Who’s the Boss really?

It’s a common mistake for people to confuse administrators with the real decision-makers. Sometimes, even when we identify the ‘real’ decision-makers there is somebody even further up the food chain with the power to overturn the original decision. All the administrators really do is try to ensure that the decisions are enacted on the ground.

Take Gary Kirsten, for example. His manager is Russell Symcox, and a damn fine job he’s doing, too, by all accounts. But you can’t imagine a scenario in which Symcox insists that his illustrious client travels to Margate to open a new Spur while Deborah is three weeks away from giving birth to number three. Kirsten makes the decisions – Symcox merely facilitates them.

It’s the same with the ICC. It has become tiresome listening to criticism of the ‘governing’ body because they are unable to institute rules, regulations and conditions which the majority of the cricket playing world think are good ideas. They can only try. Ultimately, everything comes down to India and the BCCI. If they say no, there isn’t much the rest of the world can do about it.

The latest example of that is the implementation of the Decision Review System. Every country bar India wanted it adopted as standard, but India objected – effectively holding everyone else to ransom. And who cops the blame? The ICC. Ridiculous.

It’s not quite the ‘player-manager’ situation, however. At least the ICC can engage in heated debate (which they did) before, finally, being forced to back down.

So it’s time to praise the ICC for some administration which, albeit in its very early stages, would appear to be working exceptionally well. The changes to the playing conditions for ODIs have had an immediate and very positive effect. The ICC Cricket Committee set out with two clear objectives – to redress the imbalance between bat and ball and to make the ‘middle overs’ more interesting by enforcing the Power Plays use between the 15thand 40th overs.

The good people at the ICC are sick and tired of being criticised by people who don’t bother to check their facts and/or talk to them first. There has been some criticism recently of the changes to ODI conditions, some of it from high profile media people with stellar international playing records.

Captains are no longer “allowed to captain their teams” because the “regulations do it for them” goes one line. Another is that spinners will be marginalised from ODI cricket by the introduction of two new balls, favouring the seamers. A third is that player and team records will no longer be relevant given all the changes. What complete bollocks, on all fronts.

Captains will have to thing MUCH harder now that the dull and predictable option of taking the bowling power play immediately in the 11th over has been removed and the batting power play can simply be left for the final five overs. The second point was debated as much as any other and the conclusion was that spinners enjoy a harder seam and therefore extra bounce in ODIs – and that new balls would actually be beneficial to them rather than soft, old balls. The third criticism is the most abject of all.

One Day cricket has changed beyond recognition (three or four times) in its 40-year history with regulations unrecognisable from era to era. These new ones will make no difference to records or statistics. No more than you, me or the players will notice, anyway. The statisticians will be able to tell us that Jim Smith would most likely have averaged two runs or more or less in a different era, but that’s what makes the game so intriguing for so many of us.

So, for those of you who believe that the new regulations were created by a bunch of nobodies in suits, here is the ICC Cricket Committee:

Chairman – Clive Lloyd (former West Indies captain)

Ex-Officio (two) – Sharad Pawar (ICC President) and Haroon Lorgat (ICC Chief Executive)

Past players (two) – Ian Bishop (former West Indies fast bowler) and Mark Taylor (former Australian captain)

Representatives of current players (two) – Kumar Sangakkara and Tim May (ex-Australia off-spinner, ICC Cricket World Cup winner in 1987 and now Chief Executive of FICA)

Full Member team coach representative (one) – Gary Kirsten (former South Africa opener and ex-India coach)

Women’s representative (one) – Clare Connor (former England women’s team captain who represented her country in 16 Tests and 93 ODIs)

Member Board representative (one) – Justin Vaughan (NZC Chief Executive and former New Zealand international)

Associate representative (one) – Trent Johnston (Ex-Ireland captain)

Media (one) – Ravi Shastri (former India captain and a respected commentator)

Umpires’ representative (one) – Steve Davis (a member of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires)

Referees’ representative (one) – Ranjan Madugalle (ICC chief match referee and former Sri Lanka captain)

MCC representative (one) – Keith Bradshaw (MCC Secretary and Chief Executive; former first-class cricketer for Tasmania in Australia. MCC is the guardian of the laws of cricket)

Statistician (one) – David Kendix (a statistician/scorer and the man responsible for the creation and development of the Reliance ICC Rankings; nominated by the ICC to sit on the committee)


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