In response to this article’s directive, here is my letter to the ICC:
To Whom it May Concern:
My name is Matt, I am an American, and I am a fan of cricket.
While that might instantly negate all I am about to say, I do ask that you read this e-mail in its entirety, as I do believe I can offer a unique perspective on your remarkable sport and the organizations that run it.
As mentioned, I am an American. Raised on french fries and baseball and lawnmowers. I did not discover cricket until my early 30s. And this I believe might be cricket’s first problem: you ignore America.
Yes, you do.
I am friends with countless sports fanatics, guys who watch football, soccer, baseball, the Olympics, the Tour de France, and car racing, but who couldn’t pick Sachin Tendulkar out of a lineup, much less even begin to understand the intricacies and the minutiae of cricket’s scoring system.
However, when I tell these same people that I love cricket, that I write a blog about cricket, their ears instantly perk up, and they start asking me all sorts of questions: what do the scores mean? who are its best players? where are the best leagues? do matches really last for days and days and days?
In other words, you have sport fans in the United States eager to learn. Despite what certain pundits might tell you, there is always room for another sport in America.
Also, lest you forget, there are over 2.3 million Indians currently living here, our only option for watching cricket online (legally) should not be Willow.tv.
That’s my first suggestion: stop ignoring us.
And it goes hand in hand with my second suggestion: stop dumbing down the game.
As you start to dip your big toe into the American Sporting Waters, you will be tempted to dumb the game down for the unwashed mases: don’t do this. And, in fact, stop doing this everywhere else, too.
What I mean is: test cricket is cricket at its very best. Full stop. And this is coming from the uneducated cricket loving American.
Fifty over cricket has its place, of course, and the occasional Twenty20 match can be fun, and I understand that domestic limited over tournaments have to exist for financial reasons, but these should always be secondary to the game in its purest form.
So when you do bring cricket to America, bring us first class cricket, do not bring us West Indies v England in a three match t20 series.
Finally, and most importantly, clean up your act. Get rid of the mafia that runs your wonderful, wonderful sport, as they are the ones killing our game. I really have no specific suggestions on how to accomplish this, and I am sorry to criticize sans proposal, but hopefully you are aware of who the really bad men are, and you need to root them out and ban them from the game forever.
There is a lot of money to be made here, stop letting the corruptors steal it from you, and stop letting them steal the game from the people who pay you that money: us, the fans.
You run your organization like the Roman Catholic Church, all secrets and black smoke and a seemingly endless stream of bad decisions.
Find a new system to copy.
FIFA is a joke, and the IOC is corrupt and shiftless, so do not emulate their models. Instead, look at international organizations such as the Red Cross, or Doctors Without Borders, or maybe a well run multi-national corporation like Apple Computers, or Ford Motor Company.
Those are my three main suggestions: America, Test Cricket, and Ford.
Oh, and one last thing: grant more countries full test status. Start with Ireland, promote them yesterday, and then create a system that isn’t the interminable Intercontinental Cup for helping more teams reach full test status. I think 16 teams playing tests around the world would be a real boon for cricket’s bottom line.
Other than that, remember this: it is a beautiful game. Full of villains, and history, and magic. I fell in love with it instantly and deeply, but only by accident. Stop being so insular, celebrate your game, as it really is for everyone.
And that’s the rub right there, fellas:
It is the fan’s game. It is not your game.
Matt BeckerMinneapolis, USA firstname.lastname@example.org limitedovers.wordpress.com