The Big Cricket Conspiracy

BCCI has been flexing its muscle - thanks to India being the cricket economy giant. BCCI have had issues with ICC's FTP - and wants to play more games against top cricket nations like Australia, Pakistan and England. BCCI is driven by greed and nothing else.

Everyone wants to play India, simply because of the financial rewards being so high.

ICL has always maintained that they are not going to do a Kerry Packer on BCCI. If you look at it, ICL is not an Indian rebel cricket league. ICL poses a threat to ICC's hegemony...

It is obvious that Cricket Australia and the BCCI have been plotting and planning to come up with a challenge to ICL. And in doing so they have legitimised ICL's birth and existence. CA and BCCI are telling the ICC that ICL did the right thing; so much so that ICL will now be seen as pioneers.

According to a Hindustan Times report:

For the past two days, some of cricket's top officials have been involved in intense discussions at a five-star hotel in Singapore, putting together the minutiae of a proposed two-tiered world club championship in Twenty20 cricket, the details of which were first reported by HT 10 days ago.

And on Monday morning, in England, BCCI president Sharad Pawar briefed the Indian team on the championship. "The president gave them the details of the proposed league and told them it would be announced in Delhi on the 13th," Board vice-president Rajeev Shukla told HT from London.

The Singapore meeting was to be a final pow-wow between the various board representatives before they presented the plan in full to their respective boards for approval.

According to sources, the representatives from the cricket boards of India, Australia, South Africa and England, among others, "sorted out the nuts and bolts and loose ends" of the upcoming Premier Cricket League (at the domestic level) and the Champions Cricket League (at the international level).

"The meeting was constructive," said a representative, adding that things had "more or less been finalised" and were "moving fast". There is likely to be one more meeting on the 10th in South Africa, on the eve of the Twenty20 World Cup, before the league is formally announced simultaneously in various countries.

Look at that: Premier Cricket League (at the domestic level) and the Champions Cricket League (at the international level)!

BCCI and CA are the winners; England and South Africa are marginal winners too. ICC has been defeated, humiliated, kicked on the teeth.

What happens to West Indies, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand - where the top four commercial teams don't want to play a match?

The answer can be seen in the same HT report:

The discussions in Singapore reportedly included those over player transfers, caps on salaries and how players from countries without a domestic league would manage. "Four countries — India, Australia, England and South Africa — look certain to have domestic leagues," said a source, adding that "perhaps Pakistan would manage" too.

If not, Pakistani players, like those from New Zealand or Sri Lanka, could play in the domestic leagues in other countries. Pawar, who addressed the media after India's win at Headingley on Sunday night, also said the BCCI had been working on the tournament for two years and that it would involve current players, rookies, retired players and foreign players. He also gave a final warning players joining the ICL.

BCCI has been working on this for the last Two years? Wow!

Perhaps the conspiracy to break up ICC's firm hold has been going on for the last two years. According to media reports, Suhash Chandra of ICL had kept Pawar informed of his intentions. Both parties, BCCI and ICL clearly knew what they were up to. If this is some sort of a corporate conspiracy, then the cricketers who signed up for ICL are only pawns in this 'power game'.

I would like to base my speculations based on two interesting news reports:

1. Malcolm Speed is to step down from his position as chief executive of the International Cricket Council in June. Cricket's world governing body says Speed, 58, will not seek an extension of his deal when it expires in 2008.
[BBC Report]

2. Both Morgan and India's Sharad Pawar were put forward as candidates for the ICC presidency at the beginning of the year, resulting in an impasse which lasted until a compromise was agreed when officials arrived in London earlier this week.

It will see Pawar succeed Morgan as president in 2010, a year before India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh co-host the World Cup. "I am happy to pledge my full support to the ICC as we move forward together at an exciting time for cricket," Pawar commented. [BBC Report]
Why is Speed leaving his job? Maybe he knows that the ICC will not be lucrative anymore, or he doesn't wish to be seen as the establishment man - when the big boys of cricket are striking new deals.

As for Pawar, he couldn't have pulled off the coup - while being the president of the ICC.

It is just a matter of time - The big four have decided to start their own league, throwing ICC's Future Tour Programme into the deep sea. ICL is also pressing on with its new league. A divided Indian cricket economy is not good for the commercial success of the game, which means the new professional league will have to broker a truce with ICL.

A couple of teams from the ICL will have to be then accommodated in the new Premier League. Lawyers are going to make a lot of money, Politicians are going to make a lot of money as well, Big business is also going to make a lot of money.

The immediate losers will be ICC and many cricket boards across the world, including the likes of PCB and Sri Lankan Board.

Far way from Dubai, Mumbai, and Singapore -- there is an interesting development in the Caribbean Isles, the WICB (West Indies), a member of the ICC, are to sign a five year deal with the Texan Billionaire Allen Stanford. The once mighty West Indies clearly knows they need to act now - before the big4 runs away with the game.

The West Indies Cricket Board are to sign a five-year deal allowing the Stanford Twenty20 competition to become an official part of their calendar.

The deal ensures that the Twenty20 tournament, a private initiative financed by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, enjoys the blessing of Caribbean cricket authorities and avoids any clashes with other competitions.

An agreement also avoids the risk of a rift such as the one in India where authorities say they will ban players for participating in a private Twenty20 league.

The deal involves a $1 million per year payment from Stanford to the WICB for franchise rights, Stanford project manager Rhonda Kelly said on Wednesday.
I checked their website for more information... In his Vision Statement, Allen Stanford writes,
"I want to create a professional Super League where West Indian cricketers can do what they do best, play with their fellow countrymen and against their Caribbean counterparts and be rewarded for excellence. Everywhere else in the world, professional athletes are paid according to their skills and ability."
I want to create a professional Super League is the real statement.

What does it mean to the game of cricket and the players? The commercialisation of the game has been going on since late 1970's. The pressure to be profitable is going to be considerable on the clubs and the players. Can cricket retain its credibility as a TV sport? Why would these big corporations and private entities ensure that match-fixing wouldn't make a strong comeback?

Any Casino owner in Las Vegas would tell you - to make money out of gambling - you need to fix the results.

Maybe it is a better idea to start watching cricket which is not televised.

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