T20 World Cup makes it crystal clear that cricket is at India’s mercy

INDIA captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid knew before the T20 World Cup started that their semi-final would be played in Guyana. Photo: Reuters

INDIA captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid knew before the T20 World Cup started that their semi-final would be played in Guyana. Photo: Reuters

Published Jun 27, 2024


Comment by Ongama Gcwabe

“This is the BCCI’s world and we’re all just living in it.”

That could easily be the slogan for the T20 World Cup, as the proceedings leading up to the tournament and during the showpiece event itself have left no doubt that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is exclusively and unfairly running the sport.

It is one thing to accept that India takes the lion’s share of the yearly earnings that the sport generates because, at the end of the day, there is no escaping that through the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the billions of Indian-based cricket lovers, the Asian nation single-handedly produces a huge chunk of the income the game makes year in and year out.

This year, the IPL ran for almost 10 weeks, from March 22-May 26. This is a schedule that the BCCI approved, knowing full well that the T20 World Cup would start just five days later, on June 1.

This meant that all the countries participating in the World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean had to put their preparations on hold and come up with alternatives as they did not have access to their star players, who had already been contracted to the IPL during this window.

As they say, money makes the world go around. This means there would be no blaming players who signed for the IPL. After all, who wouldn’t sign a multi-million-dollar, 10-week contract?

However, this meant that the likes of Australian captain Shaun Marsh and fast bowler Pat Cummins, and Proteas captain Aiden Markram – who all competed in the IPL final – formed no part of their country’s World Cup preparations.

When has it become acceptable for a franchise competition to take precedence over a World Cup?

Moreover, India knew before the World Cup even began which venue they would play their semi-final at should they get there.

This is a luxury no other team was afforded.

Again, India have a massive fan-base, and it can be understood that broadcasters might not have wanted to miss out on millions of streams by picking a venue that would be outside Indian prime time.

However, that gave India an unfair advantage as they could prepare well for their semi-final.

Today, they play England at Providence in Guyana for a spot in the final, and it would not be a surprise if they pitch up with far better plans than an England team that only knew where they would play this fixture a few days ago.

As if that was not enough of an advantage for India, their semi-final was purposely selected to be the second knockout match.

The second semi-final does not have a reserve day, like today’s early clash between the Proteas and Afghanistan in Antigua.

This means that if the Guyana game in rained out – the forecast shows a high chance of rain today – coach Rahul Dravid’s India side would then progress to the final as they topped their Super Eight group.

So, is it clear now that we live at the mercy of the BCCI and Indian cricket?