While the talk over governance model and revenue sharing between countries grabbed headlines during last month’s International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting, one issue that remained unresolved was international scheduling.
It has been stuck at the Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) level for some time and not moved to the board level. And if sources are to be believed, then the issue may not be resolved anytime soon.
The previous BCCI dispensation, with Sanjay Patel as secretary, had hoped to create an Indian cricket season on the lines of those in Australia, England and South Africa. However, there hasn’t been any headway as the Indian season has been colliding with other boards’ home seasons.
As a result, India have had to host 13 Tests this winter season, inviting four teams as they will tour South Africa next winter, in 2017-18 and Australia in 2018-19.
Too much cricket in one season like this year has led to players’ injuries which eventually hurt IPL franchises too. It has hurt the Indian team as KL Rahul is going to miss Champions Trophy.
Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua says, “Only this year it has happened (that players were too fatigued to perform or got injured). We’ll have to sit down with BCCI and talk about it. This needs to be addressed. BCCI also realises this.”
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, however, told HT, “Bilateral series can never be compromised. They remain priority.”
Shukla said, “We don’t force players to play the IPL.”
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said, “We are trying for regular home season. When the time comes, everyone will be informed.”
The cropping up of domestic T20 leagues, most recently the proposed leagues of South Africa’s Global T20 league and England Cricket Board, is an added headache for ICC to give international cricket significance. That apart, most boards have shown interest and have been fighting to keep their international home seasons intact leaving ICC stuck up as it can only ratify bilateral series and not plan it.
“The ICC has not given any window to domestic leagues. It gave window to only Champions League T20 which is now defunct,” said a top official. “ICC can’t interfere with these domestic T20 leagues. It can’t even decide bilateral series. It can only ratify series. So it has a tough job giving meaning to international cricket with so many boards fighting for space since they are the decision makers,” said the official.
The ICC has been toying with the idea of a Test championship, with each series leading to points, and have ODI matches, where games add to qualification for World Cup.
“That is the only way to give it significance and keep crowd interest alive. But there has been no headway,” said the official.