March 17, 2014

'Why would you do a Kerry Packer?'

Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards knows the value of keeping India happy. He talks about their recent negotiations, the ICC's future, and wanting more teams to be competitive
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As the architect of Australian cricket's vast governance reforms, Cricket Australia chairman, Wally Edwards, had similarly grand ideas for the ICC when he took up his post on the executive board in 2012. However, the board's opposition to the Woolf Report, which recommended changes of the kind Edwards had ushered in at CA, forced the former Test opener and businessman to look at other ways of imparting change, and placating India. The results were unveiled in January, with a series of ICC resolutions that have concentrated power among the "Big Three" of India, England and Australia, while adding market pressure to encourage the improvement of cricket nations. Edwards spoke to ESPNcricinfo about the new landscape, and how cricket got there.

How early after the Woolf report was tabled in 2012 were you thinking in terms of alternative governance models for the ICC?
When did I start thinking about it? It was handed down at my second meeting, and I'd already started talking to Srini [N Srinivasan, BCCI president] about what he thought about life before that. That was one of my primary aims when I became chairman, to try to find out from Srini and others what they thought about the ICC, where it was at and how we could improve it. There was a lot of complaint about it - I didn't understand it until I got there and spent 6-12 months talking to people.

You have mentioned dysfunction before. When you went to the executive board and sat on it, what made that dysfunction so immediately apparent?
Debate was non-existent really - what I could call normal debate about subjects. There was a very unhappy India in the room, very unhappy with pretty well everything that was happening, and it was very disheartening. You'd leave a board meeting and think, "Well, what a waste of time that was." To me, it wasn't the way you should run an organisation.

My assessment was that management were isolated from the board. There were a number of reasons for that, and it was not where we wanted to be. Everyone said that. Even when we were trying to get John Howard up [as ICC vice-president] everyone was saying we need someone in there to try to reorganise ICC to make it a better business, and it was just a matter of talking, finding out what other people thought and then slowly try to form a plan that might work.

The idea of having permanent members for the smaller ExCo committee is a salient one. Did that come about at your suggestion?
I can't remember where it came from, to be honest. Certainly we talked a lot about the idea of how the United Nations works, with a few nations leading the organisation a little more, a la the UN Security Council, but it was fairly obvious that if we, the three bigger nations, didn't take a bigger leadership role, no one was going to. It was a matter of putting your hand up and saying, "Look, let's see how we can make this place better." The last thing Australia would want is a takeover of the ICC. That whole concept's ridiculous. We don't need that. We want to see ICC a very productive and good organisation for world cricket, and that's all I'm trying to do.

It would appear a high level of good faith will be required for these resolutions to go through smoothly. Also, there is great importance placed upon the relationships that currently exist between N Srinivasan, Giles Clarke and yourself.
Everything depends on that. Whether it's me or South Africa or anybody. A lot depends on personal relationships in this world, and cricket is one of those businesses. Country-to-country relationships are very important and one of the roles as chairman of Cricket Australia is to try and cultivate that with every nation. That's what I've been trying to do since I took on the job.

That being said, are you confident the new structure will be robust enough to withstand changes in those relationships and personalities? You, Srini and Giles won't be around forever.
I think it will. I assume that when we appoint our next [CA] chairman, he'll be a capable person who understands what we're doing and is fully informed about what I've been trying to do, and will continue to do the work. He'll probably do it in a different way, he or she, or with different approaches, but fundamentally I will expect they'll know what we're trying to do and that's to have a good ICC that puts on good events.

We've got to understand what we expect out of the ICC and try to make it work. We've got to sort things like DRS out - that's just one issue among many. Rankings system, points system, how do we make cricket better from the back-end to the Test and one-day end? That's my interest. What we're driving at is to make cricket work better, and make the competition side of it work better.

That's why we had to break the glass ceiling, because just the market force of people going up and coming down will put more emphasis on cricket, especially those countries at the bottom end who are not putting as much energy and money into getting their top-level cricket better. At the moment they have this guaranteed right that they can sit there at numbers nine or ten, let's say, and not improve. Maybe now they'll have to improve - we want them to improve.

Look at India, in 1980 - where were they? And they won a World Cup in 1983, cricket took off in that country and they've been fairly well run. A lot of people criticise BCCI but look what they've achieved, and not one dollar of ICC money has been required to do that. If Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Indies and a few others could take a leaf out of their book, cricket would be better off. We want ten or 12 or 15 nations being competitive.

It's not just a matter of how many are playing cricket or how many nations are in the ICC, but the quality of cricket. That's what I've been worried about and wanting to improve, and the meritocracy thing is exactly that - to say, "If you do better you'll get more money, and we want you to get better, we want you to focus on playing better cricket." In this new deal they will all get more money. No one's going backwards, and we want teams 8 to 16 to get a lot better and want teams above eight to get better also. We've just seen the difference it makes when a team like New Zealand does what it just has [against India]. It's easy to say, "Why do we get a bit more money than South Africa?" It's the principle. And in reality it's not a lot of money. The most important money is: "Does India tour you?" We all know that.

How has the relationship between the BCCI and Cricket South Africa progressed in recent weeks?
As I understand, they're going well. They've signed an FTP for the next eight years with India, and everything's moving forward now in a positive light. I'm pleased with that.

There are fears around the world that as time goes forward the IPL will expand and cause a greater strain on the schedule for international cricket.
We've had lots of talks about that, and that was a real possibility before we came to all these agreements. There was a very real chance that India would have gone on an IPL voyage and left world cricket behind. That was said more than once. If that had happened, you were looking down the barrel of a Kerry Packer moment. It would have been easy to say, "They aren't going to do it, they want to play in World Cups", but that was a reality.

And we have a commitment from them that IPL will not change during this eight-year cycle. Dates won't change, the start date won't change, and the length of the tournament won't change. They've given us that commitment and that was important to us. IPL is important to them, and to the world of cricket players who make a lot of money out of it, [but] we didn't want to see it grow. We've also negotiated with India to pay the countries more for their players. For particularly the small nations, every dollar counts. We've got good understandings on that. They've been very straightforward and I believe them.

"Why would you risk turning the IPL into a travelling circus that would take all our good cricketers 12 months of the year and leave us with second-rate international cricket?"

I wanted to ask about ExCo, which began as a small committee of three but is now expanded to five, the Big Three plus two other rotating members.
We don't have an ExCo now but we needed one, because we have two boards. ICC and IDI [ICC Development International], and these boards vote as ten full nations and three Associates on each board. The IDI is where all the money comes in, the raising of money and how it's spent. But ICC sits over there with no such committee working with them. [We thought that] to run the place better we should probably have another committee there. It doesn't mean anything other than it's a sub-committee of the board. They can go away and sort things out on behalf of the board, the board then in the end has to approve it. So there's no entrenched power at all, because the board can overrule anything.

If India are on an advisory or recommendation committee, and so if India are a part of any of those recommendations, you wouldn't expect them to be defied, would you?
Well, what's different? If India want something around the board table right now they usually get it, because they have got enough nations that say, "I'm not going to rub India up the wrong way or they might not come and visit me", and that's reality. India are strong and we've got to recognise that. But what we want them to do is be part of the decision-making process and be in the ICC rather than just turning up and being aggressive, angry and unhappy. That's where they are, they are unhappy.

The reality is to this day we still haven't got an MPA [Members Participation Agreement] signed yet for the next media rights cycle. ICC management has been trying for a year to get it signed and it still isn't. That has to be resolved by this next board meeting. That's one of the building blocks. They've said more than once, "You can have a World Cup but we won't be coming." We can argue they might come, but will they come to Champions Trophy or a World T20? They might not. I can easily see them not coming.

And you're not prepared to take that chance?
Well, why would you? If you can find a progressive way to improve the place, why would you take that chance, why would you do a Kerry Packer, where the Australian board just said "b***** off" with the deal? Why would you risk turning the IPL into a travelling circus that would take all our good cricketers 12 months of the year and leave us with second-rate international cricket? It's not a pretty thought. But it's possible, and they know that. Maybe in the end it will still happen one day, but I don't think it will happen in the next eight years.

Something that was a big part of your thinking in Australia was wherever possible bring some independent voices into the game and its governance. Is ExCo the sort of committee that in future might see an independent member or two?
It's possible. And it makes some sense. We've got independent people on the finance and audit committee now. It's possible, but at this point in time it's not likely to happen because it's one of the grizzles from all the other countries, "We want to be on it, we want to be part of the four, five." But certainly in the short term it will be all Full Member people on those committees.

I think we've come to grips that [the ICC] is a members' organisation. It is a debate that's gone on for a couple of years and will still go on. It's not FIFA or the IOC. It doesn't make the rules. It doesn't do the FTP, never has and never will, in my view. It was set up to help organise international cricket on behalf of the members. Umpires, security, anti-corruption, those are its main roles, and being a forum for members to go and talk and decide things.

What's your experience of implementing reform in Australia versus at the ICC?
Completely different. For one, Australia is a lot more contained. We go to the ICC four times a year, you're there for two or three days and that's it. You don't do a lot of talking unless there are big issues. We've done a lot in the last 12 months, but you don't do a lot more talking outside that and that's a problem. It won't be too bad if we can get it to run a little better, a little tighter, make the money go further, get meritocracy.

The idea of getting other countries to play Test cricket was impossible to achieve. You could have them in the way we have been having them but it would have been a long haul for anyone to get in. And if you're not good enough you shouldn't be there.

Your term as head of ExCo is two years. Will that go on beyond your time as CA chairman?
I won't be there for two years. CA will take that chair for the two years. And that's purely to settle things down, to get things to work better. I'm working on a new code of ethics at the moment. We're going to put on an ICC World Cup in Australia in 2015, and maybe that can be done better than it has been and more efficiently.

How are the details being pulled together?
By the various committees. We've got to start on how the rankings might work better, how the bottom end in all forms - T20, World Cup cricket and Test cricket - will work. How you move up and down and who you play, and how much money you get.

Is one of the sticking points what sort of cricket a demoted nation can play - Full Members will still want to schedule Tests?
That's one bit of detail we are not sure about yet and needs more talk. They'd obviously love to stay there and be called a Test match-playing country and play Tests and keep losing. But it's not good for Test cricket in that case. But I've got respect for them.

I think Bangladesh should, at some stage in the future, become a good Test cricket country. It's disappointing they haven't shown more progress, and there's a long way still to go. We've got to give them more encouragement, got to get them more focused on it. If they don't, they go down, and that's the biggest incentive of all.

Australia, India and England are no longer exempt from relegation?
No longer exempt. I didn't want that in the first place, but it was put in there because of the broadcasters. Australia get reasonable TV rights but we don't pull the big money. We're about equal with Pakistan, a bit more than South Africa and the USA, that's where we rank.

Day-night Tests are on the CA agenda as we've seen with the Sheffield Shield round. How much more money would a day-night Test be worth?
I've got no idea, but I know that Perth rates substantially higher in the evening, like Boxing Day rates. So obviously there's more people watching in the evening when they're at home. That's the common-sense approach. I still think there's a long way to go to prove it's a good concept. It's all to do with people being able to come to the ground and watch and also sit at home and watch. If you're at work it's not as easy.

A few people have raised the question that Australia is one country where Test cricket is strong, therefore why would it need to go into the night?
That's still a debatable point. I'm not a great believer in it, but I'm only one person and I wouldn't impose my will to that degree. I think it's worth trying. You should trial it fairly rigorously, though, before you start playing Test cricket. But potentially it fills grounds up. If they can come at 2 or 3 o'clock and go through until 9 o'clock. There's still sunshine in some places. But even though we could, we don't do that in Perth now. I can't work it out. We start too early in Perth. We could start later in Perth and Sydney as well, but no one wants to. This is one of the Catch-22s we face. We could extend it by an hour, but it seems we need to extend it by two hours.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @ baghels.a Yes FIFA makes money from the W Cup & other youth world cups - but it still makes all the rules. FIFA has a strong policy saying no govt involvement in sport - violate you get banned. ICC says the same thing yet in PAK/SRI/BANG for years gov't is a normal thing. Club footy had to negotiate their seasons with FIFA and they certainly can't change it without consulting them. If BCCI wants to expand the IPL, they can & the ICC can't stop them.Even comparing cricket to Rugby (IRB) they are more sanely governed and similar to cric with the dif formats. S Africa brings in the majority of the revenue, but the money is evenly split between their "big three" (NZ/Aus/SA). However, because the All Blacks are the best team, a WC without them would be a farce. A cricket WC without India will be just fine from a playing perspective, maybe not financially. Most boards in the IRB are financially stable, not great but stable, in other words doin better than PAK/SRI/NZ/WI/BANG in cric.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    @ Rahi Singh English FA is the richest board in football, this is because of the amount of money it gains from the premier league. No other board gains as much money from its domestic league. Cricket major broadcasters realize that the ICC is dysfunctional governing body & they gravitate to IND market because its a quicker easier financial deal.Realistically cricket should have a similar broadcast sharing deal to the English premier league. Most fans want to see the United, Chelsea, Arsenals - but not because their viewing fans contribute to the Premier League getting all this money more than a Stoke City/West Brom/Fulham/West Ham etc fans - doesn't mean they should get more funds. That deal has helped the prem be competitive & all clubs become financially strong - even though the big 6 clubs still have individual financial deal. Man Utd, Chelsea, Man Cit broadcast money don't make them manipulate FA, nor does the England FA money make them manipulate world football and FIFA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    So he praises BCCI thats they have made india team progress a lot since 1983 till today to make it a world class team and tells that sa, srilanka , bangladesh Cricket board follow their footsteps. look at sa, at 1990 they were nowhere ..in 2010 they are number test team. Srilanka won the world cup in 1996 and played at least semifinal in most of the world cup since then. bangladesh made quite good progress since their test debut in 2001. Now can beat any team in odi. He fails to recognise this achievements. What i can understand from this interview is that , india basically held a knife in cricket worlds throat threatning like a terrorist and said give us the all power at ICC or otherwise we will kill cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @ WAYNE PERRY - English Board is richest! yes, but by what margin??? The BCCI generates 70-80% of the total revenue......I dont think any single association in football generates that much percentage single-handedly....thats the fallacy of your argument comparing cricket and football administration.

  • POSTED BY baghels.a on | March 18, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    @Wayne Perry, you are still missing the moot point that Fifa's main job is to conduct WC every 4 years and they are not involved with running of football leagues, just some minor corrections : all the FA's are just the parent and rule making body overlooking all professional/semi pro football divisions in the country.EPL for example run by Premier league board which is commercially independant from English FA, same is the case with other leagues.As i said earlier since these Fifa conducts it's premier tournaments like WC in summer which is offseason for the leagues so there is no question of big European leagues coming in conflict with Fifa or trying to influence Fifa ....Secondly for football there is a global audience while in cricket majority of viwership for Cricket in general and ICC events in particular come from Indian subcontinent. If England want to have more say then more English people will have to watch Cricket as currently in Eng cricket is poor cousin of football.

  • POSTED BY Ozizim on | March 18, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    Impressive and candid input by this guy. As a fan of Indian cricket and even a bias towards the BCCI, I am still impressed that someone has the guts to say it as it is, even if it depicts the BCCI as the strong arm tacticians.

  • POSTED BY AH_USA on | March 18, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    I find two comments from Wally Edwards about Pakistan interesting: "...If Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Indies and a few others could take a leaf out of their book, cricket would be better off..."

    There is absolutely no doubt that PCB is mismanaged and this has been going on for a long time now and the root cause of the problem is that most of the PCB chairmen have been political appointees who are clueless about running cricket affairs.

    "..Australia get reasonable TV rights but we don't pull the big money. We're about equal with Pakistan, a bit more than South Africa and the USA, that's where we rank.."

    So, he seems to be suggesting that AUS gets about the same rights as the ill-managed PAK does. So, if PAK can overcome its issues and start hosting games in the country, it would be ahead of AUS in terms of generating revenue from TV rights...wow!

  • POSTED BY siddharth_WC2011 on | March 17, 2014, 23:18 GMT

    I am surprised at so many comments against Wally. This is one of the most honest interviews that I have read. He is straight to the point, practical, not sugar coating and telling us the actual facts however dis pleasing they might be.

  • POSTED BY vik56in on | March 17, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    @ Ali Eorse ! You are mistaken ! If India doesn't play Test cricket, it will meet a slow death !

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | March 17, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    I'm impressed with Wally Edwards. The interview has certainly cleared up a lot of details that as a fan of cricket I was unaware of.

    As soon as the news broke out, there were knee-jerk reactions by some ex-Cricketers, who do nothing but whine about 'good ol' days'. In addition to that there was some bad journalism which only whipped up sentiments and fueled insecurity amongst fans of smaller Cricket nations. This one candid interview has shed light on a lot of things and there is no pretense which is good to see.

    Like it or lump it, apart from Big 3, CSA and NZ to some extent, other full members have been pretty inept in terms of administration of Cricket affairs and are so inefficient that after many years are still debt ridden and are content to live off the money made from India tours, while never using doing nothing to improve infrastructure and make the game more popular and consequently bring in more revenue. Well at least now that won't happen

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2014, 17:41 GMT

    @ baghels.a Yes FIFA makes money from the W Cup & other youth world cups - but it still makes all the rules. FIFA has a strong policy saying no govt involvement in sport - violate you get banned. ICC says the same thing yet in PAK/SRI/BANG for years gov't is a normal thing. Club footy had to negotiate their seasons with FIFA and they certainly can't change it without consulting them. If BCCI wants to expand the IPL, they can & the ICC can't stop them.Even comparing cricket to Rugby (IRB) they are more sanely governed and similar to cric with the dif formats. S Africa brings in the majority of the revenue, but the money is evenly split between their "big three" (NZ/Aus/SA). However, because the All Blacks are the best team, a WC without them would be a farce. A cricket WC without India will be just fine from a playing perspective, maybe not financially. Most boards in the IRB are financially stable, not great but stable, in other words doin better than PAK/SRI/NZ/WI/BANG in cric.

  • POSTED BY on | March 19, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    @ Rahi Singh English FA is the richest board in football, this is because of the amount of money it gains from the premier league. No other board gains as much money from its domestic league. Cricket major broadcasters realize that the ICC is dysfunctional governing body & they gravitate to IND market because its a quicker easier financial deal.Realistically cricket should have a similar broadcast sharing deal to the English premier league. Most fans want to see the United, Chelsea, Arsenals - but not because their viewing fans contribute to the Premier League getting all this money more than a Stoke City/West Brom/Fulham/West Ham etc fans - doesn't mean they should get more funds. That deal has helped the prem be competitive & all clubs become financially strong - even though the big 6 clubs still have individual financial deal. Man Utd, Chelsea, Man Cit broadcast money don't make them manipulate FA, nor does the England FA money make them manipulate world football and FIFA.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2014, 19:41 GMT

    So he praises BCCI thats they have made india team progress a lot since 1983 till today to make it a world class team and tells that sa, srilanka , bangladesh Cricket board follow their footsteps. look at sa, at 1990 they were nowhere ..in 2010 they are number test team. Srilanka won the world cup in 1996 and played at least semifinal in most of the world cup since then. bangladesh made quite good progress since their test debut in 2001. Now can beat any team in odi. He fails to recognise this achievements. What i can understand from this interview is that , india basically held a knife in cricket worlds throat threatning like a terrorist and said give us the all power at ICC or otherwise we will kill cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 18, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @ WAYNE PERRY - English Board is richest! yes, but by what margin??? The BCCI generates 70-80% of the total revenue......I dont think any single association in football generates that much percentage single-handedly....thats the fallacy of your argument comparing cricket and football administration.

  • POSTED BY baghels.a on | March 18, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    @Wayne Perry, you are still missing the moot point that Fifa's main job is to conduct WC every 4 years and they are not involved with running of football leagues, just some minor corrections : all the FA's are just the parent and rule making body overlooking all professional/semi pro football divisions in the country.EPL for example run by Premier league board which is commercially independant from English FA, same is the case with other leagues.As i said earlier since these Fifa conducts it's premier tournaments like WC in summer which is offseason for the leagues so there is no question of big European leagues coming in conflict with Fifa or trying to influence Fifa ....Secondly for football there is a global audience while in cricket majority of viwership for Cricket in general and ICC events in particular come from Indian subcontinent. If England want to have more say then more English people will have to watch Cricket as currently in Eng cricket is poor cousin of football.

  • POSTED BY Ozizim on | March 18, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    Impressive and candid input by this guy. As a fan of Indian cricket and even a bias towards the BCCI, I am still impressed that someone has the guts to say it as it is, even if it depicts the BCCI as the strong arm tacticians.

  • POSTED BY AH_USA on | March 18, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    I find two comments from Wally Edwards about Pakistan interesting: "...If Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Indies and a few others could take a leaf out of their book, cricket would be better off..."

    There is absolutely no doubt that PCB is mismanaged and this has been going on for a long time now and the root cause of the problem is that most of the PCB chairmen have been political appointees who are clueless about running cricket affairs.

    "..Australia get reasonable TV rights but we don't pull the big money. We're about equal with Pakistan, a bit more than South Africa and the USA, that's where we rank.."

    So, he seems to be suggesting that AUS gets about the same rights as the ill-managed PAK does. So, if PAK can overcome its issues and start hosting games in the country, it would be ahead of AUS in terms of generating revenue from TV rights...wow!

  • POSTED BY siddharth_WC2011 on | March 17, 2014, 23:18 GMT

    I am surprised at so many comments against Wally. This is one of the most honest interviews that I have read. He is straight to the point, practical, not sugar coating and telling us the actual facts however dis pleasing they might be.

  • POSTED BY vik56in on | March 17, 2014, 23:00 GMT

    @ Ali Eorse ! You are mistaken ! If India doesn't play Test cricket, it will meet a slow death !

  • POSTED BY IndianSRTfan on | March 17, 2014, 18:07 GMT

    I'm impressed with Wally Edwards. The interview has certainly cleared up a lot of details that as a fan of cricket I was unaware of.

    As soon as the news broke out, there were knee-jerk reactions by some ex-Cricketers, who do nothing but whine about 'good ol' days'. In addition to that there was some bad journalism which only whipped up sentiments and fueled insecurity amongst fans of smaller Cricket nations. This one candid interview has shed light on a lot of things and there is no pretense which is good to see.

    Like it or lump it, apart from Big 3, CSA and NZ to some extent, other full members have been pretty inept in terms of administration of Cricket affairs and are so inefficient that after many years are still debt ridden and are content to live off the money made from India tours, while never using doing nothing to improve infrastructure and make the game more popular and consequently bring in more revenue. Well at least now that won't happen

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    @ Sushanth Shyamsundar Yes football leagues are more influential in world football than international tournaments. But who runs football leagues?, they don't run by themselves?.

    The football associations of the country the league it is in. For example the English FA runs the premier league, Spanish FA runs La Liga, German FA runs the Bundesliga, French FA runs Ligue 1, Italian FA runs Serie A etc etc.

    So as i said before, no singular countries football association, despite the amount of money it makes because of whatever reasons, influences football world governing body - FIFA.

    That is the ridiculous dichotomy cricket is in with India, a country board, having more power than ICC - the governing body of the sport.

    @ Rahul Shanbhogue I'm aware of those differences & its a failure of the ICC that it has not become a strong enough governing body, to be able to counter the rise of India as a financial power house. ICC should have been revamped since the Kerry Packer saga.

  • POSTED BY web_guru2003 on | March 17, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    "...Certainly we talked a lot about the idea of how the United Nations works, with a few nations leading the organisation a little more, a la the UN Security Council..."

    Excuse me? Who says that UN is "working"? Who UN is about protecting the interests of big 5 (and their babies) . Try getting a genuine resolution passed though security council against any one of the 5 and let me know if it goes through no matter even if it merits. U dont have to go too far. Just go through today's news about resolution on Crimea in security council

    If UN is the "model" for ICC, God help cricket!

  • POSTED BY CricStraightTalker on | March 17, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    I am surprised at comments saying this interview was a waste of time. On the contrary, I thought there was a lot of straight talking in there which was refreshing compared to previous interviews by other people giving out highly sanitized statements which really didn't give anyone a sense of what exactly was happening in there. Sure, people may not like Edwards' candid declarations about India but atleast we are not reading some BS dressed up as "opinions". We need more such pieces !

    But of course, there was a bit of cringing when I read how (according to Edwards) Indian test cricket was dead before 1980 - decades of masterful batting, spin wizardry and avid test crowds (in person and over the radio) reduced to nothing ! A bit of cricket history might do him good. :)

  • POSTED BY cricpolitics on | March 17, 2014, 14:51 GMT

    Sorry to see Australian cricket being lead by people like Wally Edwards. I am just surprised to see such a negative thinking coming from an Australian. It is pretty certain that cricket is on a downhill path.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    How about a test match between AUS and rest of the world in AUS next Boxing day (2014)? I am of course rooting for AUS to destroy ROW with Mitch Johnson getting a 10+ wicket haul. Do this for us AUS and Test cricket fans. We do not care for T-20, let PAK and IND play this for ever and ever. Let us focus on Test in AUS with Johnson coming into bowl and batters thinking of retirement.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    it should be Graeme Watson not Waly Edwards running Australian cricket. long-term pro with 40-year career in senior management in business. WSC rebel. played for 3 states. friends with Chappelli. great nickname (Beatle). ticks all the boxes...

  • POSTED BY baghels.a on | March 17, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    @Shushant Shyamsundar, totally agree with you @ Wayne Perry, you see apart from EPL there are other equally high profile leagues like Budensliga,La Liga,Serie A,French league. Even lesser leagues are emerging like the Russian,Ukranian,Turkish plus some South American,MLS,Asian leagues also, so you see football is a truly global sport and it is not relaint on any single country and as @Shushant Shyamsundar said football is primarily club based and English FA woudn't be bothered about one WC or Euros happening in every four years , only resistance from major European clubs would come if Fifa tries to organise a WC in middle of a league season, while in Cricket not only majority of revenues comes from India but majority of cricket viwership comes from Indian subcontinent, solution is simple if England want to have more say then more English people will have to start watching Cricket. It is a harsh reality but currently in England cricket is a poor cousin of Football.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | March 17, 2014, 9:29 GMT

    Btw, I'm really pleased to hear there will be no exemptions from relegation. I was never comfortable with that and I'm sure lot's of other Aussies felt the same. If we're to have a place at all, I'd like to think we've earned it by playing some decent cricket along the way. Having a spot by birth-right doesn't sit well or feel right.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | March 17, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet: The elephant you're over-looking is the IPL, or more precisely, it's next incarnation. Edwards has bought cricket as we know it 8 years to get it's house in order. .. I'm trying to be pedantic, but let me spell it out for you. India was threatening, seriously threatening, to break away in an F1 style setup and buy up as many of the the worlds best players as it possibly could. It's happened before (Packer) so there is a very real precedence and the BCCI has the cash to do it. They could do it tomorrow if they so chose. And they were close to choosing. It was a crisis, but Edwards got them to the table and got them talking. He bought us 8 years. He's a hero in the history of the game, not someone to be vilified imo.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Being an Indian, I feel embarrassed abt d manner in which d BCCI arm-twists every cricket governing body. Similar 2 d way d USA does it to UN! It's obviously nt a pretty sight shud nvr happen. Balance of power is something which is needed 2 avoid unpleasant situations. @WaynePerry...u need 2 understand d difference in how Soccer & Cricket run! A huge no. of nations play Soccer, and it is very popular in almost every country that plays it! Hence, FIFA keeps raking in d moolah. Whereas d same is nt 4 Cricket. I've heard dat Cricket is d No. 1 sport only in d sub-continent & West Indies & no where else. Hence, India earns d most thru media rights & no other country earns as much as we do. So, d ICC needs more Indian matches 2 earn money 4 itself & so do other countries. Dat's y India wields so much power. Simple! @RyanHarrisGreatCricketer...your statement clearly shows ur frustration towards India & BCCI. Ur comments/suggestions defy logic & highlight ur poor grasp on statistics! Peace.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    @Wayne Perry: Your assumption is kind of ridiculous, since World Football is dictated by Domestic Leagues with very little national play. If cricket were to move in that direction, India would again probably make the most money, and we would be back to square one. National cricket is on the decline,simply because a lot of other countries have lost interest in it.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 17, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    I get the impression that there's a great deal of arms- round-shoulders apparent bonhomie going on. I'm sure I've seen 'Srini' and Clarke (Clarki?) in a clinch, similar to the one in this inset photo. And what's wrong with a bit of chumminess? Edwards, meanwhile seems, to be in an attitude of prayer. Good idea, praying. There are two business men among the three and what must always remember with business people? What is their mantra? 'Trust me'...And we have to. Why do I have this nagging feeling that it'll all end in tears? Oh, good to know that cricket took off in India in 1980 with their WC win... So the 100,000 + crowds that used to flock to Eden Gardens to watch Test cricket decades before 1980 were not so much taking off as taxi-ing down the runway? It hasn't occurred to Edwards that India never needed any ICC dollars has had something to do with the 1.3 billion population... Ah me. It's touching.

  • POSTED BY thedonturns on | March 17, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Wally Edwards is a stain on the game. His justification of might is right is meaningless except in fascist terms. He's well paid and will earn more, and as for the rest of the world he couldn't give a toss. Congratulations on promoting business as opposed to cricket.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | March 17, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    I read the first few comments and saw that they were all spitting chips at poor old Wally. Never mind mate, I think you're a godsend. .. I've learnt more about this entire sorry saga from this interview than I have from a thousand previous ones. What's more, it's straight from the seat of power, the man at the top. It's straight-forward, honest and directly to the point. I detected no PC speak, no evasion and no attempt to cloud any of the issues. .. The whole thing might be a mess, but with this man in there batting for us the cricket world might just stand a chance of coming out the other end a bigger, better sport. .. Go Wally, you da man!

  • POSTED BY ODI_BestFormOfCricket on | March 17, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    really i luv to watch ipl more than international fixtures. Ipl is far better than meaningless international fixtures. I have been waiting for ipl since last may.

  • POSTED BY RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on | March 17, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    Its ridiculous that Edwards doesn't remember where the ExCo Proposal came from, but he does manage to recollect that CA alongwith BCCI and ECB believed that they needed to take a central role in leadership.

    Most people know about how Srini supposedly runs the show in cricket, but its because of administrators like Edwards that Srini assumes more power.

    If India said they won't go to the World Cup, Edwards should have said, "We don't care, because anyways most of your batsmen are not good enough to score big on pitches other than flat tracks and your bowlers....well...."

    And if it was indeed the case that the IPL would have expanded into a 12-month competition with all the marquee players being poached, the ICC should have the spine to impose a rule that only players who have appeared in xyz number of test matches or have attained abc years of age are allowed to play as overseas players in domestic leagues.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    Pakistan doesnt need to take a leaf out of no one's book. Staying afloat and having profits despite being in Isolation and having no major tours for 10 years and no ICC tournament solely EVER is a big enough achievement. Its the sheer interest in the sport in pakistan and raw talent amongst its players despite the lack of infrastructure that amazes the fans and the cricketing world.

  • POSTED BY Insult_2_Injury on | March 17, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    Always worrying when sporting bureaucrats reference the UN as a template for governance. Can't believe either that Edwards would feign naivety by suggesting that most national cricketing problems would be fixed by national cricket boards taking the example of India; a cricket obsessed nation of over a billion people who have no real passion for any other competing sport. To suggest that no 'cricket community' assistance is needed in lesser cricket nations is ridiculous in light of a T20 World Cup being hosted by an intermittent Test playing nation. Surely granting hosting rights is a broader design to promote the cricket credentials in Bangladesh? Also telling is Edwards belief that dealings between Cricket boards is definitely personality based, but then says it's not Australia's wish for 'the big three' to run the world game. Surely that means it is not his wish - at this time - but then who knows who's in control in 5 years in Oz, Eng or India and what their belief is.

  • POSTED BY PakRage on | March 17, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    What a ludicrous interview. Wastage of time !!!

    If this guy is Chairman ACB, then God bless Australian cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    "I think we've come to grips that [the ICC] is a members' organisation. It is a debate that's gone on for a couple of years and will still go on. It's not FIFA or the IOC. It doesn't make the rules. It doesn't do the FTP, never has and never will, in my view. It was set up to help organise international cricket on behalf of the members. Umpires, security, anti-corruption, those are its main roles, and being a forum for members to go and talk and decide things."

    This comment from Edwards, which most people are aware of, is the essential problem with cricket.

    The English FA is richest board in football, as shown by the premier league. But their money doesn't make them influence FIFA.

    But in cricket, India money makes them influence everything the ICC does.

    Its ridiculous in any sport from a member to have more power than its governing body.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 3:34 GMT

    "I think we've come to grips that [the ICC] is a members' organisation. It is a debate that's gone on for a couple of years and will still go on. It's not FIFA or the IOC. It doesn't make the rules. It doesn't do the FTP, never has and never will, in my view. It was set up to help organise international cricket on behalf of the members. Umpires, security, anti-corruption, those are its main roles, and being a forum for members to go and talk and decide things."

    This comment from Edwards, which most people are aware of, is the essential problem with cricket.

    The English FA is richest board in football, as shown by the premier league. But their money doesn't make them influence FIFA.

    But in cricket, India money makes them influence everything the ICC does.

    Its ridiculous in any sport from a member to have more power than its governing body.

  • POSTED BY PakRage on | March 17, 2014, 4:33 GMT

    What a ludicrous interview. Wastage of time !!!

    If this guy is Chairman ACB, then God bless Australian cricket.

  • POSTED BY Insult_2_Injury on | March 17, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    Always worrying when sporting bureaucrats reference the UN as a template for governance. Can't believe either that Edwards would feign naivety by suggesting that most national cricketing problems would be fixed by national cricket boards taking the example of India; a cricket obsessed nation of over a billion people who have no real passion for any other competing sport. To suggest that no 'cricket community' assistance is needed in lesser cricket nations is ridiculous in light of a T20 World Cup being hosted by an intermittent Test playing nation. Surely granting hosting rights is a broader design to promote the cricket credentials in Bangladesh? Also telling is Edwards belief that dealings between Cricket boards is definitely personality based, but then says it's not Australia's wish for 'the big three' to run the world game. Surely that means it is not his wish - at this time - but then who knows who's in control in 5 years in Oz, Eng or India and what their belief is.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 6:16 GMT

    Pakistan doesnt need to take a leaf out of no one's book. Staying afloat and having profits despite being in Isolation and having no major tours for 10 years and no ICC tournament solely EVER is a big enough achievement. Its the sheer interest in the sport in pakistan and raw talent amongst its players despite the lack of infrastructure that amazes the fans and the cricketing world.

  • POSTED BY RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on | March 17, 2014, 6:23 GMT

    Its ridiculous that Edwards doesn't remember where the ExCo Proposal came from, but he does manage to recollect that CA alongwith BCCI and ECB believed that they needed to take a central role in leadership.

    Most people know about how Srini supposedly runs the show in cricket, but its because of administrators like Edwards that Srini assumes more power.

    If India said they won't go to the World Cup, Edwards should have said, "We don't care, because anyways most of your batsmen are not good enough to score big on pitches other than flat tracks and your bowlers....well...."

    And if it was indeed the case that the IPL would have expanded into a 12-month competition with all the marquee players being poached, the ICC should have the spine to impose a rule that only players who have appeared in xyz number of test matches or have attained abc years of age are allowed to play as overseas players in domestic leagues.

  • POSTED BY ODI_BestFormOfCricket on | March 17, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    really i luv to watch ipl more than international fixtures. Ipl is far better than meaningless international fixtures. I have been waiting for ipl since last may.

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | March 17, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    I read the first few comments and saw that they were all spitting chips at poor old Wally. Never mind mate, I think you're a godsend. .. I've learnt more about this entire sorry saga from this interview than I have from a thousand previous ones. What's more, it's straight from the seat of power, the man at the top. It's straight-forward, honest and directly to the point. I detected no PC speak, no evasion and no attempt to cloud any of the issues. .. The whole thing might be a mess, but with this man in there batting for us the cricket world might just stand a chance of coming out the other end a bigger, better sport. .. Go Wally, you da man!

  • POSTED BY thedonturns on | March 17, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    Wally Edwards is a stain on the game. His justification of might is right is meaningless except in fascist terms. He's well paid and will earn more, and as for the rest of the world he couldn't give a toss. Congratulations on promoting business as opposed to cricket.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | March 17, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    I get the impression that there's a great deal of arms- round-shoulders apparent bonhomie going on. I'm sure I've seen 'Srini' and Clarke (Clarki?) in a clinch, similar to the one in this inset photo. And what's wrong with a bit of chumminess? Edwards, meanwhile seems, to be in an attitude of prayer. Good idea, praying. There are two business men among the three and what must always remember with business people? What is their mantra? 'Trust me'...And we have to. Why do I have this nagging feeling that it'll all end in tears? Oh, good to know that cricket took off in India in 1980 with their WC win... So the 100,000 + crowds that used to flock to Eden Gardens to watch Test cricket decades before 1980 were not so much taking off as taxi-ing down the runway? It hasn't occurred to Edwards that India never needed any ICC dollars has had something to do with the 1.3 billion population... Ah me. It's touching.

  • POSTED BY on | March 17, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    @Wayne Perry: Your assumption is kind of ridiculous, since World Football is dictated by Domestic Leagues with very little national play. If cricket were to move in that direction, India would again probably make the most money, and we would be back to square one. National cricket is on the decline,simply because a lot of other countries have lost interest in it.