Cricket: ICC's Mickey Mouse idea

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The Independent Online
The International Cricket Council has a new image, a snazzy new logo and an ambitious new president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, writes Derek Pringle. It is also about to take cricket to Disneyworld in an attempt to escape its narrow appeal. Persuade Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to open the batting they reason, and the world will surely follow suit.

The ambitious plan is the brainwave of the new development committee, chaired by Dr Ali Bacher, which was also instrumental in securing a programme of A team tours to associate members like Kenya, Bangladesh and the Netherlands, by the likes of England, Pakistan, Australia, India and South Africa.

Apparently, negotiations with Disneyworld in Florida are well underway and interest has been encouraging and a triangular one-day tournament, involving the nine Test playing nations on a rolling three-year cycle, could begin as soon as 1998.

If it is, it could clash with the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, which is accepting cricket as a team sport for the very first time. But although the latter has been suggested before and is therefore not as novel as the Disneyworld link, it should be remembered that the oldest international cricket match was actually between Canada and the United States in 1844, and not England versus Australia.

In the past, any decision made by ICC which required a vote was subject to intense bout of politicking, especially by those who felt the game was run from Lord's for the interests of England and her closest allies.

That squabbling has now ended and according to Dalmiya, who is president until June 2000, "a new era of collective responsibility" has begun. "We will now have experts making decisions not just recommendations," he said at yesterday's conclusion of this summer's meeting.

One such group of experts is the cricket committee, chaired by the outgoing president, Clyde Walcott. With ICC agreeing in principle to a World Test Championship, the committee's next task will be to consider how best to achieve this. They will announce their findings in the December meeting, as well as pronouncing on the viability of a World Cup every two years.

With one-day cricket now being viewed alongside Test cricket, the granting of "first-class and one-day status" to Bangladesh and Kenya, is meant to encourage others such as Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

In terms of days played, Test cricket still outnumbers one-dayers two to one. It is the way it should be and Bangladesh, ambitious as recent winners of the ICC trophy should be, will have their request for Test status reviewed next year.