Thursday, July 01, 2010

How Dysfunctional Can Cricket Get?

The inevitable has happened. John Howard's push for becoming the ICC Vice-President has hit the mountain of a roadblock that all but Cricket Australia could see. This has kicked off a fresh round of accusations and counter accusations from the sides on either side.

Cricket Australia is miffed at its candidate being shafted without the boards having a logical reason to do so. Maybe they're not aware of all the Australians who can't stand the sight of their former Prime Minister. Maybe they thought their Big Brother attitude toward New Zealand would go unnoticed by the cricketing fraternity. One doesn't know how it managed to convince its neighbour to not back Sir John Anderson, a man with extensive experience as a cricket administrator. Is it surprising to see this happen when a few months ago Inderjit Singh Bindra's push for an ICC post was considered dangerous for the sport simply because he's Indian?

Australian journalists are talking about the ICC being split along racial lines. They usually start their editorials with their general dislike for Howard the politician and go on to state that it shouldn't be the reason boards object to his candidature, and that it isn't. They point to Zimbabwe's objection being a result of Howard's stand against the Mugabe regime, to which others point to his indifference to the apartheid regime in South Africa. They refuse to believe the man was opposed to his countrymen touring Zimbabwe because of the lessons he learnt from his indifferent stance toward South Africa.

Sri Lankans can't get over the fact that Howard called Muralitharan a chucker. Howard isn't the only man to call him that and I don't see why he had to be politically correct about a cricketer's action just because he was Prime Minister. One of the greatest spinners in the history of the game has shared Howard's view. It led to Murali consider filing a lawsuit against him. Apparently an international umpire was asked not to call Murali for chucking in the final of a World Cup. He refused and he didn't stand in that game, although that may have nothing to do with his stand on Murali's action.

These things only point to people wanting a puppet heading the ICC. An impotent and incompetent man completely devoid of any opinion or the will to act on one, not that John Howard is a man of impeccable character. It's probably a good thing that he won't be heading the ICC in two years time. One hopes it will be Sir John Anderson instead.

But neither is Sharad Pawar. The man hardly has a legacy of uniting people, he was the brains behind the biggest split in India's biggest national party. His tenure as the country's Agriculture Minister has seen hundreds of farmers committing suicide and steady increase in food prices. Coming to his cricketing legacy, he has his fingers in the IPL pie (Not that other politicians and BCCI officials don't). When he lost the BCCI election in 2004, his protege Shashank Manohar got the curator at the VCA Stadium to prepare a green top in order to help Australia win. The Aussies weren't going to look the gift horse in the mouth and duly demolished India to win their first series in the country in 35 years.

As for the fans, the Asians are happy to see their boards having so much leverage over the so-called white countries. One can increasingly see them wanting to get back at the white boards for decades of subjugation. Some are happily wishing for a split in the cricketing world so that their team doesn't have to share any money with the countries that are equally responsible for making the sport so popular in their country. On the other hand, the whites can't come to terms with the power shift and want to go back to the good old days when they had all the power.

While all this is happening, cricket drifts from one meaningless series to another. England and Australia are about to finish an inconsequential ODI series, India will play their second test series in Sri Lanka in two years and the Kiwis will join the two nations for a tri-series for a second year in a row. We still don't have a structured international calendar which sees teams playing each other equally over a period of time. There is major disparity in the amount of money the sport generates in various countries. The governing body can't arrive at a consensus on how to implement the UDRS.

These are just the issues I can think of off the top of my head. There are many more but I'm not going to hold my breath over them being solved. The administrators, players and fans involved with the sport are a bunch of retards who can't understand the simple fact that it's time to put the past behind them and look at making cricket a truly global sport. I hope they rot in hell alongwith the sport - I have other sports to capture my imagination if that happens.


  1. How do you understand the term dysfunctional? What would you rather have people do, that they are not doing now, why would doing this be better, and how would it be better?

  2. Welcome to the blog, Kartikeya.

    I don't think there is just one solution. However, a good starting point would be for boards to recognise the need to put the sport before their short-term gains. There is no point in fans and administrators dwelling on the past and wanting to settle old scores.

    One thing I've been in favour of is a structured international calendar over a four-year period. Something along these lines:

    I also came up with a full schedule. It's on Boredcricketcrazyindians. Again, this is just one aspect to it. Once boards realise they need to stop being petty there is no limit to where they can take the sport.

  3. They have a structured international calender already. It's called the Future Tours Program. There's a minor thing called the IPL that has come in the way. Also, there's the other small matter called ODI and T20 cricket, eating into Test Matches.

    Who wants to settle old scores? Do you really think John Howard would be a good ICC President?

  4. It's hardly structured. Teams can fit in as much cricket as they want even after the FTP has been put out. I'm talking about a calendar set in stone wherein every team plays each other home and away ONLY ONCE over the four-year cycle. There is also a window for the IPL and Champions League, something which I believe should be there keeping in mind the popularity of the IPL and the potential of a Champions League which would be hosted on a rotational basis.

    I don't know if John Howard would make a good ICC President. But it's pretty clear why the Lankans don't want him and it's not his administrative record. The Zimbabweans don't want him because he called out their rogue head of state. Sharad Pawar who has been just as pathetic as Howard has no problems garnering support because he has never taken a stand against any problem - political or cricketing. So let's just continue to have people like him in office and let cricket drift aimlessly while other sports capture a more global audience.

  5. Yes, and why are those not legitimate problems? Would you accept some abusive person representing you in your most consequential association?

  6. Abusive? I wonder how you refer to Howard as being abusive. And having worked in India for a fair bit of time I can safely say that most people representing their organisations tend to have somewhat of a dirty tongue.

    Howard's snub is just another consequence of the cricketing fraternity being at odds with itself. CA pushed him over Sir John Anderson because they had their agenda, the boards that brought him down did so because they had their agenda. None of these agendas have the future of cricket at the top of the list of priorities.

  7. Howard as ICC President would preside over Zimbabwe and South Africa, both of whom he has been abusive towards.

    "A cricketing fraternity at odds with itself" - I'm afraid I don't understand what this means. What would a cricketing fraternity that is not at odds with itself look like? What would it do?

    Mahek - Having agendas is not illegitimate, it is essential.

    What is the "future of cricket"? Is there a pre-ordained "future" that these organizations don't grasp? Are they not producing the future of cricket through their actions? Should the question not be about how they have affected the future of cricket by rejecting the Howard nomination?

    How do you know they have hurt the future of cricket? I dont understand the basis of this widespread judgment.

  8. "These things only point to people wanting a puppet heading the ICC"