ICC's revamp plans January 22, 2014

On the verge of a diplomatic triumph

If the ICC revolution goes ahead, Giles Clarke would have completed a remarkable turnaround in England's relationship with India
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There is no widespread hue and cry from those actively involved in English cricket over the clandestine deal that leaves the ECB on the brink of reasserting its position as a dominant force in the world game, no concerted calls for resignations or all-night vigils outside Lord's.

Instead, there is a perception that Giles Clarke, chairman of the ECB and inveterate entrepreneur, could be on the brink of pulling off one of English cricket's great diplomatic triumphs, a triumph that completes a remarkable turnaround in England's relationship with India: adversary to ally in less than seven years.

Idealists have raged - and with good reason - about the undemocratic nature of the plans that could leave India, Australia and England as the game's ruling elite, able to do much as they please, issuing instructions from on high to the weaker nations about how they should conduct their affairs, but there is no sign of widespread discontent. Nor will there be.

Much of English cricket is secretly pleased, applauding the dark arts which promise to bring the ECB back in from the cold. England's priority is to protect its interests whatever the outcome and Clarke is presumed to have played a political game as impressive as any produced by Lord Mandelson, the Labour Party's arch spin doctor, at the height of his powers. Because make no mistake, this arrangement has been driven by Clarke without the consensus of the ECB.

If the ICC's executive board accepts the proposals planned in secret for months, and formally put forward by a working party of the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee, when it meets in Dubai on January 28 and 29, England will have a hold on power not seen since the removal of England's and Australia's veto in 1996.

English cricket is not guilty about this power grab because, by and large, it is heartily sick of guilt. For 17 years, England has felt itself excluded and mistrusted because of its colonial history, outmanoeuvred at every turn by countries often press-ganged whether they cared to admit it or not into voting on racial lines. The democracy which many are fighting so passionately to protect has regularly been proved to be a sham.

If power falls into the hands of the wealthy - and makes them wealthier still at the cost of developing the game further afield- then, many in English cricket shrug, at least that is how the world works.

That is not to suggest, if these proposals are forced through, that England's response will be triumphant. The prevailing mood will be more akin to relief. England perceives its return to the top table as a chance to impose greater efficiency and protect its interests - and those interests, we are assured, have the survival of Test cricket at their heart.

It is remarkable that it is Clarke who is on the verge of this diplomatic triumph. His enemies have long depicted him as a bully, even his friends accept that he relishes an intellectual argument as long as, more often than not, he emerges on the winning side.

When Clarke was appointed as chairman of the ECB in September 2007, with a few bruised adversaries left in his wake, there were more than a few jokes around the Shires along the lines of: "Just wait until Giles starts negotiating with India".

Many presented him as precisely the wrong type of man to represent England at the ICC. Once inside the ICC, delegates from some of the smaller nations were also quick to send up his pontifical style, but to dismiss it as bombast could not have been more wide of the mark because it came with shrewd judgements. Slowly, India began to listen and Clarke built a business-like rapport with N Srinivasan that binds together this potential coup. Along with their much greater share of revenue, which Clarke regards as appropriate for their position as the financial powerhouse of the game, he calculates that with this power will also come responsibility.

Clarke's business instincts are undeniable. Since financing his studies at Oxford by gambling, and beginning his working life in investment banking, he has succeeded in a wide variety of enterprises: wine, pets, storage solutions, online careers, data transmission equipment, gas and oil exploration (I seem to remember once ringing him on a horse somewhere in South America), hotel investments, even a chain of coffee shops in his native south west where one imagines he occasionally starts the day by flinging down a double espresso and a rapid perusal of the Financial Times.

Clarke knows how to make money. Sometimes he knows how to lose it. He wants to instruct the Test nations into ordered financial thinking, just as he did England's first-class counties. His achievements at county level are many, even if the financial crash put him in danger of overstretching himself by saddling the counties with a dangerous level of debt. But he is the sort of man India can do business with.

His diplomatic triumph is all the more remarkable because it grew from such ham-fisted beginnings. Clarke's initial relationship with India was frosty. England held out for a larger financial reward as a partner in the Champions League and was frozen out of India's eventual alliance with Australia and South Africa. England feared the rise of IPL and, in an attempt to maximise the rewards to its own cricketers and retain their loyalty as a result, entered a misguided dalliance with the Texan fraudster Sir Allen Stanford. Perhaps the early trading of blows was unavoidable.

"Stanford will not be my legacy," Clarke vowed more than three years ago as calls for him to resign were at their height. "Test cricket will be my legacy."

It was a brave claim. If the cabal claims power we will see the truth of it. Just as the Church of England is routinely described as the Tory party at prayer, so English professional cricket might be regarded as the Tory party at play. What remains to be seen is whether Clarke would be an heir to the Tory tradition of paternalism, and gently encourage India to buy into a future that really will protect Test cricket in its widest form, or whether he is largely interested in maximising England's financial return and, by accident or design, is now joining India on a self-destructive journey characterised largely by self-interest.

Those of us who want England to act as the conscience of cricket, acting independently on every issue not just for their own good, but for the good of the game, have looked on aghast at the machinations which have been revealed. The idea of sharing rewards seems to have been tossed aside. As for expansionism, it seems we can largely forget it.

Nevertheless, whatever side we find ourselves on, it would be an extraordinary political feat for Clarke not just to secure England's financial future, but to protect the traditional rhythms of the English summer, to foster long-term relation with India, to shock the smaller Test nations into something approaching financial probity and efficiency, and somewhere along the way probably find time for England to play a full part in the IPL and the Champions League.

Knowing Giles Clarke, he will be confident that he has done just that. But then he is a very confident man.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 26, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    Big3's proposal is for the betterment of cricket by winning more. This will result in attracting more followers in their respective countries so here is my alternate proposal. * The big three should be given the authority to play on the kind of pitches they want play. Like India if they are performing well on flat pitches they should be given flat pitches around the world no matter if they are playing in South Africa or in New Zealand. Same for England if they cannot play on slow and spinning pitches they should be given the chance to choose the kind of pitches they want to play * Big3 should also be given the authority to drop any three players in the opposition. Take For example Srilanka, Aussies should have authority to drop any three players like Snagakara, Jawaredane and Malinga before match and then play against them.

  • Thegimp on January 24, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    Just rewind a few years guys.......Cricket got to where it is today with England and Aust calling the shots, lately it has become a farce. This is a classic case of allowing BCCI more money, money it sooooo craves, whilst allowing sensible cricket nations some power to get world cricket back on its feet.

    This will make sure money gets to the right places in cricket boards long known to be lose with their accountability. World cricket has got to change, the BCCI already runs the show and even with equal votes on the ICC many cricket nations are broke. Rather than the BCCI handing these nations cash for votes without accountability, the new regime will be able to proper monitor the cash flows to lower test nations. Let's wait and see

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    @ vaughn123 wrote "I was furious we did not bring in a large crowd for Kallis' final test."

    I was too, but face it, it was a tough ask for anyone to pay to see that tour of infamy. India is about as popular in SA as curried boerewors. Yes, it has about 100 fans…. but really man… I would rather have given the money directly to JK than show ANY support for anything to do with India. Luckily for me I was not in SA, so was not torn.

    I now feel the same about Eng & Aus. Instructions to the SA quicks - there will be blood! Draw it.

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    When I started reading this I thought Hopps was being ironic. I never would have thought he was the Tory arm of journalism. This piece of irony, or whatever it is … made me want to play Rule Britannia, again and again…and strap on my jackboots.

  • blunderbus on January 23, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    You call it a coup. I call it ECB stooping down to BCCI's level of connivery. Somehow also dragging CA into this bigbucks for morals exchange. Spineless, disastrous for cricket.

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    I never thought Hopps would be so blithely naive. Giles Clarke is out for Giles Clarke. The man who was so easily conned by Alan Stanford, has been effortlessly ensnared by Srinivasan. India will rub their boot heel into the face of English cricket at the first opportunity. Giles Clarke is the Neville Chamberlain of English cricket. "Peace in Our Time," he cries, "Peace in Our Time."

    Right. Appeasement worked really well in the late 1930s, did it not. What a brilliantly successful strategy. All Clarke has achieved is a temporary boost to his elephantine ego. English cricket will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the BCCI - nothing else. The blitzkrieg will come. Sorry, Giles - you will lose this hand, and you have successfully discharged both barrels of the shotgun into English Cricket's clumsy, hobbit like feet. You have fallen lock, stock and barrel for Srini's spin. With no footwork, & rooted to the crease, you do not even realise how weak & fragile you have now made Eng cricket

  • half_blood-prince on January 23, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    I hope this draft doesn't become a reality because bcci is in strong position as of now no need to share the power

  • ARad on January 23, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    If going along with the most powerful board - a concept that in larger context would be considered as "being another nation's lap dog" - and doing so to thwart the 'democratic process' (of a very small administrative structure!) are the sign of diplomatic triumph, all hail Giles Clarke! Here is some food for thought: Bangladesh was fast tracked to Test status to increase BCCI's power within ICC. Afterwards, BCCI rarely did anything for BD. (When was the last Test series between India and BD?) Similarly, BCCI (which is not a 'publicly owned' entity, i.e., IT DOES NOT BELONG TO THE INDIAN PEOPLE, *and* it administered by a group of businessmen and politicians whose dealings have raised question marks) is now using CA and ECB to grab more power but... This is the second time that Clarke would sacrifice clear thinking for short-term benefits. (Remember Sanford?) A good diplomat should LEARN FROM HISTORY.

  • foden on January 23, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    Well done, it may not seem democratic but is the present system ruled by India? But please Giles if we are going to see more of you buy a comb!

  • screamingeagle on January 23, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @Lillianthompson, that was absurd :) Would love it if it came to that, but unlikely.

  • on January 26, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    Big3's proposal is for the betterment of cricket by winning more. This will result in attracting more followers in their respective countries so here is my alternate proposal. * The big three should be given the authority to play on the kind of pitches they want play. Like India if they are performing well on flat pitches they should be given flat pitches around the world no matter if they are playing in South Africa or in New Zealand. Same for England if they cannot play on slow and spinning pitches they should be given the chance to choose the kind of pitches they want to play * Big3 should also be given the authority to drop any three players in the opposition. Take For example Srilanka, Aussies should have authority to drop any three players like Snagakara, Jawaredane and Malinga before match and then play against them.

  • Thegimp on January 24, 2014, 2:46 GMT

    Just rewind a few years guys.......Cricket got to where it is today with England and Aust calling the shots, lately it has become a farce. This is a classic case of allowing BCCI more money, money it sooooo craves, whilst allowing sensible cricket nations some power to get world cricket back on its feet.

    This will make sure money gets to the right places in cricket boards long known to be lose with their accountability. World cricket has got to change, the BCCI already runs the show and even with equal votes on the ICC many cricket nations are broke. Rather than the BCCI handing these nations cash for votes without accountability, the new regime will be able to proper monitor the cash flows to lower test nations. Let's wait and see

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    @ vaughn123 wrote "I was furious we did not bring in a large crowd for Kallis' final test."

    I was too, but face it, it was a tough ask for anyone to pay to see that tour of infamy. India is about as popular in SA as curried boerewors. Yes, it has about 100 fans…. but really man… I would rather have given the money directly to JK than show ANY support for anything to do with India. Luckily for me I was not in SA, so was not torn.

    I now feel the same about Eng & Aus. Instructions to the SA quicks - there will be blood! Draw it.

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 23:31 GMT

    When I started reading this I thought Hopps was being ironic. I never would have thought he was the Tory arm of journalism. This piece of irony, or whatever it is … made me want to play Rule Britannia, again and again…and strap on my jackboots.

  • blunderbus on January 23, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    You call it a coup. I call it ECB stooping down to BCCI's level of connivery. Somehow also dragging CA into this bigbucks for morals exchange. Spineless, disastrous for cricket.

  • Greatest_Game on January 23, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    I never thought Hopps would be so blithely naive. Giles Clarke is out for Giles Clarke. The man who was so easily conned by Alan Stanford, has been effortlessly ensnared by Srinivasan. India will rub their boot heel into the face of English cricket at the first opportunity. Giles Clarke is the Neville Chamberlain of English cricket. "Peace in Our Time," he cries, "Peace in Our Time."

    Right. Appeasement worked really well in the late 1930s, did it not. What a brilliantly successful strategy. All Clarke has achieved is a temporary boost to his elephantine ego. English cricket will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the BCCI - nothing else. The blitzkrieg will come. Sorry, Giles - you will lose this hand, and you have successfully discharged both barrels of the shotgun into English Cricket's clumsy, hobbit like feet. You have fallen lock, stock and barrel for Srini's spin. With no footwork, & rooted to the crease, you do not even realise how weak & fragile you have now made Eng cricket

  • half_blood-prince on January 23, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    I hope this draft doesn't become a reality because bcci is in strong position as of now no need to share the power

  • ARad on January 23, 2014, 15:46 GMT

    If going along with the most powerful board - a concept that in larger context would be considered as "being another nation's lap dog" - and doing so to thwart the 'democratic process' (of a very small administrative structure!) are the sign of diplomatic triumph, all hail Giles Clarke! Here is some food for thought: Bangladesh was fast tracked to Test status to increase BCCI's power within ICC. Afterwards, BCCI rarely did anything for BD. (When was the last Test series between India and BD?) Similarly, BCCI (which is not a 'publicly owned' entity, i.e., IT DOES NOT BELONG TO THE INDIAN PEOPLE, *and* it administered by a group of businessmen and politicians whose dealings have raised question marks) is now using CA and ECB to grab more power but... This is the second time that Clarke would sacrifice clear thinking for short-term benefits. (Remember Sanford?) A good diplomat should LEARN FROM HISTORY.

  • foden on January 23, 2014, 13:39 GMT

    Well done, it may not seem democratic but is the present system ruled by India? But please Giles if we are going to see more of you buy a comb!

  • screamingeagle on January 23, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @Lillianthompson, that was absurd :) Would love it if it came to that, but unlikely.

  • brusselslion on January 23, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    I agree with most posters that this proposal is not the way forward. I really feel for the 'Associate' members and fear for the future development of the game worldwide. However, there are a few unpalatable truths that need to be faced up to.

    Firstly, the ICC, in its' current guise has failed miserably to promote the game worldwide. Yes, it faces big challenges from football, but other sports such as Hockey and Rugby has managed to increase their appeal. Secondly - and I admit that here I have very few facts to back up my argument - the other Test playing nations' boards aren't blameless. One gets the impression that they are simply willing to accept the (sizeable) financial scraps that fall from Australia, English or Indian tables without doing anything much to help themselves. SA is a case in point: If you have a very good, attractive team (a good product in ther words) surely it can't be too difficult to market it and broaden the appeal of the game?

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    "Just as the Church of England is routinely described as the Tory party at prayer, so English professional cricket might be regarded as the Tory party at play." Line of the year so far, Hoppsy!

  • vaughn123 on January 23, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    As a cricket fan I find this disgusting, however, as a South African I see this as the death of cricket here. At first this proposal seemed to be a joke, now though it looks like it will be passed. Due to South Africa's stance we will probably be frozen out, even if we hadn't opposed it we would have had to survive on the scraps given to us by the big Three. Big three? Definitely not in cricketing ability. I was furious we did not bring in a large crowd for Kallis' final test. If it had been at Newlands my sons and I would have been there. Is this a fair punishment for not bringing in big enough crowds or generating enough revenue? If this proposal is passed, I hope we withdraw from the ICC completely. Reinvest in a sport that's governing body appreciates the contribution we have made.

  • ofthedeepbluesea on January 23, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    to call it a 'diplomatic triumph' is disgraceful... typical england - power and influence over a sport is always the real objective whereas interest in the greater good never is.

  • shane-oh on January 23, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    All we need to take from this article is the quote "England will have a hold on power not seen since the removal of England's and Australia's veto in 1996". This says it all - this proposal is a step back to the dark ages. I will no longer watch international cricket if this happens because it will become a joke.

  • LillianThomson on January 23, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    No, Stanford will not be Clarke's legacy.

    He is now ensuring that his legacy will be the end of the ICC and the eventual purchase of the "other" 7 Test nations and England and Australia's best 20 cricketers by a consortium of commercial TV stations.

    If I ran Channel 10 in Australia I would be jumping for joy. I'd align myself with Foxtel in Australia, Sky in NZ and Sky, SuperSport in South Africa and ITV in the UK and a major Indian broadcaster.

    And then we would create a Formula 1-style structure and buy the official Boards of all the other countries and the best players from England and Australia.

    It wouldn't even be a legal problem, or carry a risk of being locked-out from stadia, because Kerry Packer has already given us the legal precedents.

    And Clarke, Cricket Australia and the BCCI will be exactly like the ACB was in 1977 and 1978: the "official" authorities, but with the second-rate players and product that no-one wants to watch.

    This will be Giles Clarke's legacy.

  • on January 23, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    In the good old days when the MCC ruled the roost (on its own), democracy (that everyone is suddenly so passionate about) hadn't been invented?! And of course, division across racial lines was a phenomenon completely unheard of! But not to worry, this economic bubble will burst soon and there will be someone else to kowtow to. The rich always win!

  • reality_check on January 23, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Excellent article (tongue in cheek). Let's celebrate Clarke for laying the ground works to destroy cricket as we know it.

    Can anyone please explain with clear facts how this power grab by the big three will benefit cricket in general and the "smaller 7" countries in particular?

  • BradmanBestEver on January 23, 2014, 7:10 GMT

    This has nowt to do with cricket and everything to do with $. It is the way of the world we all live in - just look around you

  • Atish_Man on January 23, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    @McWheels Excellent comment mate. I think if gets more meaningful test matches then it will b great. Also ECB have all rights to do what is good for english cricket. World cricket is already poor because of meaningless test matches watched by empty stands.

  • on January 23, 2014, 4:49 GMT

    I'm sorry, David, but on this (rare) occasion you've totally misread the predominant mood of English cricket fans over this frankly ludicrous proposal. Scan through the comments sections of not only Cricinfo but other online cricket forums & you'll find that 95% of us who follow cricket in England are as horrified by this outrage as our friends abroad.

    Quite apart from the highly dubious moral weltanschauung which underpins the proposal itself, & quite apart from the unpalatable truth it tells us about the hostile takeover of the game we love by global corporate interests intent only on making a quick buck out of us, it represents the ultimate sporting absurdity: a 'contest' in which three teams always win, no matter how poorly they happen to perform on the field of play.

    The only way for us to halt this insanity in its tracks is to create a petition voicing our collective horror, ensure that millions of us sign it, & then despatch it ASAP to the powers-that-be at the ICC.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 23, 2014, 4:13 GMT

    Giles Clarke saw that England could soon slip so far down the rankings that they will be a forgotten nation once again and moved swiftly to try and save face!

  • on January 23, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Being an Indian & a fan of Test cricket, I feel shame & disgusted how our board behaves. But why we reached this situation? Reason is simple: we fans. If we are not going to stadiums, boards does not get money. Example is Ind-SA and Pak-SL series. There were hardly any fans in stadiums. More-over boards other than these 3, hardly know how to hype/maximize revenue from the series. They are failing in marketing. Starting from 2000 Ind have started to compete outside (except those 0-4 series in Eng & Aus). Even the last trip to SA was competitive. People in Eng-Aus always go to watch tests and in Ind media market guys hype/overhype with things like revenge, battles between say Clarke & Pujara and what not, but they sell it. ODI already get sold better here. Case: Sachin retirement. You think after playing 24 years Sachin would chicken out from Steyn & co.? India saw a big chance. WI was free, invited them & made the killing though at the cost of SA. You can guess how muchrevenue Ind made

  • on January 23, 2014, 2:03 GMT

    so these so called big three wants take cricket back to stone age the game of Lords and rich ?? with no doubt it will destroy cricket in all means particularly test cricket .

  • on January 23, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    In my humble opinion its all about power grab. It appears that the ECB trying to regain the power that the MCC has wielded for more than 100 years which they have lost to India lately. If the proposal is accepted it would be back to the bad old days when England and Australia ganging together with the support of New Zealand to rough ride India and thereby the non white cricketing nations.

  • no_point_chasing_the_wide_ones on January 23, 2014, 1:22 GMT

    Clarke says test cricket will be his legacy… I fear it might be the death of test cricket. Get ready for the tediousness of playing (and getting thumped by) the Aussies and Indians endlessly over the next few years, unless England manage to improve the quality of their playing resources - and I'm a little underwhelmed at the new generation. And while I am on a rant, what has happened to the British mainstream media? They have gone virtually silent on this! A story of this magnitude and they are ignoring it? Mind boggling. So much more to say on this - the complicity of the ECB and CA - but couldn't be bothered. Praying that the other full members grow a backbone, but judging by NZ's response, I am not very optimistic.

  • shillingsworth on January 22, 2014, 23:25 GMT

    Interesting perspective but it seems to me overgenerous to Clarke. Only time will tell whether this is indeed a coup. Surely India is actually the country 'reasserting its position as a dominant force in the world game'. England and Australia have accepted the principle that control of the ICC is linked to financial strength - India can be the only eventual winner.

  • keptalittlelow on January 22, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    I am sorry to say this article is as disgraceful as the proposed plan of taking over ICC by three power hungry boards. I hope CSA puts a spanner in with the help of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. I believe New Zealan and WI will go along with the proposal.

  • RickOShay on January 22, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    Giles Clarke has gone from dealing with one crook in Stanford to another in Srinivasan. Was this article really in praise of Giles Clarke? Srinivasan needs all the friends he can get at the moment and Giles will do for now. Watch him get dropped the minute it doesn't suit India. Lets be clear on who is driving the bus. Its not Clarke or England.

  • McWheels on January 22, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    Goodness me, reading the pervious comments you'd think he was the baby-eating bishop of Bath and Wells come again. The actual motives and overall outcomes will be as difficult to objectively scrutinise as any political story. Everyone will interpret them differently, and almost all will base it on their own confirmation biases.

    BUT, if we get more and better test cricket than the meandering and pointless 2-test series we have seen too much of recently, then it won't be a bad thing. For my part, Saturday league cricket will be played whether we're top tier, second tier, or off the third tee (er). Still, it would be nice to see Ireland play a 3 or 4 test series in the West Indies say. Or how about India and South Africa doing better than the bare minimum?

  • zoot364 on January 22, 2014, 22:35 GMT

    Well, here's one England fan and MCC member who's appalled by the proposals - as are several others I know. There really hasn't been massive coverage of this issue in the English media so I imagine the vast majority of sports fans know little if anything about it.

  • markatnotts on January 22, 2014, 22:10 GMT

    I have never liked Clarke, he comes across as someone who could cause an argument in an empty room. As other articles point out this whole affair is so bad for Test cricket across the world! Perhaps we should spend more time looking at pitch preparation in England and the better variety of tracks we used to have rather than the slow and low strips that hold back the national team!

  • Syed_imran_abbas on January 22, 2014, 22:06 GMT

    This is bizarre.. God Bless cricket. I always called cricket as my first love.. but it wont be any more as its just going to be a greedy money making business. Good Bye cricket.

  • on January 22, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    What an absolute disgrace this is, the ECB should be galvanising the other 7 test playing nations to vote against an India and Australia cabal, not making it a 3 country cabal.

  • on January 22, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    There is an element of truth in the comment about the failure of the democratic process in the machinations of the ICC - money has spoken far too loudly on a number of occasions. It seems to be speaking even more loudly this time!

    Somehow the appalling unsporting suggestion that three teams should be immune from demotion in a two tier test system is what offends me most about this sordid deal - it's just not cricket!

  • on January 22, 2014, 21:47 GMT

    rugby is called a game of thugs played by gentlemen. if the resolution pass by the icc. then people will say cricket is a game of thugs played by the thugs.

  • Jonah58 on January 22, 2014, 21:42 GMT

    i am afraid that as an England fan for over 30 years i am offended by these preposterous proposals at a time when I though there was just a possibility that the ICC would undertake its true role as the guardians of cricket world wide and start to develop the game outside the main nations I now find we are returning back to the old days of the veto where a small number of nations are prepared to walk roughshod over the whole of world cricket. And to me the notion that 3 nations can decide that in a 2 tier system they wish to introduce that they themselves are somehow inviolate and immune from relegation no matter how abject their performances on the field may be is utterly reprehensible to me. And as had been mentioned if any part of the British media was prepared to stand up and say this was wrong many more fans would express their disquiet. i stand with the many more vocal fans from India and Australia who are prepared to voice their disapproval.

  • SCC08 on January 22, 2014, 20:47 GMT

    Current world Test number 1's by a long distance get no say? In what other sports would this happen? Shameful to the rest of the ICC nations..

  • 1_234 on January 22, 2014, 20:44 GMT

    ICC is becoming IAECC. Others should form their own cricket council.

  • Imran707 on January 22, 2014, 20:07 GMT

    The irony of the big three is that Eng historically has struggled in Asia as India has outside Asia. England losing left, right centre for atleast couple of months and India losing to Potentially second tier team ;). The only winner in cricket terms would be the Aussies but overall cricket and its fan will loose.

  • Big_Chikka on January 22, 2014, 19:48 GMT

    sounds lie the author of this article had the guys babies too......................

  • Thomas_Atwood on January 22, 2014, 19:32 GMT

    First they came for Zimbabwe and South Africa and I did not speak out - Because I was not Zimbabwe or South Africa - and I quite fancied sitting in meetings and feeling important.

  • haq33 on January 22, 2014, 18:55 GMT

    I am so thrilled and ecstatic with glee for all of the folks representing the "big three". In fact I am so happy, here are a "big two" (fingers) for the BCCI, ECB and CA boards to look at.

  • on January 22, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Play together with India and Australia. Eng can go top playing 3/4 times ashes in a year and 2/3 times with India for border gavaskar trophy..

  • eddsnake on January 22, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Any proposal such as that championed by Clarke and his Indian and Ozzie cronies, under which the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, test cricket is mainly limited to just 'the big three', and which talks on the one hand of a 'meritocracy', and then says that England, Australia and India will be exempt from promotion and relegation in test cricket, as they bring in too much money, should have been strangled at birth.

    One only hopes that South Africa are joined by at least 3 other test nations in rejecting it. Shame on New Zealand for seemingly accepting the proposals, they seem to think that by sucking up to the big three they might get some of their crumbs to feed on.

    It comes to something when FIFA and the IRB look like much better run organisations than the ICC. If these proposals go through it will be a very hollow victory for England in the long run, when the public get sick of us playing Australia and India and start leaving the game in droves.

  • Pippy_the_dog on January 22, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    There is probably no widespread hue and cry, at least in part, because most of the English media seem to be refusing to report it! I'm sure many England fans still remain blissfully unaware of these shameful proposals. Clarke started out as an investment banker, what a surprise!

  • shot274 on January 22, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    If possible this article makes me even more disgusted.' Much of English cricket is secretly pleased'. If that really is the case than much of English cricket, like its current team performance is a disgrace!We are not talking about wine, pets or storage solutions-we are talking about a game loved by millions across the globe which will suffer more than any other controversy in living memory. If English cricket is happy with that so that its financial future will be secure, its the end of all intellectual morality and so there is no point having a debate about the pros and cons of ICCs proposals!

  • pjd_Howzat on January 22, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    This shows exactly what is wrong with the current setup. You have gamblers at the top gambling with the future of a great sport, for their own personal notch on the steering wheel.

    Or should the workd be reminded what has like minded people caused the financial world in recent times.

  • UsmanMuhammad on January 22, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    If this deal goes ahead, BE ASSURED that cricket has lost at least one of it's spectators AND BE ASSURED I wouldn't be the last one moving away from cricket. There couldn't have been anything more disgust happen to this game.

  • Iddo555 on January 22, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    I'd be more worried about the way the England team is playing and the state of English cricket in general than I would be as to whether England and India are friends again. If the shambles that England have shown is a success then I don't want to see a failure. I want to see some heads rolling not people slapping each other on the back

  • py0alb on January 22, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Giles Clarke MUST resign with immediate effect. He has utterly betrayed the cricket world. His actions do not serve the needs of either English nor world cricket. Resign, Giles.

  • Rahim_A on January 22, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    Also I find it quite sad that ex players who form the MCC are keeping their council as they are supposed to be the guardians of the game. They were very quick to get involved in the business of the ICC when they tried to change the result of the forfeited test between England and Pakistan and this is surely a much bigger issue for the game across the world as it affects the main test playing nations as well as the affiliate members.

  • First_Drop on January 22, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    I think the proposal is appalling and stinks of greed. It looks as though it will be in the short term interest of India, Australia and England to the long term detriment of the game globally.

    As an Australian, I'm appalled at our involvement.

  • on January 22, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    This, as an England fan, is disgusting. So what if England return to the big table, it will be bad for cricket worldwide. India, Australia and England should open up the game and remove problems that Test Cricket has. The ICC does need a shake up but this is the wrong way to go about it.

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  • on January 22, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    This, as an England fan, is disgusting. So what if England return to the big table, it will be bad for cricket worldwide. India, Australia and England should open up the game and remove problems that Test Cricket has. The ICC does need a shake up but this is the wrong way to go about it.

  • First_Drop on January 22, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    I think the proposal is appalling and stinks of greed. It looks as though it will be in the short term interest of India, Australia and England to the long term detriment of the game globally.

    As an Australian, I'm appalled at our involvement.

  • Rahim_A on January 22, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    Also I find it quite sad that ex players who form the MCC are keeping their council as they are supposed to be the guardians of the game. They were very quick to get involved in the business of the ICC when they tried to change the result of the forfeited test between England and Pakistan and this is surely a much bigger issue for the game across the world as it affects the main test playing nations as well as the affiliate members.

  • py0alb on January 22, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Giles Clarke MUST resign with immediate effect. He has utterly betrayed the cricket world. His actions do not serve the needs of either English nor world cricket. Resign, Giles.

  • Iddo555 on January 22, 2014, 16:52 GMT

    I'd be more worried about the way the England team is playing and the state of English cricket in general than I would be as to whether England and India are friends again. If the shambles that England have shown is a success then I don't want to see a failure. I want to see some heads rolling not people slapping each other on the back

  • UsmanMuhammad on January 22, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    If this deal goes ahead, BE ASSURED that cricket has lost at least one of it's spectators AND BE ASSURED I wouldn't be the last one moving away from cricket. There couldn't have been anything more disgust happen to this game.

  • pjd_Howzat on January 22, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    This shows exactly what is wrong with the current setup. You have gamblers at the top gambling with the future of a great sport, for their own personal notch on the steering wheel.

    Or should the workd be reminded what has like minded people caused the financial world in recent times.

  • shot274 on January 22, 2014, 17:08 GMT

    If possible this article makes me even more disgusted.' Much of English cricket is secretly pleased'. If that really is the case than much of English cricket, like its current team performance is a disgrace!We are not talking about wine, pets or storage solutions-we are talking about a game loved by millions across the globe which will suffer more than any other controversy in living memory. If English cricket is happy with that so that its financial future will be secure, its the end of all intellectual morality and so there is no point having a debate about the pros and cons of ICCs proposals!

  • Pippy_the_dog on January 22, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    There is probably no widespread hue and cry, at least in part, because most of the English media seem to be refusing to report it! I'm sure many England fans still remain blissfully unaware of these shameful proposals. Clarke started out as an investment banker, what a surprise!

  • eddsnake on January 22, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Any proposal such as that championed by Clarke and his Indian and Ozzie cronies, under which the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, test cricket is mainly limited to just 'the big three', and which talks on the one hand of a 'meritocracy', and then says that England, Australia and India will be exempt from promotion and relegation in test cricket, as they bring in too much money, should have been strangled at birth.

    One only hopes that South Africa are joined by at least 3 other test nations in rejecting it. Shame on New Zealand for seemingly accepting the proposals, they seem to think that by sucking up to the big three they might get some of their crumbs to feed on.

    It comes to something when FIFA and the IRB look like much better run organisations than the ICC. If these proposals go through it will be a very hollow victory for England in the long run, when the public get sick of us playing Australia and India and start leaving the game in droves.