Cricket legends lash out

Legends in Australia (from left) Joel Garner, Sir Vivian Richards and Michael Holding.

SYDNEY – Just a month after the West Indies claimed the Twenty20 World Cup, three of the Caribbean’s greats have called for the ICC to show some “balls” and scrap it as an international sport and stand up to India’s might.

Sir Viv Richards and fast bowling greats Michael Holding and Joel Garner say the proliferation of international and domestic franchise T20 tournaments is “killing the game” and blamed cricket’s ruling body.

The trio, in Sydney to raise funds for breast cancer research as part of Richards’ 60th birthday celebrations, spoke passionately about their concerns in an extensive interview with The Daily Telegraph.

“I have been on committees at ICC level, and West Indies Cricket Board level, and my problem with most of those committees is that you don’t have enough people with balls on them,” Holding said.

“There are too many people happy to toe the line to make sure their positions are comfortable on these committees and boards, and ride the wave, instead of saying, ‘No, this ain’t right, let me find some other people who have influence on this committee who can also say this ain’t right and change the direction.’

“You don’t have enough of that in world cricket. I have absolutely nothing good to say about Twenty20 cricket.

“You should not be playing international Twenty20s, it should remain as domestic tournaments.

“It’s big money for the players, and I must tell you if I was playing today I would want to play because if someone’s giving me $1million for six weeks I ain’t going to say no.

“I don’t blame the cricketers, I blame the administrators. It is like a family, the parents are supposed to be leading the way. The administrators are the parents, you don’t blame the children.

“The administrators who run the game are a waste of time, and they’re allowing Twenty20 cricket to basically destroy world cricket.”

Giving up too much

Garner added: “They’re the ones who are giving the windows and making the time available to slot Twenty20 competitions in.”

And Richards said: “The ICC, maybe because of the Indian influence, you have found a lack of leadership where these matters are concerned. The ICC could play a huge role, as Mikey was saying, in a parenthood role and step in and get all the countries involved. You can still have Twenty20 cricket, which can be a great asset in terms of what you miss with bums on seats as far as Test cricket is concerned.

“I just want balance, and if you have balance you will have a much better ratio of individuals wanting to represent their countries.

“We lack leadership at this point with where this is all going.

“They’re not working hard enough. The stakeholders are the ones calling the shots, in my opinion.

“The ICC have been given the mandate to show leadership on the issues and have been found wanting.”

India generates about 80 per cent of cricket’s overall revenue and has massive sway in the scheduling of the IPL and Champions League among the already packed international schedule.

“No one country can run it on their own, that is a fact,” Holding said. “So if the rest of the ICC members sat together and said we’re going to band together for the betterment of the game not because we don’t like India … whichever country is out of line would have to come into line irrespective of how much money they have.

“They can’t play amongst themselves.

“But everyone wants a piece of the pie.

“The game is immaterial, it is about the money, it’s all about the money.”

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