Dr Ali Bacher. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
In 1991, Dr Ali Bacher, the former South African Test captain, orchestrated the pivotal India vs South Africa cricket series, marking their return after isolation. Managing the 1991-92 tour of India, Bacher pushed for live telecasts of three landmark ODIs in South Africa. This decision ignited cricket’s commercialisation in India, injecting vibrancy into the BCCI’s realm.
However, Bacher, renowned for steering South African cricket into the mainstream post-apartheid, opposed the dominance of only three boards – India, Australia, and England – in dictating the cricketing calendar. He believes that this marginalises other cricketing nations. Despite his instrumental role in elevating Proteas cricket, Bacher expressed discontent with this limited hierarchy, advocating for a more inclusive approach.
“When I was the chairman of ICC’s development committee, my objective was to spread the game. It’s not happening today. Cricket today is dominated by India, Australia, England. South Africa has been marginalised, Pakistan has been marginalised, West Indies has been marginalised. That’s not good. You need to grow the game,” Bacher said as quoted by Times of India.
“The problem is that finance of world cricket is dominated by India and 70 per cent of world cricket money comes through India from whatever direction. I would like to see development of smaller nations, that was my profound passion,” he added.
Bacher doubts cricket’s success in USA
The ICC sought to bolster cricket in the USA, with initial moves like granting co-hosting rights for the upcoming T20I World Cup to the nation and proposing cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Despite this, the former South African Test skipper from the pre-apartheid period remained skeptical about the prospects.
“I don’t think it will grow massively as you expect it to grow in USA. I was keen on spreading cricket as chairman of ICC Development Committee, to get into USA. Oh, its difficult. You need billions and billions of dollars to get a small niche of that (USA) market. To be honest, I called it a day after two occasions. It wasn’t going to happen. The way it should happen is, growth of cricket should be in Asia. There is enormous potential. Not in the USA as its far too expensive,” he said.