We’ve spoken about representative boards and the many challenges they face but as these seem to be akin to the gift that keeps giving, it’s timely to take another look.
When we last explored the subject, we concluded that representative boards – those national or international boards made up of representatives from the member states or countries rather than people best qualified for the tasks at hand – invariably carry baggage.
Self-interest and personal agendas immediately spring to mind. It’s very hard to think bigger picture when you’re answerable to your state or country.
Parochialism tends to come with the territory, a fact that has been spectacularly played out on the international cricket stage in recent months.
About a year ago, you might recall the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), undertook a review of where it was at and how it could best deliver on its charter of looking after the health of the game, particularly its pinnacle, Test cricket.
It also considered how best it could support the fledgling nations and take the great game to even more countries.
Many of the suggestions to broaden the game were not only rejected but in what amounted to something approaching a bloodless coup, the so-called ‘Big Three’ of India, England and Australia literally hijacked the sport, giving themselves sweeping powers and the vast majority of the income.
Gone was the independently prepared Future Tours programme that sought to ensure that the minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe – and, sadly, the once mighty West Indies – got a fair shake of the sauce bottle, got to play the glamour nations at least every four or five years, and were given the opportunity to generate some much-needed income from these glamour series.
In its place, the ‘Big Three’ will now pretty much decide who plays who and how often – and surprise, surprise, there will be a glut of series’ between India, England and Australia, with a flood of money flowing into the already healthy coffers of these nations.
Some might argue that there’s nothing amiss, as the ‘Big Three’ generally generate the income so should get a larger slice of the pie.
A larger slice, perhaps, but not to the point where the remaining seven Test playing nations are left to scrap over the crumbs…and the poor associate nations looking to break into the big time feeding off the miniscule morsels left by the crumbs!
The real issue is that the ICC has forgotten its honourable role as custodians of the game, caring for, nurturing and developing it into a truly international sport. There’s a lack of transparency in the governance of the sport and self-interest and avarice have been allowed to step in and take cricket to the precipice.
And, to use an apt phrase, it’s just not cricket!
Next week we’ll examine another challenge facing representative boards – the fact that they’re often the creation of those with little or no understanding of boardroom dynamics and tend to end up as costly and moribund messes.