Is Cricket West Indies playing Russian roulette with the region’s game?

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Colin Graves,Ehsan Mani,Cricket West Indies,Dave Cameron,Ricky Skerritt,India,England,Australia,

Photo: Cricket West Inides President Ricky Skerritt and his board are said to be leaning towards former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, Colin Graves for ICC President. 

 

 

 

 

There are three big nations in cricket, India (where the sport is a religion) England and Australia - these three countries make all the money from the sport, due largely in part to the current model that determines how the money flows from the sport.

Since the sport restarted after the shutdown as a result of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, West Indies, Pakistan and now Australia have all had to go to England to play the game.

England has been able to provide a bio-secure environment to facilitate the playing of the game and this they can finance through the massive guaranteed earnings from television, something the other big two benefit from significantly in their home territories.

While England has hosted these teams and games have been played to the delight of cricket audiences the world over, none of the visiting teams have benefitted financially from playing in the various series, ONLY England. Let that sink in. Touring teams do NOT get paid to play!

The current financial arrangements that governs the distribution of wealth in cricket was put in place by the big three and unless they are forced to do so, they will not change it!

The game in the smaller sporting nations cannot survive, let alone improve if something isn’t done to force the hands of those who would look to maintain their tight-fisted control of the purse strings.

The fact is that cricket needs a new business model because it is no longer a gentleman’s game, but it is now a professional sport.

Because it is now a professional sport, the revenue streams must be geared towards earning like other professional sports do.

Professional cricketers play for their countries (region, in the case of West Indies) as their main way of earning a living from sport, but cricket is the only sport where that applies.

In other professional sports, athletes make their major earnings from league and tournament play, while representing their country and collecting those earnings on occasion.

T-20 Cricket has not only revolutionized the sport, but it has also provided the perfect opportunity to create the perfect business model for all aspiring cricketers to earn a decent living, regardless of whether or not they play for their national teams.

The various T-20 leagues played across the globe provide talented cricketers, beyond just those 20 or so that get selected for national duty, to travel, play and earn, while entertaining cricket fans in a way that Test cricket no longer does.

Test cricket, sadly so, does not draw enough fans to the sport to make it sustainable, but T-20 Cricket certainly does, and so must therefore be the driver of the sport going forward.

This is the model of growth being put forward by former Cricket West Indies President, Dave Cameron, which will see a shift in the earning power of cricketers, smaller nations and an increase in wealth in the game.

Cameron is being touted as a potential new President of the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), but a lack of support from his own body, Cricket West Indies, may have a debilitating effect on that happening.

While there has been no love lost between Cameron and those that now govern the sport in the region, the region is set to suffer if personalities are not put aside for the greater good of the West Indies and the greater good of cricket.

The position of ICC Chairman changes every two years and another setback during that period of time could prove to be irreversible for some nations as the ICC events from 2023-31 will be decided during that period.

Please make note of the fact that the big three alone, have hosted all the major ICC events over the last 8 years.

Former ICC Chairman and current Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Ehsan Mani, has been the latest to add his voice to the current debate, saying that it would be “unhealthy” for the next ICC Chairman to come from one of the big three.

Former England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman, Colin Graves will seemingly get the support from the Cricket West Indies board instead of Cameron who will in all certainty have the region’s and smaller nations interest at heart.

It would be unfathomable to think that educated men, entrusted with the one sport that the region shares, would be able to truly boost the region in a massive way, but miss the opportunity to do so because of their myopic views.

The long and short of it is that the Cricket West Indies Board literally holds the future of the sport in their hands and has it in their power to decide the fate and fortunes of young Caribbean cricketers and those not yet born.

The decision made will have a long-lasting global effect and one wonders if in the end, good sense will prevail.