Wednesday, 6 February 2013

ICC: International or ‘Indian’ Cricket Council

Muhammad Asif Khan

To run a business adequately the existence of a competent governing body is a must, however only the competence would be of no use if the system is not followed in it’s true spirit.

This is a universal rule, hence also applied on the bodies responsible for running the affairs of any sport including Cricket.

Converging on Cricket where the International Cricket Council (ICC) is the supreme authority which, with the help of it’s member Cricket boards, works for the betterment of the game worldwide.

The game of Cricket also requires a system like other walks of life but before the system and it’s effectiveness firstly to understand the system itself is a must. By definition, the system is consist of a set of components work in coordination or harmony to perform a certain job, and if it’s Cricket than the ICC has the system and the member cricket boards are it’s components.

Over the years, with the harmonious work of the components – Member Cricket Boards – the ICC has been able to introduce a lot of innovations to the sport and transformed it into a much better spectacle at the moment.

But, in recent times this harmonious love affair between the system and it’s components seems to have jolted. Not so far ago the ICC introduced the Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS) to minimise the element of error as much as possible but contrary to other members, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been tenacious and not willing to adopt the UDRS. The BCCI has it’s reading to the situation and it does not consider the UDRS as an immaculate methodology hence is not favouring it.

Not blaming India because a system needs to have all it’s components working properly, while in case of the UDRS, the major component is the Hot-Spot which should be present everywhere, also the hawk-eye needs to be spot-on to produce error-less conclusion however these aspect have not fully satisfied all the stakeholders.

What can the ICC do in this situation? It can not put it’s foot-down the way FIFA did on the implementation of the goal-line technology in football.

Before moving further, the role of FIFA, rather the difference between the mechanisms of ICC and FIFA needs to be understood. We can’t compare both the governing bodies because FIFA is the federation – which has the power to impose it’s decision on it’s affiliated units while the ICC, being a council could not go all the way against a member.

So, it’s come down to the ICC again, India does not like the UDRS and it’s fine they have a right to do so but what the ICC is doing with the members who are happily willing to implement the review system?  As per the existing regulations, if two boards playing a bilateral series then the expense for the UDRS system would be their responsibility, however in an ICC sponsored event, this will be the responsibility of the ICC. Again, a confusion arises, wasn’t the last year’s ODI world cup the ICC event? Then why the UDRS was not installed there? The answer is the descent of the BCCI.

Okay, if the BCCI has a right to object then why other cricket boards can’t enjoy the same liberty in other matters? When the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) says that they could not entirely implement the ICC directives regarding a democratically elected Cricket board then why the PCB is given a cold shoulder by the ICC?

This is not the only case. In the ongoing women world cup, the ICC is acting as a spectator only. India says matches to be held in Mumbai or Cuttack or elsewhere, the ICC says okay, India accommodates one cricket team which is participating in the mega event at a stadium, which is indeed against ICC’s own regulations but again the International Cricket Council kept mum. This strange rather partial behaviour of the ICC puzzles the followers who wonder who is actually calling the shots?

If the BCCI is strong, then it also means that the ICC is weak. Can’t right much on the dichotomies and just want to leave you and ICC with a question.

Since the BCCI has set a precedent of accommodating a national cricket team at a stadium during the ICC World Cup then why can’t Pakistan be given the same liberty to host any of the teams with the same condition? Yes Pakistan can organise a bilateral series if allowed to put the visitors at the stadium all the time, can ICC or the BCCI do PCB this favour? 

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