Former West Indies board boss wants more T20 league cricket in future, harbours ICC top job hopes
Former West Indies cricket boss Dave Cameron, who is harbouring ambitions of being the next ICC chairman, envisions a cricket universe where there is more emphasis on private T20 leagues running concurrently and lesser focus on international cricket calendar.
While Cameron has thrown his hat in the ring, Cricket West Indies (CWI) doesn’t support his candidature for the top post in global body.
Sharing his blueprint for world cricket, Cameron, who was Cricket West Indies head between 2013 and 2019, has proposed a longer IPL and wants all the T20 leagues to run concurrently like top tier football leagues like EPL, La Liga and Serie A which starts around same time.
“(Playing) Test cricket should be a choice for smaller teams like Afghanistan and Ireland, it should not be mandatory,” Cameron told PTI in an exclusive interview.
England’s Colin Graves is seen as the front-runner for ICC Chairman’s post and India’s Sourav Ganguly could also throw his hat into the ring. At least two votes from the ICC board are needed to run for Chairmanship and Cameron said he has secured that.
“I have those votes I don’t think it will change. I am still waiting to hear about Ganguly’s future in the ICC. They have not finalised the election process yet,” said Cameron.
Talking about his vision for world cricket, Cameron had a lot to say.
“It is a vision which includes growing the game outside the sub-continent, we need to grow in China and other places. It is a plan that has to include India. Any globalisation will require investments from India (who generates 80 percent of game’s revenues).
“I see a longer IPL, I see longer leagues in Australia and England. The most profitable events we have now is T20 leagues and we need to grow that, take them to places like US and grow the opportunities have more players to participate in those leagues and have less international cricket, leading to more profitability.
“This thing of trying to do more ICC events is not going to help the smaller countries because there is not enough space in the calendar.”
Cameron said fans only want to see competitive cricket, which also has a lot more commercial value.
“For example, a team like the West Indies plays less international games in a year but their players are able to play in the best leagues around the world and then they come to play for the country.
“That way players make more money, their board will not have to spend money on retaining its best players and we focus on continuous development of the sport with that money.”
Asked if too much focus on the shortest format will kill ODIs and Test cricket, he said: “We are living in a capitalist world. We are trying to talk about tradition versus what the players want. The players want to be paid.
“Yes Test cricket is great and it is a tradition and it will survive for another few years between the big countries (India, England, Australia) but the truth is smaller counties like Afghanistan and Ireland should not be forced to play Test cricket until they can be competitive. You are wasting resources.
“Like women’s cricket, they should play only ODIs and T20s.”
Cameron feels the football model doesn’t need to be followed blindly but cricket can still learn a lot from it. “A lot of T20 leagues need to run concurrently, which is not happening ow. Everybody wants to not clash with the other guys.
The IPL needs to happen alongside BPL, CPL and Big Bash and the best players will get picked in the best leagues.
“There will be room for everyone including the Indian players who are unsold in the IPL. They have the opportunity to play elsewhere (if BCCI allows). One has to make a decision on tradition versus profitability.”
Cameron also doesn’t see commercial sense in the ongoing World Test Championship though he feels top nations can continue playing against each other. Another aspect of the game he wants reviewed is bilateral cricket.
“That has to change. Right now the host keeps all the revenues. A fee has to be negotiated for the visiting team depending on its quality. The series which just finished in England, West Indies cricket did not earn a penny. That doesn’t make commercial sense.”
He was also not surprised when T20 World Cup was postponed, making way for the IPL in the same window.
“The IPL is way a more valuable product than the the T20 World Cup. Let’s be very clear about that.
“India will make a lot more money and so as the players. The players themselves would prefer playing in IPL than the World Cup,” he added.