Following a comprehensive defeat by England, Cricket Australia ordered a major review of its structure. England then crushed India, so does that mean their cricket system is also headed for a major overhaul?
The group which should most favour an Indian restructure is the selection panel. They should hope a review sees them lose their jobs and with it the daunting task of picking from the rubble, a competitive side to tour Australia.
I doubt India will follow Australia’s example. Both countries have in common a recent thrashing by a rampant England but that’s where their cricketing DNA’s diverge. The announcement that CA had ordered a review of its performance by an outside agency provided a major clue as to where the problem lay.
There must be a clear priority
If CA had utilised the right balance of expert knowledge and business acumen, they would have been alerted to looming problems. Any review of a cricket administration needs to have as its main priority — to ensure there's a system in place producing skilful, competitive young cricketers and a constant supply of proficient leaders. Then it requires an efficient selection panel to choose the right combination.
The people who oversaw the crumbling structure are basically the same ones now charged with the responsibility of implementing the changes to the system. Nevertheless, CA didn’t draw up the blueprint for a stumbling cricket administration.
Sure, CA named their major money-spinning tournament The Big Bash, they then further trivialised the competition by miking cricketers on the field and allowing a celebrity player to represent an inter-state team.
Now the revamped Big Bash is encouraging players to cast aside loyalties and follow the dollar wherever it leads.
While the CA has unwittingly diminished a valuable commodity, the rest of the cricket world lavishly rewards players competing in the shortest form of the game. Maximum pay for minimum exertion could well be the theme for the T20 pay structure.
Twenty 20 cricket will not stand alone; this is not purely a business enterprise we’re talking about, it’s a game. If T20 is eventually the only form of the game played, you’ll have cricket without artists or artistry. There’s already growing evidence that T20 cricket is eroding batting skills.
It’s a general rule that cricket administrations fail to fully think matters through before implementing new ideas. There’s another generality that you can bet on as surely as a short-priced favourite; cricket doesn't have a grand plan to provide a cohesive and prosperous future for all three forms of the game.
If there is a mood for restructuring cricket, then first rebuild the system that's really failing, the international governance of the game.