Monday, August 20, 2007


ICL v BCCI: A Walkover Looms

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In comprehensive favour of the ICL, that is. Especially with the announcement that four of Pakistan's most important and talented players: Inzimam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzak, and Imran Farhat have stuck a boot in the PCB's bloated belly and opted for a more professional organisation that is not run by greedy and unqualified despots.

Organisations like the BCCI, ICC and PCB have got away with gross mismanagement and utter ineptitude for far too long. It has taken an organisation with some semblance of vision and, more importantly, cash to burn, to confront cricket's traditional rulers. This moment, for us fans, couldn't have come at a more opportune moment in the game's history.

The winds of change have gathered such momentum that they are about to sweep with them most cricketers who would otherwise have been called upon by Team India in case of injury and/or (in the absence of illogical selection policies) poor form of one of the incumbents. Players like Deep Dasgupta, Thiru Kumaran, JP Yadav, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Mongia have all represented their country or the 'A' team, at one time or another.

It is unfortunate that the BCCI could not heed the calls of cricket's stakeholders in time to avoid impending humiliation. Time is one commodity the BCCI has had no shortage of. What more could we have expected from the BCCI when it is run along the lines of Indian politics where development is a dark term and progress is best left to chance, rather than achieved through design?

What Does The Future Hold?

I have no doubt that the ICL will stage very successful and entertaining matches in stadiums that are not sorry excuses for gallows. They will make money, and plenty of it too. The crunch, for the BCCI, will come when the ICL expands to one-day cricket and impinges on the BCCI's traditional territory.

At this time, I have very little doubt that this war will go the way of the Australian Rugby League v Super League battle, some years ago. Both parties will not be able to offer a complete package to their employees, without joining hands with each - on some level.

After gaining official accreditation with the ICC, the ICL will develop into a competition similar to that of football's English Premier League or rugby's Super 14. It will be interesting to observe how international cricket fits into a calendar which is being increasingly dominated by a club/franchise-based multinational competition.

Until Then...

Lets enjoy the bickering and the BCCI's futile attempts to gain lost ground against a rampaging ICL setup. If nothing else, we might just be treated to a competition run by people who care as much for the sport as they do for their bank accounts.

I just hope that the ICL can deliver what it has promised. Even if it does fail in organising a well-oiled, global cricket competition, I would be happy if it managed to kick Sharad Pawar, Niranjan Shah, Lalit Modi, et al out of office with their tails well and truly entrenched between their fat legs.

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