Johannesburg - Despite Cricket SA’s top brass justifying its decision to vote to give the “big three” more power in international cricket, former cricket boss Ali Bacher has spoken out against cricket's direction.
“My grave disappointment with the new direction in which cricket is going is mainly aimed at England and Australia who, together with India, have hijacked the game,” Bacher said in an interview with the Telegraph of India.
“A certain gentleman is currently being investigated... by a committee set up by the Supreme Court in India. Despite that, he becomes the ICC chairman. It’s mind-boggling.”
Narayanaswami Srinivasan was appointed chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) last month, to criticism by media and cricket fans across the globe.
His appointment came in the wake of his suspension as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) while an investigation into corruption in the Indian Premier League team - involving, among others, his son-in-law - was underway.
“What staggers me the most is that not a word has been said by any of the member countries of the ICC,” Bacher said.
Srinivasan was also seen as the driving force behind India, England, and Australia receiving a lion’s share of the profits in world cricket as well as holding substantially more power than the other Test nations.
CSA defended its decision to vote for the recent changes at the ICC, ensuring Srinivasan and his colleagues reigned supreme, despite an initial outcry when the idea was first mooted.
“Initially, South Africa raised a hue and cry, but quickly gave in,” Bacher said.
“Earlier this year, CSA did come out strongly against the new direction. They were applauded across the country. South Africa, in fact, held the trump card. Pakistan and Sri Lanka had also been resisting then, but what happened?
“India induced South Africa to change direction. Those who’d hailed CSA now came down heavily on them.”
To add insult to injury, when the ICC ratified the membership of its various committees at an annual conference in Melbourne last month, CSA was the only full ICC member not represented on any of them.
“To amplify how South Africa have been used and then discarded, there is no South African in the high-level committees of the ICC.
“Even Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have been given positions, but not South Africa. What more is there to say?”
Bacher was disappointed with both England and Australia joining forces with India in its bid to take over the sport, but he said England had not painted themselves in glory in recent times.
“Who can forget that a few years ago, the England and Wales Cricket Board jumped into bed with a gentleman who is now serving the equivalent of a life sentence in a Texas prison. I needn’t say more,” he said, referring to prominent financier Allen Stanford. He is serving a 110-year prison sentence after being convicted of charges of fraud and running a massive Ponzi scheme.
Earlier this year, Bacher spoke to Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards at Newlands.
“Edwards must have known about my opposition to the new direction because, without my saying anything, he tried to justify Australia’s position.
“He said that, for the last two years, life at the ICC-level had become untenable. He was, of course, referring to the persistent demands made by India.
“According to Edwards, Australia and England were going along with India, keeping it in the loop, as that was a way of having some control over India.”
After the successful hosting of the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, Bacher left CSA and said he had very little contact with the board and it was not his place to offer any advice.
However, he believed the ICC and its member countries faced a massive challenge in curbing match-fixing and building credibility and trust.
“Sadly, the menace of fixing seems to be growing, instead of being brought to an end. Then, there’s the issue of good governance. Right now, that is being questioned, so the ICC has work to do there too.”