Blog by: Roh
It is the helming body for cricket globally, but the way in which the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) been steering sport in recent times, the route ahead looks to be a difficult one. Its silence on several key issues affecting the sport has come to be interpreted as a sign of its acceptance of the existing status quo, many that stand to jeopardise the very existence of the sport.
In the recently concluded Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) meeting ICC failed yet again to come up with a decisive stand. The issues about the two-ball rule in ODIs, the DRS and most significantly, the team reviews, continued to remain in stalemate as the ICC went on to take a palliative course of action that further divided the sport amongst its various partakers. Considering that some of these problems dogged the entire Australian tour to England and, given the due handling by the ICC at the CEC, would pose a problem in the Australian Ashes’ leg, the ICC’s governance is no doubt in question.
And though the divided opinion amongst the various cricketing boards regarding the two-ball ODI rule can indeed afford the ICC some respite, fact can then be pinpointed towards the International Cricket Council’s undue leaning towards more influential cricketing boards. For the ICC then, this is perhaps an even bigger problem looming large that could very well impact the entirety of the sport adversely.
Be it the BCCI which has emerged to be the most dominant player in the global cricketing scenario in the present times or the ECB to whose tunes the ICC was swinging during the English Ashes’ leg, the ICC has proven itself to be an institution that can be easily manipulated. The growing concerns about the newer developments to the sport challenging and affecting the traditions and values of the sport hasn’t been then met or addressed by the ICC which continues to vacillate between the two, seemingly in an attempt to pacify both in equal measures.
These attempts to give an adequate response in turn have started to come across more like compromising measures by the ICC, not really doing enough justice to steady the imbalance between the conventional cricketing systems and the newer ones. This has also further divided the global cricketing community with each party viewing the other as an interloping aberration. As the chief cricketing authority responsible to ensure that all changes and transitions are smoothly effectuated, the ICC has thus thoroughly fallen short with each of its decision reinforcing the underlying aspect about it being controlled by the most monetarily dominant cricketing board having its own agenda as the primary objective.
The very premise with which the ICC was founded thus lies in shambles, a mockery of its own making. Though influential forces have always been a tangible part of the ICC, the present situation is far direr as compared to the past because of the way cricket has come to be interpreted in today’s times amongst the other existing sports.
As a team sport, cricket holds a very unique status in the global sporting arena. The significance of ICC thus gets even more elevated considering that at the end of the day – in spite of all influences from other cricketing bodies – it is the sole power capable of making or breaking the sport. At a time when cricket is looking towards bringing into its fold, newer participants and thus taking its popularity to far soaring heights, the International Cricket Council needs to maintain transparency so as to ensure that its faults don’t hamper the sport’s prosperity. Just as the cricketing rule-book maintains about sportsmen maintaining integrity, it’s necessary that the ICC breaks the shackles of its own inadequacies and re-emerges as a sporting authority in the truest sense of the word.