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“Don’t let world cricket become an oligarchy”
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“Don’t let world cricket become an oligarchy”

Ryan Bachoo profile picRyan Bachoo, 24, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad and Tobago, is a huge fan of cricket. However, the proposed changes to the world governing body’s rules have the potential to create an unfair system, right at a time when the future is looking promising. Ryan articulates why it needs to be democratic.

I’m happy that cricket is finally moving away from the Indian dictatorship it found itself in a few years ago. However, I’m less impressed with the fact that its system of governance is moving towards what we would call in politics – an oligarchy. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe it is time for major changes in the way cricket is played and broadcasted around the world. However, I am a fan of cricket; not India, England, Australia, or any country for that part. 

The proposed changes the International Cricket Council’s Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee point to are many things we already know, and many challenges the sport has been facing for the last decade. Test cricket, is indeed, suffering from a lack of audience, and broadcasters are rightly not interested in buying its rights. That’s the heart of the matter. 

So the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has come up with a plan to save Test Match cricket by bargaining with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who run the game courtesy of its financial muscle. Under the proposed new arrangements, the ECB, BCCI and Cricket Australia (CA) will take more money from ICC central funds than they have before. Countries will actually be paid for taking part in ICC tournaments. There will also be a four-man executive body of the ICC, which will effectively take all decisions, and will have three permanent members, India, England and Australia. 

Now isn’t that a slap in the face to South Africa, who have dominated both Test and One Day International cricket over the last five years, but still don’t get a seat at the table? As the Independent newspaper put it, “if it contains elements of naked greed and self-interest there is a growing fear that without it the whole structure of the international game could collapse.” 

A summary of the working paper suggests that a new Executive Committee (ExCo) is to be set up with permanent memberships for BCCI, CA, ECB, to override all other committees; promotion and relegation in Test cricket, with exceptions made in the cases of BCCI, CA, ECB; ICC to be delinked from FTP arrangements, with bilateral agreements only taking over; a new finance model of ICC revenue distribution; key positions in ICC—ICC chairman, chairmen of ExCo and finance & commercial affairs committee—to be nominees of BCCI-CA-ECB; reinstatement of Champions Trophy in 2017 and 2021 in place of the World Test Championship. 

So in other words, West Indies, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and New Zealand are just making up numbers in international cricket. I’m disappointed too, that England is willing to sell its soul for the preservation of Test cricket, when in effect there should be no doubt about any format of the game at any point in time. Another key issue is, with this new paper, it means the top posts of the ICC will never be available to any other citizen but from England, Australia and India. 

Cricket has been through a period of brutal dictatorship. The BCCI have managed to get an international window opened for the Indian Premier League, but the window is shot for Australia’s Big Bash League, West Indies’ Caribbean Premier League, Bangladesh’s Premier League and South Africa’s Ram Slam T20. 

On the contrary, I am a major supporter of the two-tier Test system, but again, it is being implemented to serve the oligarchic trio. How can England not face relegation from Test match cricket, especially after they have just lost 5-0 and created history as the first international Test cricket team to be whitewashed five times 5-0? That’s like saying in English football, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal cannot be relegated to Championship division even if they finish 18th, 19th and 20th in the Premier League because they are the richest clubs in England. 

My fear is that world cricket is facing up to the BCCI with fear, bargaining instead of standing firm. It comes at a time to when cricket is promising so much, with teams such as Afghanistan, Ireland and Scotland doing so well as associate teams. I’ve pinpointed England in particular because the game was born there, and the ECB has been the source of inspiration for ensuring cricket remained a gentleman and world game. Now that it has put a price on the game, where can you turn to?

Excuse me, Arsenal are about to play Fulham, I have to go.

photo credit: Digwyddiadau Conwy Events Conwy via photopin cc

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About me:
“Hi, my name Ryan Bachoo. I’m a Journalist and Public Relations Practitioner from PrincesTown in the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve moved into the field of Mass Communication now. I currently work for the West Indies Cricket Board, protecting the online image of West Indies Cricket.
I’ve been a Broadcast Journalist at Cable News Channel 3 for three years. For the Commonwealth Youth Secretariat, I write on topics of politics, war and economics.”
Ryan Bachoo
Journalist & Public Relations Practitioner
The People’s Writer
I speak for those who have no voice!
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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