WORLD CRICKET

Weekend Witness - - Opin­ion -

FOR decades, in­ter­na­tional cricket fol­lowed an im­pe­rial agenda. To­day, big money rules, as high­lighted by cur­rent pro­pos­als to re­form the sport’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and op­er­a­tion.

Three coun­tries, it is sug­gested, will be per­ma­nent mem­bers of a four­na­tion ex­ec­u­tive, im­mune from rel­e­ga­tion in a two­tier sys­tem of Test cricket. The tri­umvi­rate is In­dia, Aus­tralia and Eng­land, the sources of cricket’s fi­nance.

One mo­ti­va­tion is that Test matches must be saved. In­deed, their demise would turn cricket into a pro­ces­sion of for­get­table matches dom­i­nated by slog­ging bats­men and neg­a­tive bowlers. Given the num­ber of five­day matches played in empty sta­dia, this is un­hap­pily pos­si­ble. But there is more to this move: an at­tempt to use the over­pow­er­ing wealth of In­dian cricket to dom­i­nate the world game. Aus­tralia and Eng­land clearly know what is ex­pe­di­ent. South Africa’s crick­eters will be left as also­rans. This sum­mer has demon­strated the con­se­quences of bi­lat­eral ar­range­ments and the aban­don­ment of the long­term tour pro­gramme. In­dia both de­ter­mined the itin­er­ary and side­lined Cricket South Africa’s chief ex­ec­u­tive. The role of in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­ing bod­ies is cus­to­dial, to pro­mote sport in an eq­ui­table fash­ion. CSA must take the lead in op­pos­ing any dis­crim­i­na­tory change in world cricket.

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