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sandeep

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  1. Like
    sandeep got a reaction from Prakat for an article, The Emerging Class System in World Cricket   
    As cricket's flagship global tournament stumbles and trundles through its league stage in England, one thing is becoming nakedly obvious.  There is a gaping quality gap between the top 5 teams in the tournament compared to the rest.   So much so, that the gap between the top 3 to 5 associates, and the bottom 5 "test" teams in the WC is much smaller.  This fact was re-inforced by the manner in which the West Indies managed to squeak through the qualifiers and make its way into the World Cup - an eventuality that only occurred due to the dual divine intervention of weather and a poor umpiring decision. 
     
    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that either of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe would be extremely competitive against the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.   The latter, on their "bad days" of which there seem to be increasingly many.  However, this little write-up isn't about the injustice meted out to the teams that missed out on the WC - as legitimate as that grievance is.  My concern is with the yawning quality gap between the handful of teams at the top vs the other 'test' member nations in cricket.  Given the structural and financial constructs of global cricket, odds are that such a gap not only exists, but threatens to solidify into permanence and potentially widen. 
     
    Such an outcome may provide some gleeful entertainment for fans in the short-term, as historic rivalries tamely meander towards a cycle of repeated beat-downs, it is clear that this is an existential threat to the sport as it exists today.  The reality of cricket is that for national teams to be competitive at the highest levels, they need to stand on a foundation of a deep and healthy domestic first class cricket structure.  It is not a co-incidence that the top 3 teams likely to make the semi-finals are the socalled "big 3" - happen to be the ones with the best and sustainable domestic cricket structures.  As competitive as the kiwis have been in this WC - their domestic system is far from stable, and South Africa are on the cusp of heading the same way.  The domestic cricket challenges and problems in West Indies and Sri Lanka are well-known and have been moaned about for donkeys' years.  And let's not even get started on the shambles that is the Pakistani set-up.  Which is about to undergo its umpteenth "reform" by a self-styled savior with good intentions.  Its a hapless repetition of the same approach, albeit with a man at the top whose intentions are beyond reproach.  But in spite of that, it is eminently foolish to expect different results when you are doing the same thing over and over.  However well-meaning the current leaders of Pakistan Cricket are, they are more or less doomed to essentially the same results, unless Pakistan's national fortunes beyond cricket manage to improve - an outcome even more unlikely than me winning the lottery.  And I don't even buy lottery tickets.  
     
    I am not choosing to dwell on Pakistan's misfortunes only to kick a "rival" when they are down.  Pakistan is a good example of a team with a large sustainable market behind them, and one that is relatively well-funded.  It is simplistic, and inaccurate, to point the finger at the ICC or the "Pig 3" and attribute the dysfunctional domestic systems to a lack of resources.  Pakistan has hundreds of millions of passionate fans, a legacy of supportive sponsors.  Sri Lanka has a steady income stream from a steady diet of LOI games hosted against India.  i.e. Its not just the money. 
     
    Extrapolate the current situation a few years out, and the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' may end up in a death-spiral.  Like anything else, if you are not growing, then by definition, you are shrinking.  Even cricket's golden goose - the masses of Indian fans, may start getting weary if the team runs out of quality opponents to root against.  Accepting the status quo, is essentially accepting an outcome where Franchise T20 inevitably becomes the primary format of the sport, with national cricket relegated to occasional tournaments, global or otherwise. 
     
    So "TL;DR", my point in this write-up, is to ask this question - how can the ICC assist its member boards in stabilizing and improving their domestic first class cricket systems?  Till date, the ICC has functioned as a loose federation of member boards, and its actual executive powers are limited to administrating global tournaments and rules.  I think the time has come for the ICC to recognize this enormous threat to cricket's sustainable future and work on potential solutions.   That the ICC is a toothless tiger, and powerless to enforce its will onto the first class cricket structures of its member boards, is a given.  But it is well within their abilities, even financially, to come up with a detailed proposal outlining best practices and minimum standards that can demonstrate the pathway to a healthy domestic cricket setup. 
     
    Given limitations of weather, facilities, resources, what should be the breakdown of the number of games by format be?  To what degree should 4-day cricket be prioritized?  Should young players be shielded from T20 cricket so that they develop their foundational cricket skills until a later date?  What is the bests way to create feeder systems at lower levels - lower divisions club cricket, university and school cricket - that can bring and keep the game in touch with its grass roots, while creating the player supply for a healthy and competitive First-Class setup?  These are questions that need to be answered by all countries.  Not just the struggling ones.  The least that the ICC can do, is provide a basic primer that can serve as an ideal to aim at, if not attain and surpass.  Such a proposal would be helpful, not only to the likes of SL, WI, Afg, but also to the top tier of associate cricket nations - Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, USA etc.  
     
    As of now, each member nation is left to its own devices and plans, to devise and structure their first-class cricket.   And of course, there is no way for the ICC to come up with a "one size fits all" plan, given the diversity of variables faced by the different countries - from USA to Nepal.  But, there are enough common problems out there, faced by almost all cricket teams, test and associates, that a properly designed 'template' for First-class Cricket could make a genuine difference.  At a minimum, it would empower the well-wishers of the sport to hold their national boards to some degree of accountability. 
     
    Think about a franchise business model - a 7-11 convenience store, or a fast food restaurant.  Each individual location is often independently owned and operated, but they get major guidance in how to structure and operate their business.  Obviously those franchise models benefit from stringent ownership rules that allow the central authority to mandate compliance, but absent such explicit authority, the ICC is well within its rights and scope, to show the way. 
     
    Ultimately, the fate and competitiveness of teams rest with the competency of their national cricket boards.  Maybe we will see some creative solutions emerge in the future, potentially even along the lines suggested here on this forum. 
  2. Great Post
    sandeep got a reaction from SK_IH for an article, The Emerging Class System in World Cricket   
    As cricket's flagship global tournament stumbles and trundles through its league stage in England, one thing is becoming nakedly obvious.  There is a gaping quality gap between the top 5 teams in the tournament compared to the rest.   So much so, that the gap between the top 3 to 5 associates, and the bottom 5 "test" teams in the WC is much smaller.  This fact was re-inforced by the manner in which the West Indies managed to squeak through the qualifiers and make its way into the World Cup - an eventuality that only occurred due to the dual divine intervention of weather and a poor umpiring decision. 
     
    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that either of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe would be extremely competitive against the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.   The latter, on their "bad days" of which there seem to be increasingly many.  However, this little write-up isn't about the injustice meted out to the teams that missed out on the WC - as legitimate as that grievance is.  My concern is with the yawning quality gap between the handful of teams at the top vs the other 'test' member nations in cricket.  Given the structural and financial constructs of global cricket, odds are that such a gap not only exists, but threatens to solidify into permanence and potentially widen. 
     
    Such an outcome may provide some gleeful entertainment for fans in the short-term, as historic rivalries tamely meander towards a cycle of repeated beat-downs, it is clear that this is an existential threat to the sport as it exists today.  The reality of cricket is that for national teams to be competitive at the highest levels, they need to stand on a foundation of a deep and healthy domestic first class cricket structure.  It is not a co-incidence that the top 3 teams likely to make the semi-finals are the socalled "big 3" - happen to be the ones with the best and sustainable domestic cricket structures.  As competitive as the kiwis have been in this WC - their domestic system is far from stable, and South Africa are on the cusp of heading the same way.  The domestic cricket challenges and problems in West Indies and Sri Lanka are well-known and have been moaned about for donkeys' years.  And let's not even get started on the shambles that is the Pakistani set-up.  Which is about to undergo its umpteenth "reform" by a self-styled savior with good intentions.  Its a hapless repetition of the same approach, albeit with a man at the top whose intentions are beyond reproach.  But in spite of that, it is eminently foolish to expect different results when you are doing the same thing over and over.  However well-meaning the current leaders of Pakistan Cricket are, they are more or less doomed to essentially the same results, unless Pakistan's national fortunes beyond cricket manage to improve - an outcome even more unlikely than me winning the lottery.  And I don't even buy lottery tickets.  
     
    I am not choosing to dwell on Pakistan's misfortunes only to kick a "rival" when they are down.  Pakistan is a good example of a team with a large sustainable market behind them, and one that is relatively well-funded.  It is simplistic, and inaccurate, to point the finger at the ICC or the "Pig 3" and attribute the dysfunctional domestic systems to a lack of resources.  Pakistan has hundreds of millions of passionate fans, a legacy of supportive sponsors.  Sri Lanka has a steady income stream from a steady diet of LOI games hosted against India.  i.e. Its not just the money. 
     
    Extrapolate the current situation a few years out, and the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' may end up in a death-spiral.  Like anything else, if you are not growing, then by definition, you are shrinking.  Even cricket's golden goose - the masses of Indian fans, may start getting weary if the team runs out of quality opponents to root against.  Accepting the status quo, is essentially accepting an outcome where Franchise T20 inevitably becomes the primary format of the sport, with national cricket relegated to occasional tournaments, global or otherwise. 
     
    So "TL;DR", my point in this write-up, is to ask this question - how can the ICC assist its member boards in stabilizing and improving their domestic first class cricket systems?  Till date, the ICC has functioned as a loose federation of member boards, and its actual executive powers are limited to administrating global tournaments and rules.  I think the time has come for the ICC to recognize this enormous threat to cricket's sustainable future and work on potential solutions.   That the ICC is a toothless tiger, and powerless to enforce its will onto the first class cricket structures of its member boards, is a given.  But it is well within their abilities, even financially, to come up with a detailed proposal outlining best practices and minimum standards that can demonstrate the pathway to a healthy domestic cricket setup. 
     
    Given limitations of weather, facilities, resources, what should be the breakdown of the number of games by format be?  To what degree should 4-day cricket be prioritized?  Should young players be shielded from T20 cricket so that they develop their foundational cricket skills until a later date?  What is the bests way to create feeder systems at lower levels - lower divisions club cricket, university and school cricket - that can bring and keep the game in touch with its grass roots, while creating the player supply for a healthy and competitive First-Class setup?  These are questions that need to be answered by all countries.  Not just the struggling ones.  The least that the ICC can do, is provide a basic primer that can serve as an ideal to aim at, if not attain and surpass.  Such a proposal would be helpful, not only to the likes of SL, WI, Afg, but also to the top tier of associate cricket nations - Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, USA etc.  
     
    As of now, each member nation is left to its own devices and plans, to devise and structure their first-class cricket.   And of course, there is no way for the ICC to come up with a "one size fits all" plan, given the diversity of variables faced by the different countries - from USA to Nepal.  But, there are enough common problems out there, faced by almost all cricket teams, test and associates, that a properly designed 'template' for First-class Cricket could make a genuine difference.  At a minimum, it would empower the well-wishers of the sport to hold their national boards to some degree of accountability. 
     
    Think about a franchise business model - a 7-11 convenience store, or a fast food restaurant.  Each individual location is often independently owned and operated, but they get major guidance in how to structure and operate their business.  Obviously those franchise models benefit from stringent ownership rules that allow the central authority to mandate compliance, but absent such explicit authority, the ICC is well within its rights and scope, to show the way. 
     
    Ultimately, the fate and competitiveness of teams rest with the competency of their national cricket boards.  Maybe we will see some creative solutions emerge in the future, potentially even along the lines suggested here on this forum. 
  3. Upvote
    sandeep got a reaction from vvvslaxman for an article, The Emerging Class System in World Cricket   
    As cricket's flagship global tournament stumbles and trundles through its league stage in England, one thing is becoming nakedly obvious.  There is a gaping quality gap between the top 5 teams in the tournament compared to the rest.   So much so, that the gap between the top 3 to 5 associates, and the bottom 5 "test" teams in the WC is much smaller.  This fact was re-inforced by the manner in which the West Indies managed to squeak through the qualifiers and make its way into the World Cup - an eventuality that only occurred due to the dual divine intervention of weather and a poor umpiring decision. 
     
    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that either of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe would be extremely competitive against the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.   The latter, on their "bad days" of which there seem to be increasingly many.  However, this little write-up isn't about the injustice meted out to the teams that missed out on the WC - as legitimate as that grievance is.  My concern is with the yawning quality gap between the handful of teams at the top vs the other 'test' member nations in cricket.  Given the structural and financial constructs of global cricket, odds are that such a gap not only exists, but threatens to solidify into permanence and potentially widen. 
     
    Such an outcome may provide some gleeful entertainment for fans in the short-term, as historic rivalries tamely meander towards a cycle of repeated beat-downs, it is clear that this is an existential threat to the sport as it exists today.  The reality of cricket is that for national teams to be competitive at the highest levels, they need to stand on a foundation of a deep and healthy domestic first class cricket structure.  It is not a co-incidence that the top 3 teams likely to make the semi-finals are the socalled "big 3" - happen to be the ones with the best and sustainable domestic cricket structures.  As competitive as the kiwis have been in this WC - their domestic system is far from stable, and South Africa are on the cusp of heading the same way.  The domestic cricket challenges and problems in West Indies and Sri Lanka are well-known and have been moaned about for donkeys' years.  And let's not even get started on the shambles that is the Pakistani set-up.  Which is about to undergo its umpteenth "reform" by a self-styled savior with good intentions.  Its a hapless repetition of the same approach, albeit with a man at the top whose intentions are beyond reproach.  But in spite of that, it is eminently foolish to expect different results when you are doing the same thing over and over.  However well-meaning the current leaders of Pakistan Cricket are, they are more or less doomed to essentially the same results, unless Pakistan's national fortunes beyond cricket manage to improve - an outcome even more unlikely than me winning the lottery.  And I don't even buy lottery tickets.  
     
    I am not choosing to dwell on Pakistan's misfortunes only to kick a "rival" when they are down.  Pakistan is a good example of a team with a large sustainable market behind them, and one that is relatively well-funded.  It is simplistic, and inaccurate, to point the finger at the ICC or the "Pig 3" and attribute the dysfunctional domestic systems to a lack of resources.  Pakistan has hundreds of millions of passionate fans, a legacy of supportive sponsors.  Sri Lanka has a steady income stream from a steady diet of LOI games hosted against India.  i.e. Its not just the money. 
     
    Extrapolate the current situation a few years out, and the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' may end up in a death-spiral.  Like anything else, if you are not growing, then by definition, you are shrinking.  Even cricket's golden goose - the masses of Indian fans, may start getting weary if the team runs out of quality opponents to root against.  Accepting the status quo, is essentially accepting an outcome where Franchise T20 inevitably becomes the primary format of the sport, with national cricket relegated to occasional tournaments, global or otherwise. 
     
    So "TL;DR", my point in this write-up, is to ask this question - how can the ICC assist its member boards in stabilizing and improving their domestic first class cricket systems?  Till date, the ICC has functioned as a loose federation of member boards, and its actual executive powers are limited to administrating global tournaments and rules.  I think the time has come for the ICC to recognize this enormous threat to cricket's sustainable future and work on potential solutions.   That the ICC is a toothless tiger, and powerless to enforce its will onto the first class cricket structures of its member boards, is a given.  But it is well within their abilities, even financially, to come up with a detailed proposal outlining best practices and minimum standards that can demonstrate the pathway to a healthy domestic cricket setup. 
     
    Given limitations of weather, facilities, resources, what should be the breakdown of the number of games by format be?  To what degree should 4-day cricket be prioritized?  Should young players be shielded from T20 cricket so that they develop their foundational cricket skills until a later date?  What is the bests way to create feeder systems at lower levels - lower divisions club cricket, university and school cricket - that can bring and keep the game in touch with its grass roots, while creating the player supply for a healthy and competitive First-Class setup?  These are questions that need to be answered by all countries.  Not just the struggling ones.  The least that the ICC can do, is provide a basic primer that can serve as an ideal to aim at, if not attain and surpass.  Such a proposal would be helpful, not only to the likes of SL, WI, Afg, but also to the top tier of associate cricket nations - Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, USA etc.  
     
    As of now, each member nation is left to its own devices and plans, to devise and structure their first-class cricket.   And of course, there is no way for the ICC to come up with a "one size fits all" plan, given the diversity of variables faced by the different countries - from USA to Nepal.  But, there are enough common problems out there, faced by almost all cricket teams, test and associates, that a properly designed 'template' for First-class Cricket could make a genuine difference.  At a minimum, it would empower the well-wishers of the sport to hold their national boards to some degree of accountability. 
     
    Think about a franchise business model - a 7-11 convenience store, or a fast food restaurant.  Each individual location is often independently owned and operated, but they get major guidance in how to structure and operate their business.  Obviously those franchise models benefit from stringent ownership rules that allow the central authority to mandate compliance, but absent such explicit authority, the ICC is well within its rights and scope, to show the way. 
     
    Ultimately, the fate and competitiveness of teams rest with the competency of their national cricket boards.  Maybe we will see some creative solutions emerge in the future, potentially even along the lines suggested here on this forum. 
  4. Upvote
    sandeep got a reaction from beetle for an article, The Emerging Class System in World Cricket   
    As cricket's flagship global tournament stumbles and trundles through its league stage in England, one thing is becoming nakedly obvious.  There is a gaping quality gap between the top 5 teams in the tournament compared to the rest.   So much so, that the gap between the top 3 to 5 associates, and the bottom 5 "test" teams in the WC is much smaller.  This fact was re-inforced by the manner in which the West Indies managed to squeak through the qualifiers and make its way into the World Cup - an eventuality that only occurred due to the dual divine intervention of weather and a poor umpiring decision. 
     
    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that either of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe would be extremely competitive against the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.   The latter, on their "bad days" of which there seem to be increasingly many.  However, this little write-up isn't about the injustice meted out to the teams that missed out on the WC - as legitimate as that grievance is.  My concern is with the yawning quality gap between the handful of teams at the top vs the other 'test' member nations in cricket.  Given the structural and financial constructs of global cricket, odds are that such a gap not only exists, but threatens to solidify into permanence and potentially widen. 
     
    Such an outcome may provide some gleeful entertainment for fans in the short-term, as historic rivalries tamely meander towards a cycle of repeated beat-downs, it is clear that this is an existential threat to the sport as it exists today.  The reality of cricket is that for national teams to be competitive at the highest levels, they need to stand on a foundation of a deep and healthy domestic first class cricket structure.  It is not a co-incidence that the top 3 teams likely to make the semi-finals are the socalled "big 3" - happen to be the ones with the best and sustainable domestic cricket structures.  As competitive as the kiwis have been in this WC - their domestic system is far from stable, and South Africa are on the cusp of heading the same way.  The domestic cricket challenges and problems in West Indies and Sri Lanka are well-known and have been moaned about for donkeys' years.  And let's not even get started on the shambles that is the Pakistani set-up.  Which is about to undergo its umpteenth "reform" by a self-styled savior with good intentions.  Its a hapless repetition of the same approach, albeit with a man at the top whose intentions are beyond reproach.  But in spite of that, it is eminently foolish to expect different results when you are doing the same thing over and over.  However well-meaning the current leaders of Pakistan Cricket are, they are more or less doomed to essentially the same results, unless Pakistan's national fortunes beyond cricket manage to improve - an outcome even more unlikely than me winning the lottery.  And I don't even buy lottery tickets.  
     
    I am not choosing to dwell on Pakistan's misfortunes only to kick a "rival" when they are down.  Pakistan is a good example of a team with a large sustainable market behind them, and one that is relatively well-funded.  It is simplistic, and inaccurate, to point the finger at the ICC or the "Pig 3" and attribute the dysfunctional domestic systems to a lack of resources.  Pakistan has hundreds of millions of passionate fans, a legacy of supportive sponsors.  Sri Lanka has a steady income stream from a steady diet of LOI games hosted against India.  i.e. Its not just the money. 
     
    Extrapolate the current situation a few years out, and the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' may end up in a death-spiral.  Like anything else, if you are not growing, then by definition, you are shrinking.  Even cricket's golden goose - the masses of Indian fans, may start getting weary if the team runs out of quality opponents to root against.  Accepting the status quo, is essentially accepting an outcome where Franchise T20 inevitably becomes the primary format of the sport, with national cricket relegated to occasional tournaments, global or otherwise. 
     
    So "TL;DR", my point in this write-up, is to ask this question - how can the ICC assist its member boards in stabilizing and improving their domestic first class cricket systems?  Till date, the ICC has functioned as a loose federation of member boards, and its actual executive powers are limited to administrating global tournaments and rules.  I think the time has come for the ICC to recognize this enormous threat to cricket's sustainable future and work on potential solutions.   That the ICC is a toothless tiger, and powerless to enforce its will onto the first class cricket structures of its member boards, is a given.  But it is well within their abilities, even financially, to come up with a detailed proposal outlining best practices and minimum standards that can demonstrate the pathway to a healthy domestic cricket setup. 
     
    Given limitations of weather, facilities, resources, what should be the breakdown of the number of games by format be?  To what degree should 4-day cricket be prioritized?  Should young players be shielded from T20 cricket so that they develop their foundational cricket skills until a later date?  What is the bests way to create feeder systems at lower levels - lower divisions club cricket, university and school cricket - that can bring and keep the game in touch with its grass roots, while creating the player supply for a healthy and competitive First-Class setup?  These are questions that need to be answered by all countries.  Not just the struggling ones.  The least that the ICC can do, is provide a basic primer that can serve as an ideal to aim at, if not attain and surpass.  Such a proposal would be helpful, not only to the likes of SL, WI, Afg, but also to the top tier of associate cricket nations - Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, USA etc.  
     
    As of now, each member nation is left to its own devices and plans, to devise and structure their first-class cricket.   And of course, there is no way for the ICC to come up with a "one size fits all" plan, given the diversity of variables faced by the different countries - from USA to Nepal.  But, there are enough common problems out there, faced by almost all cricket teams, test and associates, that a properly designed 'template' for First-class Cricket could make a genuine difference.  At a minimum, it would empower the well-wishers of the sport to hold their national boards to some degree of accountability. 
     
    Think about a franchise business model - a 7-11 convenience store, or a fast food restaurant.  Each individual location is often independently owned and operated, but they get major guidance in how to structure and operate their business.  Obviously those franchise models benefit from stringent ownership rules that allow the central authority to mandate compliance, but absent such explicit authority, the ICC is well within its rights and scope, to show the way. 
     
    Ultimately, the fate and competitiveness of teams rest with the competency of their national cricket boards.  Maybe we will see some creative solutions emerge in the future, potentially even along the lines suggested here on this forum. 
  5. Great Post
    sandeep got a reaction from Cricketics for an article, The Emerging Class System in World Cricket   
    As cricket's flagship global tournament stumbles and trundles through its league stage in England, one thing is becoming nakedly obvious.  There is a gaping quality gap between the top 5 teams in the tournament compared to the rest.   So much so, that the gap between the top 3 to 5 associates, and the bottom 5 "test" teams in the WC is much smaller.  This fact was re-inforced by the manner in which the West Indies managed to squeak through the qualifiers and make its way into the World Cup - an eventuality that only occurred due to the dual divine intervention of weather and a poor umpiring decision. 
     
    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that either of Scotland, Ireland, Zimbabwe would be extremely competitive against the likes of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, or even Pakistan.   The latter, on their "bad days" of which there seem to be increasingly many.  However, this little write-up isn't about the injustice meted out to the teams that missed out on the WC - as legitimate as that grievance is.  My concern is with the yawning quality gap between the handful of teams at the top vs the other 'test' member nations in cricket.  Given the structural and financial constructs of global cricket, odds are that such a gap not only exists, but threatens to solidify into permanence and potentially widen. 
     
    Such an outcome may provide some gleeful entertainment for fans in the short-term, as historic rivalries tamely meander towards a cycle of repeated beat-downs, it is clear that this is an existential threat to the sport as it exists today.  The reality of cricket is that for national teams to be competitive at the highest levels, they need to stand on a foundation of a deep and healthy domestic first class cricket structure.  It is not a co-incidence that the top 3 teams likely to make the semi-finals are the socalled "big 3" - happen to be the ones with the best and sustainable domestic cricket structures.  As competitive as the kiwis have been in this WC - their domestic system is far from stable, and South Africa are on the cusp of heading the same way.  The domestic cricket challenges and problems in West Indies and Sri Lanka are well-known and have been moaned about for donkeys' years.  And let's not even get started on the shambles that is the Pakistani set-up.  Which is about to undergo its umpteenth "reform" by a self-styled savior with good intentions.  Its a hapless repetition of the same approach, albeit with a man at the top whose intentions are beyond reproach.  But in spite of that, it is eminently foolish to expect different results when you are doing the same thing over and over.  However well-meaning the current leaders of Pakistan Cricket are, they are more or less doomed to essentially the same results, unless Pakistan's national fortunes beyond cricket manage to improve - an outcome even more unlikely than me winning the lottery.  And I don't even buy lottery tickets.  
     
    I am not choosing to dwell on Pakistan's misfortunes only to kick a "rival" when they are down.  Pakistan is a good example of a team with a large sustainable market behind them, and one that is relatively well-funded.  It is simplistic, and inaccurate, to point the finger at the ICC or the "Pig 3" and attribute the dysfunctional domestic systems to a lack of resources.  Pakistan has hundreds of millions of passionate fans, a legacy of supportive sponsors.  Sri Lanka has a steady income stream from a steady diet of LOI games hosted against India.  i.e. Its not just the money. 
     
    Extrapolate the current situation a few years out, and the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' may end up in a death-spiral.  Like anything else, if you are not growing, then by definition, you are shrinking.  Even cricket's golden goose - the masses of Indian fans, may start getting weary if the team runs out of quality opponents to root against.  Accepting the status quo, is essentially accepting an outcome where Franchise T20 inevitably becomes the primary format of the sport, with national cricket relegated to occasional tournaments, global or otherwise. 
     
    So "TL;DR", my point in this write-up, is to ask this question - how can the ICC assist its member boards in stabilizing and improving their domestic first class cricket systems?  Till date, the ICC has functioned as a loose federation of member boards, and its actual executive powers are limited to administrating global tournaments and rules.  I think the time has come for the ICC to recognize this enormous threat to cricket's sustainable future and work on potential solutions.   That the ICC is a toothless tiger, and powerless to enforce its will onto the first class cricket structures of its member boards, is a given.  But it is well within their abilities, even financially, to come up with a detailed proposal outlining best practices and minimum standards that can demonstrate the pathway to a healthy domestic cricket setup. 
     
    Given limitations of weather, facilities, resources, what should be the breakdown of the number of games by format be?  To what degree should 4-day cricket be prioritized?  Should young players be shielded from T20 cricket so that they develop their foundational cricket skills until a later date?  What is the bests way to create feeder systems at lower levels - lower divisions club cricket, university and school cricket - that can bring and keep the game in touch with its grass roots, while creating the player supply for a healthy and competitive First-Class setup?  These are questions that need to be answered by all countries.  Not just the struggling ones.  The least that the ICC can do, is provide a basic primer that can serve as an ideal to aim at, if not attain and surpass.  Such a proposal would be helpful, not only to the likes of SL, WI, Afg, but also to the top tier of associate cricket nations - Scotland, Ireland, Nepal, USA etc.  
     
    As of now, each member nation is left to its own devices and plans, to devise and structure their first-class cricket.   And of course, there is no way for the ICC to come up with a "one size fits all" plan, given the diversity of variables faced by the different countries - from USA to Nepal.  But, there are enough common problems out there, faced by almost all cricket teams, test and associates, that a properly designed 'template' for First-class Cricket could make a genuine difference.  At a minimum, it would empower the well-wishers of the sport to hold their national boards to some degree of accountability. 
     
    Think about a franchise business model - a 7-11 convenience store, or a fast food restaurant.  Each individual location is often independently owned and operated, but they get major guidance in how to structure and operate their business.  Obviously those franchise models benefit from stringent ownership rules that allow the central authority to mandate compliance, but absent such explicit authority, the ICC is well within its rights and scope, to show the way. 
     
    Ultimately, the fate and competitiveness of teams rest with the competency of their national cricket boards.  Maybe we will see some creative solutions emerge in the future, potentially even along the lines suggested here on this forum. 
  6. Like
    sandeep got a reaction from Brainfade for an article, Next gen Indian batting talents - Plenty of Flash, but light on grit?   
    Shreyas Iyer.   Sanju Samson.  Rishabh Pant.   Karun Nair.   Sarfraz Khan.  And the latest addition to the mix, chota packet promising to be the next big dhamaka - Prithvi Shaw.
     
    All of these guys seem to have that 'it' factor when it comes to their batting.  That certain something that jumps out when you watch them bat - plenty of timing, a plethora of strokes, and a willingness to take the attack to the bowlers.   But take a bit of a closer look, and you can start to see telltale signs of inconsistency - a tendency to "live hard or die trying".   Given the way the economic and 'popularity' incentives are stacked in favor of "modern" bats who are capable of exciting stroke-play, its not hard to see why the teenyboppers of Indian batting are all out to emulate the ABDVs and Rohit Sharmas of the world, as opposed to the Gavaskars and dare I say, even the great Sachin Tendulkar.   
     
    Gone are the days where the domestic circuit prioritized, taught and honed the ability of a young batsman's ability to put a premium price on his wicket.  These days, all you hear in terms of "cutting edge conventional wisdom" is the tiresome cliche of "expressing yourself" and "playing your natural game".  So widespread is the epidemic in India's young ranks,, that even the normally reticent Rahul Dravid felt compelled to publicly call out some of his wards.    An annoyed Dravid was quoted as dismissing all this emphasis on "natural game" as "frustrating".   Dravid chose to make his point with an unusually strong choice of words.
     
    Strong words they might be, but I feel that it will be inevitably swamped by the tsunami of $$$$ that has flooded cricket since the inception of the IPL.  After all, what will a young Indian cricketer aspire to be, considering the cricket circuit today - Why should he devote his energies to building his skills like say, a Murali Vijay, Che Pujara, or even an Ajinkya Rahane?  When a test cricket 'failure' like Rohit Sharma is a multi-millionaire superstar IPL team captain, and gets to be a glory hogging ODI opener for the national team because of his ability to hit sixes?  
     
    To some extent, this evolution of incentives and the corresponding evolution in batting is not restricted to India alone.   One look at the young batsmen coming through the ranks in England and Australia will show you a markedly 'same-ness' in the ranks.  James Vince.   Marcus Stoinis.   Chris Lynn.  Glenn Maxwell.   
     
    I wonder where the next Rahul Dravid will come from.  Or if he will show up at all.   Cricket will be poorer for it, if he doesn't.  
  7. Upvote
    sandeep got a reaction from Laaloo for an article, Can the IPL help save Sri Lankan Cricket?   
    The one-sided beat-down handed to SL by India and the passionate words of Andrew Fernando here, here, and here, shed some light on the current state of SL cricket.    Question is, where do they go from here?   How do they get more competitive? Do they?  Given the unprecedented level of churn and chaos that cricket is undergoing right now, Franchise T20 cricket is forcing a re-drawing of international calendars, as well as forcing cricket boards to drastically change how their domestic cricket is structured, played, coached and governed.  Sri Lankan Cricket will not have a popularity problem with the sport, unlike say England, Aus, NZ, SA.  But they are almost destined to have a funding and talent issue, given their population base.  It is no surprise that they have firmly allied themselves to the BCCI - its given them a funding lifeline without which things would have been even worse.  Based on Fernando's reporting, it appears that the lifeline may have been wasted to some extent by profligate and corrupt administrators.  A situation that's as sad as it is predictable.  The question is, what can SL cricket do to stay competitive at the international level?  
     
    Cricket as we know it is changing.  And changing rapidly.  All countries and boards need to keep up with the modernization that has entered the game in this post-T20 world.  Top teams need top dollars in order to compete with the best in the world, and they need to create and/or strengthen their domestic cricket structures to ensure that they have a steady pipeline of skilled players coming through.   Boards need to work to provide their younger and developing players with platforms where they get to train and compete with and against the best possible circumstances - whether that's first-class cricket or Franchise T20 cricket.   Opportunities to 'develop' prospects apprenticing in international cricket over bilateral series will continue to shrink.   
     
    I believe the answer is to double-down on its alliance with the BCCI.  The time has come for a Columbo Franchise to join an expanded IPL.  SLC already tried their hand at getting their own little franchise tournament going.   It died as soon as the Indian money stopped flowing through the "Champions League" tap.   They don't have the population numbers that the Bangladesh or Pakistan have to sustain their own league.  Nor do they have deep pocketed fans who can make up the paucity in numbers that Australia or England do.   Their best bet at acquiring and maintaining access for their unfinished talent to top-level franchise cricket is to partner with the BCCI, and a deep-pocketed Indian investor - let them get a piece of the profits, while extending the IPL's 7 domestic player rule to Sri Lankans for the Colombo Franchise.  This will create a self-funded pipeline and finishing school for Sri Lanka's younger cricketers.   7 Sri Lankans starting for an IPL team, means a dozen or so Sri Lankans are guaranteed roster spots in the top T20 league in the world.  Apart from the established stars that win contracts for the other teams.  If they don't do this, the only Sri Lankans who will get a chance to participate in these overseas leagues will be the ones that are already on their way to international star status.   
     
    There are 2 immediate obstacles that stand in the way of this hypothetical scenario.  First,  This requires a bold and visionary attitude from SL cricket administrators, one that will set aside short-sighted provincial and nationalistic attitudes to recognize the long-term benefits to SL cricket.  And second, it requires equally visionary and pro-active leadership on the Indian side - both within the "non-profit" quasi-governmental BCCI, as well as the private IPL Council.   
     
    From a BCCI perspective, adding the Colombo Islanders and the Dubai Stallions to the IPL makes complete financial and strategic sense.  You enhance and extend the IPL's pole position as the planet's leading cricket T20 league, expand your playing calendar, increase your fan-base, your profits, and gain/strengthen long-term allies at the ICC voting table in the process.   Geographic proximity and existing cricket infrastructure means the logistical challenges are minimal.  There is ample precedent for this - Look at the most successful sports leagues in the world, and you'll see that the best ones already span national borders - whether its the NBA or MLB in America, for example.  The NFL - widely considered to be the most profitable sports league in the US, is working hard to expand beyond its American footprint, and is investing heavily in building a platform that will ultimately lead to creating a Franchise in London.  The NBA has been quietly doing the spade work to lay the foundation for spreading its reach into emerging markets like China and India.   Unlike the NFL, The IPL doesn't even need to do the hard yards.  All it needs to do, is say yes.  
  8. Upvote
    sandeep got a reaction from sourab10forever for an article, Can the IPL help save Sri Lankan Cricket?   
    The one-sided beat-down handed to SL by India and the passionate words of Andrew Fernando here, here, and here, shed some light on the current state of SL cricket.    Question is, where do they go from here?   How do they get more competitive? Do they?  Given the unprecedented level of churn and chaos that cricket is undergoing right now, Franchise T20 cricket is forcing a re-drawing of international calendars, as well as forcing cricket boards to drastically change how their domestic cricket is structured, played, coached and governed.  Sri Lankan Cricket will not have a popularity problem with the sport, unlike say England, Aus, NZ, SA.  But they are almost destined to have a funding and talent issue, given their population base.  It is no surprise that they have firmly allied themselves to the BCCI - its given them a funding lifeline without which things would have been even worse.  Based on Fernando's reporting, it appears that the lifeline may have been wasted to some extent by profligate and corrupt administrators.  A situation that's as sad as it is predictable.  The question is, what can SL cricket do to stay competitive at the international level?  
     
    Cricket as we know it is changing.  And changing rapidly.  All countries and boards need to keep up with the modernization that has entered the game in this post-T20 world.  Top teams need top dollars in order to compete with the best in the world, and they need to create and/or strengthen their domestic cricket structures to ensure that they have a steady pipeline of skilled players coming through.   Boards need to work to provide their younger and developing players with platforms where they get to train and compete with and against the best possible circumstances - whether that's first-class cricket or Franchise T20 cricket.   Opportunities to 'develop' prospects apprenticing in international cricket over bilateral series will continue to shrink.   
     
    I believe the answer is to double-down on its alliance with the BCCI.  The time has come for a Columbo Franchise to join an expanded IPL.  SLC already tried their hand at getting their own little franchise tournament going.   It died as soon as the Indian money stopped flowing through the "Champions League" tap.   They don't have the population numbers that the Bangladesh or Pakistan have to sustain their own league.  Nor do they have deep pocketed fans who can make up the paucity in numbers that Australia or England do.   Their best bet at acquiring and maintaining access for their unfinished talent to top-level franchise cricket is to partner with the BCCI, and a deep-pocketed Indian investor - let them get a piece of the profits, while extending the IPL's 7 domestic player rule to Sri Lankans for the Colombo Franchise.  This will create a self-funded pipeline and finishing school for Sri Lanka's younger cricketers.   7 Sri Lankans starting for an IPL team, means a dozen or so Sri Lankans are guaranteed roster spots in the top T20 league in the world.  Apart from the established stars that win contracts for the other teams.  If they don't do this, the only Sri Lankans who will get a chance to participate in these overseas leagues will be the ones that are already on their way to international star status.   
     
    There are 2 immediate obstacles that stand in the way of this hypothetical scenario.  First,  This requires a bold and visionary attitude from SL cricket administrators, one that will set aside short-sighted provincial and nationalistic attitudes to recognize the long-term benefits to SL cricket.  And second, it requires equally visionary and pro-active leadership on the Indian side - both within the "non-profit" quasi-governmental BCCI, as well as the private IPL Council.   
     
    From a BCCI perspective, adding the Colombo Islanders and the Dubai Stallions to the IPL makes complete financial and strategic sense.  You enhance and extend the IPL's pole position as the planet's leading cricket T20 league, expand your playing calendar, increase your fan-base, your profits, and gain/strengthen long-term allies at the ICC voting table in the process.   Geographic proximity and existing cricket infrastructure means the logistical challenges are minimal.  There is ample precedent for this - Look at the most successful sports leagues in the world, and you'll see that the best ones already span national borders - whether its the NBA or MLB in America, for example.  The NFL - widely considered to be the most profitable sports league in the US, is working hard to expand beyond its American footprint, and is investing heavily in building a platform that will ultimately lead to creating a Franchise in London.  The NBA has been quietly doing the spade work to lay the foundation for spreading its reach into emerging markets like China and India.   Unlike the NFL, The IPL doesn't even need to do the hard yards.  All it needs to do, is say yes.  
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