What felt like a real danger of a more overt takeover under the leadership of N. Srinivasan in a post, he created for himself at the International Cricket Council is taking on a rather dangerous momentum under the guise of the pandemic. While Cricket Australia have vehemently refuted the money argument, England should do a little house cleaning before throwing the shoe at their Ashes counterpart.
Some of the former England cricketers were quick to jump the gun, accusing Cricket Australia of being money minded and greedy in arriving at their last-minute decision not to tour South Africa. However, it has to be remembered that Cricket South Africa had openly accused England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of undermining their biosecure protocols and also, suggesting that they had set the precedent and tone for Cricket Australia’s response.
Although Cricket Australia did give the illusion of the tour being on, and even announcing the Test squad, their late hour pull out suggests that they have played the upper hand, taking Cricket South Africa by shock and plunging the cricket world into an obvious sense of division across the affluent lines.
While Cricket Australia have denied that they were looking merely at the bottom line and therefore, chose to host India and abort the South African sojourn, there is little doubt in the minds of even the cricket fraternity outside of South Africa who believe that Australia did not want to take a chance and risk touring South Africa when their players would anyway be making money from the Indian Premier League which is not that far in the offing.
With virtual back-to-back IPL editions and the Australians cricketers making an imposition upon Cricket Australia to allow them to travel directly to the UAE after their limited-overs series contest in England late last year, there is a concerted effort that Australia were more interested in keeping their commitments when money was the obvious gain and interested in dumping those matches such as against Afghanistan and now the tour of South Africa where they is obviously little but previous commitment to keep.
The idea that Australia had suggested a change of venue – Perth for Cricket South Africa – seems a dubious discussion in the manner in which Graeme Smith, South Africa’s former captain and current director of cricket, answered in an unequivocal “no” when asked if South Africa would have considered the option.
That health risks are being monitored alongside monetary factors is hard to argue against. Cricket Australia have done themselves a world of good ever since the breakout of the pandemic, reducing their staff and causing disgruntlement amongst their cricketers, having to concede their demand to be sent to the IPL, breaking out of line with the ICC to the point of embarrassing the governing body with leaked emails over their adamant stance not to host the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, to making it obvious of their monetary intent in requesting the BCCI for a fifth Test series a la Ashes. This latest move is not likely to curry favour but rather make explicit the dangers at hand. England cannot cover up their own role while India are ruling the roost in raking in the interest and the moolah.