A protest about the direction of world cricket, featuring a three-minute silence, will be staged on Thursday outside the Kia Oval before the start of the fifth Investec Ashes Test.
The organisers are the makers of the film Death of a Gentleman, released earlier this month, which raises serious issues about the health of Test cricket and the game’s governance under the restructured International Cricket Council, which is ruled by the big three of India, England and Australia.
“We have decided on a three-minute silence,” Sam Collins, the film’s producer, said.
That is one minute for each of the countries that is trying to silence the game’s ordinary supporters. Now the Ashes have been decided, we feel the time is right to protest at the powerlessness of all other countries in the cricket world. Nobody has any power except Narayan Srinivasan, of India, Giles Clarke, of England, and Wally Edwards, of Australia.
Cricket is therefore run with no transparency and no accountability, according to Collins and his co-director Jarrod Kimber. Srinivasan has been barred by India’s Supreme Court from being chairman of the Indian board, but nobody has dared to object to him continuing as ICC chairman. If another country did, India would never tour it again.
Another charge by the protest organisers is that the game is shrinking, not expanding like other global sports. The 50-over World Cup has been reduced to 10 countries in 2019, although the World T20 is expanding. In addition, if the ICC had pushed, T20 could have been included in the Olympic Games of 2020 in Tokyo – which would have been an excellent platform for growing the game in east Asia, among women and the disabled. But the triumvirate that runs world cricket would lose absolute control if cricket became an Olympic sport.
Another theme of the film is that Test cricket is dying. This is not immediately apparent when an Ashes series is in full swing, but it is when other countries meet for a two-Test series which nobody turns up at the ground to watch.
The film could have referred to the decision by the ICC, when it was a democratic body rather than an oligarchy, to stage a World Test Championship in England in 2013. That would have given Test cricket a context which it has never had.
The top four countries, as decided by the ICC Test rankings, were due to meet again in England in 2017, with each country playing a Test against the other three. But the tournament was scrapped because India were not going to be involved. Instead, the Champions Trophy will be staged in 2017, in England. As another illustration of the vested interests of the big three, all scheduled global tournaments will take place in India, England and Australia.
The sport’s future would be safer in the hands of an executive board of seven great and good, mostly former cricketers of distinction, without vested interests, governing on the lines laid out by the former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf in his review of the ICC in 2012.
The film-makers have launched a petition at their website, changecricket.com, urging fans to put pressure on governments to demand independent governance at the ICC. The time has come, says Collins, for supporters to play their part in safeguarding cricket’s future. “We ask fans of all nations to stand with us and show their dissatisfaction about the way their game is being run.”
The protest organisers will be wearing shirts from cricket-playing nations outside the big three, and are asking fans to gather an hour before the start of play.
Source - The Telegraph