ICC under fire
THE ICC in its 96 years of existence has encountered many thorny
issues, some of which they have tackled tactfully and the others, left
open to widespread criticism from both cricketers and administrators
alike the world over.
The contentious issue at hand is to do with the granting of official
status to the Johnnie Walker Test and one-day series between Australia
and the Rest of the World which has come for severe criticism from past
and present cricketer alike.
Australian vice captain Adam Gilchrist said: "Test matches are about
representing your country. We are doing that, but they (World XI) are
not. I believe that Test match status is country versus country for a
lot of the historical reasons."
Gilchrist further stated that the sanctity of international cricket
should be preserved and these matches should not have been given
The Australian wicket-keeper/batsman expressed the same views about
the sellout tsunami relief match at the MCG on January 10 between a
World XI and an Asia XI.
Another Australian stalwart former captain Allan Border also spoke on
similar lines and considered it a "slap on the face" of all former
"I firmly believe that cricket is an institution that has been built
up over a period of 128 years, and it should not be tampered with. In my
view the elevation of the six-day game to 'Test match' status is like a
slap in the face of all the former cricketers who have contributed to
making Test cricket the ultimate form of the game since 1877," said
Another former cricketing great South African opener Barry Richards
was of the opinion that if official recognition is given to the ongoing
matches then the series played by the Rest of the World in England and
in Australia should also be given the same status.
"I think everybody knows (about it). The people who made the decision
to not make those matches official obviously didn't know anything about
cricket because that was the most competitive cricket that I played. The
ICC makes some very funny decisions at times," said Richards.
The series between the World XI (or Rest of the World) played in
England and in Australia in 1970 and 1971-72 produced some of the best
cricket ever witnessed.
Both series came in the wake of cancellation of tours to those
countries by South Africa, whose government earned the wrath of every
cricket nation for their apartheid policies.
The main attraction in the star studded World teams was none other
than West Indian Garry Sobers who was captain. He led the World team to
a 4-1 and 2-1 triumph over the two oldest rivals of the game in a series
of five tests termed unofficial. While England handed out caps to their
players for appearing in the series, the World team's performances did
not get the merit it deserved.
Sobers single-handedly guided his team's fortunes despite the
presence of a galaxy of super stars in his multi-national team like
Clive Lloyd, Mike Procter, Eddie Barlow, Barry Richards, Rohan Kanhai,
Graeme Pollock, Mushtaq Mohammed, Lance Gibbs, Tony Greig, Zaheer Abbas,
Sunil Gavaskar to name a few.
He scored 588 runs (avg. 73.50) and captured 21 wickets (avg. 21.52)
against England and followed it up with 341 runs (avg. 48.71) and 9
wickets (48.33) against Australia.
It was his double century (254) against Australia at Melbourne that
was the piece de resistance and earned the following comments from Sri
Donald Bradman: "I believe Gary Sobers' innings was probably the best
ever seen in Australia. The people who saw Sobers have enjoyed one of
the historic events of cricket, they were privileged to have such an
If such masterpieces are not give due recognition, what is the
criteria the ICC is adopting in granting recognition to the on-going
matches which so far has not come as anywhere close to those played 30
This is not the first time the ICC, the world governing body for
cricket has come under fire from cricketers and administrators alike.
Their experimental rule with regard to the use of super subs in
one-day matches has not met with the desired acceptance from captains
notably New Zealand's Stephen Fleming who has been critical of it saying
that it favoured the side winning the toss.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said that it would oppose the super-sub
rule at the ICC executive board meeting in Sydney later this month.
"We don't like this substitution rule because we feel it is
complicating cricket. We should oppose its introduction," the PCB
chairman Shahariyar Khan was quoted by a news agency. There is never a
dull moment with the ICC.