Gideon Haigh, in the Weekend Australian, 29-30 October 2011 with different title… Gideon Haigh is one of Australia’s best sports writers and has expertise in financial analysis as well. He has now joined the Weekend Australian’s columns and must be listened to avidly. Web Editor.
HYPOCRISY, the saying goes, is the homage that vice pays to virtue. In cricket, it is the homage administrators pay to Test matches. Time and again, administrators assure us of their continued regard for Test cricket as the game’s ultimate form. Then they pull sneaky little manoeuvres like winnowing Australia’s planned three-Test series against South Africa away to two, and England’s promised five-Test series against South Africa next year to three.
Their recent decision to welch on playoffs for the World Test Championship is perhaps their most destructive move yet. Destructive and also instructive: because it demonstrates how far the game’s welfare now falls behind self-interest and short-term financial expediency as a governance priority.
At their July annual meeting inHong Kong, the executive board of the International Cricket Council, on which Cricket Australia’s representative was its chairman Jack Clarke, agreed to advance plans for playoffs to the World Test Championship: semi-finals and a final among the top four ranked countries. It was welcomed as a much-needed innovation: a chance to contextualise the game’s most skilful and historic format, and enrich it with a finale worth the name. Continue reading