Is there a spring in your step today? There should be. N Srinivasan, one of the primary orchestrators of the Big Three stitch up at the ICC last year, has finally been given his marching orders. It’s fantastic news. His reign of error at the ICC is at an end.
The man who has done so much to damage world cricket – impoverishing smaller nations, contracting the World Cup to ten teams, and dragging the game through the mud thanks to his involvement with numerous scandals – has skulked back to his cave. It’s just a shame that by ‘cave’ I mean ‘massive luxurious mansion’.
Srinivasan was forced to stand aside as ICC chairman this week because he no longer enjoyed the support of the all-powerful BCCI. It’s a bit like the ECB pulling the rug from underneath Giles Clarke (if only).
The BCCI finally realised what most of us have been saying for a long time: that a man who has been investigated by the supreme court of India for corruption, and whose involvement with the Chennai Super Kings was a clear conflict of interest, simply wasn’t fit to be the most powerful man in world cricket. Halle-bloody-lujah.
We’ll have to wait and see what transpires in the coming weeks, months and years, but the new BCCI president Shashank Manohar seems keen to put clear blue water between his administration and the grotty past. Part of this vision is to eradicate conflict of interests – a move which, if it proves to be genuine and effective, should be applauded.
However, a number of challenges remain at the ICC – and of course, a lot of damage has already been done. It’s hard to see Manohar reducing the money and power India, England and Australia grabbed during last year’s coup – a plan drawn up seedily behind closed doors. Nor is there likely to be a reprieve for the associate nations set to miss the 2019 World Cup.
What’s more – and this is bad news for anyone who has a conscious – the divisive Giles Clarke remains very much at the heart of the ICC. Indeed he’s set to become chairman in June next year. Well, nobody said the world was fair.
Clarke and Srinivasan were kindred spirits: two men who shared the same malodorous, self-interested, worldview. With Srinivasan gone, people who care deeply about the game can expect Clarke to push forward with his apparent plan to make cricket the fiefdom of wealthy minorities.
This is where the ECB really needs to step up. There was some good news a few weeks ago when Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive who has proved so evasive on major issues in the past, revealed he was open to the idea of cricket featuring in the Olympics.
Although cricket and the Olympics aren’t necessarily a natural fit, Olympic status would bring vital funding to associate nations in dire need of a cash boost. It would also raise the profile of the support and bring the game to new audiences. Basically, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages – that’s if one’s priority is to grow the game of course.
Anyone who has seen the important film Death of a Gentleman knows only too well that Giles Clarke is opposed to the idea. Of course he is. Bringing cricket to the masses isn’t his priority. As he freely admits in the film, he believes it’s his job to represent only the ECB’s interests, rather then looking after the vitality of the global game.
Harrison and other administrators around the world must realise that someone with Clarke’s agenda must never, ever, become chairman of the ICC. His outlook and priorities couldn’t be less suitable.