“Big Three” scheme finally approved

CRICKET-WIS-PAKBy  Muhammad Daim Fazil

The simmering Big Three row in game of gentlemen, cricket, has turned into possibly the biggest intimidation to the game since the 1970 fiasco when South Africa was barred from playing cricket until 1992. South Africa returned to mainstream of the game because money was not extensively involved at that time. However, contemporary blow is not confined to one nation; rather it has stern repercussions for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and associate members of International Cricket Council. India, Australia and England’s bid to overhaul ICC structure, reshaping of Future Tour Program (FTP) and managing council’s revenue created chaotic scenario for relatively weaker Cricket Boards. The approved FTP till 2023 is dissolved and now it is entirely in the hands of Big Three whether to let it remain or to reshape it in accordance with bilateral engagements.

Former cricketers and experts believe that Big Three diagram is totally based on getting maximum ICC revenue and to cancel the overseas tours so as to be always on the winning track.  In recent past, countries like India and England have exclusively feeble record in away series. As I am writing this article, India has so far not won a single contest away from home in the last 11 matches. India is a unit which plays well merely at Subcontinent’s rusty pitches but once gigantic batting side faces bouncy and swinging tracks of Australia, England or South Africa, top order fails to amass reasonable totals while the bowling line is chastised even by debutants. Same is the case with England which suffered humiliating defeat in Ashes (5-0), in ODI (4-1) and T-20 (3-0) series in latest tour to Australia.

Since overseas tours have benefitted host nations largely, the fashion of cancelling tour on the basis of security threats and racial discrimination got impetus. Its been more than a decade that Australia has not visited Pakistan. It was 1998 when they were last time here. Similarly Zimbabwe has been trying to convince Australia for tours but all efforts went abortive. England refused to play even a single game scheduled in Harare during World Cup of 2003 whereas India has been denying coming to Pakistan by pretending security threats Before ICC’s decisive meeting at Singapore to verify Big Three proposal draft, it was perceived that South Africa might not vote in favor of the new draft however, latent U-turn in CSA stance tainted the picture absolutely and stunned cricket pundits. Board of Cricket Control in India, Australian Cricket Board and England Cricket Board poured incentives to CSA in terms of frequent bilateral series and consequently the new proposal conceded with obligatory votes. PCB stand not to vote in favor of Big Three is appreciated at all levels and grounds. However, critics still believe that PCB had not done adequate home work to convince the Bangladesh and South Africa boards.  The revamp of ICC has endangered the future of cricket principally in those states where cricket was on the flourishing juncture.

The writer can be reached at daimfazil@gmail.com

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