Talk of the Town: Who Will Stand Against The Big 3?
As an ardent follower of Cricket, by just reading the phrase “Big 3” in the title, one will come to understand fully of what I am going to talk about here. Of course, it is regarding the revamp of ICC which is in process by boards ofonly three countries: India, Australia and England. Is this amockery of this traditional game? Or do we call it a tragedy its sincere fans are about to face? Or we justify it by calling a practicality? As like other so many Cricket followers of the world, I too am uncertain as to how this will disclose, but one thing’s for sure, the balance of the sport which was already tilted, is taking a more vertical shape.
Every other sports author has already discussed the constituents of this draft paper. The internet is filled with calculations, speculations and implications of the proposed paper. I want to look more on as to how it started, who will stop it, and possibly how it might end.
Let’s rewind back a little and see where it all initiated. Let’s go back to the end of last century right when the World Cup 1999 (WC ’99) was played. The tournament was hosted by England and I still feel the format and atmosphere of the tournament was astonishing. WC ‘99 had it all; from the brutal South Africans to the surprising Pakistanis and then finally the mighty Australians. Cricket fans around the world were feeling the indescribable soothing winds of ODI Cricket. Test Cricket was no dead either. The Australia tour to West Indies and then Pakistan tour to India included some of the most memorable matches in the history of Cricket. The likes of Brian Lara, Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting were in the matured era of their respective careers. Cricket was on its way to the top.
With the turn of the new century, in 2003, ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) introduced Twenty20 Cricket. I still remember I was not very much animated about it. I started enjoying the format way after that, but till very recently, I never thought that implications of this introduction would cost us 11 years later. Within the next few years, hell broke loose and domestic Twenty20 tournaments started in most of the top test playing nations. On 17 February, 2005,first-ever International Twenty20 was played and in 2007, first-ever World Twenty20 was played in South Africa, which was introduced as the championship title for this format.
India won the first ever World Twenty20, which meant they won a world title after 24 years. Indian Cricket fans built a genuine affection for the format and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) launched the first ever globally recognized and the most glamorous Twenty20 tournament on earth, the Indian Premiere League, famously known as the IPL.
The IPL since then has been considered the extra leverage that BCCI holds as compared to all other members of ICC, which it still continues to hold. There have been many instances that the relation of BCCI with other boards has been openly expressed in the IPL. While ECB has never shown deep interest to send its players to play to the tournament, CA (Cricket Australia) and CSA (Cricket South Africa) have always made it sure that their players attend the tournament barring national team priorities. And I am not even mentioning the curiosity that other relatively weaker boards of West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka possess. Moreover, I also don’t mention the unsaid love story of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with BCCI here is because it belongs in a different league altogether since the Mumbai attacks, 2008, or since 1947.
To cut the long story short, boards are exultant when their players play in the IPL, since their players gain excess monetary paybacks. My point is that when boards are not even considering letting the IPL go at any cost, which bring probably nothing tangible to the board, how can they risk Indian International team not playing with them? Considering that BCCI has also included CA and ECB, the rest of the boards can expect nothing but massive monetary obliteration if they oppose the draft proposal.
The first meeting has taken place and things still don’t look too good despite four boards opposing tha paper considerably. It’s just like the Big 3 will take the bat and ball, and ask other boards to buy their own set of goods if they want to play. By how straightforward it sounds, it is not possible. The opposing boards may not survive since they will face a severe boycott.
Studying finance broadens one’s vision a lot. Sometimes I think the Big 3 is run mostly by finance and economics people due to which they have elected for this revamping strategy. Finance implicitly states that if an entity has an earning opportunity and it is not utilizing to the extent it should, that entity is foolish. Even if debt is the only option and the entity has to leverage itself heavily, it should go for it.
But on the other hand, economics also teaches us that the consequences of running a business should be realized more in the long run than in the short run. By reading this draft proposal for the last three days, I have made an inference that the members of“ Big 3 ” have only studied the short run chapter of managerial economics. And I am not even bothering to consider the moral obligations and the irony of life which is clearly being implemented here, “Might is right!” I believe on this epic quote since childhood though:
“The bigger they are, the harder they fall!”
How it might end? I see this only ending with the turn of time rather than an individual or body making it happen. In 1990’s, BCCI was powerless, today the time has come when it is turning the tables. Talking in purely Cricketing context, Australia was merely unbeatable for the better part of the first decade of this century. Who would have thought that they may not even be in the top four by 2013? Let alone top four, no one ever thought they would leave the top spot. Similarly, the BCCI is on top and as with all people or entities in the history of this universe, who have reached their culmination, are bound to fall sometime later. This soon shall pass and being Cricket fanatics, let’s just hope it passes before the game gets dead.
This article has been written by Nix. He tweets @nabilzcricnix