It is a common enough expression but it certainly applies to cricket at the moment – What is the world coming to?
Indian cricket is mired in a potentially damaging legal situation over IPL controversies, the West Indies have sought yet another report about the state of their game, with no guarantee of any action while Bangladesh’s coach Shane Jurgensen has resigned because of pressure from board directors.
The situation in India is interesting with the Supreme Court having avoided a much stronger approach than it might want to employ, seemingly in the hope that some sort of sense will prevail among administrators.
But looking in from outside it appears that that prospect is unlikely. Regulation is required but no-one is prepared to do it.
Self-interest has taken over and while the cricket world watches and waits there is little hope of any resolution. It is a diabolical situation rendered the worse because of the lack of responsibility among the Indian cricket authorities.
Given all the changes that have happened with the International Cricket Council the situation appears dysfunctional to say the least and it can only be wondered when, and whether, normality will ever return to the game as it used to be known.
It is interesting that former international batsman Dilip Vengsarker believes India is not paying enough attention to Under-19 cricket nor its A team programme. There was no excuse for this he said because the Indian board was the richest in the world.
But he said the lack of accountability in Indian cricket was a reflection of the lack of accountability in Indian life in general. “The Board is going from bad to worse…If such people run the show, then only God can save us. What’s happening now is shameful. It’s shameful when people cling on to their chairs,” he told Calcutta’s Telegraph newspaper.
At the same time in the West Indies, an internal report has come up with recommendations for the future of the game in the islands where the game has almost become moribund and certainly a far distance from the 1980s when the West Indies ruled the world.
It beggars belief that most of the West Indies top players had hardly anything to do with their domestic competition. Four players, Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo did not play one game.
The reason was because they had other things to do, or were injured.
This is ruination in excelsis. And definitely something that must be avoided at all costs in the rest of the world.
The very lifeblood of cricket is having players involved in their domestic competitions. And yes, it is acknowledged that is increasingly harder given the international requirements of the modern era, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable.
The statistics say it all in the West Indies. In four-day competition, eight of 23 games were over in less than three days. Only 10 scores more than 300 were posted. Sixteen team scores of less than 150 were recorded.
The competition hasn’t had a sponsor since 2009. And in competing for sponsorship support cricket authorities are having to go up against the people they sold their Twenty20 domestic rights to. Bizarre.
This is hardly preparation for three Tests against New Zealand in June.
Speaking of Test matches, why are more A teams from the top tier of nations not playing more four-day Test matches with emerging sides in the world game?
If the goal of cricket is to spread the message and bring the associate members through to a higher level of cricket, why are their only opportunities to play against higher nations in limited overs formats?
How many more Sri Lankas and Bangaldeshs are there out there in the world game? How much more growth might there be in cricket if more teams were playing more cricket against top nations? How much hope is there that the new administrative structure of the ICC will move these sorts of areas into the mainstream of investment and consideration?
There is a plan that the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2017 will play the lowest-ranked Test team in 2018. But why stop there? Much greater contact between nations is required and sooner rather than later.