(A) Popularise cricket!
1. Restructure Current test teams.
For Cricket to improve first the quality of the current test teams should be improved. Teams like England and West Indies need to be more competitive. Here are some suggestions:
- Introduce cricket in schools and colleges.
- More cricket competitions should be held.
- Cricket telecasts should be shown on free to air channels.
- Short forms of the sportlike twenty20 should be played to capture public imagination.
- Improvement of cricket stadiums and fields.
- Increase the competitiveness of domestic competition.
- Selection based only on merit NOT on quotas.
- Encouraging native peoples such as coloureds, Aborigines & Maoris to represent the national squad.
2. Restructuring Current ODI Teams.
It is disheartening for the current ODI status teams to play only during world cups. Such an unfair policy would never see new teams improve. Teams such as Canada, UAE, Scotland, Namibia & Holland should be given permanent ODI status and official tournaments should be played amongst themselves and the 3 bottom ranked test teams. An age limit of 35 yrs should be imposed to encourage youngsters.
Kenya should be given Test Status.
3. League Format
All teams Test and ODI should be ranked in groups of 5. The top 5 will be grp A. Next 5 B and so on. Teams in a particular group are allowed to play with teams in their own group as well as adjacent groups only. eg. Group A cannot play group C teams. [Except Tests & World Cups] Every year, the groups are restructured.
4. Improve quality of Upcoming teams
To ensure that debutants in ODI competitions have an international exposure to cricket before their debut, international tournaments should be held. Here’s what should be done.
- Two international annual tournaments should be held. Two teams should be selected from each country. 1. Team that has won the domestic competition and 2. A mixed bag composed of the best players of the other teams. This would give budding players the required international exposure. Venues rotated annually.
- An auxiliary domestic competition should be held. At least 5 local teams and 3 international teams (best players) compete in ODI and test matches. Any ODI status country can participate.
- Teams wishing to improve their game can learn from the following countries on tour:
- Batting: India, Australia
- Spin Bowling: India, Sri Lanka
- Fast Bowling Australia, South Africa
- Seam Bowling: England, New Zealand.
- The ICC must have a clear process for teams obtaining ODI and test status. This is what it should do.
To get associate status, local boards should ensure:
- A cricket education program is introduced in schools
- Cricket equipment is readily available
- Adequate playing grounds are available
- International matches are telecast on free to air TV channels and radio.
- A well maintained website of the national cricket authority.
To get permanent ODI status teams should:
- Be placed 1,2 or 3 in the ICC Associate World Cup.
- Have at least one accredited (C grade –see gradings below) stadium.
- see pt 4 above.
To get Test Status teams should:
- Have a waiting period of 5 years after ODI status
- Have at least a B grade stadium
- Toured all test playing nations & played first class matches there.
- Won at least 10 ODI matches against Test nations.
5. Introduction of cutting-edge technology
I feel that technology should be introduced to cricket. This is what cricket needs.
- Helmet cams.
- Use of tracking technology for LBW decisions.
- Use of high frame rate cameras to ascertain run-outs and stumpings.
- Use of lasers to compliment run out decisions.
- Use of sensors in bails and in the boundary rope to determine if the batsman is out OR hit a 4.
- Use of stump microphone to determine close catching decisions.
- Use of yellow & red cards to suspend players from the game of repeatly flouting rules.
- Use of ‘Eye-Vision’ technology to enhance TV viewing.
- Use of ‘True Track’ technology to give the distance the ball carried (6’s)
- Use of biodegradable paint to colour the infield and outfield.
6. The ICC.
Here are some recommendations to the ICC
- Change its name to something more representative like Global Cricket Federation (GCF).
- No veto rights to member nations.
- Be a part of the International Olympic Commitee.
- Strive to make Cricket an Olympic sport.
- Increase penalties for drug offences & racial abuse.
- Play the National Anthem before the start of each match in the World Cup.
- Playoff for 3rd place in the WC
- Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals given to each player in WC. (like in football)
- Have at least 24 teams play in the WC.
- For the World Cup international icons should be made chief guests. eg UN Sec. General, Monarch of England, sportstars, premiers etc.
- Obtain the domain names like cricket.com, .org, etc.
- In the site have detailed info like player and team stats, current news, player profiles, how the sport is played, links to national boards, online telecast of matches, history, facts and stats, rankings etc.
- Provide software to calculate the Duckworth Lewis results.
- Use latest programming languages like XML, SQL, ASP etc. for website.
- Setting up of blogs and bulletin boards.
7. Taking on the Globe.
To encourage more countries to take up cricket, cricket must be marketed well. Teams like Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore have a good program and must be encouraged to obtain ODI status.
For cricket to succeed regional sporting giants should be given top priority. These countries are regional giants and act like a catalyst to spread the sport to neighbouring countries. The countries are: China, USA, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Nigeria Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morrocco, Sweden, Fiji, Argentina and Brazil.
Have a brand ambassador for cricket. People who know about the sport and are internationally famous should be selected. Names such as Russel Crowe, Shaggy, Christian Vieri (footballer ITALY) make good ambassadors.
Cricket should be introduced equally to all races and women should also be encouraged to take up the sport.
If I were the president of the ICC, this is what I would do to promote the sport in a country.
- See that major sport shops stock up cricket gear.
- Pitches are readily available.
- Cricket is shown on free to air channels.
- A cricket program is introduced in schools and universities.
- Well known directors should be requested to make cricket themed movies starring well known actors.
- Introducing the sport to famous sportmen, politicians, actors, directors, media personalities, businessmen and making them enjoy the sport.
- The next step would have a advertising blitz in famous newspapers, magazines, top internet sites, TV, radio. The ads should be run for a month or so. Promos showing the country’s top personalities supporting cricket should be aired. _ Nothing like having the country’s premier in the promo.
- The marketing blitz should cummulated with top international teams playing along with the host nation in a tournament.
(B) Rules that have to be changed:
1) Elimination of the Leg-bye rule.
The Lb rule is pretty unfair to the bowler. By elimination such a rule would allow the batsman to play at the ball, instead of getting runs of the deflection of his clothing.
2) Direct Hit on the stump renders the ball dead.
At present if a fielder hits the stumps directly when the batsman is taking a run & he is safe, if it deflects of it, the batsman can run overthrows (extra runs). By enabling the ball ‘dead’ it would encourage the fielders to hit the stumps more often. If the batsman ran after this, the extra runs would be overruled.
3) Leg-side LBW decision
At present, if the ball is pitched outside the leg-stump, but is a clear LBW decision, the batsman is not out. Due to advances in technology today, we can predict an LBW. Hence LBW decisions should be simplified by this method, if the trajectory appears to hit the stump the Batsman is OUT.
4) Correct Nomenclature
Terms such as leg-spin and off-spin are outdated. Better terms would be wrist spin and finger spin.
(C) Accredation to stadiums
The ICC must start rating stadiums. The better the rating of the stadium more matches it is allowed to hold. Here are my parameters. Points are shown alongside in y/n format.
Capacity (in 1000’s)
Pitch invasion history? 0/20
Smooth Entry/Exit 30/5
Crowd Management history good/bad 30/5
Match history 1st & 2nd inn win ratio (40-60 range) 50/10
Grassy field 10/5
Facilities (practice, media, parking, toilets, food) 35/10
Replay screen 20/0
Electronic Scoreboard 15/5
Sightscreen moving needed? 0/10
Bounce (good/low) 30/10
Support for bowlers 20/5
Ave. Runs in the range (240-280) 50