International cricket is set for a future of “colonial-style divide and rule,” and will be “holding its breath” over the extent of Indian influence, according to this year’s edition of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack published yesterday.
In February, changes to the governance of the International Cricket Council (ICC) handed the majority of the sport’s power and revenue to cricket’s “big three” — India, Australia and England.
“Here was colonial-style divide and rule,” Lawrence Booth, the English editor of cricket’s bible, wrote in the 151st edition of the UK-based Wisden, which has been published every year since 1864.
“Cricket is appallingly administered, and is vulnerable to economic exploitation by the country [India] powerful enough to exploit it and the two countries [Australia and England] prepared to lend their plans credibility,” Booth said.
“As India prepare to take their ‘central leadership responsibility,’ international cricket holds its breath,” he added.
Turning to events on the field, Booth said England’s 5-0 thrashing by Australia in the 2013-2014 Ashes represented an all-time low.
“No sporting defeat is a disaster, but 5-0 against a team that had won none of its previous nine Tests came close. This, then, was the worst result in England’s history,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn was chosen as Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World last year, during which he took 51 Test wickets in only nine games at an average of 17.
The Five Cricketers of the Year were India batsman Shikhar Dhawan, Australia duo Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris, England batsman Joe Root and England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards.
Opening batsman Dhawan was cited for his role in India’s victorious Champions Trophy campaign in England, while opener Rogers, fast bowler Harris and Root were chosen for their part in the Ashes.
Edwards, who led her side in their defeat to Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
After England’s Claire Taylor in 2009, Edwards is the second woman to receive the award, the recipient of which is chosen by the Wisden editor generally based on their performance in the previous English season and can traditionally only be selected for the honor once.
“In winning the Ashes home and away, Charlotte Edwards crowned an outstanding career as an England cricketer,” Wisden said. “After making her Test debut at 16, she remains at the top 18 years later.”
However, that still leaves her six years short of the 24-year international career enjoyed by Sachin Tendulkar, whose image adorns the cover of the latest Wisden.
The 40-year-old India great announced his retirement from cricket in November last year, ending a remarkable career during which he became the world’s leading scorer in Test and one-day cricket.