Why do I love cricket?

This morning I was completing a “fan survey” commissioned by the ICC which they had publicised through their Twitter feed. Amid the feedback about the website, complaint about the lack of archival material on World Cricket League tournaments, and the likelihood they will have no idea why I referred to J.Barton King, I gave an answer to the question “Why do you love cricket”, the simplicity of which shocked even myself.

Let me repeat it here:

It is a unique sport, rich in competitiveness, diversity, heritage. It can unite people through a summer’s day and night like no other sport can.

Test cricket is not dying — the five day game still has a unique place in world sport

Test cricket deserves to survive, and will, alongside Twenty20 just as the marathon is as much a part of the athletics calendar as the 100 metres sprint.

It will never be the major money-earner of the game, that is the role of Twenty20 these days. But the advent of a functional world Test league, together with some smart scheduling including the occasional day-nighter, will reinforce the five-day game’s unique place in world sport.

My full article for iSportconnect can be seen here (free registration may be required).

A hat-trick to Rashid Khan

Afghanistan’s rising star, eighteen year-old Rashid Khan, took a hat-trick for Guyana Amazon Warriors against the Jamaica Tallawahs on September 6 2017. Here’s the hat-trick ball:


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Success of Australian cricket’s MoU set to depend on negotiation of fresh broadcast and sponsorship deals

The dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) has been settled, five weeks after deadline, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the next five years has been struck.

More at iSportconnect

The birth of a women’s IPL should not be too far away – if the BCCI has enough willpower

My review of the 2017 ICC Womens Cricket World Cup and assessment of the future of the women’s game can be seen on iSportconnect.

The birth of a women’s IPL should not be too far away – if the BCCI has enough willpower

Why the ICC’s revenue sharing model could harm growth of new members

It has taken 108 years for cricket’s world governing body, the ICC, to grow to the point that it has but a dozen full members. That landmark was achieved on June 22 when the ICC Board approved the promotion of Afghanistan and Ireland to full membership status. But what does full membership mean for Ireland and Afghanistan?

My latest column for iSportconnect:

Why the ICC’s revenue sharing model could harm growth of new members

Taking the game backwards

Recently an email arrived in my inbox from the World Baseball Softball Confederation. It was telling me all about a new logo for the Under-12 Baseball World Cup. They’re playing in Taiwan this July, twelve teams, every continent represented. It’s the fourth time the WBSC has staged this biennial global event for the world’s best 11 and 12 year-old baseball players.

Just over three months ago, Papua New Guinea played host to the FIFA Under-20 Womens World Cup. Sixteen nations competing over a fortnight in four stadia with a full house for the final.

Cricket, meanwhile?

No thought of international under-12 competition, let alone anything resembling a Little League World Series. Players in the last global under-15 tournament would be 32 this year. Age-group womens events are not even a blip on the horizon, and only in the past year has PNG had even one cricket arena of sufficient standard to host international games on home soil.

The World Cricket League has contracted from eight divisions to five. Global qualifying tournaments for the Under-19 World Cup have been dispensed with. The ICC’s flagship event – the men’s 50-over-per-side World Cup, has (after much resistance) been reduced to a ten-team round-robin in 2019 at the insistence of media rights holders, scared of letting lesser quality teams dilute their compelling TV content.

While baseball and softball went to enormous lengths to restructure their organisations to win re-entry to the Olympic Games, cricket still murmurs occasionally how nice it would be to take part, and then does nothing about it. Cricket appears set to be cut from the Asian Games in 2018 while the prospect of even a women’s event in the Commonwealth Games looks shaky with the axing of Durban as 2022 host city.

Since the International Cricket Council’s controversial revenue-sharing restructure in 2014, which essentially shared revenue back towards the three wealthiest members (India, England and Australia), international cricket competition has actually gone backwards on a global scale.

This year, the ICC was making serious noises about reversing that outrageous financial model skewed in favour of “The Big 3”. Those moves have been placed in jeopardy following the sudden resignation of ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, who had been a fearless champion of ICC reform. Whatever the circumstances of Manohar’s departure – and the chronological order of events in the preceding days does raise some eyebrows – all will not be lost provided the ICC can find a strong independent chair to take Manohar’s place.

Outcry that the ICC is about to strip India dry of much-needed money is both wrong and laughable. What ever the revenue sharing model finally settled by the ICC, there is no doubt that India is entitled to the largest proportionate return, on the basis of its participant population (players and support volunteers of various nature) and on the size of its economic input to the sport.

The question, and perhaps haggling point, is how much that return should be. However, there can be no doubt that India will, and must, be a nett exporter of revenue to the ICC if the sport of cricket is to be a mature leader on the world stage. As a developing global sport it still has a long way to go.

The BCCI’s committee of administrators, now as much as ever, has a fiduciary duty to its board and its members to negotiate the fairest deal for itself with the ICC. But it also has the responsibility to accept its place in the world and get on with improving the productiveness of its own, often dysfunctional, organisation. Indian cricket won’t go broke unless its own administrators are so incompetent as to let that happen.

Cricket in the Olympics? (1996 edition)

Cricket has made just one appearance in Olympic competition, in the second games of the modern olympiad, held in Paris in 1900. Continue reading “Cricket in the Olympics? (1996 edition)”

Cricket in the Olympics? (1996 edition revisited)

Cricket has made just one appearance in Olympic competition, in the second games of the modern olympiad, held in Paris in 1900.

Continue reading “Cricket in the Olympics? (1996 edition revisited)”

Buck Rogers in the Seventh Half Century

When Chris Rogers was dismissed for 95 on Day Two of the Cardiff Test he achieved a new world record… the first player in the history of Test cricket for pass 50 in seven consecutive innings without converting for a 100.
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