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Sight Screen

Monday, January 09, 2006

The BCCI revolution

In the Guardian, folks, this extended piece on the BCCI's demand for a revised schedule, which the ICC is set to consider.
However you describe it, the International Cricket Council will agree to give India the expanded home fixture list the muscle of their wealth demands. They will rubber-stamp the decision in March and thereby avoid a damaging split. But, by backing down to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (that is such a cumbersome title, guys - how about the the Popular Front for Indian Cricket?), the ICC will legitimise a significant power shift in the game. There is no turning back now: India runs cricket.
It's a fine line between self-serving anarchy and legitimate revolution, and the BCCI just about get away with this piece of naked adventurism because, coincidental to their commercial ambitions or not, they have a hell of a case. They generate more than half the game's income, yet are given maybe a seventh of home games among the leading nations.

The story makes the case for India; what is amusing is that the author, who seemingly believes India has a justifable argument, can't resist suggesting that this is self-serving anarchy and 'naked adventurism' on the BCCI's part, or taking a dig at the overlong name of India's cricket body (a touch smaller than England and Wales Cricket Board, but let's not go there).
For more than a century, England and Australia have ruled cricket. Cricket was all about the Ashes - until the rise of West Indies. Once there was only the Marylebone Cricket Club, then the Imperial Cricket Conference (with all the historical weight those words carry), then the revamped ICC as is. Until the noisy arrival of India's vibrant, but abrasive administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya at the helm of the ICC in 1997, the game was in the grip of its past. Not any more.
Those who spluttered over their gin when the story broke in these pages last week might like to consider what it might have been like. Up until their summit in Melbourne last October, the ICC's Future Tours Programme for 2006-2012 listed the following: Australia 124 weeks of home internationals, England 110 weeks, India 69 weeks, and Pakistan 62. Hardly a reasonable carve-up.
What was doubly unfair was that England's and Australia's playing weeks were to be in their peak period; others would have a more fragmented roster.
England and Australia were the only countries to be hosting two teams each year - every year between 2007 and 2011. In that time, Pakistan would have no home matches for two years and Sri Lanka would have only two weeks of home internationals in one year.

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