India are riding an unprecedented run of success (with wins in World Cups, Champions Trophy, West Indies and Zimbabwe) and England too are enjoying a massive surge. But cricket in the two countries is vastly different.
India is the powerhouse of world cricket, it generates serious amounts of cash and uses the remote to veto whatever it dislikes. The BCCI rolls over the ICC and even has a say in the appointment of CEOs of other cricket boards.
But the question asked is: For all its commercial clout, has India contributed to world cricket? Yes, to an extent because India created the money-spinning T20 commercial formula which other countries are cloning with varying results.
While India is focussed on the commercial side, cricket in England is driven more by tradition and culture. Compared to India, English cricket is better organised. There is sound governance, both from cricket and business standpoint, and cricket at various levels is professional without being overly commercial.
When Andy Murray won Wimbledon, England issued postage stamps to celebrate the triumph. Who knows, when Cook’s team defeats the Aussies, they too might receive similar recognition. England cricketers are not national icons or Page 3 stars and they rarely endorse consumer products. Yet, they are heroes to kids, respected for their achievements, and paid handsomely.
Interestingly, unlike in India, current English cricketers are quick to write books that tell their story. This season, the efforts of Stuart Broad, Matt Prior, James Anderson and Graeme Swann are on the bookshelves together with a biography of Kevin Pietersen.
Compare this with India where nothing substantial has emerged from any prominent player.
Also, in a way, English cricket reflects the multiracial, multicultural, inclusive nature of the country. Andy Flower, director of cricket, is from Zimbabwe, bowling coach David Sekar is an Aussie and Pakistan’s Mushtaq Ahmed is their spin bowling coach.
The writer is a Daredevils official