It is this decentralisation of cricketing affairs that has led to India becoming one of the most developed nations in world cricket.
Decentralisation of cricket, a promise unkept by the cricket administrators over the years, has been baloney and a whole lot of bunkum and hogwash that has prevented cricket to move ahead at its desired level. What was speculated to be a journey basing on the resources and potentials available to the country and the popularity of the game almost second to none, it comes as no surprise that even after two decades Bangladesh is still languishing at number 10 in the ICC Test rankings.
One wonders why and what has kept the cricket administrators of Bangladesh to venture into the long-felt need to put its administration into a more effective structure by spreading its wings to its major cricketing locations. Having overcome the legal wrangles many years back the implementation of the process appears to be somewhat of a quandary. The defiance which must have brewed within the system could well have a deep-rooted meaning and certainly a hindrance to it being put in place.
In such a helpless state it could very well be entrusted to a panel of experts, given that the decentralisation is division-based and most district associations or cricket federations to be more precise have members or heads of federations predominantly from the present ruling government. As so often is the case, it is more a matter of mind over merit and the effectiveness and or possibilities of success are pretty much nipped in the bud.
Hence a panel of neutral members is the only way possible as they would be able to design the organisation structure, its hierarchy and respective functions of the personnel in accordance to the guidelines as laid down in the constitution. There can be absolutely no scope of any partiality or biasness in carrying out the process as it would frustrate the very purpose of decentralisation.
It is therefore quite imminent that the possible resistance expected from the targeted divisional members would be a challenge. One has to be prepared first and foremost that no new change within an existing system can be adopted easily and without resistance and the self-interest group is likely to wield muscles.
Prior to the formation of any group or panel, it is essential for the members of the board to come to terms with the significance of the decentralisation and the ramifications it could present and what far-reaching effects it could have. Brainstorming sessions for the members become imperative as the members would have to be the ones to steer the wheel.
Since the functions of administration at the Central support office (CSO) at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla stadium ought to be referred to, would be lessened to a great extent. The overall activities in many cases would increase manifold as the divisional headquarters would be responsible for organising their own cricket activities. In keeping with the sole purpose of reviving cricket throughout Bangladesh, the functions at the divisional headquarters are to be governed within the constitution.
In keeping with the overall development and betterment of the game, decentralisation will have to be carried out in a professional and organised manner. In doing so, the members of the board would ensure that they are carried out by the management of the board. Therefore, having competent people with the right credentials would be required to carry out the day to day management affairs of the board to make the whole process of decentralisation functional and effective.
The Board of control for cricket in India (BCCI) has its headquarters in Mumbai and has 38 affiliated members represented by state associations. It is the state associations that are responsible for not only organising their respective cricketing activities but participate actively in the tournaments organised by the BCCI. The state associations which are divided into four or five zones are the ones who compete amongst themselves on a home and away basis to complete the domestic calendar.
It is this decentralisation of cricketing affairs that has led to India becoming one of the most developed nations in world cricket. IPL is a glittering example as to how efficiently the tournament is organised all over India with more than 20 of its venues being involved.
The most beneficial aspect of the decentralisation of cricketing affairs would be the revival of cricketing activities in most of the major cricket playing cities. Districts like Mymensingh, Chittagong and Narayanganj used to boast of the maximum number of players participating in the domestic cricket. Not only would it provide greater opportunities for more players to emerge out of the respective divisions but also give up scope for setting up academies in all these divisions.
It would provide immense opportunities for former players from many of these districts to take up the role of mentors, coaches, trainers and many other such activities could be initiated under the game development department of the board. Last but not the least, most of the venues under these divisions could be developed further to make it into international cricket stadiums. Furthermore, it would also provide the scope for development of curators which at this point in time of our cricketing progression is not just one of the most essential aspect but also one of the most neglected as well.
Bearing in mind the need to improve the standing in Test cricket and to sustain the rigours of international cricket at the elite level it leaves no doubt that the cricket board ought to think in line with the development of cricket on a long-term basis. It is about time that the authorities give importance not only to create a conducive cricketing environment but a culture that produces Test cricketers that goes hand in hand. It can only be achieved if the right people are put in the right place and adhering to the essence of the constitution and decentralising its administration. Wishful thinking as it may appear but inevitable it no doubt is.