Friday, February 22, 2008

How to rape a sport: By the ICC Chief Executive's Comittee

Sometimes bad decisions are made in sport for puportedly good reasons. Sometimes bad decisions are made purely through greed and an ability to trample roughshod over those with less power. The ICC Chief Executives' Committee decision to recommend a reduction in the number of World Cup teams to 14 is one of the latter decisions. It is a decision that has no regard for the future well being of the sport, purely for the short term interest of the powerful few who currently hold the reins.

For those unacquainted with the reasons behind the decision, in the last World Cup Ireland provided some of the few moments of interest when they played out of their skins along the way to eliminating Pakistan from the tournament in the initial stage. Because the bungling fools at the ICC had scheduled too long a World Cup and because they needed a scapegoat, they were happy to fuel the notion put forward by Pakistan that there were too many teams in the World Cup and hence it diluted the standard and made it a boring affair.

In actual fact, what diluted the standard of the World Cup was teams such as Pakistan playing well below par and the ICC looking purely at the $$$ behind playing only one match a day and then having an overly long second stage to the tournament. Because of this, the Associates, who have by the way done everything asked of them by the ICC and more (despite ludicrously low income from the ICC and little real support), are penalised. All because certain Test teams were not good enough to beat some of the ever improving Associates.

This from the very organisation that claims to be pushing so hard to expand the game globally. What a bunch of horseshit. Today we saw a very clear indication of what the nations at the top of the pile have in view for World Cricket and it is very much a case of the rich get richer and sod the poor. No wonder cricket cannot get a true foothold outside the established nations and if this sort of attitude persists it will not be a surprise if it starts to lose ground even within that inner sanctum.

So often we hear the ICC go on about players being fined for bringing the game into disrepute. How hypocritical. Off all the things that have tainted the game, most come either directly from the ICC, such as this decision, or get exacerbated by their handling of it. If I were a player and was fined, I reckon I would counter sue in the International Court of Sports Arbitration. A just jury would not have to think too hard about who has done the game more damage.

There are over 100 countries that play cricket. Only 10 of them play Test cricket and of those 10, at least 2 are only just better than the Associates, if they are that. Numbers of players in most of the leading Associates are growing in leaps and bounds and their standard of play is improving all the time. Given the right opportunities against the Test sides, they would likely be more than competitive come the World Cup. Instead they are kept on the outside, playing only against each other and are then penalised when they break into the inner circle and upset the odds to beat one of the Test teams when the World Cup does come around.

Today makes me ashamed to be a follower of cricket and angry to be a supporter of a minority that deserve better support rather than the betrayal served up by the I$C$C - may the fleas of a million camels infest their armpits and infect them with every nasty disease there is!