Thursday, August 23, 2007

ICL says "talk to the hand"

If you, like me, have just finished watching an assortment of Welsh cartoons and old episodes of the Krypton Factor whilst munching over a bowl of cereal pondering on the day ahead, and after firing up your computer to read a huge email sent by a South African which discusses a rich variety of pointless subjects, you start to wonder whether this Indian Cricket League is worth the effort.

To those of you not obsessed with cricket news, the ICL is a breakaway Indian twenty20 tournament that exists to make a number of unknown capitalists a little bit richer. It has lots of big names like Shreyas Khanolkar and Sumit Kalia.

There are some other people playing too:

Nathan Astle, Nicky Boje, Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Imran Farhat, Inzamam-ul Haq, Lance Klusener, Brian Lara, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf.

Apparently Stephen Fleming, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have been approached by the ICL. They are said to be “thinking about it”.

Obviously, comparisons to the Kerry Packer Rebels are never far away. But, the Packer World Series had a non-financial impact and changed the game for ever. This ICL thing just seems like another way to make money. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. People often think it is. But those people usually don’t have much of it anyway. There is a reason for that.

The BCCI could have easily dealt with this issue before it arose by starting a twenty20 competition of its own. Heck, they could have made money out of it. But instead of acting sensibly, and nipping the whole thing in the bud, the emotive unprofessionalism of the Indian administrators have turned the off-the-cuff idea into an international conflict.

Now, we are stuck in the usual position of pathetic tit-for-tat actions: Kapil Dev, chairman of the ICL board, has been removed from his ICL position; ICL organises have mocked the BCCI; and even the PCB and Sri Lanka Board is threatening to ban participating players.

Why isn’t there a single, sane person involved in this to say something common sensical like: “why doesn’t the BCCI absorb the ICL and then everyone’s happy?” No, it’s Indian cricket, so people prefer to say “NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!!!”

Do you see how dangerous twenty20 cricket is? Do you see?

If you think, whilst crunching another spoonful of your muesli, that cricket is just a game, played with a bat and a ball, then you would be wrong.

It is an industry. So why can’t I make money out of it? Maybe it’s a sated market? Perhaps a break-away darts league is needed? What am I talking about again?


King Cricket said...

The whole enterprise has been rather sullied by Nicky Boje's presence, hasn't it?

Trapper John said...

Yeah, that does leave a bad taste in the mouth. But while ICL is clearly not the future of cricket, it is a harbinger of a professionalized, club -based future, in which players actually make reasonable salaries. The fact that the reserve goalkeeper for QPR makes more than all but 40 or 50 cricketers worldwide is appalling, and threatens the continuing viability of the game. It won't change until the shift is made to more club-oriented cricket.