Opinion: Proposed Super Series will only harm cricket's global prospects
There were whispers and murmurs of discontent brewing in the corridors of the game until someone finally said it out loud. That someone is no small fish either.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has not minced his words while revealing why he is not pleased with the proposed Super Series featuring the putative global powers of the game, India, Australia and current world champions England. The proposed four-nation series will also feature an invited fourth team on what seems to be a rotational basis.
Faf du Plessis has lent his voice to a growing feeling of alienation among countries not part of the all-powerful triumvirate who seem to be intent on hogging the limelight and the immense pecuniary benefits that the game brings in despite still remaining a commonwealth oddity in the eyes of the world. Cricket, despite its storied history, has failed to spread to other countries beyond the colonial realm where the English took the game.
Also see – IPL 2020 Teams
A quick recap is in order. Incumbent BCCI president and Indian cricket great Sourav Ganguly shook the established cricket bastions by revealing that a proposed four-nation Super Series featuring the three powers and one more nation will commence from 2021 with India (expectedly) hosting the first edition. It has to be said that the ECB or the CA are yet to resonate Ganguly's conviction but have not ruled it out either.
It is a revolutionary move in many ways. For one, it violates the ICC stricture of other boards not being allowed to host competitions featuring more than three nations; a strategic decision that looks likely to undermine ICC's power and its goal to host one big tournament every other year.
Secondly, it succinctly reveals Ganguly's belief that the power centre of the sport is firmly located in these three nations. His statement that one 'other', yet unnamed side will be 'invited' to this party is clear proof of this.
It's as if cricket from now on will forever be dominated by these Super Powers. The others will just make up the numbers. Danger signs for the game, even if what Ganguly has planned is beneficial to the board he is running.
The game needs to spread
The Proteas captain also brought to the fore several other pressing issues arresting the development and spread of the sport to nascent destinations. Ireland and Afghanistan, newest entrants to the Test level, struggle to get game time. The big three play all the year round. This is detrimental to the ICC's mandate of taking the game to new countries, encouraging the growth of the same and making it a truly global sport.
There are insinuations that the powers-that-be are not allowing the sport to be featured in the Olympics for fear of dilution of their hold. Already, the ICC is a strange governing body where the power firmly rests with the big three. These three nations also take the lead in hosting global tournaments following resolutions taken in the recent past.
Cricket is a beautiful, complex and exciting game. The short versions are capable enough to capture the global imagination and to help it get rid of its colonial burden to truly become a truly global sport.
It is still the second most followed game in the world, but sub-continental fans are a primary reason for the same. Now, with the Super Series seeming like a step towards alienating even the established nations from the big three, cricket's expansion plans may have received another big jolt.Published 31 Dec 2019, 07:12 IST