ICC must spread game to developing countries


TWENTY20 (T20) has taken the cricketing world by storm and it seems whenever you turn on a television set, there is T20 cricket of some sort taking place.

The latest is the Champions League, which like the Indian Premier League (IPL) is based on the same format as the football champions’ league. Money makes the world go around and cricket is no different.

Is the International Cricket Council (ICC) spreading the game or “making a killing” from these tournaments?

India is the powerhouse of cricket and has been able to flex its muscle to make the ICC dance to its tune.

The Indians have the most powerful T20 league.

There is serious money to be made as evidenced by the number of retired players still turning out for their IPL teams.

The idea was for the players to make as much money from cricket as in other sports, especially football.

The world’s best T20 players have made merry so much so that some have refused to play for their countries in favour of the IPL.

One envies the Indian spectators as they get to watch all the world stars in the same country every year.

Analysts say the IPL has the best cricket players in the world.

One example of this is Mike Hussey who turns out for the Chennai Super Kings, but is no longer available for international cricket — and is arguably Australia’s best player.

The last World Cup was in India.

Nowhere else in the world would you get the number of spectators and the amount of sponsorship as in India, but is money the sole reason for hosting?

The ICC have come up with a format that excludes teams from the lesser-playing countries.

I wonder who will benefit more from this exposure, Kieron Pollard who plays against top opposition all his life or an emerging player like Tinotenda Mutombodzi playing against the best players?

It is an open secret that many of the top sides are reluctant to play the lesser teams, so why deprive them this opportunity then?
The number of teams from IPL can be cut down from three and the slot given to the winner of a play-off between Zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh.

This is just one way to go about it.

The amount of competition it will create in these domestic completions, with the winners knowing there is a possibility of playing the Super Kings will be unparalleled, not to mention the $200 000 price money for making the group stages.

How much more beneficial will it be for an emerging economy to host the tournament? The boost for the hospitality and catering industry will be enormous.

The arrival of superstars will only serve to grow public interest in the sport and educate corporates on the unlimited marketing they can get from the sport.

This will also provide an opportunity for the so lesser known players to get an opportunity to showcase their talent against big names and you never know what might happen.

The likes of Pollard and Sunil Narine were discovered at similar competitions and are now household names.

If the ICC is serious about growing the game in smaller countries, this will be the perfect opportunity to do it.

The club structure does not involve as much politics as national teams.

The players have less pressure on their shoulders and more opportunity is given to players not necessarily in their national teams.

The competition has been exciting like most T20 competitions, even with the absence of the master blaster Chris Gayle.

There have been some monster hits including an over from Thisara Perera of the Sunrisers going for five consecutive sixes at the hands of Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his way to 63 off just 19 balls.

The Dhoni-led Super Kings are looking like favourites, but this is T20 — anything can happen. The Super Kings are such a good side because they have 11 match winners in their team.

-On the local front, the season failed to take off this past weekend as had been planned as there was a breakdown of the main roller at Queens.

Players from the team were visibly disappointed as they had been working hard for the season opener.

The Queens foreman Lameck Siyamanda said the roller has since been sorted out, but was worried about the weather as the rainy season seems to be upon us.

If the weather holds out, then the league will definitely get underway this week.