In today’s cricket news, find out about how the most recent edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack has issued a passionate warning about the future of Test cricket, contending that the format “needs the kiss of life.” Meanwhile, officials from Saudi Arabia reportedly met with Indian Premier League team owners to discuss establishing the world’s wealthiest cricket tournament in the Gulf state.
Wisden Urges Test Cricket’s “Kiss of Life”
Original Source: Wisden pleads for Test cricket to be given ‘kiss of life’
The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack’s current edition warns that Test cricket “needs the kiss of life” and praises England’s efforts to give it.
A 160-year-old publication’s statements carry weight, even though the sport is on an endangered list. The renowned yellow book is a loving, living history of the game but also a custodian of its future.
So, the 2023 team, led for the 12th time by Lawrence Booth, is alarmed about the plight of the longer form, ostensibly the peak of professional cricket but increasingly in jeopardy.
“For many, Test cricket has become jetsam, thrown overboard to make place for easier cargo,” he writes.
The national boards lost control of players they developed and gave the keys to the self-interested few. One T20 match at a moment, Indian franchises have taken over the house. Private capital controls. Test cricket requires the kiss of life.”
Booth calls the annual schedule “a baffling act of self-harm” due to many bilateral internationals being pushed into undesirable gaps, pressured by domestic leagues, and often bereft of its top players.
“It may be the only way to avert implosion,” the “big three” of India, England, and Australia are urged to stop the bleeding and restore some of the red-ball game’s primacy.
This Wisden is not entirely frightened. Moreover, its cover stars Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum indicate Test cricket’s return.
Stokes, for the third time in four years, is the world’s best men’s cricketer, sometimes as much for his role as a Test talisman as for his own nation.
Booth claims the pair “rewrote the rules and reordered the imagination” to transform England from a scared team with a devastating losing habit to one of the most exciting teams in the world.
He calls their ideology “the greatest easygoing revolution in athletic history,” contrasting it with Sir Andrew Strauss’ technocratic wonkishness in his deeply researched, fiercely argued high performance evaluation.
Booth contextualizes their time with references to Franklyn D. Roosevelt and the Profumo incident, although he could have used Oscar Wilde’s quote that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being spoken about to justify the somewhat overused shorthand moniker “Bazball.”
The book’s 1,616 pages, the longest in over a decade, include a substantial section on Shane Warne. His death last March was too late to be fully recognized in the 2022 almanack, but various tributes, like Gideon Haigh’s joyfully raucous poem, rectify that calendar glitch.
Queen Elizabeth’s involvement with cricket is also commemorated. Alex Preston’s contribution on keeping Ukrainian cricket alive under hostilities with Russia is high-minded, and former England and Surrey seamer Stuart Meaker’s tale of his humanitarian journey to the country is too.
As usual for a newspaper so steeped in history, there are various tributes to the past: 150 years since the birth of SF Barnes, 50 since the first World Cup, and a tribute to retired Eoin Morgan.
The winner of this year’s writing competition—open to anyone who has never published in its pages—makes his mark on contemporary issues. Melbourne-based classics student Dan Crowley takes a direct strike at the International Cricket Council’s association with Saudi Arabian oil behemoth Aramco, one of the world’s greatest carbon emitters in a climate crisis that will affect cricket hard and fast.
BCCI Official: Saudi Arabia-funded Richest Cricket League Won’t Admit Top Indian Cricketers
Saudi Arabia may enter cricket after hosting Formula One races, controlling Newcastle United, importing Cristiano Ronaldo to the domestic league, and developing the rival LIV golf circuit.
Authorities from the monarchy have reportedly spoken with Indian Premier League leaders to create the world’s richest cricket tournament in the gulf nation.
With “Visit Saudi” being a prominent sponsor of the Indian Premier League, the two sides have been testing the partnership. The ICC and BCCI have sponsored Saudi oil giant Aramco. By 2030, the monarchy wants to be India’s top tourist destination.
IPL franchises like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals, and Lucknow Super Giants are already involved in overseas T20 leagues from UAE, South Africa, USA, and Caribbean, but BCCI doesn’t allow Indian players to play in any other domestic competition in the format for fear of diluting the IPL’s brand value.
Acquiring top Indian stars to play in an offshore domestic league may change everything.
Even though IPL franchisees can invest where they want, the BCCI says it won’t happen anytime soon.
“No present Indian players will be taking part in any of the competitions, but as far as franchise involvement is concerned, we can’t block them,” a top BCCI official told The Indian Express. It’s their choice. IPL franchises have moved to South Africa and Dubai, and we can’t say no. It’s their choice.
The BCCI’s technical expertise in organizing a T20 competition might provide IPL teams another market to invest in.
‘Everyone is looking out’ for international ownership prospects, a franchise representative said. From a franchise’s perspective, that’s the direction. There’s no one-dimensional franchise.”
The official welcomed the idea of a Saudi league, but infrastructure was the main worry. “At the moment, we don’t know if they have enough venues to conduct a league of this magnitude.”
The UAE has hosted the T20 World Cup, IPL, Asia Cup, and bilateral series between Full Member Countries. It contains the ICC headquarters and has remarkable cricket infrastructure and stadia in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
Saudi Arabia aims to establish such infrastructure.
“Our aim is to build a sustainable economy for residents and foreigners living in the Kingdom and make Saudi Arabia a global cricketing destination,” Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation chairman Prince Saud bin Mishal Al-Saud told Arab News.
The game’s infrastructure is one of our key goals. We’re building cricket academies, additional grounds, and better facilities with entertainment and other services to lure Saudi and foreign kids to the game.
Our main goal is to improve expatriates’ quality of life. He continued, “We have roughly eight million individuals from Asian nations where cricket is the most popular game, such India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.”
The ICC is excited by the kingdom’s investment in the sport due to its huge riches.
ICC head Greg Barclay said, “If you look at other sports they’ve been involved in, cricket is something I suppose would be intriguing to them.”
Cricket would work nicely for Saudi Arabia given their general sport advancement. Given their regional presence, cricket seems like an ideal sport to invest in.
Some have called the country’s big investment in sport and bringing elite-level tournaments and events to the Kingdom “sportswashing” to deflect attention from its alleged poor human rights record, its treatment of women, and the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Lionel Messi is a company ambassador, and professional wrestling and heavyweight boxing title matches are held.
An official Saudi T20 league requires ICC and member country approval. Recently, such competitions of variable caliber and reward money have proliferated. Off-shore leagues in Canada, UAE, and the US might push international cricket, once the game’s cornerstone, to the sidelines.
Arun Singh Dhumal, IPL chairman, has declared he is open to two tournaments every year.
He recently told The Indian Express Idea Exchange, “If there’s an opportunity for a second IPL, we will surely look at that.”
The game as it has been known is threatened by the growing footprint of firms controlling IPL franchises and their interest in signing players on long-term contracts to play in many leagues.
IPL clubs have offered multi-million-dollar deals to Australian cricketers, according to media reports. Players nearing retirement who want a huge payout may find this appealing.
“Everything has a financial reward. You’ll be rewarded if you want a central contract. David Warner, a seasoned Australian opener, stated, “I think guys see the short-term with all the leagues and stuff around.”
But, the franchise executive said there were many loose ends to be addressed before cricketers could be bound with such long-term arrangements to play for one employer over the world.
Since they are tripartite agreements between the cricket board, player, and franchise, annual contracts with one player are difficult. The official stated, “We are far from a scenario where owners will sign a player for two or more of their teams to get a long-term commitment.”
Summary of Today’s Cricket Sports News
Overall, it’s possible that cricket will be Saudi Arabia’s next big sporting foray. According to reports, Saudi officials have met with IPL executives to propose launching cricket’s most lucrative league in the Arabian Peninsula.
Finally, test cricket “needs the kiss of life,” according to the latest edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, which also praises England for its efforts to offer that kiss. The sport’s inclusion on a “do or die” list is nothing new, but the comments of a periodical in its 160th edition carry more weight. In addition to documenting the game’s rich history, the iconic yellow book also serves as a guardian when necessary.