If you follow the game of Cricket and what happens in and around the game, then you might have heard about something new that might happen soon. A new leadership within ICC will have the control of the game in its entirety. Some boards will assume more responsibility (read: power) than others, some will become more rich than others, some will dictate and the rest will have to follow. But isn't that part of life anyways, you ask. True. It is. Isn't that whats happening, you ask again. True again, I repeat. But some boards now having the power to dictate the terms "officially"?
What's it all about? - The finance and commercial affairs committee of the ICC (International Cricket Council) has prepared a draft proposal where they have mentioned some boards to take more ownership in the administration of Cricket. It is, as they say, considering "the interest of Cricket at large". The boards are BCCI (don't tell me you are surprised), ECB (England Cricket Board) and CA (Cricket Australia). Not surprisingly, BCCI working committee has approved the draft proposal. Now it goes to ICC executive board scheduled to meet for the quarterly discussion in Dubai on 28th and 29th Jan 2014. For the proposal to be passed, it needs the support of 7 / 10 full member nations of ICC. There's no denying that BCCI is the powerhouse of world cricket at the moment. Almost 80% of ICC's revenue comes from BCCI. In that sense, the proposal laid out by ICC makes a lot of sense - you have to take special care of your best client!
There are other changes mentioned in the proposal. There will now be a relegation system in Tests. But, of course, India, England and Australia are exempt from being relegated. Other changes include scrapping of proposed Test championship (damn, I was so looking forward to it) and Champions Trophy returns (Revenue could be the ONLY reason for this move to happen).
Why India, England and Australia? - Simple. That's because they are the top 3 revenue contributors for ICC.
What's in it for other full member nations like South Africa / West Indies / Sri Lanka / Pakistan / New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe? - In the present scenario, these countries used to get equal shares from 75% of ICC revenue. Under the new proposal, the revenue pie will be in similar proportion to the revenue brought by the country towards ICC. Since BCCI contributes roughly 80% of ICC revenue, they will get larger returns from ICC. Others will lose out. For a Cricket playing country, the share they get from ICC significantly helps them to develop the game of cricket (training / infrastructure etc) in their country. More investment, more revenue. But if the investment decreases, based on the new plan, the revenue share decreases and growth is impacted. Now these countries will have to "hope" that BCCI, ECB and CA supports them by inviting them to play more often. Rich becomes more rich; poor becomes more poorer. Unless the top 3 boards decide to invest significantly in new markets, don't expect Cricket to be more popular than what it is now.
How does BCCI justify this? - BCCI considers the proposal as a recognition of India's involvement in Cricket, financially and otherwise. They feel its appropriate that they rake in more by contributing more.
Is it logical? - There are two ways to look at it. One is the obvious way - its unjust to teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and other since they are poised to lose a lot more than top 3 boards. Since the top 3 boards have veto over all the decisions made by ICC, other boards will be at their mercy. Also, power will not be evenly distributed among top 10 boards now. Other way to look at it - Power will now be concentrated at the top. Sometimes, more decision-makers means more adjustments and more compromises. Over-cooking spoils the food, they say. Now there will be only 3 decision-makers.
What's in it for the spectators? - Be ready for more cricket, more home and away bilateral competitions. But what's new, you'd ask? Precisely my point. There's honestly nothing in it for us. But if you support a team outside of the top 3, be ready for relegation and playing against lower teams fighting for a minuscule share of ICC revenue pie!
Will it be beneficial to Cricket or detrimental to the game, depends on how power hungry the top 3 boards are.