The twelfth meeting of the MCC World Cricket committee was held in Cape Town on 8 & 9 January 2012, with corruption the main discussion point.
The committee has issued a number of statements on various aspects of the game, but the most important topic covered at the meeting, because of the dangers it brings to the game overall, was corruption.
The MCC World Cricket committee appreciated its contact with Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chairman of the ACSU, & Tim May, Chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations.
The committee heard from Sir Ronnie about the preventative work that ACSU does and believes it to be important that the ACSU’s activities are as widely known as possible in the cricket world.
Led by MCC’s Anti-Corruption Working Party, chaired by Steve Waugh, the MCC World Cricket committee has made ten recommendations to the ACSU.
The WCC has called for the ICC to publish, in full, the ICC Governance Review, led by Lord Woolf, when it reports back in the coming weeks.
The committee supports the comments made by Haroon Lorgat, the ICC Chief Executive, when he called for the ICC Board to have some form of independent directorship so that “there’s at least a balance of debate or a voice spoken without self-interest”.
Decision Review System
The Committee has urged the ICC to ensure uniformity on the implementation of the Decision Review System.
It is wrong that there are such different playing conditions –that the DRS is not used when India play.
It supports the ICC’s efforts to maintain & improve the DRS along the lines – reviews initiated by the players – that have been established so far.
The future of Test cricket
Whilst understanding the reasons for the delay in the possible staging of a World Test Championship in 2013 (because of existing contractual obligations with ICC’s TV partner), WCC members were unanimously disappointed with the fact that no place has been found for a World Test Championship play-off until 2017.
David Richardson has agreed to look again into all possibilities for instituting it earlier; & that at least it has been agreed for 2017.
A World Test Championship would, crucially, provide additional context for Test cricket.
The committee is and continues to be convinced that Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, & that it needs to be encouraged & marketed in every way possible.
The committee continues to support:
the idea of experimenting with day/night Test matches
the idea of making more room in the calendar for Test matches
The WCC is also disappointed that the ‘icon’ series between England & South Africa in 2012 will comprise only three Tests.
Similarly, it is dissatisfactory that several series consist only of two Tests, such as the recent contest between South Africa and Australia.
Majid Khan provided an update on the status of cricket in Pakistan & the improved security situation.
In light of this presentation, the MCC World Cricket committee recommended that, subject to Government advice & MCC Committee approval, a small delegation from the Club visits Pakistan to assess the situation, its suitability for tours & the possibility for the return of international cricket in the future.
The WCC will then review proceedings at its meeting at Lord’s in August.
WCC pleased with Test pitches
The MCC World Cricket committee congratulated ICC and groundstaff worldwide on encouraging and producing pitches on which the balance between bat and ball is fair.
There have been some excellent Test series recently, with much good cricket.
WCC supports 50-over cricket
The committee considered the recent changes to ODI regulations & commended the ICC on the enhancements made & the continued popularity of that format of the game worldwide.
Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport, but 50-over cricket is the most widely played format of the game worldwide, both at professional and amateur levels.
The fundamentals should not be altered & it must maintain a clear distinction from Twenty20 cricket.
The committee urges ICC to ensure that all future ICC Twenty20 World Cups comprise 16 teams, rather than the 12 that will compete in the 2012 tournament.
The committee debated numerous issues surrounding the Laws & Spirit of Cricket prevalent in today’s game.
This included substitutions & runners, bad light, switch-hits & the Ian Bell ‘run-out’ for England against India.
The views of the committee will be fed back to MCC’s Laws sub-committee; the body that changes and amends the Laws of the game.
The committee is uncomfortable with the recent ICC decision to ban runners, & uneasy about the abuse of the Law relating to substitute fielders.
It feels umpires could be tougher on this issue. The committee applauds ICC’s efforts to encourage umpires to allow play to continue when light is not perfect, especially when artificial lights have been switched on.
The committee also discussed several aspects of the Laws relating to switch-hits, and proposes a further review by MCC’s Laws sub-committee, who would then report their findings to ICC’s Cricket Committee.
The committee noted concern over eligibility criteria for some ICC Associate tournaments, and is pleased to note that a detailed review is being carried out by ICC.
Mike Brearley thanks outgoing committee members
Lastly the Chairman, Mike Brearley, thanked Tony Lewis, Tony Dodemaide, Andy Flower, Mike Gatting, Courtney Walsh, Alec Stewart and Michael Tissera for their outstanding contribution and service to the committee since its inception in 2006.