Thursday, December 10, 2009

ICC kisses BCCI's feet, once again

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of cricket, has once again proved its inability in stamping its own authority and instead bowing down to the pressures of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This latest development surrounds ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP) post 2012. ICC president David Morgan has suggested that the home-and-way component of the current FTP could be done away with. This would mean teams no longer have to play two minimum bilateral series every six years, once at home and the other on away soil.

The suggestion should ring alarm bells on two counts. Firstly, the BCCI's ever-growing influence continues to grow even stronger with this. Despite the home-and-away requirement in the current FTP, India has still not hosted minnows Bangladesh for a test series on its own soil.Shakib Al Hasan might never get to play a test match on Indian soil The obvious reason for this is the financial non-feasibility of such a series in which the sponsors, broadcasters and the public would not take much interest. With this new FTP suggestion, more of such cases would start happening. Bangladesh could then be left playing only at home as no one (barring West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) would be willing to host them. Even West Indies would struggle to find tours to Australia and England after the controversy surrounding their tours this year. BCCI, being the financial powerhouse, would then start dictating how frequently it plays against each opposition. It wouldn't be surprising if India, newly crowned No. 1 Test team, remained on top for a long period simply by hosting more series and exploiting home advantage against teams like Sri Lanka, England, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. while avoiding tours to New Zealand, Australia and England where they have generally struggled. Another reason for this suggestion is obviously to make more room for Twenty20 cricket and its no secret which cricket board is most obsessed about T20s. Sharad Pawar is all set to take over as the ICC president next year so the Indian hold on cricket just keeps getting stronger. The ICC has since long been a puppet body. The future suggests that even the puppet's face may not be needed as the BCCI bluntly takes charge.

The second fallout of the post-2012 FTP should raise even more concerns. This suggestion, if implemented in the new FTP, would lead to isolation of Pakistan as a host nation. As it is, teams are already reluctant to tour Pakistan. It was only out of obligation that teams like Australia and New Zealand played Pakistan at neutral venues. With the home-and-away component being phased out,Pakistani grounds might never experience such full-house crowds againPakistan is most likely to be alienated in the world of cricket. The financially-stricken PCB would lose out even more due to the TV rights deal with Ten Sports falling flat. Also, since PCB would not be organizing any matches as home series, the potential income from sponsorships and gate money would also evaporate in thin air. It is a pity that a nation which is crazy about cricket might not see talent such as Mohammed Aamer playing in front of the home crowd.

It is rather sad that the traditional form of cricket, instead of being promoted, is being killed by the financial muscle of the BCCI and its greed for an even bigger pie. Moreover, ICC's efforts of globalizing the game would certainly take a hit as no test cricket would eventually lead to cricket being followed less in countries such as Pakistan. As a result, instead of expanding to newer countries, even the current teams might start falling apart due to lack of depth in the coming years. This polarized version of test cricket would eventually lead to the death of the purist form of the game. Alas!


  1. Very true. Great article. It's sad that test cricket will die as as result of shortsightedness and greed of one powerful cricket board.

  2. india is destroying cricket . . .

  3. lets hope it doesn't come to that!

  4. Fantastic article. I really didn't know about this development.