Bad procedures bedevil ICC

Despite my own chaotic system of doing things (you should see the mess in this room as I type), I am a big fan of the entire process of Quality Assurance. QA is essentially a set of guidelines that companies have that outline correct procedure.

Of course every company is different, and each company's procedures differ, but the fact that procedures exist is the point.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) appears to be an organisation in disarray. The recent complaints against Indian player Harbhajan Singh and the way Australian players behaved before and after his allegedly racist comments is bad enough. What is reprehensible is that correct procedures did not exist to ensure a fair hearing, with the result that the entire case was thrown out because of a botch-up in the way it was originally handled.

The sort of thing that has happened would be forgiveable, even understandable, in an amateur cricket system like the one that I have played in, the Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket Association. I remember one game a few years ago when an opposition player came onto the field as umpire (which is quite normal at that level of cricket), and then make a complete hash of a run out appeal because he was blind drunk at the time. Of course the NCSCA has rules governing that sort of thing (player expulsion, team points loss, etc), but our team decided to let the matter go because we won the match easily and we were on reasonably good terms with the other side anyway.

But in the case of professional sport - especially for a sport which tends to encourage nationalism (as cricket does in both Australia and India) - there needs to be clear, precise guidelines whenever something as bad as the Harbhajan incident occurs. Moreover, these procedures must be transparent and above reproach and never be bent or waived because someone in the background is "pulling strings" as it were.

The ICC is often seen by players and fans as being an inefficient, out-of-touch organisation. Member countries like Australia and India should expect more professionalism and tighter procedures from such an important organisation.

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