Chairman David Marshall presents David Morgan with a bottle of wine as a token of appreciation at the end of an enjoyable evening.
Picture: Mike Taylor
Chairman David Marshall then opened the new season by introducing the night's guest speaker, David Morgan. He had held the important position of President of the International Cricket Conference (ICC) until a few months ago when Sharad Pawar had taken over the reins, who as the Indian Minister for Agriculture, was a rare cricketer who prayed for rain.
David started by outlining the structure and role of the ICC and summarised some of the issues faced and successes achieved by what is effectively the world governing body for the game of cricket before going on to talk about the increasingly dominant position of India in the world game. This was in large part the result of India, almost uniquely, having only one major sport which means that for a large part of very large population, sport is cricket and cricket is sport. The introduction of Twenty 20 cricket, after a slow start, had really taken off in India and the increasing levels of affluence within the country was generating huge revenues for the game through the sale of media rights to the extent that India was in many ways the financial power house of the game.
Moving on to the state of the game, David felt that, at least from an international perspective, the game had never been stronger. The complementary formats of test, one day and Twenty20 cricket brought a strength and diversity in one game that is the envy of many other major sports. The game now extended across 105 countries and it was hoped that there would be significant developments in the future in both the USA and China. On the downside, David referred to problems and challenges in the game including issues of safety and security as well as worries over match fixing and spot fixing allegations. Overall, however, the ICC had a proud record and has recently celebrated its centenary with the establishment of a Hall of Fame.
After a short interval, David answered a range of questions including the use of floodlights in championship matches, the possibilities of four day tests, allegations of spot fixing, the future format of the county championship, the possible reduction in the number of first class counties (which he did not envisage), the apparent differences in the funding allocations to differing counties, whether there was too much cricket and his views on central contracts and umpire referrals.
There was warm appreciation for a thought provoking presentation which provided a very different and much broader perspective on the game and in thanking David Morgan for the illuminating evening, Chairman David Marshall presented him with the Society's customary bottle of wine.
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