Who are the 10 Most Powerful People in World Cricket?
There’s a new world order in cricket. Well, it’s not that new. We have known for a long time that the power in the game has been shifting from Australia and England over to the sub continent bloc, lead by India.
So who controls cricket these days and what makes them so influential?
Strap yourself in as I take you on a ride through the top 10 most potent people in world cricket today
10) Michael Vaughan
Yes, I know what you are thinking. Dennis has lost his marbles. Unfortunately and sadly, I haven’t. Any way you cut it, this former England captain is now one of the dominant forces in the world’s cricket media.
You may not always agree with what he says, but it is undeniable that the bloke has cut through. When he writes for the UK papers, people take notice. When he tweets to his over 500k followers, he gets an audience. ex players retweet his views. People with influence debate him.
Vaughan throws his opinions around like a monkey flings faeces. Both are usually unpleasant and unwelcome occurrences, but he does have the ear of the world
9) Darren Lehmann
The only coach of an international side who has full control and gets what he wants.
Came into the Australia scene on the back of Mickey Arthur’s failed attempt to regain control of his team after a 4-0 drubbing in India. After a false start in England where he pushed for the selection of Ashton Agar to counter KP, he quickly turned the Test team around. It subsequently won the Ashes at home 5-0, followed by a 2-1 away win against world number one South Africa.
He took on John Inverarity and killed off the rotation policy, has backed his players and taught them to enjoy themselves again. Most importantly, he is seen as the golden child by his powerful ex team mates who include movers and shakers such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting.
Lehmann is now the benchmark in which other coaching regimes hope to mirror. Full control. Total trust from players and administrators alike.
8) Sambit Bal Cricinfo
Another journalist, but this time it’s the semi recluse Sambit Bal.
Sambit is the guy who runs the Disney owned Cricinfo.com.
The most visited sports website in the world.
This means he has full licence to hire and fire, tweak content and drive editorial comment on the most read cricket resource on the planet.
We are not suggesting here that Sambit actually uses any of those powers to lead agenda’s, but he can if he wishes. He has the world’s leading cricket journalists working for him as writers, podcasters and video stars.
Want your voice heard? Get yourself on his website.
For the record Sambit, I’m free to take your call at any time.
7) Kevin Pietersen
Arguably England’s greatest ever player and greatest ever disruptive influence.
There is a case to say he hasn’t lost too many battles he has fought off the field. He made a mockery of Andrew Strauss’ captaincy with TextGate, destroyed Peter Moores v1.0 and made the ECB look utterly ridiculous with its re-integration shambles.
However, despite the ECB’s propaganda that KP is somehow sporn from Beelzebub, he now finds himself captain of the Delhi Daredevils under respected coach Gary Kirsten. The same Gary Kirsten who the ECB wanted as their coach and Gary rejected.
KP may no longer be playing Test cricket, but given his chosen weapon of twitter, KP fully controls the conversation and garners the sympathetic vote from cricket lovers world wide. Giles Clarke, Downton, Moores and Cook will never have an easy night of rest ruling English cricket while KP is still around.
6) James Sutherland
Sutherland became the CEO of Cricket Australia in 2001. Since then he has presided over some bad decisions, but these are well outweighed by the good.
His crowning glory was probably the launch of the Big Bash and subsequent splitting off of the television rights for this tournament, generating $100m from Channel 10 and forcing Channel 9 to pay a record $400m for the Test and ODI coverage. He has also created competition in the radio rights, breaking the ABC monopoly that has stood since the days of King David.
This breaking of the revenue stream model is now the envy of other cricketing nations.
His players benefit from it as they now enjoy a fairly secure income stream, including contracted Shield stars and the women cricketers.
If the way to judge a CEO is by how much better the organisation is now than when he joined, then Sutherland is clearly the best in the business.
It can be argued that if Sutherland hadn’t established this improved revenue sharing model, then players strikes like the ones we currently see in Sri Lanka would not be happening.
In the long run, all of the world’s players will be better off because of Sutherland.
5) Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is the Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo. That currently gives her the keys to the IPL and the associated revenues that come from being its prime sponsor. It also gives her the big stick that comes with the ability to pull her funding.
Pepsico paid over USD$70m for 5 years of sponsorship rights in 2012. Although nowhere near as big as the TV money, the pool of bidders was small. Only Pepsico and Airtel.
The IPL need Pepsico to ensure competitive tension exists for the next round of bids. They also underpin confidence for other sponsors to join with the franchises.
It must be stated that with only two weeks to go before the 2014 IPL started, 5 of the IPL teams had still yet to sign major sponsorship deals. This highlights how difficult it is to get corporate support for a product that is somewhat stinky at present
Indra had threatened to look at Pepsico’s sponsorship of the IPL if the corruption scandals were not treated seriously. The relationship is still currently on thin ice.
Any more false moves by the IPL and the house of sponsorship cards could come crumbling down by a stroke of Indra’s feathery quill.
4) Shane Warne
Think Michael Vaughan, but with a much better cricket record, a much better cricketing brain, a much bigger cricketing following, along with the support of everyone within Australian cricket.
When Shane speaks, people listen. Remember his Warnefesto’s?
He called for the end of the rotation policy, the elevation of Boof to head coach and the abolition of the captain as a selector.
All of these occurred.
He speaks his mind, is loved the world over and is usually right. His off field antics may have been a distraction during his playing days, but this bogan done well is the view that everyone wants to hear.
3) MS Dhoni
It’s not surprising that the final three on my list are all Indian. It is the current powerbase of cricket and will be for the foreseeable future given the funds available and the market size.
MS Dhoni has an unmatchable record across all formats of the game as Indian captain, and is joined at the hip with powerbroker Srinivasan. He is a Vice President at Srinivasan’s India Cements and captain of the Chennai Super Kings IPL team which Srinivasan also owns. This makes him almost untouchable.
The guy is loved so much that he even gets Man of the Match awards just to boost his self esteem in a period where he was struggling. He was also given the title of captain of the World Cup T20 side in 2014, even though his performances where mediocre at best.
Forbe’s magazine rank him the 16th highest paid athlete in the world, with nearly half of his 25 endorsements paying him over USD$1m annually.
Dhoni gets what he wants and when he wants it.
2) N. Srinivasan
Quite possibly the most hated man ever in world cricket. Srinivasan has ruled the BCCI with an iron fist and is seen by many as the man that rules cricket worldwide.
He is perennially surrounded by controversy, including corruption scandals, conflict of interest scandals, nepotism and bullying of other country’s boards to get his way.
His most recent “achievement” was convincing Wally Edwards of Cricket Australia and Giles Clarke of the ECB to join forces with him to take over the International Cricket Council. Srinivasan is slated to be its next President come July 2014.
He is currently under investigation by the Supreme Court of India for governance issues, and it was described by the court as “nauseating” that he has continued to fight to remain in office while the current round of issues are being worked through.
However, dismiss this tiger’s fight at your own peril. He is connected at all levels of the cricketing. business and government worlds.
1) The Supreme Court of India
Yes, the most powerful people in world cricket today all reside with the walls of the Supreme Court of India.
These objective and impartial justices have been tasked with rooting out governance and corruption issues within the BCCI.
Already, names such as MS Dhoni, Raina and Srinivasan have appeared as those under careful watch, however, one suspects that that the issues could reach all the way to the top of Indian government and high society.
The coming months will see Justice Mudgal continue with his investigation into the BCCI, and specifically issues to do with IPL governance and corruption. Should his finding fall unfavourably on the status quo, expect sweeping changes to hit world cricket like a tsunami of a size you have never seen before.
Effectively, the Supreme Court of India is about to rule on whether the President of the ICC elect, Srinivasan, is fit to lead the body that sits over the 2nd most popular sport in the world.
Strap yourselves in folks. I suspect this is going to be one bumpy ride that you won’t want to miss.
So, there is my list. Out in the open and ready for ridicule or praise.
Who did I miss? Is the order wrong?
Please let me know in the comments section below. even better, subscribe to my weekly newsletter. You won’t regret it…well you might.