Greig slams BCCI for promoting T20 cricket, blocking DRS
London: Former England captain Tony Greig has slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for sacrificing the spirit of the game for financial gain by promoting Twenty20 cricket instead of Test matches and for opposing the universal application of the controversial Decision Review System.
Delivering MCC`s Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at the Lord`s, Grieg said the longest format of the game was being marginalised because India was interested in "generating billions of dollars" by monopolising on success of Twenty20 cricket through Indian Premier League and Champions League.
He said India must shed it selfish attitude to game`s problems and adhere to the "spirit of cricket". "India is pre-occupied with money and T20 and sees its IPL and CLT20 more important than international calendar. To compound the problems, India has not only sold part of game to private interests but some of her administrators are seen to have a conflict of interest, which makes it more difficult for it to act in the spirit of the game," Greig said.
"India`s apparent indifference towards Test cricket and response towards some of the key issues, its attitude to the earlier ICC corruption inquiries, its indifference to urgency to introduce anti-doping rules, the rumoured corruption hanging over IPL and its role in the lack of due process in stopping former Australian prime minister John Howard being appointed vice-president of the ICC are all examples of disappointing decisions," he said.
He criticised the BCCI for browbeating smaller countries into forcing them to vote in its favour in ICC meetings.
"Much of the game is controlled by BCCI because it controls enough votes to block any proposal put forward at ICC board meetings. The reason for this is some countries would not survive without financial opportunities India provides. We can huff and puff and have all sorts of external reports but many of the problems with ICC can be resolved by India accepting that the spirit of cricket is more important than generating billions of dollars and turning out multi-millionaire players and didn`t try and influence its allies in how to vote," he said.
The 65-year-old South African-born former all-rounder also lashed out at the BCCI for not embracing DRS. India are firmly against the implementation of technology and the BCCI has rejected a recent recommendation of its universal application at the ICC executives` committee meeting.
"It can`t be good for the game when the media devotes so many words and so much ink to bad decisions, which ultimately undermines the integrity of some results. The DRS is not perfect, but it does err in favour of umpires` decisions and according to ICC, fewer mistakes are made with its use. And furthermore, there is less conflict on the ground," he said.
"India has two reasons for opposing it: One, because its superstars had such an embarrassing experience with it in the early days. Two, the BCCI argues that the DRS is too inexact. Ironically, spirit of cricket is batting on both sides in this one. The cavalier approach says DRS is not in spirit of cricket, but on the other hand, Indian superstars should act in the spirit of cricket and accept majority viewpoint."
Greig also made impractical suggestions like reducing the length of IPL but expanding in scope to become an Asian Premier League including teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to give the national cricket boards of these countries financial stake in the competition.
England should then run an equivalent competition including teams from the West Indies and Ireland, with South Africa hosting another for their continent, and New Zealand given a stake in Australia`s Big Bash.
Greig also gave his backing to mandatory lie detector tests to tackle corruption, previously advanced by former Australia captain Steve Waugh. Greig, who was accused of denigrating Test cricket by acting as the `recruiting sergeant` for Kerry Packer`s World Series Cricket, explained why he did that.
"Kerry, money is not my major concern. I`m nearly 31-year-old and probably two or three Test failures from being dropped from England team. I don`t want to finish in a mundane job when they drop me. I`m not trained to do anything. I`m at the stage in my life where my family`s future is more important than anything else. If you guarantee me."