Mukul Kesavan has written one of the best pieces of cricket writing I have ever read in the August issue of Wisden Asia Cricket. Thatâ€™s saying a lot considering I have a collection of Sportstars, Sportsweeks, Sportsworlds (many courtesy my cousin brother) spanning 25 years apart from usually reading articles which are easily available on the net today, Wisden Asia Cricket, and whatever comes my way.
In the article (linked here where a long 3 page article is abridged which does injustice to the article on many levels) Kesavan strips the ICC bare. World XI vs Australa? Africa vs Asia? They are just the tip of the ice berg.
Official international matches should be played between national teams, and no contest organized on a different or supra-national principle should be given the status of an international contest. This includes not recognizing individual performances in such matches as Test or one-day international performances. Plainly put, a five wicket haul or a century in a `Super’ Test or inter-continental limited overs circus should not count towards a players Test record, simply because such a contest is by definition not a match between two nations.
Kesavan basically states how the ICC has poked its nose into every thing and the traditional billateral tours with many first class matches is all but dead. The 4 tests per series (maximum) except traditional tours is indicative of how the ICC would rather have meaningless tests – the likes of Bangladesh vs England rather than longer proper tours. The Natwest Challenge has already brought statements from players, blogers and journalists alike of how they would rather play the Ashes at this point.
The interests of the ICC and the members and cricket is not the same.
The ICC will always strain to expand its jurisdiction, to make itself indispensable to the organization and conduct of international cricket. Given the peculiar nature of international cricket, this institutional will to power will sometimes threaten the bilateral foundation of the game. Cricket’s public opinion and the national boards that make up the ICC will have to make sure that this bureaucratic urge is held in check.
I will not go into the details of the article. Get the latest issue of the magazine for that piece alone. I will only say I donâ€™t care any more what is done with one day cricket â€“ which will truly become Mickey Mouse cricket in the next 5 years with more changes I feel. Really what was the need for the substitute rule when one day cricket was already a golden goose. Less control please. Atleast I hope they leave the sanity of tests intact although tests schedules are always getting eroded upon with options like limited overs internationals (the term really can mean any thing now) and twenty20 in future looking financially more viable. Tests are some thing many the true cricket lovers including me love to the core of our hearts. I hope the dinosaur, as Kesavan calls it, doesnt become extinct.