Cricket – more than a game?

Is it cricket?
The connoisseurs of the sport of cricket are likely to conclude that what we are seeing in terms of the innovations in the game is not really authentic. They may claim that there is a certain bastardisation of the game in modern times.
Others may simply argue that things are expected to change.
If cricket fails to make changes in the present circumstances it is likely to be relegated to the dungheap.
The requirements of a business approach to sport mean that the product has to be attractive to patrons and especially to television audiences. The sale of television rights constitutes a major source of income for sporting organisations and this is often accompanied by major sponsors. The one follows from the other.
The big question that confronts us all is, but is it cricket?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is itself caught up in the malaise of determining an appropriate response to this very question.
The ICC has made many important changes to its way of doing business over the past decade and has recognised the importance of ensuring that its coffers are in the black rather than in the customary red.
It is perhaps for this reason that suddenly the ICC’s calendar is so jam-packed. There are tournaments everywhere, all with the intention of making the business more profitable.
At the same time, cricketers who continue to clamour for better incomes are now seemingly anxious to criticise the proximity of their various assignments and the toll it is taking on them, physically and socially.
But there are other things happening in the game.
Some country Boards responsible for the game at home, are prone to engaging themselves in tournaments of a nature determined by bilateral arrangements. These tournaments are designed to facilitate greater revenues for the respective Boards given the appeal of the contests. This is happening in Asia/Oceania at present and the ICC is only now realising the impact that it is likely to have on its operations.
A casein point is the 2006 series in the West Indies where Pakistan seems unwilling to break its arrangement with Australia and come to the West Indies.
In the face of the foregoing, the ICC finds itself walking the proverbial tight rope. It has to maintain that authority as the governing body of the sport globally and its anxiety to generate and maintain high levels of income while at the same time ensuring that its constituent members are duly appeased.