January 24, 2006

Alarming Beginnings to Cricket's New World Order.

The new administration of BCCI has taken definite and uncompromising steps to forever change the diminishing old order in cricket world. The transformation in itself is welcome and can potentially have healthy consequences, but the nature of its arrival and the evident motives of powers that be are deeply alarming.

After England and Australia dominated the administration of world cricket for far too long, in the last decade or so there have been many changes, as Asian countries began to have more bargaining power. A major factor in this has, of course, been India, due mainly to its financial clout. But the recent announcements from BCCI ensured that in stead of a gradual progression to the new order, we will have a somewhat abrupt and swift change of guard.

Though I am tempted to cautiously welcome this, on second thoughts I am very alarmed. It makes immense sense that India should play lot more against Pakistan and Australia. But, this end could have been attained more elegantly by working with ICC. If ICC can only raise feeble protestations to India's blatantly divisive maneuvers, I am pretty sure that India could have achieved its goals by asserting its power staying inside ICC. If the goals are legitimate, that is.

On the other hand, much of the recent drama has to do, not with genuine welfare of world cricket or even Indian cricket, but with attempts to reap the maximum possible financial benefits from the lucrative Indian Cricket Inc. With ICC at helm, naturally, this maximization is not possible. This is the real nature of what we are seeing. And to the extent that this motive coincides with general well-being of cricket, it will lead to healthy results. But in the long run and in real terms, cricket will be the loser, and winners will be a handful of executives controlling the show. This is just a replacement of one type of colonialism with another.


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