Ali Bacher, the former president of Cricket South Africa, played a pivotal role in ushering in a new era of commercialization in cricket broadcasting. However, Bacher is critical of the apparent dominance of only three boards – India, Australia, and England – in shaping the international cricket calendar. These boards, known for their influence, often make decisions that impact the cricketing landscape.
The trio of India, Australia, and England has historically wielded considerable power, dictating terms and schedules that significantly impact the global cricketing calendar. While Bacher acknowledges his transformative role in bringing South African cricket into the mainstream post-apartheid, he expresses concern about the marginalization of other cricket boards. The notion of complete hegemony by a select few is something that Bacher finds disconcerting.
“When I was the chairman of ICC’s development committee, my objective was to spread the game. It’s not happening today. Cricket today is dominated by India, Australia, England. South Africa has been marginalised, Pakistan has been marginalised, West Indies has been marginalised. That’s not good,” Bacher, now 81, told PTI on the sidelines of India and South Africa opening Test in Centurion.
“You need to grow the game. The problem is that finance of world cricket is dominated by India and 70 per cent of world cricket money comes through India from whatever direction. I would like to see development of smaller nations, that was my profound passion,” he said.
Furthermore, Bacher was also critical of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) plans to promote cricket in the United States. The initial steps towards the same included granting co-hosting rights for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the country. Additionally, efforts are underway to have cricket as part of the sports lineup for the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, with the sport being considered for inclusion by the Local Organising Committee.
Bacher’s skepticism may stem from the inherent challenges and complexities associated with popularizing cricket in a nation where the sport has traditionally held a niche status.
“You need billions and billions of dollars to get a small niche of that (USA) market. To be honest, I called it a day after two occasions. It wasn’t going to happen. The way it should happen is, growth of cricket should be in Asia. There is enormous potential. Not in the USA as its far too expensive,” he reasoned.