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The game is in deep trouble


The next CWC won't be a World Cup at all, merely a little house party attended by insiders, writes Peter Roebuck


Bereft of vision, devoid of principle, cricket is in a state of terminal decay. Despite the success of the 2011 CWC and the froth of the fourth IPL, the game is in deep trouble. Corruption and selfishness worsen daily and before long disillusion will spread amongst the remaining honest and hard working devotees.

Despite the best efforts of the dedicated few, including the ICC staff, cricket is suffering from a rotting soul.

Take a look around the ICC top table. Most of the outstanding men have left, and it's high time the rest joined them. Cricket is dominated not by the best the game has to offer but the worst.

Compelling autobiography

Two recent events have highlighted the depths plummeted by the game. Malcolm Speed's recent published autobiography is as compelling as it is devastating.

Attention has focused on his forensic examination of Monkeygate but the last chapter is crucial because it confirms long held suspicions of the Board's toleration of corruption.

Speed was sacked because he believed the KPMG audit into Zimbabwe's finances exposed so much chicanery that it ought to be referred to the ethics committee.

Since the auditors accused officials of falsifying financial documents it might be assumed that an ethics committee might indeed be interested.

That no fingers were pointed at individuals is besides the point. Accountable

Those in charge are accountable. And ZC was about as transparent and democratic as Zanu-PF.

Instead the ICC protected its own. Unable any longer to stomach the hypocrisy, Speed refused to attend the subsequent press conference.

To its eternal shame ICC swept the issue under the carpet. India went along with it. In that moment the game lost its integrity.

None of it is surprising. Peter Chingoka, the long-standing chairman of ZC, is the most powerful man in cricket. Even the debate about John Howard's candidacy was framed by the Zimbabwean cabal.

Not that they were consistent. One leader claimed that Howard was blocked because otherwise they'd have to back Mugabe next.

Another told me that they had wanted Howard but had abstained once they realised the cause was lost. Amazingly neither man's nose grew as he spoke.

But it's not only Zimbabwe. Indeed they've raised their games in the last 12 months. Across the board the forces of darkness are gaining ground. South African cricket has belatedly managed to rid itself of Ray Mali and Norman Arendse, but complications continue.

The chairman has accused his CEO and others of hiding substantial payments given by IPL, pointing out that bonuses had already been paid by their employers.

Isolated and ejected

Far from being thanked, the chairman has been isolated and ejected. That's modern cricket.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Board has been accused in its own papers of rampant corruption and impending bankruptcy.

The Sports Minster has described SLC as the third most corrupt body in the country. Ijaz Butt still rules the roost in Pakistan, Julian Hunte is busy ruining West Indian cricket, Giles Clarke is running loose in England whilst the Antipodean nations could not find a candidate worthy of ICC leadership (and the bar is low).

Now the Associates have been thrown out of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups. Cricket does not want them and they ought to form their own group. Money might prevent that. But the game is finished.

The next CWC won't be a World Cup at all, merely a little house party attended by insiders.

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