Incompetent Chaos Creator?



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The fact that International Cricket Council is quite detached from ground realities of the cricketing world is no secret. But few would have guessed that this level of detachment would have taken such enormous propositions that Sachin Tendulkar would not find a place in its list of top 20 Test batsmen ever!

Adjectives fail to measure the bizarreness of the incomprehensible act of the apex cricketing body.

ICC believes that Australian opener Matthew Hayden (a great no doubt), at number 18 spot, is a better Test batsmen than not only 26th-ranked Tendulkar, but also Brian Lara, a few notches above at 23. Even Jacques Kallis (10th), Kumara Sangakkara (6th) and Mohammad Yousuf (12th) are rated above those individuals, who until now were widely believed as the best players of past two decades.

As expected, there was a backlash. How could Tendulkar be ignored, people asked? Racism, screamed others. In a nutshell, foolish, felt most.

The purpose of this write-up is not to belittle achievements of any of the above gentlemen. Or to fight for Tendulkar’s divine right to top every batting list.

While, players like Hayden, Sangakkara, Kallis and Yousuf might have anyways walked into any Test team in any era, enough space has already been devoted to fight Tendulkar’s case.

And as expected, ICC had to retract.

What’s appalling is ICC growing irrelevance and insensitivity, viz-a-viz the rapidly changing dynamics of the game today.

A recent look at ICC’s work report suggests, whenever the need has arisen, the game’s custodians have failed to rise to the occasion. Be it the chucking issue, the match-fixing scandal, Sydney-gate, ICL, whether to hold Champions Trophy in Pakistan etc, all are just some of the issues plaguing cricket which could have been averted, had ICC been more forthcoming.

Does Muralitharan chuck? If he does, why isn’t he banned? If he doesn’t, why is he subjected to random tests every few years? While BCCI’s decision to ban certain individuals from representing their country for being associated with a privately funded league is shocking, ICC’s inability to react appropriately or decisively is even more inexcusable. Cricket’s supreme body can’t protect its player’s interests from the game’s ‘fascist’ forces!

Another major mess-up ICC managed was over the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. First, amidst several teams’ apprehensions to tour the volatile Pakistan, it was still given the rights to host the high-profile tournament. ‘Security experts’ (whatever they imply) were then sent to the restive country. Numerous clearances were issued. PCB assured teams of top-level security arrangements. ICC bent backwards to convince teams to tour. Then one fine day, under pressure from the Western lobby, ICC postponed the tourney until October next year. As of now, Pakistan will host it.

One gets an impression that ICC genuinely believes in the dictum- If you can’t convince, confuse!

Out of nowhere, a 2-week window was opened for BCCI’s dream project- The Champions League, a sequel to IPL. Test matches were postponed, itineraries were tampered. Post the Mumbai terror strikes, ICC remained mute spectators as Lalit Modi of BCCI declared that the ambitious Twenty20 league would also be held in October 2009.

So, how the Champions League and Champions Trophy would be accommodated inside October is anybody’s guess. Poor Pakistan (sigh)!

Apparently ICC is ruffled by the rapidly increasing popularity of Twenty20 cricket and fears for the future of Test cricket. And it has discovered a novel way to preserve Tests. Kill Twenty20. So brace yourself for an overkill of the fast food format. Two months of IPL in April-May would be followed by men’s and women’s World Cups in June. Then of course, the Champions League in October.

ICC’s most cherished project, globalization of the game, has been one of its most superb failures. Forget globalization. From 10 Test playing members, the number has come down to 9 (Zimbabwe stands suspended), with jury still debating whether Bangladesh deserves to be at top level.

What cricket needs is an apex organization that actually calls the shots. An organization, that doesn’t buckle at the first hint of blackmailing tactics. An organization, that won’t bend backwards for a few millions. An International Cricket Council, and not an ‘Incompetent Chaos Creator’.