The ICC should exercise their right to intervene in the affairs of international cricket boards, or risk undermining the game altogether.
The ongoing dispute between India and the West Indies has led to fears that the latter might refuse to continue.
Level of autonomy
Though the Council seeks to maintain a level of autonomy for international governing bodies, the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI)’s threats to sue the Windies for the collapse of the ODI series between the two risks bringing the game into serious disrepute.
To an extent, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) have backed themselves into a corner by withdrawing from the series so prematurely, and could benefit from the ICC’s help in resolving the pay dispute, as well as aid in attracting future opponents.
The real issue for the ICC lies in discerning which issues are purely matters for the national sides themselves.
Regarding England, it would be extremely problematic for the ICC to intervene in their problems with Kevin Pietersen and their alleged ‘bullying’ culture.
In the case of the West Indies, however, it is vital that the spat is settled sooner rather than later.
When the West Indies’ history and overall contribution to cricket is taken into account, it would be a disaster if they were to slip off the international scene.
As it is, there are already fears that there are too few competing nations, which has led to countries such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe being questionably granted Test status.
Admittedly, they are far less of a major player than they once were, and are nowhere near competing with the ‘Big Three’ of England, India, and Australia.
They have slipped to eighth in both the Test and ODI rankings, but it is only two years since they lifted the T20 World Cup.
Independence or intervention?
Whether the WICB – or other governing bodies for that matter – will seek the ICC’s help remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, international cricket has placed itself in a difficult position, whereby the ICC may be reluctant to help for fear of appearing too dictatorial.
It certainly should not be possible for a side to drop out of a series as the Windies have done, but unless the ICC extend their powers, there is very little to stop it from happening again.