The big three in world cricket, including India, England and Australia should do more to save smaller Test playing teams and ICC’s current revenue sharing model is “completely broken”, said Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave. India being the engine of the game pockets close to 40 percent of ICC’s net annual earnings, followed by England and Australia, who get a single digit share. “The revenue-share model is completely broken. If we really want to operate as a cricketing community, we are only as strong as the weakest team, and we’ve got to change the mindset of bilateral cricket,” Grave was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. At the moment, the players of the teams like South Africa and West Indies are having to prioritise franchise cricket over their international commitments.
South Africa recently announced a third string squad for their Test tour of New Zealand and West Indies too were forced to leave out senior players like Jason Holder for the tour of Australia beginning on Wednesday.
Back in 2018, Cricket West Indies had proposed a cap on the number of overseas players in T20 leagues and a fee for their respective boards and ICC agreed to it. However, those suggestions don’t apply to leagues like ILT20, which began last year and has drawn umpteen international stars in the second edition. “If those regulations had been in place, the ILT20 probably wouldn’t have had the enormous effect it has had on bilateral international cricket in January because it wouldn’t have had as many international players, therefore wouldn’t have got the broadcast revenues and probably wouldn’t be offering players the kind of money they are offering,” Grave said.
“And then by consequence, South Africa wouldn’t necessarily have had to compete and invest so much in their international talent for the SA20 in the same window.” Grave also highlighted Cricket West Indies’ big spending on air travel.
“We took a women’s team there (Australia) and we won a T20I against all the odds, and match fees and international air flights cost us three-quarters of a million dollars.
“We’ve got a Test team there, an ODI team and a T20I team, which will cost us another million-plus dollars in terms of match fees and airfares. We spend more on airfares than anyone else in the world.
“In percentage terms, we will spend more than anyone on red-ball cricket so I would argue against any narrative that the West Indies aren’t interested in Test cricket.
“Hopefully, the South Africa series has woken up the Australian media to the realities of what it’s like to operate Test cricket, and unless the boards change the economic model, I don’t think Test cricket will thrive outside of the Big Three,” Grave said. PTI BS KHS KHS
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