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Editorial - Mr. Greig’s call for action

1 July 2012 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Addressing the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture last week, former England cricket captain Tony Greig urged Indian cricket officials to act in the best interests of the game and give responsible leadership, as the game’s global powerhouse, to protect the future of the game – more specially test cricket.

A year after Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara stood on the same stage and pleaded with the ‘cronies’ who were running Sri Lankan cricket to stop rotting the country’s game, Mr. Greig vehemently implored the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to abandon its selfish money-making agendas, embrace the ‘spirit of the game’ and use its privileged position to impact world cricket in a way that even the International Cricket Committee (ICC) seems incapable of doing right now.

Among the ‘disappointing decisions’ that he claimed the BCCI had made, the most alarming were; its indifference to the longer form of the game, its hard-line attitude against the Decision Review System (DRS) yet soft approach to allegations of corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and its valuation of the IPL and the Championship League T20 tournaments as being more important than international cricket.



Some would see Mr. Greig as a hypocrite, for he himself was involved in an IPL-esque tournament in the late 1970s, acting as a chief recruiter for Australian television magnate Kerry Packer, the brainchild of World Series Cricket. However, in retrospect, regardless of his history, his words hold frightening truth.  

It is hard to imagine any other team in any other sport that comes with the same kind of financial benefit that the Indian team has, making a home series against them one of the most lucrative deals in sports.

Going by previous experiences, there is not much hope for these words. Last year after Sangakkara’s erudite lecture, former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding made scathing comments about the BCCI and its exorbitant power, along the lines of what was mentioned by Mr. Greig on Tuesday, but little if not nothing has changed since.

And it is apparent that the Indian cricketing juggernaut has no intention of stopping, as last week they managed to ensure that Decision Review System (DRS) was not made mandatory, which many of the other test playing countries had vouched for.  
A great duty then lies with the ICC who must seize back some of the unadulterated control that the BCCI has over of world cricket, by way of strict policies, and not allow one member to dictate terms on decisions that should be taken collectively. It must also establish a firm stance on the amount of international cricket and ensure a proper rotation amongst international teams. If not, it will ultimately have to be accountable for the decline of the game.  
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