The laws of cricket tell the English love of compromise between a particular freedom and a general orderliness, or legality – Neville Cardus Nevertheless this world is an interesting place. In real politics the United States and its band of coo-coos on the other side of the sea say the moon is rising from the [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

We drive and tell the others where to be – the Big Three doctrine


The laws of cricket tell the English love of compromise between a particular freedom and a general orderliness, or legality – Neville Cardus

Nevertheless this world is an interesting place. In real politics the United States and its band of coo-coos on the other side of the sea say the moon is rising from the East and it does…… least, as far as they are concerned. Since the day I can remember world politics, the scenario has been the same and the United Nations that they built to unite the world has been converted into their own market place where they sell their concocted doctrine. May be the rest of the brood have their own ideologies and inspirations, but in the main street of politics they only could travel, but do so only according to the rules laid down by the coo-coos co.

That was one of the main reasons that I chose to roll my pen in sport, where winning is also the ultimate goal, but, there is a reasonable quantum of fair play embedded in it. Then to be on the safer end of the sports politics, I indulged myself in the ‘gentlemen’s game, where the flannelled folks play the game over a cuppa on a summers day’.

Cricket always carries its own beauty that even inspired poets like Cardus. But how long it will remain in the same vein is the next life-size question – because I can feel that tight grip loosening with the precipice glaring below.

Yes, from a summer’s game in the Somersets of England, the game of cricket was brought along with the building of the empire where the sun never set. Yes, it was a part of subjugation. Yet, the people in countries like India and Sri Lanka took it into their veins as if it was an ideology that was set in motion with them in mind. Then when the subjugators carved out West Pakistan and East Pakistan – later Pakistan and Bangladesh — it became four countries. But the passion for the game of cricket in this terrain remains the same. Though the bails were burned in the 1800s, the urn lived on and the game blossomed and then graduated from the flannels to the pajamas. I still feel some of these pajamas they wear nowadays make cricketers look more foolish than the so-called flannelled fools.
From the pajamas the game condensed itself to a miniature free-for-all called T-20. Taking deep root in people-heavy India, T-20 brought in the gold in the guise of the IPL and the rest of the world’ s cricketers and administrators became a shameless bunch of prospectors — craving for the IPL gold.

At this juncture for India which lived with its neighbours for ions the status was not enough. India became the one-eyed jack in the land of the blind — at least it came under that definition with the new gotten wealth. So India packed its bags and moved in with the Urn brothers — Australia and England – the original gun slingers down the cricketing alley.

Ironically, it was India and other nations which rebelled and brought forth sanity and equality in the cricket’s governing body — the ICC, ending the England-Australian autocracy that lasted for more than half a century.

Right now cricket is back at square one. The new-rich India, along with its own bodyguards England and Australia, has hijacked the cricket world again. Like I spoke earlier about the moon rising from the East while the rest look on, now the Big Three controlled cricket drives a very heavy vehicle on the highway. Now when the others meet that vehicle either they jump off the curb or face the gruesome consequences.

Recently I read the most condescending and patronising piece on cricket’s modern psychology expressed by — Sundar Raman, the IPL’s chief operating officer, who said, “India will have to accommodate the interests of other countries while planning its international schedule as the BCCI cannot “disrupt world cricket” to protect its own interests”.

It’s a huge statement. It is a statement which could be compared to a declaration made by a loony emperor who is gradually losing his marbles.

In his declaration, he states that as a matter of fact the IPL and the Champions trophy have to be played every year and in other words suggests the rest of the cricket should be played also leaving the necessary window when the Ashes arrive.

In the article that appeared in the ESPN Cricinfo, Raman goes on to say, “If India say, ‘forget everything, we will play at home December-January-February’, my exaggerated view is that world cricket will collapse.

“Australia will not have a Boxing Day Test, South Africa will not have a season and Sri Lanka will not have a Test. So you are treading on a territory … India has to be accommodative”. He spoke while being a part of the “working group”, along with officials from Cricket Australia and the ECB, behind the ICC’s financial and administrative restructuring and he told a media gathering that the focus was on “reinventing” the FTP.

Yes, the Big Three drive the vehicle and the rest of the cricketing world has to wave the flags while they pass through. If they feel sorry they may do something about it, if not the new FTP is a free-for-all where the Big Three suck the marrow out and leave the rest of the dry bone for the others to latch upon. That is one side of the story.

The other side is how the Big Three gun slingers run along the highway and shoot whoever they want. The ECB had a problem. It needed someone to look after its flagging nursery. It found Peter Moores and in turn Moores wanted the incumbent Lankan coach Paul Farbrace as his second-in-command. At the same time the Lankans were to come over to England for their FTP series. The ECB did not have the courtesy of letting Farbrace be with the Lankans till the series was over. The ECB just let the Lankan administration know that it wanted the man and the Lankan crew jumped out of the curb.

We have seen only the beginning. May be some in the smaller camps are being massaged individually like houses in Melbourne. But, in the longer version of the game, they will remain the poor slaves who have to bow and step into the puddle when masters drive by.

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