Curious and Curiouser – What is the Cricket World coming to?

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.

Trott – Victim of media spin

Jonathan-Trott

Disclosures recently from England batsman Jonathon Trott that depression had not been the reason for his departure from the Ashes tour of Australia have drawn a mixed reaction from around the cricket world.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he felt ‘conned’ at the reasons given for Trott’s departure.

Others have criticised Vaughan’s stance but where the blame lies in the matter is in the lack of clarity in the ‘spinning’ of the news that Trott had gone home.

Such a situation is where the media officers associated with teams should earn their keep by telling the story correctly. In this case they clearly failed. Trott himself came out and said it wasn’t depression that he had been suffering.

But because of the way his departure was handled that was what everyone thought. And who could blame them?

Vaughan had every reason to believe he had been ‘conned’.

Media scrutiny is intensive, but the players, and administrators, know that when they sign on with television companies for the dollars that pay their wages and allow their sports to be affordable. It is also a factor in the women’s magazine stories that sports stars agree to feature in when they need to supplement their income.

In many cases the title of media officer, or whatever you want to call it, is a misnomer because so often the media officers are interested only in protecting their team from the intrusions of the media. This has resulted in a whole new gap emerging between the media and the people they report across most sports nowadays.

Whereas in the past contact between the players and the media at a social occasion was common place and of mutual benefit to both parties for the resolution of issues, clarification of misunderstandings or even a nod in the right direction to follow-up on an issue of the day, nowadays a barrier is put up that increases the prospect of confusion and error which benefits no-one.

A failure to be truthful in dealing with issues can have long-standing repercussions. Trott is just one victim of the process.

Of course, media officers often are directed by team management or administrators to adopt a required stance because it best suits the management or administrators, and to heck with what the public need to know.

But in most instances there is a time when the truth will emerge, and the results can be quite unpalatable. However, the message would be that at the original time of ‘crisis’ it was necessary to take that stance and by the time the truth emerged there would be nothing like the reaction had the truth been admitted earlier.

The ultimate danger in all of this is that the people who sustain the game through their interest feel a detachment from it. In cricket, when any outstanding performance is immediately assessed for prospective gambling influences, when one country can interfere in the affairs of another sovereign country or fail to live up to its agreed responsibilities, just to mention a few concerns, there is the potential for a disconnect as supporters turn their interest elsewhere.

Ultimately, the sport will suffer and struggle to retain its place in the affections of so many and when it comes to cricket that thought is sad.
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Full marks to New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson when asked if Twenty20 was his favoured format of the game.

“It’s in my top three,” he said.

And on the eve of the World Twenty20 Championship it is a reminder that this event hardly has the cricket world waiting with bated breath.

Another revenue-building exercise based on fees from television coverage. All of which will be followed by more tedious IPL cricket for the next two months.

Given some of the Test match cricket witnessed over the Southern Hemisphere summer, cricket is not in need of stimulus from this sort of entertainment. How much better might the players of the world be served by having a break from it all?

It’s little wonder Jonathon Trott felt so worn out by it all.

England – World Cup building blocks, but not yet good enough to take down the All Blacks

England-Brown-Robshaw

Ireland may have won the Six Nations, but England will be kicking itself for its carelessness in falling to France back in round one last month.

England, to its credit, improved gradually as the tournament wore on, and coach Stuart Lancaster adopted a consistent selection policy that ultimately paid dividends (take note, JK and the Blues) in winning the Calcutta Cup and the Triple Crown.

Lancaster inherited a rabble out of the ashes of England’s appalling 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign. The extraordinary 38-21 defeat of the All Blacks in late 2012 was seen as a false dawn when Wales pummelled his charges at the breakdown and in the scrums in the 2013 Six Nations decider. But there have been signs that England has learned its lessons well and Lancaster is selecting a better mix in the backs.

The pack is as competitive as any in international rugby – ask the All Blacks, who laboured to a 30-22 win at Twickers in November – and men like locks Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury are starting to fulfil their clear potential. Chris Robshaw is no Richie McCaw, but he is utterly committed and his men follow him into the trenches. In Billy Vunipola and Ben Morgan, England has two fearless, go-forward No 8s, while Tom Wood on the blindside brings energy, lineout ability and toughness. Hooker Dylan Hartley, if he can control his temper, is the right man for the No 2 position, while Dan Cole is one of the better tightheads in the game.

Danny Care has leapt Ben Youngs and Lee Dickson to be the halfback England needs to ignite its attacking game, while Owen Farrell is a reliable goalkicker, vigorous tackler, and an improving threat close to the gain line. Still, one wonders what a George Ford or Freddie Burns could do behind this pack.

England’s issue was always that its stilted midfield stifled any chance of operating at pace to give its speedy wings ample opportunity. Mike Tindall – nice guy, solid tackler, wholehearted performer, carthorse, slow as a wet week. Bradley Barritt, not much better. Manu Tuilagi is not the finished product. His defensive game has not kept pace with his overflowing offensive bag of tricks, and he only rejoined the squad for the last test against Italy in Rome after returning from a long injury layoff. In his place at centre stepped Luther Burrell, who looked raw but scored tries and acquitted himself rather well. Jack Nowell and Jonny May looked full of running on the wing but even more raw and lacking finesse than Burrell.

The revelation was fullback Mike Brown, who had not scored a try in his first 21 tests prior to the start of the 2014 Six Nations. He promptly scored four, and picked up no less than three man of the match awards. He’s no Christian Cullen, but then he’s no Dusty Hare or Jonathan Webb either, a big kicking custodian who only ever ran for his health. That’s a trifle unfair on Dusty, who scored over 7000 first-class points, but you get the point. Brown was outstanding from broken field play, safe under the high ball, and he sparked England’s often stagnant offence. The full fruits of the more expansive outlook for this team, for whom Mike Catt is the backs coach, came in the 52-11 climax against Italy. Once England worked out that it needed to go north-south, not east-west, then the tries flowed. It’s a work-on, but the likes of Billy Twelvetrees at No 12 started to show the deft touches that any top side needs out of its second receiver.

The most satisfying display was the 29-18 win over Wales in London, where England, far outnumbered for Lions by the defending champs, thoroughly outplayed and out-thought Wales, which had just six penalty goals to show for its trouble. England’s kicking game was spot-on, as was Farrell’s boot of the tee. Wales only prevailed in the scrums, but the defensive line was rock-solid, and the organisation was evident.

All this positivity around England does not mean it will take down the All Blacks in June. For starters, the players involved in the Aviva Premiership final on May 31 will not be in the June 7 first test squad, a piece of news that has very much gone under the radar in New Zealand. But all the signs are there that England’s building blocks for next year’s Rugby World Cup on home soil are on a solid foundation.

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BOD

So ends the international career of one of the greats. Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll has called time on his test days, with 141 to his name, and 47 tries, not bad at all given he was playing for a side that did often fired blanks. Despite the infamous Umaga-Mealamu incident in 2005, after which O’Driscoll took a long time to get over, most Kiwis came to respect him for his silky play and fair-minded approach. It will irk him to his dying day that he never got to taste victory over the All Blacks, but at least he went out on the highest note, winning a second Six Nations title with Ireland. There were times a few years back when Stirling Mortlock could claim to be the world’s best No 13, and now Conrad Smith can rightfully assume that tag, but when O’Driscoll was fit and firing he was at least on a par with that celebrated duo. His form in 2014 showed glimpses of his undoubted class, though one can only surmise that sentimentality was the deciding factor in BOD being voted man of the match for his final outing against France.

Test Cricket still the ultimate challenge.

MccullumYet another reduced overs world tournament is set to be played out by the major cricketing nations, this time in Bangladesh for the World Twenty20.

But for all the innovations that have occurred, the summer of 2013-14 has been an outstanding demonstration of the continuing charms of Test cricket.

While England might disagree after their towelling in Australia, the fact is that so far as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are concerned, some utterly compelling Test cricket has been played.

And perhaps the most interesting feature of it all was the demonstration by one player who is the epitome of what the shorter forms of the game represent, dash and bash, that it is still possible to play the ultimate in defensive innings to turn a game around to the point where his side had a chance to win.

We’re talking Brendon McCullum, of course. Here is the man who had the record for the fastest international T20 century and who opened the IPL with a dazzling 158, yet when his team required it he was capable of denying India a series-equalling win and turned the tables on them where it was possible, although pragmatism won out in the end, New Zealand could have won the game.

This after having scored a double century in the Test preceding the scene of what was a triple century triumph at the Basin Reserve in Wellington to finally admit New Zealand to the 300 Club.

There were times with the plethora of 50-overs and 20-overs formats that it was to be wondered if a batsman would ever reveal the technique, concentration and determination to play such an innings again in Test cricket.

England, a year earlier had seen Matt Prior do the same sort of thing, en route to yet another thrilling finish which resulted in a draw in Auckland against New Zealand. No-one in the crowd, or watching on television around the world, could deny that although no win was the result in Prior’s case, and an unlikely win was possible in McCullum’s instance, the cricket was utterly compelling.

This is where our friends in non-cricketing countries cannot grasp how a non-result can be so satisfying. But to the purist, it is a delight to know that defiance still has its role in the game.

Two points emerged in India’s tour of New Zealand that were of interest.

The first, and most concerning one, had to be the absence of a quality spin bowler in the Indian line-up. This from a country which has produced so many of the great spin bowlers of the world game.

Is this a reflection of the concentration of reduced overs cricket in India? Yet around the world, some of the best bowlers in Twenty20 cricket are the slower bowlers.

Does it also suggest that playing slower bowlers in conditions tailor-made for them on home pitches is counter-productive to their success overseas when they have to work harder to succeed?

The other point of interest, and it probably reflects the mis-direction of the administration of cricket more than anything else, was the fact that Indian captain MS Dhoni could be linked to allegations back in India yet carry on playing as if nothing was out of order.

Fair enough that he is innocent until proven guilty, although that doesn’t always seem to be the rule of thumb in dealings by cricket’s anti-corruption unit, but any right-minded individual could hardly have their mind fully on the job with such charges being aired in the media.

On another tangent, it has to be wondered if Australian batsman David Warner has learnt anything after the effects of some of his comments earlier in the Ashes campaign.

As embarrassing as they were given the situation with Jonathon Trott and his early departure from the tour, now in South Africa, Warner has unleashed again, this time claiming the South Africans were ball-tampering during the second Test.

Two points here: Australian teams have been notorious for taking advantage of every little prospect for gamesmanship through the years, so it is a bit rich to start whingeing now and, if it was a fact, why was the evidence not presented to the umpires, or match referee, at the time.

By waiting until after the fact, Warner is demeaning the South African victory and merely providing some grist to the South African approach to the deciding Test.

The second is that all Warner has done is provide South Africa with ammunition ahead of the third Test. Warner is showing himself to be something of the classic loose unit.

Spotlight on NZ Super VX Recruits

NZ_Super_Rugby_squads_620_395_s_c1_top_topRecruitment is key when it comes to building championship-winning rugby sides.

For too long the likes of North Harbour and the Blues have made poor choices around their playing personnel, and the fear is that Benji Marshall will prove to be a very poor piece of business for the Blues.

A player does not overnight turn into a top No 10. It takes years to fully develop the skill and nous required to make a go of the position. The Blues have months, not years, to play with. Yet they were, judging by their pre-season strategy, grooming the former Kiwis league captain for the role. I wish him well, but it shapes as a challenging season, to say the least. The Blues actually have depth in most areas, but their big signing in the pack was Tom Donnelly, a solid lock but four years past his peak. They are asking a lot of Liaki Moli to step up when he is at least two inches short of the requisite height for a top second-rower.

Poor old Marshall. Seems like a decent bloke with a superb league pedigree, but he hasn’t played consistently well for the Wests Tigers in two years and there are massive question marks surrounding his defence. Mmm… didn’t the Blues delist Gareth Anscombe, the nation’s second best goalkicker and their 2012 No 10, because of the same question? What happened to him? Oh, that’s right, he won a Super Rugby title with the Chiefs, who know a good player when they see one. Don’t forget Pauliasi Manu, also delisted by the Blues because he was carrying an injury. The Rebels also forsook him and so the Chiefs snapped him up. He too won a title.
That must be galling for you Blues fans.

That vexed No 10 jersey has not been adequately filled since Carlos Spencer flew the coop in 2005. But there are actually five of them in the Blues’ (extended squad): Marshall, journeymen Chris Noakes and Baden Kerr, the promising but small Simon Hickey, and one with the most potential of them all, Matt McGahan, son of Hugh. He played half a pre-season game.

The Chiefs, conversely, have no such concerns, other than a worrying pre-season injury toll. They have recruited very wisely, signing some players you won’t know well unless you religiously watch the ITM Cup. This is the breeding ground for Super Rugby, after all.

Tom Marshall won’t ever be an All Black, but he stars at ITM level and could be a useful buy for the Chiefs, who seem to have a high attrition rate in the backs. He can play several positions and is thirsting for an opportunity after those were restricted at the Crusaders. Wing James Lowe is a speedster out of the rising Tasman Makos and will be a good replacement for Lelia Masaga.

The biggest buy in the backline is Robbie Fruean. When on form and fit, he is the ultimate wrecking ball in midfield. He seems to have sorted out his heart issues and may alleviate all those concerns harboured by All Blacks fans around who would replace Conrad Smith in the No 13 jersey. Fruean is primed for such a big season that the Ben Smith centre experiment may be permanently shelved. The Chiefs could not have wished for a better replacement for the departed Richard Kahui.

Test centurion Mils Muliaina is 33 but will be anxious to prove he still has the legs for this fast-paced rugby. He has always had the skill and class, so should slot in seamlessly into the franchise he last played for in 2011.
Those recruits nicely complement the Chiefs’ existing backline squad members, where men such as the under-rated duo of Andrew Horrell and Charlie Ngatai are just as important as Cruden and halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

In the pack, Manu Samoa No 8 and 2012 title-winning Chief Kane Thompson has been re-signed. He is big, hard and plenty tough, as is lock Mike FitzGerald of Manawatu. Ross Filipo has plenty to offer, if no longer at All Blacks level, judging by his tryscoring output for the Wellington Lions. Flanker Liam Squire’s ITM displays for the Makos were too good to ignore, but the highest profile signing in the pack is Southland skipper Jamie Mackintosh. ‘Whoppa’ is a natural leader, if not a naturally powerful scrummager, but he has always thrived at Super or provincial level and he will look to deliver what Toby Smith did and more on the loosehead side. Hika Elliot’s neck injury is worrying, but that just gives Rhys Marshall a prime chance to thrust out his chest and shout that he is the best young hooker in the country and thus worthy of higher consideration.

We should trust the Chiefs’ brains trust. They rode into Hamilton in 2012 and cleaned out much of the dead wood, signing players such as Brodie Retallick on how many rucks he hit (a heap of them) and Ben Tameifuna. Few gave this patchwork quilt of ‘mongrels’ a show, but galvanised by Aaron Cruden’s brilliance at pivot and the indefatigable leadership of Liam Messam, they won the 2012 crown, and then, against the odds, repeated. They may not do a three-peat, but they have the right personnel in place to again give the competition a violent shake. And, unlike the Blues, they have stability in the key areas of lock and first five.

Pietersen and the ICC – Musings from the VSL Cricket Office

Plenty of great discussion has taken place in the office in the last couple of weeks with all sorts of strange happenings over the Southern Hemisphere summer. Where to start-a few of us from VSL Cricket were fortunate enough to travel to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Ashes Test Match and the Melbourne Cricket Ground was at its very best. A sensational experience to sit among 91,000 fans and to enjoy what could have been a tight contest if England hadn’t caved in during their second innings.

What was enjoyable was watching Kevin Pieterson battle gamely to assist his team to a just about decent score in the first innings-71 out of 255 scored in 252 minutes off 161 balls. The next highest score was 38 scored by Michael Carberry in 145 minutes off 103 balls. In the second innings scoring 49 in 156 minutes off 90 balls. Only Alistair Cook got near him scoring 51 in 90 minutes off 64 balls. England’s chances would have been a good deal higher if any of their batsmen had shown the same determination as Kevin Pieterson and had batted as long as he did. A Test lost because of incredibly poor batting in the England second innings may well have been won had Pietersons lead been followed. It seems a pity that his innings were ended with foolish shots but at least he batted for the best part of well over 6 and a half hours in a Test that lasted only 4 days. Maybe he could have done a little better but in the context of the team’s performance it was his team mates that did not support his efforts. Just one Test later he has been inexplicably dropped and one of the best of recent Test batsmen has received short shrift. Whatever the reason, and it must have been a good one for him to go, it could well have been handled a good deal better. Pieterson deserves the respect his contribution to English cricket warrants and maybe the way he has been treated should also be used with some of his batting colleagues who showed little of the determination and skill he did in trying to win the Melbourne Test Match for his disappointing team.

ICC
I had the good fortune to represent New Zealand Cricket at the ICC during the years from and including 1990 to 1995 and great years they were. Contrary to popular myth the ICC when politics do not interfere make some strong and well thought out decisions aimed at strengthening and expanding our game. In the spell that I enjoyed, the number of Test playing countries expanded with the admission of Zimbabwe and the return of South Africa. The MCC surrendered management of ICC affairs to a full time secretariat led in the first instance by capable Australian administrator, David Richards. The first non MCC Chairman, the outstanding West Indian Cricketer and administrator, the late Sir Clyde Walcott became the first Chairman of the ICC meaning the ICC was no longer administered by the secretary of the MCC. Most importantly of all, the demeaning veto power of England and Australia as founder members of the Imperial Cricket Conference which was the name of the ICC between 1909 and 1965, was removed by the other major Test Playing Countries persuading England and Australia that the existence of the veto placed too much power in the hands of two nations and it was restrictive and undemocratic. India were strongly opposed to the veto and actively worked to have it removed.

And now three countries want some sort of control, effectively a possible veto situation vested in the hands of their administrators who they may appoint to the ICC Executive Committee. England, India and Australia have somehow persuaded ICC Members that it is for the benefit of cricket generally to have their three countries with permanent seats on what is in effect the controlling body of the game. What a disaster and what a disappointment to see the de facto veto system re-introduced and with one of its previous leading opponents involved in preparing for the take-over of the administration of world cricket.

The ICC has 107 members-10 full members, 37 associates and 60 affiliates. In each country there are dedicated people endeavouring to keep the game vibrant, relevant and in many cases, alive. Perhaps the Big Three supported by those to whom they have offered largesse should give wide attention to the game and its potential for expansion or contraction in some of the outposts of its development. Or maybe they are really only interested in playing one another and looking after their mates. Amazing how a bit of money (quite a bit) can lead to compromise of principals. Let’s hope the game survives this undemocratic aberration and continues to develop despite the Big Three.

And on the more interesting side-
•    We still don’t believe that a batting team should receive any advantage from a fielder’s throw that hits the stumps in the course of an attempted run out and that overthrows should not be allowed in those cases.
•    Nor do we think a batsman should be run out when a bowler or fielder deflects a straight drive on to the stumps at the bowlers end. Little or no skill in a deflection of a good shot with such deflection frequently being accidental.
•    Nor should there be leg byes, particularly in one dayers. If you can’t hit it why should you get a run?
•    We also think that if a fielder catches the ball in the field of play that should be out whether he happens to go over the boundary rope or not. If the catch is in the field of play that should be enough and the batsman should depart even if the fielder ends up sitting in the front row of the grandstand.
•    And if a fielder stops the ball in the field of play and prevents it from crossing the boundary rope why does it matter if his body is touching the boundary rope or not. The key is that he prevented it from going over the boundary-end of story.
•    And why do umpires call on television replays to check no balls on some dismissals only-if it is good enough to check on some (indicating that the umpire didn’t know) why not check on them all.
•    And don’t get us started on sledging…..should it be allowed, should it be stopped, should the umpires judge what is a “good” sledge and what is abusive nonsense or should we follow Ian Bishop’s stated view (during a commentary in New Zealand) that all sledging should be banned. And for good measure Ian who was a very powerful fast bowler also commented…….”they would only sledge me once”.

Peter McDermott
VSL Cricket Owner and Founder

February 2014

ICC leaked proposal labeled ‘unconstitutional’!

Cricket-alarm-bellAlarm bells are quite rightly ringing around the cricket world over the changes planned to the administration of the world game, and especially the cosying up of the interests of India, Australia and England.

Historically, and fortunately cricket is a game with wonderful access to its past, there have long been issues with the administration of the game, stemming from the autocratic colonisers of the game, the Marylebone Cricket Club and, by association, the Imperial Cricket Conference.

This was the all-powerful representation of the incantations of Empire with its benevolence determining the shape of the game.

This stranglehold of imperialism was broken down in various degrees, albeit slower than the rest of humanity was moving towards a more democratic solution to life, resulting in the International Cricket Council being formed as a more representative mouthpiece of the game.

But in the last decade the flexing of monetary muscle in India has resulted in a shift away from the notion of democracy to one of more self-interest, based around the reliance on television rights money and creating imperialism of an even worse kind.

Just how much this has changed is clear from the second page of the Draft Position Paper on the suggested future.

The paper suggests the “ICC reverts to being a member-driven organization [sic]; an organisation [sic] of the members and for the members.”

Pardon me, but isn’t that what the ICC was supposed to be anyway?

Then it states: “As part of this process [above], the leading countries of India, England and Australia have agreed that they will provide greater leadership at and of the ICC.”

Leading as in what? Performance, money, players or, more importantly, ideas?

Cricket is cyclical and form waxes and wanes – there are any number of examples of this. So too, does leadership. It doesn’t always hold that the strongest are the most able when it comes to administration.

Another claim made in the draft report says: “All members, as guardians and leaders of the game of cricket, carry a significant responsibility for giving the game direction and leadership in their respective territories and for setting and sustaining a framework of support within those territories to ensure the game continues to grow and thrive for the sake of fans, stakeholders and participants.”

Given the Indian reaction to the appointment of a chief executive of South African Cricket recently, a chief executive who recognised the need for the ICC to be run by an independent board, it has to be wondered how far the tentacles of this supply-driven model is likely to intrude upon sovereign nations right to control their own game.

In other words, “If you don’t change what you are intending to do, we will withhold your [monetary] dispersal.”

This is an inglorious grab for power. Trickle-down economics have been proven to be flawed on far greater scales than this scheme envisages.

It is also interesting in a situation where two of the three nations looking to seize control have played 10 Tests in succession between themselves in the past eight months. The players were clearly exhausted at the end of it all, especially the English, and if contact kept becoming so common, eventually the public would tire as well.

New Zealand spokesman Martin Snedden has said that the changes may not be a bad thing for New Zealand Cricket. The important words are ‘may not be’. Who is to say the model as it has been given to him is the complete answer?

Given the role New Zealand played in removing the power of veto from Australia and England in the mid-1990s, it is regrettable that its effective, albeit extended to India, return will likely have New Zealand’s support.

New Zealand won much credit among the other nations, including India, for that stance and it will be a shame if its role in accepting this change proves a wrong decision.

Not surprisingly, South Africa have led the charge to have the position paper struck down, labelling it as ‘unconstitutional’.

This suggests a fascinating legal battle lies ahead. Solomonic wisdom would be a handy tool and given past experience it has to be wondered if that quality exists in the halls of ICC power. Oh for a Sir John Anderson now.

In effect, what Australia, England and India are saying is: “Trust us.”

By agreeing to the suggested plans cricket nations would be signing away their sovereignty. That can’t be in the best interests of all concerned.