Sunday, January 25, 2009


NSW's McCullum Gamble Flops

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There's something about this summer of cricket in the land down under: it's tight, it's thrilling and there's plenty of drama for the initiated and even those not so. So it was last night at the old Sydney Football Stadium, that Victoria were beaten by an errant umpire, (what turned out to be) an international publicity stunt and some nervy fielding during the closing stages.

Brendan McCullum's start to his one-off KFC Big Bash appearance (see video below) had all the signs that it would end in the Vics being owned and then running to Cricket Australia with complaints of cheating and general skulduggery. Thankfully for everyone involved, especially Cricket Australia, McCullum's cameo had a negligible impact on otherwise great advertisement for cricket.



However, while NSW's tactical signing was a great example of smart administrating and officialdom (now how often do we give away that gong?), it raises the question of which team a player belongs to in this (soon to be) age of global T20 competitions. Fast forward a few years when New Zealand teams are eligible to compete in Lalit Modi's T20 Champions League, Otago makes it to the big stage as do NSW and the Kolkata Knightriders - who owns McCullum?

IMHO, as far as the history of cricket will judge it in a few decades time the current tussle between the banned ICL players and the BCCI is a very minor non-event, for the very reason that fight is akin to David and Goliath. The tipping point will shift dramatically as soon as a big egotistical magnate suffers the 'embarrassment' of having a player for who he paid millions at a cattle call, is ordered to pay for a lowly provincial team to which he originally belonged. Money, in large proportions and flung by the right people, changes everything.

It is for a similar reason that his multi-structured domestic model will not work. The convergence of traditional domestic cricket with the new and glitzy franchise model will happen, and it will happen quickly. There's simply not enough money for it to be a win-win situation for the wealthy businessmen and the poor state / provincial cricket associations.

When the big fat boys with the largest cheque books in the land do take over, what happens to international cricket, and moreover, the "primacy of Test cricket". Given the current quality of clowns administrators that have been thrust upon this great game, I think we will be forced to ask ourselves, "Primacy? What primacy?".

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