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“Is the International Cricket Council at risk of being all out?”
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“Is the International Cricket Council at risk of being all out?”

Proposed changes to cricket’s worldwide governance are causing serious worries for ordinary fans and could leave the sport in the doldrums, writes Ryan Bachoo, a 21-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad and Tobago.

The sport of cricket, generally known as the ‘gentleman’s game’ appears to be heading for some very un-gentlemanly decisions and discussions.

If the recent rules changes are not massive enough, where a batsman can’t get a head-start on a run and an injured batsman cannot have the luxury of a runner, things are set to get all the more complicated, and controversial.

When it comes to the governance of the game, a rotational policy, developed in 1996, has been in effect for over a decade. This gives every full-member nation of the International Cricket Council a chance to hold the post at the pinnacle of the game, presidency and vice-presidency.

In 2007, when the policy was renewed with the post of vice-presidency introduced, countries were paired off to head the game in different periods; Australia-New Zealand, West Indies-England, India-Sri Lanka, Pakistan-Bangladesh and South Africa-Zimbabwe. Now though, with the short era of Indian domination, thanks to the finances and television audiences that the game brings in in that country the ICC, headed by Indian Sharad Pawar, wants to have the rotational policy scrapped.

To make a long story short, he wants to see that any given member nation can hold the position of presidency and vice-presidency for however long they are continuously re-elected. With India’s financial muscle in the game, it shouldn’t be a problem for someone like Pawar to head the game for years to come. This does not sit well with the current constitution of the game and can cause more than just a few heated arguments.

However, from all angles, with the interest of cricket at heart (I hope), the game looks like it is inevitably heading towards the doldrums of the Kerry Packer era once again. For two main reasons, cricket fans should be worried. The first is that India seems more obsessed with the shorter forms of the game than with Test match cricket, and more importantly, there is strong evidence that there is a link between India’s cricket board (Board of Controls for Cricket in India) and the ICC.

This is shown by the lack of transparent decision making when it came to the Decision Review System. Instead of the ICC imposing the system on world cricket, the BCCI flexed its muscles and rejected, and still rejects it, when India plays. It can never be good when the governing body is without full power, which in-turn can make football’s world governing body, FIFA, look good.

The second major concern is that should cricket stick with the rotational policy, the next holders of the third most popular sport in the world is Pakistan-Bangladesh. Frankly, both these nations have shown that they are barely capable of handling matters at home, let alone controlling the future of cricket. From match-fixing to spineless allegations from Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Ijaz Butt, one can’t help to have alarming concerns about Pakistan and Bangladesh controlling cricket affairs.

It leaves the sport though with only two options: a growing power-house whose eyes are fixed only on the wealth the game is generating, or a questionable government that has a poor track record when it comes to major positions. With a reported nine out of ten Test playing nations already supporting the change in policy, it looks as though we are only waiting for confirmation of cricket’s fate, which may have long, already, been sealed.

If you had the choice though, which policy would you go with? I’d say India looks the lesser of two evils.

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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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