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Page 2

Give administrators the freedom to eat themselves

Let the Australian, English and Indian boards do what they want regardless of our wishes. They'll soon learn

Alex Bowden
Giles Clarke and N Srinivasan at the ICC's executive board meeting, London, Friday, October 18, 2013

"Now that we've sorted the cricket, will you scratch my back - there's a spot I just can't reach"  •  Getty Images

A friend of a friend operates according to the "oh let him, he'll soon learn" parental philosophy. The central tenet is that you should let your son do any old stupid thing because "he'll soon learn".
For example, if your toddler is wending his way towards a roaring open fire, rather than allowing any nearby adult to intervene in order to protect him from harm, you instead hold everyone back, saying: "Oh let him - he'll soon learn." The child promptly sustains a severe injury, but presumably doesn't make the same mistake again.
Well, I vote we adopt this laissez-faire approach to nannying with the cricket administrators of Australia, England and India. We can't control them; they do what they want regardless of our wishes. Why don't we leave them to it? They'll soon learn.
So Pakistan, South Africa, Ireland, Afghanistan, Disneyland, Narnia and every other cricketing nation with half an ounce of sense should say to the big league trio: "Okay, off you go. We'll give you free rein to do your own thing for the next decade. Go and create the cricket world you've dreamed of and we'll keep ourselves busy doing something completely different. If, at the end of that ten-year period you still want to persist with things, we'll make it all official and that will be that. However, if, against all the odds, it turns out that your brave new world turns into a foetid dung heap, we'll welcome you back into the fold - only this time we'll do things our way."
So Australia, England and India do an awkward and embarrassing three-way high-five thing and promptly set about drawing up plans for Shangri-La. India will play endless home one-dayers against Australia, who will also have to find the time to play home and away Ashes series each year. The Elite T20 World Cup will involve all three and will move from nation to nation, year by year.
The year one financial results come in and huzzah, everyone's absolutely coining it in. The year-two results are slightly down, but that's explained away by the fact that some of the cricket wasn't as competitive as in year one. Hopefully things will bounce back in year three.
In year three, the cricket's worse and the viewing figures are worse. In year four, the cricket improves but the viewing figures are down again. TV rights negotiations then become an exercise in trying to make broadcasters somehow see a mirror image of all your graphs.
By year ten, this insular, idiotic monster has eaten itself. Starved of outside sustenance, the body has had to resort to drawing energy from within in order to keep itself alive - but you can only rely on your fat reserves to last so long. Sooner or later you have to put something in.
What is the most basic impulse in the natural world? It is surely the urge to eat. Even the stupidest animal alive knows that it isn't a self-contained unit. It might not understand that what it consumes eventually turns into its physical form, but there is nevertheless a fundamental understanding that it can't just sit there, blocking out the wider world and hope to survive.
However, the administrators of Australia, England and India appear to believe precisely that. They think that just because they've got a window of opportunity to sit down and groom themselves right now, this is all they're ever going to need to do. There's no plan for the future here, only a plan for some fictional timeline where actions don't have consequences.
If these three nations want to join hands and set off skipping gaily down the idyllic road they think they've found, admiring the flowers and gently kissed by a warm summer sun, then let them. They'll soon learn.

Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket