The Buddhists of Nagqu in Tibet hold the firm belief that the flapping wings of a butterfly can cause monumental reactions on the other side of the world. Or something like that.
Actually, it may not be what they believe. I don’t even know if there are Buddhists in Nagqu? But you haven’t been there, so who is going to prove me wrong? Let’s assume I was right all along.
Anyhow, those with a keen eye will have noticed quite a few butterflies flapping in the cricketing world at present. Actually, the wingspan can better be compared to that of an albatross, but ‘the albatross effect’ doesn’t quite have the same ring about it.
The cricketing kingdom as we know it is under attack and one suspects that a new world order will soon be in play.
We have been here before. Well I have.
Those younger than 35 would not have seen it.
Of course, I speak of World Series Cricket. That time in history where Kerry Packer took his undeniable sledgehammer and smashed it flush on the heads of the incumbent sporting warlords in Australia and England.
It was a moment in history when cricket administrators had lost sight of the fact that the sport is for the people, and that people by and large refute the elitist notion of member run clubs. Unless of course it is a polo or golf club. Cricket is none of these.
Mr Packer was frustrated with his inability to broadcast the cricket in competition to the ABC and the BBC. He was frustrated with the lack of innovation. He was frustrated that he wasn’t ruler of the domain.
There is yet to be one example in mankind’s history where competition has proven to be a bad thing. Packer’s World Series Cricket project changed the face of cricket at an administrative level, a broadcast level, a player welfare level and a viewer participation level.
The dying sport of cricket was now a reborn unstoppable cyborg. Without World Series Cricket taking on the status quo and winning, there would be no T20 to feed the hungry mouths of average cricket mercenaries the world over today.
Which brings me to what is happening now.
The butterflies are flapping their collective wings. The jungle drums are egging them on. Change is coming. I can smell it.
Let’s park the fact that come September, Srinivasan will no longer be Chairman of the ICC, for this is already written. Moses has it inscribed on a stone tablet somewhere.
This will in itself remove a stomach cancer from the world’s governing body. This is all linked back to the brave tiny state cricketing association of Bihar. The poorest of the Indian states. The one who petitioned the Supreme Court of India to sort out the BCCI’s web of corruption, cronyism and conflicts of interest.
Or, as I like to call them, the 3 C’s.
Srinivasan was forced to step aside from the BCCI while the ICC welcomed him with open arms. He was forced to sell his cherished Chennai Super Kings franchise while we watched him act in defiance of the ICC constitution and award the World Cup trophy instead of Mustafa Kamal.
He will be gone soon. But this change is not enough. It means little while the 3 C’s are still in place.
The ECB are not immune to the 3 C’s.
After reigning over the most dismal period in English cricket history, Giles Clarke was rewarded with the made up title of ‘ECB President’. This was to allow him to chase his dream of one day becoming ICC Chairman.
Remember, this is the same Giles Clarke who helped Srinivasan create the Big 3 of cricket and with it, drive revenues back into the boys club. This is also the same Giles Clarke who took English cricket into deals with a Texan rancher who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.
Speaking of 3’s, there are a trio of critical issues unfolding that tell us that a new cricketing world is coming.
Firstly, Srinivasan has been accused of hiring a UK based private detective agency to tap the phones and spy on fellow BCCI directors. He did this using BCCI money.
Secondly, the current BCCI Secretary, Anurag Thakur, is under investigation by the ICC for being in the public company of a known bookmaker.
While none of the first two surprise, any efforts to change the repugnant culture at the BCCI can only benefit the wider cricketing world.
However, it is the third issue that should be the one that gets the most attention.
A television company has registered various company names that could be used to start a rival to the ICC.
Isn’t this how World Series Cricket started? A pissed off media company goes rogue.
The company behind this is the Essel Group.
They have registered names including Australian Cricket Control Pty Ltd and New Zealand Cricket Limited. They have names registered in England and even one for Scottish cricket.
The Essel Group are the blokes behind the now defunct Indian Cricket League. The precursor to the IPL.
It was that monumentous T20 tournament where Chris Cairns and Lou Vincent got into trouble. It was the one that made Kapil Dev cry tears on television.
The Essel Group now knows how the BCCI plays. It will be ready to take them on again. However, this time, the BCCI lack the smarts and street cunning of Lalit Modi. Instead, they are clipped by politics and Supreme Court directives.
By registering a company in New Zealand, the Essel Group are using the butterfly effect for maximum impact. Open a company in Dundedin, cause a meltdown at ICC headquarters in Dubai.
So, will we see a new cricketing landscape? One run by commercial interests that understand that the customer is king rather than a few miserly shareholders. Will Essel owner Subhash Chandra become the new Kerry Packer? How will the ICC respond? Will they even be able to?
So many questions.
Whatever the case, cricket is changing. The natural forces of a free market economy are doing as they should. If you don’t like the current product, go and substitute it for a better one.
The people want a Test Championship. The people want cricket at the Olympics. The people want Australia, England and India to play against other countries. The people want more meaning to a bilateral cricketing series. The people want to see more of Scotland, Afghanistan and other nations who are prepared to have a go. The people want less Ravi Shastri and Michael Slater. The people want all counties to use the DRS in the same way. The people want Pakistani’s in the IPL.
The people want a different product.
My senses tell me that it is not too far away.
Reproduced with permission at First Post