Lorgat confident of avoiding corruption fears
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, is aware that cricket is facing another challenging time following the recent revelations from the IPL and the task of maintaining the status of Test cricket in an increasingly crammed schedule. There is a growing fear that the game has opened itself up to a new wave of corruption with the sums of money now involved in Twenty20 plus the ease of access to matches now provided by satellite TV and the internet.
The ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit, which has been in operation for 10 years since the Hansie Cronje scandal, has worked hard to ensure a clean sport but wasn't involved in the first two seasons of the IPL. It now has a new head man in Ronnie Flanagan following the retirement of Paul Condon and Lorgat said plans remained in place to deal with new and existing issues.
"It would be naïve not to realise that the greater the sport becomes, the more exciting it becomes, the more money it attracts, the bigger the challenges," he told Cricinfo in St Lucia. "We have got a very solid foundation and structure in place to deal with most of these challenges that come to the table. On a daily basis we deal with issues and we do so successfully. I think we have a system which is pretty robust to deal with most things that we face."
The other question posed by the explosion of Twenty20 is a more prosaic one of how to manage an already crammed international schedule. Lorgat confirmed that the new Future Tours Programme cycle has been "agreed in principle" but added that it was almost reaching breaking point.
"There are a few caveats we are working through to confirm it," he said. "There isn't much more room if you think there are ten Full Member countries who bilaterally arrange fixtures, then there are the global events which are pencilled in, which doesn't leave much more space. All the international fixtures we have pretty much fills up the FTP."
The plans for a World Test Championship remain on the table and Lorgat is "excited" about what could be brought to the next ICC meeting in June. Various models have been suggested to try and bring context to Test series, ranging from a two-year rolling table to a two-divisional structure, but Lorgat feels the five-day game is now in better shape after a worrying time.
"Less than two years ago there were concerns," he said. "I went to watch Australia play India in Mohali and I think it was the very game Sachin Tendulkar crossed 12,000 runs. There wasn't much support which was a concern.
"That isn't what you want to see for the pinnacle of the sport. We are very keen to promote Test cricket and build context but importantly it's the quality of the games that will attract interest and I think people are starting to realise we need to proactively do something about it."
With the hectic schedules in mind, Lorgat is content that Twenty20 has found its home on the international stage. There have been three successful tournaments with the current event in West Indies concluding on Sunday in Barbados.
"I think the way we have it where every alternate year we play a world event at Twenty20 and the member countries are limited in terms of how many T20s they play is the right sort of balance," he said. "The majority is then played domestically, which is about right."
He also hinted that the ICC would be keen to reduce the length of future 50-over World Cups following the success of the three World Twenty20 events and the Champions Trophy in South Africa. "That was in our minds when we planned it [the 2011 World Cup] and we shaved off six days for the one next year," he said. "That's the maximum we could cut out and if we can in the future we will cut off more days."
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo