The primary objective of this paper is to analyse the shifting nature of governance reforms, both at global and national levels, in the increasingly commercialised game of cricket. We explore the inter-relationship and linkages between governance and commercialism, and in the process, question the contemporary reliance placed on governance as a generic counter-commercialist force and accountability aid.
Our analysis is based on a comprehensive analysis of cricketing archives, newspapers and online media. We specifically utilise a range of review reports, governance and accounting information from annual reports and websites of the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as different national cricket governing bodies (NCBs).
The paper vividly demonstrates the importance of recognising the specific significance of different cultural traditions and modes of organising – and not presuming a particular form of impact. Our findings highlight that the adoption of a dominant market logic by cricket administrators has resulted in a shift in the balance of power in favour of non-western nations. India has emerged as the clear leader and driving force shaping the way cricket is globally governed. The consequences have been profound but not in terms of delivering, enhanced standards of transparency and accountability. Drawing on institutional theory, the paper argues that the scale of the Board of Cricket Control of India’s (BCCI’s) financial and operational control over the ICC has not only led to an increasingly commercialised game but engendered divergent and highly questionable standards of governance at the level of NCBs.
Unlike other global games, cricket has an imperialistic root, and has gone through the process of globalisation in relatively recent times. Also, the commercialistion of cricket has resulted in the global economic and power base shifting from the West to the East, giving us the opportunity to study the dynamics between commercialisation and governance in a quite different globalisation context that allows an assessment to be made of the culturally contingent nature of governance as a substantive organising force.