The Soft Warm Radiance of Money

It's been a busy, though hardly stressful, time. Shuffling paper in a cool, dark room before emerging into the glorious April sunshine during the working week. Tramping the beautiful streets of Bath in similar weather yesterday, with a rugby match mixed in.

Such pleasures have prevented me from commenting until now on the issue of the moment in cricket. Not the IPL, or even the County Championship, but the ICC's crass and morally dubious decision to remove the incentive of qualification for the 2015 World Cup from its associate members.

All decisions like this show is that, as in so many areas of life, bureaucrats, administrators and climbers of the greasy pole in the world of cricket have a consistent ability to suck the life out of anything that is working well or is being appreciated and enjoyed by millions, just because money and vested interests decree that change is necessary.

The old aphorism which states that people who wish to be elected to political office should be automatically barred from standing for election never seemed more appropriate. This decision shows that those in charge of the world game simply don't understand that unpredictability and the triumph of the underdog are what gives sport of all kinds its lasting appeal.

It might not fit with your profit forecasts but that's tough. If you don't like it, get out. When sport sacrifices romance and uncertainty and instinctive brilliance in favour of the balance sheet (and tries to fix the market in which that balance sheet exists), it ceases to have meaning. The Pakistan Three know all about that, and the ICC wasn't slow to sort them out.

Persuading people who have played the game at the highest level to follow Anil Kumble and move into the corridors of power rather than the less accountable and better paid environments of the world's commentary boxes might just help, but it will never be easy to do. Here again, money talks.

This can be fought. Sign the petition here.

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