Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Splutterings

Malcolm Speed's response to Lalit Modi's attacks on the ICC is not unexpected. For all of Modi's bluster regarding the BCCI's muscle, (of which there is plenty), he does occupy a slightly vulnerable position: he is speaking about a board that is associated with a pretty mediocre team. Speed's response is ultimately a red herring of course, for it does not address the issue that Modi is raising, which is the ICC's bungling of rights' marketing. And Speed raises a point which is inconvenient for the ICC itself: how well is cricket doing under the ICC's administration? Is cricket flourishing worldwide? Is the game improving, finding new fans and markets? How has it handled the Zimbabwe situation? The throwing business? And so on. But wait, those aren't connected to rights marketing, right? Or are they? In any case, why is the performance of the Indian team connected to the ability of the BCCI to market rights to cricket? If anything, the performance of the Indian team should be an indicator that the BCCI will do just fine. Despite the mediocrity of the Indian team in the years since 1983, the cricket market in India has only grown and grown (thanks to the successful marketing of the game by the BCCI?). In the ultimate analysis, all of Speed's and Sonn's splutterings won't change the ground realities: the BCCI controls the money and much like the ACB found out in the Packer years, thats what matters. Speed's own country, Australia, and the ACB will not back him if it affects the money they stand to make off the Indian market.

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