host per year and how many does NZ host? Is there even a comparison? Why should we continue with such a system? As the IPL has shown, every Indian city can fill the stadium for 8-9 matches in a span of 6 weeks, then why support this international system which gives only one game per year to these cities, while also giving the same number of games to obscure towns in NZ and SL?

  • Udendra on January 21, 2014, 3:50 GMT

    Sambit Bal talks sense. Cricket should study other sports like Football, Rugby, etc.

  • whensdrinks on January 21, 2014, 2:51 GMT

    @ Mark Demos - 20 years ago they were saying about 50 over games exactly what you say about T20. Yet the truth is, without a viable exciting Test cricket agenda, T20 cricket will also become an also ran. Cricket is popular due to an Ashes Test series, not because of a T20 tournament.

  • on January 21, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    Personally i can't see this going ahead for many of the reasons already stated. I think it is a bluff designed by the big 3 to get all other nations to settle for a reduced revenue sharing deal and no FTP and probably an open window for IPL.

    What concerns me the most is the focus on short-term revenue generation/protection by all boards at the long-term expense of the sport.

    Even Snedden has stated that his primary objective at the meeting will be to protect NZ's future revenue so presumably he is just as willing as the Big3 to compromise the integrity of the sport for a better slice of the pie.

    Does not bode well...

  • mcj.cricinfo on January 21, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    Great article, this proposal is terrible! As the saying goes: 'It's just not cricket'. For the BCCI, ECB and CA to write themselves in as the owners of world cricket is appalling and short sighted.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on January 20, 2014, 22:25 GMT

    good article. its good to see people are opposing it. if the 2 tier system was fair that is 3 bullies would also be relegated then it would be ok to try out. but giving them guarantee is just like UN !

    unfortunately, these bullies will influence boards like W.I and Zimbabwe and Bangladesh (they were given test status on behest of BCCI as means of one assured vote!) on some financial benefit and get their support.

    back in the day SA were outcast due to different reasons. now lets cast out these 3 bullies for different reason. actually the comparison is quite similar, segregation of nations based on wealth!!

  • Philly.rocks on January 20, 2014, 20:41 GMT

    If this is accepted then I would argue the other boards, please exile these three teams and form opposite cricket council to lead and run the game of fun and game of gentlemen. We will see how long they sustain by playing with themselves only. We will see how much revenue they make by playing continuous triangular tournaments among themselves.

  • Texmex on January 20, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    "The establishment of a "Test match fund" to support Test cricket in the countries where it is no longer financially viable is a worthy concept."

    Mr. Bal:

    Why is this a worthy concept? Sport is for the enjoyment of the masses. And if the masses don't want that why continue to have test cricket in those countries in the name of some "pure" form of sport? Let us not do that sport if it is not commercially viable - money is of better use elsewhere.....

  • on January 20, 2014, 18:13 GMT

    The BCCI, ECB and CA need to understand that they do NOT have the support of their nations cricket lovers when they propose this "coup". They are seen like most bullies are seen - as weak and cowardly - resorting to shoving their authority in people's faces when a weak argument fails. This is how all bullies operate - and in the UK as I'm sure in Australia and India - we will not tolerate bullies and DO NOT support our boards actions.

  • Speng on January 20, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    I can't see how cricket under this sort of administration could ever be taken seriously as a world sport. I can't think of a single other major international that is administered in this way. Can you imagine if FIFA were dominated in this way by UEFA "because that's where the money is". This approach would spell doom for women's and associate nation cricket. As it stands the teams outside "the Test Playing Nations" and women's cricket already have an explicitly second class status and this arrangement would demote them to 3rd or 4th class status.

    The proposals in the article also fail to address international professional cricket (e.g. IPL, Big Bash etc) where a significant problem is that of access: where players from certain countries cannot participate in certain leagues and others where boards prohibit their players from playing in international leagues. To use the football analogy again it would be as if French players were prevented from playing in England.

  • on January 20, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    This is frustrating. Change is needed but not in such counterproductive way.

    If 3 so called permanent members to vote for a decision, in my poor "future telling" abilities, BCCI may find itself at the loosing end 10 out of 10 times. I cannot remember a single time when ECB and CA disagreed anything at any level. Traditionally BCCI enjoyed its clout in ICC with support from PCB, SLCB, BCB. Now it seems a shrewd move by ECB and CA to curb power of BCCI with immediate effect and to long run. I as a Bangladeshi fully get the idea that the profits should go to the boards who provides most, purely business point of view. Even the chairmanship could be un-tied from rotation among members system, this is a poor compromise and dysfunctional. There should be recruitment based on depth and breadth of cricketing knowledge and agnostic view to world cricket in the spirit of spreading and developing competition. But all decisions made by 3 big heads.

  • on January 20, 2014, 16:24 GMT

    Giving absolute power to 3 nations and minimizing the contribution of all member countries who have contributed a lot to the world cricket is insulting. Teams like West Indies produced greatest cricketers of all time and ruled the international cricket for decades, SL who featured in the finals of 5 major ICC tournaments in last 6 years, SA the number one test team at the moment and has always been in the top teams giving tough times to their opponents all over the world, Pakistan for producing so many moments of magic and despite being deprived of cricket at their own soil they never cease to surprise us with their performances.... these teams will ultimately have little to no say in the matters of game. it's a big shame, it is high time that ICC be dissolved and a new body is formed which is able to safeguard the interests of the game and look for game development instead of just focusing on money making.

  • cricpolitics on January 20, 2014, 16:08 GMT

    That was the last thing world cricket needed. Go ahead and create another Security Council to secure and server the goals of few.

  • on January 20, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    The fundamental point is that cricket is going through a massive innovation or massive disruptive shift. Look at it in whatever way you want. T20 is the only lasting outcome. Cricket will have to become what every other spectator sport of it's kind in the world is: 1-3 hours in duration. Questions about the disparity in funding for Test cricket is a non-starter. Only 4 countries qualify as being able to produce any revenues. 50 over cricket is also dead as a money producing proposition. All countries must and will go to T20 within 5 years as the primary format for all cricket. If you think young people will do anything else or parents will support of attend anything else - DREAM ON!

  • on January 20, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    The Big three is that what we call them they might have the money yes but do one of these teams have the number 1 test ranking... No SA in this games will kill test cricket when last did one of these teams win a test series against the SA cricket team I guess it a easy way out to get to number 1 ranked test team let us see what happens in SA when Aus take in the best hopefully the results will change this

  • on January 20, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    If the proposed draft get approved then I think there is no other option left with other team than to make their own Cricket Body, and let these three play with each other.

  • WeirdBeard420 on January 20, 2014, 15:24 GMT

    The Ashes series, contested between England and Australia, commenced in the late 1800's as a tribute to the figurative death of cricket. Now, England and Australia and India can enjoy repeated trilateral series' exclusively against each other every year, for the rest of eternity, as a tribute to the literal death of cricket. I suggest calling it the "ECBBCCIICCCA Ashes", or something equally as ridiculous.

    In the meantime, the people of the other 100+ countries who play cricket will not stand by idly watching the rich get richer while the 'threat of competition' gets snubbed out by the power of money.

    I, for one, am starting a revolution right here in my Associate nation against this monopoly, and I am putting 100% of my time, effort, and resources into bringing the game of cricket back to the people! Who's with me?

    Never forget: strength in numbers! 100+ countries will not be bullied by three. A new "ICC" can always be created with better intentions...

  • StaalBurgher on January 20, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    We will see. Sometimes a dictator/oligarchy can do good. The problem is thus far India has proven to be anything but good for the international game, especially Test cricket. Perhaps this is a way for England and Australia to counter balance their power. It is maybe the lesser of two evils, given the current shambles.

    All I know is that if Test cricket falls apart in SA I will no longer support cricket and I certainly won't be encouraging the next generation to support it.

    If at the end of the day the strong teams play each other sufficiently in Test matches I won't complain too much. 1 vote one nation/person has its drawbacks too. The mediocre hold back the group in that case, especially when the group is as small as the number of cricket nations and they are all so easily influenced by financial issues.

  • NP_NY on January 20, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    Sambit, you say "sport isn't analogous to business.". But isn't cricket already run like a business for the last decade or so at least? We can beat this topic to death all we want but there is only ONE thing that will stop the game getting hijacked by the three big boards, particularly BCCI - Indan fans boycott watching cricket until all is fair again (I am not watching the India-NZ series on TV). Until that happens, this IS a business and it is all about profits. But BCCI knows this won't happen. They know the several million Indian cricket fans have no other sport to fall back on because of the cricket obsession in the country. Cricket is embracing market economics whether we like it or not. Having said all that, I will also say this - no other boards have the right to complain, because they have done nothing to promote cricket (in associate countries especially).

  • Rahim_A on January 20, 2014, 15:07 GMT

    Sadly, this has been on the cards for a while and has been complicity agreed to by all the boards. Why do I say this - look at the global tournaments to be held over the next ten years which was released last year. All of them are planned to take place in one of England, India and Australia. So this is going to happen regardless of the uproar of fans, and the comments by Snedden of NZC shows that the smaller boards are resigned to it as they are too scared to upset the apple cart in case they are left behind. Maybe this is why SA were left off the original proposals as they stood up to the three boards. However if this happens I think I will leave cricket behind which is a real shame as I love the sport and drama of it all such as who would have thought this current Pakistan batting line up would score in excess of 5 rpo to win a test match on day 5!

  • Cricket24 on January 20, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    If this system actually happens, Ireland and Afghanistan will never get full test membership because England and India and Bangledesh and Pakistan don't want to loose to one of these teams. Simple as that

  • iloveecb on January 20, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    I don't agree with cricket being owned by anyone. It's just not fair for other boards.

  • on January 20, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Whoever has drafted this proposal is a big fan of Hunger Games and i mean it in the worst possible way, the kind who probably lives in District 1 and has all the odds bent in their favour.

  • hkiran1 on January 20, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    Please remove the ranking system from Test cricket as it is highly impractical and shows no real picture. It is a test for all the 22 players involved(also for the officials and others involved). A ranking will only show the truth when all the 8 teams can play home and away in a short duration because of the nature of the game (highly dependent on ground conditions- ask Cook or Dhoni if you have any doubts).

    Let the 2nd tier cricketing teams like Afghanistan, Irelend etc. play 5 day matches with A teams of test playing nations consistently. Based on a consistent performance they could be awarded test status and that will lead to infrastructure development and increase in quality of players.

    Make it mandatory to play against all test playing nations(min 3 tests home and away) within a period of 2-3 years, failing which they can be fined half of their earnings which should go to the development of cricket in 2nd tier cricketing nations

  • on January 20, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    The other 7 nations should just leave ICC and let the three bosses play amongst themselves. We others can set up our own free, clean cricketing organization, and I am sure it will be way better off than the present ICC.

  • InternationalCricketFollower on January 20, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    I completely agree. You should explore ways to improve the game. Should not exploit like this. Exploitation work in the short term. No good in the long term. ICC should spend time on building foundations and structures for weaker teams. Should not shun them like this. It is killing the game.

  • gamespplplay on January 20, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    looking at it the other way... this could be a fruitful attempt to expand test cricket. Ireland has been waiting in the wings for an eternity, and now there is talk of Afghanistan. As more nations join the test cricket club.. some sort of tier arrangement i is necessary.

  • Argho5 on January 20, 2014, 13:46 GMT

    Cricket - A Sport??

    10 nations play serious 'Cricket' - though some of them have an apathy towards playing with few; and administrators are thinking of dividing it into two for 'Tests' purpose.

    Cricket has a history of over 100 years - What it does not have is a single persistent rule applicable for all matches. Review systems, ground sizes, bat sizes, colour of the ball, basic appropriateness of the pitch - everything seems subjective to suit a certain purpose.

    ICC is supposed to be the controller - it cannot control the forced removal of administrators and players of one nation due to the muscle-flexing of another nation. It cannot ensure the clean selection of its own members, leave alone the selection process of respective boards.

    The day is not far when cricket will be a 'Sport?' in Olympics; and Australia/England/India will be the Broze Medallist among the3 teams actually competing.

    And we call Cricket a 'Sport' - courtesy 'ICC / CA / ECB / BCCI Pvt Ltd. Company'.

  • on January 20, 2014, 13:38 GMT

    I for one agree with the system being employed with giving power to BCCI, CA, and ECB. The reason for that is because ICC seems to believe they are doing more good by spreading the sport to as many nations as possible in a bid to make it appear "global." This is not the right method nor efficient. Has anyone seen Rugby trying to venture into the Indian market? I mean it is a huge market right? Has Rugby tried to invite the USA into their top league of teams? Every sport has its place, and if ICC is trying to introduce Cricket in Italy, Denmark, Argentina, Japan, Gibraltar, Mexico to name a few, then I am sorry I do not wish to be a part of that supporting members for ICC. This is ridiculous. Like Ricky Ponting said, the World Cup should be among the top 8-10 nations in the World Cricket. There is no room for the Namibias, Irelands, Netharlands etc. But ICC continues to cry its way into having them.

  • YorkshirePudding on January 20, 2014, 12:55 GMT

    I do agree with Martins logical arguments that why a compromise of 2x8 team divisions would be the most logical counter, this allows a 4 year cycle with a test championship played in the final half of year 4 along with playoffs for the promotion relegation slots, and the introduction of a traditional points system that isnt based on where teams are located.

    To get promoted to the top division a team would have to beat on aggregate across a home and away leg a team that is in the relegation zone, if a draw with severely weather affected (3 out of 5 days abandoned) games removed from the tally. in the event of 2 drawn series another measure would be needed.

    If you created a window for all the T20 series the chances are that you would have limited cricket played in england, as the WI, SL and english T20 series occur during the english summer. which would take 4-6 weeks out of that season, which is already only 16-17 weeks long.

  • py0alb on January 20, 2014, 12:50 GMT

    Even as a business decision its bizarre. No economically literate businessman would seek to abandon its core competency, ostracise its single source of revenue (its fans) and strategically cripple its ability to expand into new markets.

  • heathrf1974 on January 20, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    I would like to know who votes for these board members and whether it can be changed. If cricket gets in serious trouble because of this maybe the nation's governments might have more to say and investigate board members' bank accounts to hasten a change.

  • on January 20, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    THe game really has nothing to fear. More cricket is played than ever before. What the problem is, is that its an exclusive club, making it impossible for growth from other nations. The accountants that run the ICC etc are only interested in filling the soup bowls for the big three and noone else. But without interest in other nations the sport has only a finite growth.

  • DilbertZA on January 20, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    To have a country other than one of the big three as the #1 ranked team is just not cricket! Therfore, the rules have to change.

  • on January 20, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    Cricket is fast becoming a Profit or Entertainment competition rather than a Sport competition. Entertainment and profits are important but must not take precedence over the spirit of the game. But unfortunately this isn't understood well by the people who only consider Cricket as a business now. Their mindset and resulting actions will soon make cricket an entertainment business just like WWE.

  • on January 20, 2014, 12:30 GMT

    I want Pakistan to opt out of ICC! We dont want this cricket

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 20, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    If all you doomsayers actually bothered to read the draft it will be nigh on impossible for a team outside the current top 7 or 8 to ever crack it into test cricket. Possibly a few plane crashes and the outsiders would be a chance.

    The only nations that will suffer, again if you bothered to read the fine print you would understand, is Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. And really, they had a wonderful chance and squandered it. Zimbabwe just uses cricket money from the ICC in order to fill Swiss bank accounts for Zanu PF corrupt politicians who don't know one end of cricket bat to a golf club. They just do not care! As for Bangladesh, it is an insult to all associate nations they are a "test" nation. The game they play is not cricket, maybe it is ice hockey, but it isn't cricket. OUT!

  • Garang321 on January 20, 2014, 12:07 GMT

    Well done Sambit Bal. It is time for well organized board (ICC) for improvement and expandability of cricket not for emasculation and restriction.

  • OzHorse on January 20, 2014, 12:04 GMT

    Administrators are merely caretakers of the GAME, and not a business. However the BCCI, ECB and CA all run the game like a business, and so revenue growth and profit become the main focus.

    There's enough money generated from the 'big' Test series and Limited Over cricket to subsidise playing the 'no-profit' nations. Players and administrators are already payed too much - there's no need for the BCCI, ECB and CA to maximise their revenues by only platying in series that make money. That is clearly not best for the game - and that is what should drive decisions by the ICC and all national cricket bodies.

  • on January 20, 2014, 11:59 GMT

    So I assume more 2-Test Series when South Africa are playing. This is terrible news. The BCCI should remember that playing monopoly is only any fun when you have someone else to play against.

  • OupootZA on January 20, 2014, 11:39 GMT

    IMHO the ICC & cricket authorities are in a struggle to remain relevant. The institutional structure of cricket is threatened by big money, incl. the way the game is played. Tests are the traditional format of cricket games. Adopting ODIs & T20s, cricket authorities were able to withstand the increased influence of big money, but it also devalued tests. Tests are still played in the traditional bilateral series despite advances in travelling. Unlike tests, ODIs & T20s are suitable for single big events, changing the way international cricket is played: the World Cup (ODIs) & Champions Trophy (T20s) were introduced by the ICC. The IPL & Champions League (which has increased the value of domestic T20 competitions) are decreasing the market value of the ICC events. It is instructive to look at other sporting codes when trying to understand the future of cricket. It may be time to drop series' as the only way tests are contested like rugby did.

  • on January 20, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    Cricket,like any other sport has to evolve with the times in order to keep sustainable interest by its fan base; at a popular level.Its very survival depends on it. What cricket don't need is a parasitic oligarchy sucking at its life blood...all in the interest of the mighty dollar. We already have the elite cricketing nations playing each other and associate nations looking for status and this model is proving to be successful with associate nations presently knocking at cricket elite door. We need to give this system as much time as it need to flourish and grow. To dilute the sport further will have hard core cricket aficionados losing interest and that will eventually lead to the demise of the sport especially in countries where tremendous growth is taking place. Lets make one thing unequivocally clear.Test cricket is cricket. To even hint at doing away with it, is signalling the end to the purity of the sport. There is nothing sporting in selling your talent to the highest bidder.

  • jackiethepen on January 20, 2014, 10:32 GMT

    Sambit Bal is absolutely right. His basic premise is that cricket is a sport not a business. If you govern sport as a business then it will eventually fail. People don't care about and love cricket because it is a product that makes money, they love it because it is a great sport handed down over the centuries to make life meaningful and full of interest at every level, whether you participate in it or watch as a fan. Global cricket needs to regain its soul. We live in the most venal age that has yet existed without pride in other values. Life centred on making money drains the life out of society. The money makers need to be chased away. Business men should not be in charge of cricket at the highest level. The game should run on principles of democracy, fair play and a level playing field. Our back to back Ashes were the product of a business plan. We need the excitement of sides like Afghanistan and to encourage their sparkling interest in the game just as much as old rivalries.

  • on January 20, 2014, 10:07 GMT

    Maybe it is time for the other 7 nations to encourage the formation of a paralel control union in India. The notion of a small group of people controlling a nation of 1.3 billion at a whim, and holding the rest of the people ransom are both laughable and unsustainable. They have bullied the rest on DRS, they have bullied South Africa in Test allocation and they will bully everybody else. Time to dump their boards and build new boards that have the interest of the game of cricket at heart. Packer did it in the 70's and it can be done today.

  • on January 20, 2014, 9:30 GMT

    I completely agree that a two-tier system with regular promotion and relegation is by far the best way to promote competitive and meaningful test cricket and I think it's important that this is not jettisoned because people object to the ludicrous relegation exception. The relegation exception is stupid for a number of reasons but it also occurs to me that - assuming two leagues of 6 (including Ireland and Afghanistan) with two promoted and relegated each 'season' - India, Australia and England are pretty unlikely to be relegated anyway (England's present travails notwithstanding). Either way, it's important that cricket's administrators realise that cricket is, in most of the world, a minority sport, something which isn't obvious if you're watching packed Ashes tests or IPL games. And minority sports have to understand that they're a community, looking out for one another. A situation where one or two boards run the game in their own interests can never be a good one.

  • Longmemory on January 20, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    Excellent piece Sambit. I fear for the game more so than I have ever done. These guys who run the game are so focused on short-term profits that they have no idea of the longer run costs. Pretty soon the goose that's laying the golden eggs will be dead - and we can all turn our attention to other sports once cricket is finished off by these carpetbaggers.

  • on January 20, 2014, 8:46 GMT

    cricket should NOT belong to anyone..every country should have an equal vote in this..money should not be prioritised

  • venkatesh018 on January 20, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    The most objective analysis on this proposed takeover. Nice fair article, Sambit !

  • Romanticstud on January 20, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    I reckon that cricket needs to have a boost ... we currently have 10 test playing nations ... Increase it to 12 ... Add Afghanistan and Ireland ... We currently have a divide with India, South Africa, Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and then the West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe ... There is a World Cup every 4 years ... Now take the best 6 teams at the next world cup and put them in the A league and then the next in the B league ... let the teams play a 4 year league with home an away series against each other and then a cross series where each team in the A league play each team in the B league away ... These fixtures will count half points for the A league and double points for the B league ... After 4 years the bottom team of A will automatically be replaced with the top team from B ... Each series will be a 3 match tour ... each team will play 45 test matches in 4 years ... All scheduling must be done by the ICC ...

  • sandy_bangalore on January 20, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    I used to be a passionate cricket fan in the 90s, but my interest is dwindling by the day, thanks to the over commercialisation and the meaningless t20 tournaments, that makes 'stars' of overhyped mediocre players(esp from India), who think the game is obliged to have them. And news such as these only hastens the process of disconnect with the game. I am speaking for a lot of my friends who all used to engage in passionate discussions in our classroom that can put any expert to shame, and now the lot of us arent bothered with whats happening in cricket, except for the ocassional score checking. Its saddening, and hope there will be many more like me in India, because thats where the money mainly comes from, and if that stops, it might open the eyes of the administrators.

  • sray23 on January 20, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    Agree with Sambit. Not such a bad thing that Eng, Aus and Ind are taking charge of cricket. But two urgent things they need to address: 1) the "relegation exception" to Eng, Aus, Ind. This makes a joke of cricket and needs to be rejected right away. If it is done to protect TV income there is a very common sense way to get around this: State 4 contract amounts: a) Payable if India get relegated, b) if Eng get relegated, c) If Aus get relegated and d) If all three get relegated. I guarantee the lowest contract amount will be plenty to sustain the game in most parts of the world, especially the smaller countries like NZ, WI, SL. And in any case, if the 1st tier TV rights is ICC property, then 2nd tier TV rights will also be ICC property, so if India goes to the 2nd tier, the 2nd tier TV ratings will suddenly take a jump and the proceeds will go to ICC...so I don't see the problem. And 2) Make a schedule for the two tiers with 100% buy-in from all members, to ensure matches have relevance

  • Nuxxy on January 20, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    As Packer proved, the two most important things in world cricket are a) money; and b) the players. This whole heaving mass of incompetent and corrupt administration could disappear in an instant and cricket would continue. That's actually what cricket needs - a wealthy benefactor to protect the earning ability of the players, thereby giving the players the freedom to take control of the scheduling and management of the game. No, cricketers don't always make for good administrators, but they should have the loudest voice in deciding where the game is header, but they are the game, and they care about it. Neither of which you could say about the administrators.

  • ashok16 on January 20, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    India is the elephant in the room and will suck the oxygen out of whatever plan is put up. One way to even the playing field is split India to five zones and let each zone play on it own like an inverse West Indies. To begin with they will suck, but soon they will catch up and one or two of the zones might even exceed the current India. The only alternative is to let India continue to dictate terms. They have realized they don't really need the rest of the world. They just need a few European sounding venues and the odd European-looking person. Kind of like a Bollywood movie, which survives with perfect confidence, whatever somebody outside India might think of its calibre. Sport is entertainment and there is nothing sanctimonious about test match cricket or any other single method of looking at things. Bat needs to hit ball, that is all.

  • on January 20, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Agree with Samit. When economics, rather than the inherent need for the ultimate survival of the purest and highest form of the game or promoting that form in the "lesser" nations, is allowed to take over, we shall eventually see not a two tier system but a single league with three teams in it. Should test cricket, be allowed to die in the West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh or for that matter Zimbabwe, purely for the lack of forethought on the part of those in "power" so to speak. It would be sad indeed!

  • SaratB on January 20, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    It is sad that India, which was against this type of apartheid is now planning to become the part of the very system it has been against. When we see the state of cricket in associate countries or that matter, any other country other than India, SA, Australia and England, we see the need to invest in them to expand the appeal of cricket. The proposed system will only cause the base to shrink as Sambit has rightly pointed out and will kill the golden goose in the long run. It is time that ICC instead of giving in to the big three, establish its primacy and ensure a level playing field for all countries.

  • lishan_jay on January 20, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    it is not the thing that cricketing world wants now. they want a more powerful ICC to handle the cricket. it has been long a new team emerges as a test side after bangladesh and even except those 8 top teams others are stuggeling badly. and those t20 leagues has encouraged talented players to retire from international cricket so that they can play in those leauges. mike hussy is a good example. so plz stop talking about big 3 controling the game and give every nation the oppurtunity to involve.

  • on January 20, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    There are multiple issues here. First and Foremost,Test cricket is dying in majority of test playing countries and we are killing it further by these tactics.It needs to be strengthened by allowing it to flourish. Second, By not ever relegating IND,AUS and ENG, its the worst thing ever. Third,Cricket needs to expand all across the globe.T-20's will be perfect for the new markets like Europe & US. Four,by taking BCCI with them,CA and ECB are securing themselves financially. BCCI wants CA and ECB on its side,to get all the things done.

  • on January 20, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    The F.T.P. simply is not working at all well.I think we'll have to go back to the days of bilateral arrangements.Australia,for example only starting playing N.Z.,Pakistan and India on a regular basis in the 1970's when they had matured into competitive teams.I just don't see what the point is when I know Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are going to lose by hefty margins against the top nations.Let them improve on their own accord by letting them play against Afghanistan and Ireland in Test Matches.And please remember.the reason why some Test Matches are considered "unfinancial" is bacause hardly anyone wants to watch them .A lot less Test cricket would be a good thing.Eid,Christmas and Holi Fest all come once a year,not every day.i use to be a cricket nut but now I've just had a gutful of the endless parade of meaningless cricket.

  • getsetgopk on January 20, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    Pakistan has survived not playing India for close to a decade, why can't the English and Ausies grow some spine and stand up to the Indians for a change. Pak and SA have done it in the past, lets see if Eng and Aus have some dignity left in them but oh wait, they've sold already. Cricket as I know it was one played in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Those were the glory days and that was cricket where players took the field first and fought it out and questions were asked later. Now, its all bickering all year long, money this and money that, power this and power that and after all of that, they go on and take the field to play the damn thing. Cricket just isn't fun as it used to be. Imran Khan came out of retirement after injury just to take on the mighty windies, he didn't come out to play again because PCB requested him that his presence on field is good for business, it was all passion and was damn good. Now, it'll be relegation with exceptions, wonder who will watch that kinda cricket.

  • hariharan on January 20, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Also, regardless of the technicalities and economy of the multi tier system - match-ups within the same teams will likely become less and less interesting. Ind vs Aus or Aus vs Eng will be interesting if it happens once in say two (or more) years. If these are the only 3 teams in a tier, they keep playing each other pretty much all the time. Takes a lot of charm away from following the sport (even for the players themselves I'd think). Kohli won't face Ajmal, Rossco won't face Johnson. Sanga won't face Steyn Robs the game of variety and charm. Each team brings its own flavor regardless of its "cash base". Kiwis bring tenacity and athletic skill to every format. WI bring passion and power, Sri Lankans bring a lot of unique talent. Indians bring a lot of skilful batting. South Africa bring unbelievable consistency and fire power. The Aussies on song is a wonderful sight (ex:Johnson) The game needs all of these great teams. And shout out to Pakistan for doing solid despite no home games!

  • on January 20, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Completely agree with Sambit. What they are trying to do here is England Australia India can play wherever they want whenever they want whatever they want while the rest have to play as dictated by the Big 3-if it is made public and sought an opinion none of the fans belonging to England Australia or India would agree to this farce. If this is allowed to happen Cricket will be nothing but 3-4 IPL tournaments per year and nothing else. There will be relegation and promotion for the rest of the teams while these 3 can't be touched?The logic being cricket can't financially sustain without India...?Indian fans may not clap when an opposition bowler bowls a good yorker but they are not fools to entertain such farce in the name of the sport they love so much...Cricket is at best played at the highest level by 8-10 countries, instead of encouraging more to come in if you just want to satisfy a few individuals' commercial interests its no longer a sport but a farce..contd..

  • on January 20, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    Agree with you Samit.Ever since I read the piece on the Big 3 formation, i feel goose bumps for the game could be lost very soon.What they are trying to do is similar to the so called 'Champions' League-4 IPL teams qualify no matter what making a mockery of the other teams who are actually champions-more of a quota system. My fear is test cricket and ODI cricket will be relegated to a similar farce.May be they have already done it in the last few years but this seems more like completely doing away with test cricket and I wont be surprised if they have three IPL like tournaments in these three countries though out the year..I am waiting to hear from all the others..the players from these countries..though dont expect a MSD to foot for test cricket what about players belonging to SA SL PAk NZ WI..what do they think about this? Yes they should protest and save the game while its still alive. We as fans have to ensure the game is not lost to the commercial interests. (Contd..)

  • on January 20, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    Agree with you Samit.Ever since I read the piece on the Big 3 formation, i feel goose bumps for the game could be lost very soon.What they are trying to do is similar to the so called 'Champions' League-4 IPL teams qualify no matter what making a mockery of the other teams who are actually champions-more of a quota system. My fear is test cricket and ODI cricket will be relegated to a similar farce.May be they have already done it in the last few years but this seems more like completely doing away with test cricket and I wont be surprised if they have three IPL like tournaments in these three countries though out the year..I am waiting to hear from all the others..the players from these countries..though dont expect a MSD to foot for test cricket what about players belonging to SA SL PAk NZ WI..what do they think about this? Yes they should protest and save the game while its still alive. We as fans have to ensure the game is not lost to the commercial interests. (Contd..)

  • on January 20, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    Completely agree with Sambit. What they are trying to do here is England Australia India can play wherever they want whenever they want whatever they want while the rest have to play as dictated by the Big 3-if it is made public and sought an opinion none of the fans belonging to England Australia or India would agree to this farce. If this is allowed to happen Cricket will be nothing but 3-4 IPL tournaments per year and nothing else. There will be relegation and promotion for the rest of the teams while these 3 can't be touched?The logic being cricket can't financially sustain without India...?Indian fans may not clap when an opposition bowler bowls a good yorker but they are not fools to entertain such farce in the name of the sport they love so much...Cricket is at best played at the highest level by 8-10 countries, instead of encouraging more to come in if you just want to satisfy a few individuals' commercial interests its no longer a sport but a farce..contd..

  • hariharan on January 20, 2014, 4:32 GMT

    Also, regardless of the technicalities and economy of the multi tier system - match-ups within the same teams will likely become less and less interesting. Ind vs Aus or Aus vs Eng will be interesting if it happens once in say two (or more) years. If these are the only 3 teams in a tier, they keep playing each other pretty much all the time. Takes a lot of charm away from following the sport (even for the players themselves I'd think). Kohli won't face Ajmal, Rossco won't face Johnson. Sanga won't face Steyn Robs the game of variety and charm. Each team brings its own flavor regardless of its "cash base". Kiwis bring tenacity and athletic skill to every format. WI bring passion and power, Sri Lankans bring a lot of unique talent. Indians bring a lot of skilful batting. South Africa bring unbelievable consistency and fire power. The Aussies on song is a wonderful sight (ex:Johnson) The game needs all of these great teams. And shout out to Pakistan for doing solid despite no home games!

  • getsetgopk on January 20, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    Pakistan has survived not playing India for close to a decade, why can't the English and Ausies grow some spine and stand up to the Indians for a change. Pak and SA have done it in the past, lets see if Eng and Aus have some dignity left in them but oh wait, they've sold already. Cricket as I know it was one played in the 70's, 80's and 90's. Those were the glory days and that was cricket where players took the field first and fought it out and questions were asked later. Now, its all bickering all year long, money this and money that, power this and power that and after all of that, they go on and take the field to play the damn thing. Cricket just isn't fun as it used to be. Imran Khan came out of retirement after injury just to take on the mighty windies, he didn't come out to play again because PCB requested him that his presence on field is good for business, it was all passion and was damn good. Now, it'll be relegation with exceptions, wonder who will watch that kinda cricket.

  • on January 20, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    The F.T.P. simply is not working at all well.I think we'll have to go back to the days of bilateral arrangements.Australia,for example only starting playing N.Z.,Pakistan and India on a regular basis in the 1970's when they had matured into competitive teams.I just don't see what the point is when I know Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are going to lose by hefty margins against the top nations.Let them improve on their own accord by letting them play against Afghanistan and Ireland in Test Matches.And please remember.the reason why some Test Matches are considered "unfinancial" is bacause hardly anyone wants to watch them .A lot less Test cricket would be a good thing.Eid,Christmas and Holi Fest all come once a year,not every day.i use to be a cricket nut but now I've just had a gutful of the endless parade of meaningless cricket.

  • on January 20, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    There are multiple issues here. First and Foremost,Test cricket is dying in majority of test playing countries and we are killing it further by these tactics.It needs to be strengthened by allowing it to flourish. Second, By not ever relegating IND,AUS and ENG, its the worst thing ever. Third,Cricket needs to expand all across the globe.T-20's will be perfect for the new markets like Europe & US. Four,by taking BCCI with them,CA and ECB are securing themselves financially. BCCI wants CA and ECB on its side,to get all the things done.

  • lishan_jay on January 20, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    it is not the thing that cricketing world wants now. they want a more powerful ICC to handle the cricket. it has been long a new team emerges as a test side after bangladesh and even except those 8 top teams others are stuggeling badly. and those t20 leagues has encouraged talented players to retire from international cricket so that they can play in those leauges. mike hussy is a good example. so plz stop talking about big 3 controling the game and give every nation the oppurtunity to involve.

  • SaratB on January 20, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    It is sad that India, which was against this type of apartheid is now planning to become the part of the very system it has been against. When we see the state of cricket in associate countries or that matter, any other country other than India, SA, Australia and England, we see the need to invest in them to expand the appeal of cricket. The proposed system will only cause the base to shrink as Sambit has rightly pointed out and will kill the golden goose in the long run. It is time that ICC instead of giving in to the big three, establish its primacy and ensure a level playing field for all countries.

  • on January 20, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    Agree with Samit. When economics, rather than the inherent need for the ultimate survival of the purest and highest form of the game or promoting that form in the "lesser" nations, is allowed to take over, we shall eventually see not a two tier system but a single league with three teams in it. Should test cricket, be allowed to die in the West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh or for that matter Zimbabwe, purely for the lack of forethought on the part of those in "power" so to speak. It would be sad indeed!

  • ashok16 on January 20, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    India is the elephant in the room and will suck the oxygen out of whatever plan is put up. One way to even the playing field is split India to five zones and let each zone play on it own like an inverse West Indies. To begin with they will suck, but soon they will catch up and one or two of the zones might even exceed the current India. The only alternative is to let India continue to dictate terms. They have realized they don't really need the rest of the world. They just need a few European sounding venues and the odd European-looking person. Kind of like a Bollywood movie, which survives with perfect confidence, whatever somebody outside India might think of its calibre. Sport is entertainment and there is nothing sanctimonious about test match cricket or any other single method of looking at things. Bat needs to hit ball, that is all.