Cricket Australia announced yesterday afternoon that they would be postponing the upcoming tour of South Africa due to health concerns over Covid-19 and the “South African variant”. This, after CSA, has gone above and beyond for the touring Aussies. Even splitting squads so that we can have our best test XI available for the clash. CSA has also been more than accommodating when it comes to “demands made by CA” for a strict bio bubble situation, and a longer quarantine time, all of which was agreed to.
On the surface, it looks as if Cricket Australia are just being cautious about the health and well-being of their players; but soon the picture becomes clearer because they toured England during the initial peak of the Covid-19 pandemic but refused to tour countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
They allowed India into their country, and when the Indian team expressed concerns about the Covid situation in Brisbane, they wanted India to be penalized Test Championship points if they refused to play the last test. The Aussies are probably disappointed that India decided to play the final test as they were beaten by what can only be described as India’s B team.
The big 3, Indi, England and Australia seem to have a stranglehold on the game at the moment and, it seems to be able to do what they like. They have more money than any of the other test nations, and as such, it appears they are treated differently. They play more test matches than anyone else, which isn’t fair if you have a competition going on.
The test Championship should be home and away test vs all of the test playing nations to show a true reflection of who is the best. This will also help the smaller test nations get better such as Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland. The only way for them to improve is to play against countries with more experience and learn how to compete at that level.
There is a clear divide in international cricket, and the game will suffer for it long term. The big 3 only want to play against each other, and if that is allowed to continue, the game will die out in other parts of the world. It is clear that CSA has lost almost all respect as an organization, and they only have themselves to blame for the way it’s been run in the last few years. This, however, is starting to affect the players on the field. IF CSA had a better standing with the ICC, they would demand that the Proteas get the points from this cancellation, and that CA is penalized for pulling out at the last minute. Nothing would probably come of it, but at least CA would know that CSA is no pushover and won’t allow them to do what they want.
Sadly though it would appear that the big 3 gets away with what they want and have too much say in the game at the moment. If we had a more equal society and less poverty, we could ensure that cricket continued to grow and become a more inclusive global sport.
We can’t have a situation where those 3 countries pull away from the pack because it will make fans lose interest in the game and ultimately lead to fewer kids playing cricket one day.
Cricket is a game for all to enjoy, not just a privileged few! The ICC need to keep their hand on things before the situation gets out of hand. They must ensure that those big 3 aren’t just making their own rules and that all the other test playing nations have a fair crack at the test championship.