ICC'S GREATEST TEST TEAM OF ALL TIME: AN ILL CONCEIVED IDEA

ANISUDDIN KHAN
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 25 - 31, 2011

ICC in recent years has ventured into areas which it could have wisely avoided but it was observed that the world's cricket controlling body has developed a habit of crossing the red line that has only widen the difference between its founding and associate members.

Its move to initiate a worldwide online referendum to select the Greatest Test team of all time has instead of getting the applause only created controversy that lowered the neutral image of the organization. The team that finally selected by online cricket fans has earned the ire of more serious fans.

Fans voted on the ICC's official website using a short list provided by the game's governing body, to pick their leading eleven, as part of the activities to commemorate the 2000th Test Match, which began at Lord's between England and India on Thursday.

Four Australians, four Indians, two West Indians and one Pakistani have been named in the Peoples Dream XI. The final selection is as follows: Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar, Donald Bradman, SachinTendulkar, BrianLara, Kapil Dev, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath.

A close look at the eleven voted to be in the Greatest Team indicates that those who voted in favour of the selected team had no clue about the past greats of cricket.

Excluding players like Gary Sobers, the greatest all rounder the game had ever produced and Sri Lankan spinner Muralitharan the highest wicket taker in Test history, only proves that those who voted had no idea about the greats who walked on cricket fields in the past.

Haroon Lorgat, ICC Chief Executive commenting on the team admitted selecting from such greats was not easy job, and not surprisingly, the selection mainly reflects modern players seen by present day supporters. There are many greats from the past who would have easily merited selection in this team, but it is nevertheless interesting to see the fans view on their greatest eleven of all time. Former England captain Alec Stewart was the first who severely criticized the team. The ICC however accepting the referendum was a big mistake.

Alec Stewart ridiculed the selected 'Greatest Test team of all time' and described it as a joke. He said leaving out greats such as Gary Sobers and Malcolm Marshall was easy to understand. Those who voted had not seen those two greats in action.

The legendary Sir Donald Bradman was the only pre-1970s player in the team who was picked. "What a joke team," Stewart said. "No Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, Malcolm Marshall to name but three."

The team was chosen by more than 250,000 public votes on the ICC's website and CEO Haroon Lorgat conceded that the demographic of the electorate played a huge role in the omission of some great names.

The other news that attracted the cricket world was hearing in the Crown Court in London appeals from three Pakistanis involved in alleged corruption cases. The Court the other day dismissed the appeal of banned Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer to dismiss their corruption case in a preliminary hearing.

The trio, who were found guilty of spot-fixing by the International Cricket Council and are serving a minimum five-year ban, had filed an appeal asking the court to dismiss criminal charges that the Crown Prosecution had leveled against them.

The trio was caught in a sting operation carried out by the British tabloid News of The World during Pakistan's tour of England last year. Another event that came up for discussion particularly in Pakistan was the report of Pakistan Task Team which released its report despite objections from Pakistan.

The PCB sent a strong worded response to the task force report in which they rejected most of the recommendations and observations.

Haroon Lorgat reacting to the PCB response said that it was not mandatory for the PCB to implement the recommendations and observations made by the ICC special task force on Pakistan cricket.

He said that the task force report was meant to suggest to the PCB ways and means to improve their cricket structure. It was not binding on the PCB to implement all recommendations or observations of the task force. He hoped PCB would study it and their governing body would see the importance of implementing some if not all recommendations and observations of the task force. The PCB also said that the report contained factual errors.

As far as the factual errors were concerned, he said, yes there could be some errors but at the same time we had shown a draft copy of the report to the chief operating officer of the PCB Subhan Ahmad to check it out before we gave it final shape and submitted it.

Asked about the PCB defense of its system of having the Pakistani president involved in cricket affairs and his power to appoint the board chairman and governing board members, Lorgat said that the ICC executive council had already passed a constitutional amendment that made it mandatory for boards to disallow political interference and government involvement in their matters.

The mandate of the task force was expanded and the PCB was taken into confidence on this. The pleasing aspect is that at the moment the Pakistan team is one of the busiest in international cricket and it is playing lot of cricket which was our main concern in 2009.