The International Cricket Council met this year with representation from five full-time members, India, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, as well as candidacy from the Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, and Canada. In light of the increasing number of scandals associated with the game of cricket, the Council swiftly moved into discussing their stances on the issue. Some of the delegates did not hesitate to posit their solutions too, hastily even. While the delegate of Netherlands incessantly and quite rightly advocated that an increase in transparency and accountancy is of utmost importance to try and curb corruption in the ICC, he ran out of time trying to elaborate on his stance and kept the rest of the committee waiting to hear anything at all for the rest of the day. With that to ponder upon, the Indian delegate, with poise and passion, put forth to the committee his belief that a corruption control body entirely independent of the ICC is the only plausible solution for an issue as pervasive and embryonic as corruption.
Unsurprisingly for any meeting of the International Cricket Council, India was quite the highlight of the entire day – in debate, as well as in conversation! Not soon after the dialogue for the day had begun, the delegations from two of the observer countries were caught in the act, having covert conversations:
“Delegate of India seems rude!”
“Yes, a little overconfident too.”
The delegate of South Africa, too, touched upon issues such as spot-fixing, doping and racism in relation to the agenda of the committee. Constrained by time and bludgeoned by rebuttal from the delegations of India and Australia to move into an unmoderated caucus and indulge deeper into the idea of the independent corruption control body, the delegate of South Africa diverted her inquisitiveness quite productively to the discussions that followed. By now, of course, India and Australia had already identified that they are allies – not too sure if they have both identified their adversaries yet, though!
As if it were a tacit agreement among the four, India, Australia, South Africa, and United Kingdom huddled up in no time. The idea of a governing body that not only regulates but also closely overlooks legal and financial records of the ICC seemed like the most logical solution to these members. It is only after some more deliberation and discussion that they realized this is not an easy task. A new governing body made sense, but this means there need to be put into place new structures for the functioning of international cricket – new sources and pools of funds, new recruitment methods, new rules for the game perhaps? A sport that is as popular and commercialized as cricket is hardly fluid enough to be changed so dramatically.
While the four brainstormed to answer every possible little question they could about this proposal of a new governing body, the delegates from the other members began sporadically gaining interest in the same conversation. What seemed like a logical bloc within the cricket community – the Big Three, and South Africa – had now expanded to include all the members present in committee today. The relationship between the delegations from the Netherlands and India still remains an eerie mystery, though. While in formal discussion, the Netherlands openly accused India, with the example of the Indian Premier League of being a breeding spot for corruption in cricket, but he seemed quite happy working with him later in the day.
After several hours of debate, discussion and deliberation, the delegates of India and Australia opened their working paper. Some rather scandalous propositions came up, and were dismissed quite promptly too. The delegate of Ireland suggested that the ICC expel all member countries where cricket scandals have been uncovered. India and South Africa, for obvious reasons, were not happy with that.
Right when everyone thought the action for the day was over, Scotland dropped a real bomb – “we should get rid of the umpire system and replace it with a 3rd umpire-only system,” he said! The delegates from Zimbabwe and Australia were visibly appalled upon hearing this statement. Not only is the umpire essential for the players on the field to avail a sense of direction, a 3rd-umpire system will make cricket an exponentially slow game. A global sport with such a pressing issue does need an audacious solution, but Scotland’s solution just doesn’t seem to be it! On that humorous note, the International Cricket Council terminated their seemingly endless session for the day an entire six minutes ahead of schedule. Phew, what a day, it’s been!
– Pooja Yadav