Cricket Piracy

The proposal by India, Australia and England to usurp power in the world of cricket may be a case of making official what may very well already be standard practice.

There is little doubt in my mind that the steering force behind this is India, with Australia and England electing financial gain above the interests of cricket, which they are supposed to defend. Somewhere in there is yet another attempt at having a go at Haroon Lorgat.

Ironically, the man best suited to stand up and be counted is the self-same Haroon Lorgat who was unceremoniously pushed aside by his own board at the demand of the Indian cricketing authorities late last year.

An article by Antoinette Muller, a columnist at media 24, titled “Time to revolt, Cricket fans”, sketches Lorgat’s role as follows:

CSA already asked that the proposal be withdrawn, firing a very PC shot, calling the paper “fundamentally flawed” and “in breach of the ICC Constitution”. That’s a good start. Haroon Lorgat has been in the headlines since his appointment as CEO of CSA and while he has copped much criticism, he has a chance to be a real leader in standing up to the powers that be.  As Osman Samiuddin wrote in The National, his role in all of this could be crucial. He is, after all, the man who stood up to the BCCI and the man who instigated the Lord Woolf governance review.  If ever there was a chance for Lorgat to prove that he has the ability to galvanise and lead opposition and reform, this would be it.

Strangely enough, New Zealand may be holding the aces in this game of poker. One view, expressed by David Leggatt in the NZ Herald, sums up their hand:

New Zealand Cricket’s board member and ICC delegate, Martin Snedden, is confident NZC’s interests will be enhanced rather than hurt by the proposed changes. The Herald understands that’s not a view shared universally by the game’s stakeholders in New Zealand.

Leave financial matters aside. This has all the hallmarks of an attempted hijacking of the game for three heavyweight interest groups.

In purely playing terms, New Zealand’s rights may not be compromised, at least for the initial eight-year period the paper has called for, starting in 2015. But where would the security be beyond that?

And why would any country essentially place its playing future in the hands of an all-powerful group of three others? So many unanswered questions.

What rankles is the perception of three nations lording it – officially this time – over the rest. There is the whiff of an ambush, which the other nations are right to resist.

The ICC executive board is due to meet next week in Dubai. Seven votes are required to implement changes. Mark down India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as a block, England and Australia. South Africa’s position is clear. That leaves the West Indies, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Should New Zealand vote for change they’ll have some explaining to do as to why they helped hand almost total power for the top level international game to three countries.

It is heartening to hear that the international players’ association have also thrown their weight behind South Africa’s protest. Maybe we need another Kerry Packer?

This whole revolting, bullying tactic reminds me of the politician who was asked what his stand on principles was.

“I have very strong principles. If you do not like them, I’ve got others.”

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