Jack Bannister on the effect of India wanting no part of anything not making mega-money...
India and the International Cricket Council are on a collision course because of the Indian Board's unilateral decision to tear apart the future fabric of the ICC's much-vaunted Future Tours Programme.
The agreement among the major countries to sign a commitment to play each other home and away within a five-year time span was always doomed to failure, because of the inclusion of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
It led to such bickering about the value of mismatches, the burn-out problem for leading cricketers, that the ICC tried to head off a revolt by agreeing that the five-year agreement become six years.
But India want no part of anything that will not make mega-money and, as they generate 60 per cent of world income, they believe they are on safe ground.
Such a decision, suspiciously supported by England and Australia, means that the rich get richer while the poorer emerging countries can fend for themselves.
Cricket's worldwide family can stay where it is, particularly as India has effectively killed off the bi-ennial Champions' Trophy by saying that, after the one they will host later this year, they will not play in another one.
That is the tournament from which considerable money is raised for widening grassroot development and for which the minor countries can qualify.
India's brazen announcement is one which has to be dealt with firmly by ICC. It will be interesting to see what teeth they have and how they are prepared to use them. If they back off it is the end of a world governing authority as we know it.
Not that it has ever bitten the bullet on many issues in the last 15 years, including the shameful carpet-sweeping job of the Pakistan ball-tampering episode at Lord's in 1992; the bribery charges involving Mark Waugh and Shane Warne sat upon for two years by the Australian Board which inevitably led to the Hanse Cronje disgrace; the weak-kneed approach to Zimbabwe, with a fall-out which led to England's early dismissal from the 2003 World Cup and then to the enforced early retirement of Nasser Hussain.
The ICC, under the chair-manship of arch diplomat Ehsan Mani, wobbles spine-lessly when faced with each crisis, hiding behind a worthless defence that a country's politics are it's own business and so inviolate.
Chief executive Malcolm Speed faces all ways and either cannot or will not show the iron glove to any miscreant.
The response to India's takeover of world cricket is pathetic. The ICC "reminds" India of their responsibilities to the game as a whole.
It "reminds" India that they must not agree with Australia, England and Pakistan to play them on the same regular basis as England and Australia - namely home and away every four years.
That effectively excludes West Indies and leaves South Africa and New Zealand to pick up the remaning fixture crumbs. Yet again, England, via the England and Wales Cricket Board, have gone unhesitatingly for cash ahead of principle. Just as they did infamously with the Zimbabwe issue.
Chairman David Morgan has a way with words. On Zimbabwe, he and former chief executive Tim Lamb threatened the counties and Team England with a crippling financial bill that bore little resemblance to reality.
It cost Lamb his job but Morgan is still there and is now prepared to go to bed with the Indian money machine and let the minnows suffer the same fate as Wally the Whale in the Thames two days ago.
Morgan revealed all last week when he breathed a sigh of relief after an Indian court ruled that cricket in India should be shown exclusively on satellite television, thus excluding terrestrial channels which feed most of the cricket-crazy population.
He confessed that it was important for satellite television rights to be exclusive to satellite for India's next tour here in 2007 because of the money involved.
Not content with the attempting of hijacking future Test itineraries and aborting the Champions' Trophy by refusing to particpate, India intend to produce their own telecasts of international and domestic cricket "adding more products to our product line."
India really believe they are untouchable and shame on England that, after finding reasons not to tour India between 1992 and 2001, they are now happy to row along with what is virtually a breakaway.
The ICC's Mani and Speed have a huge fight to maintain a status quo agreed and signed up to by all member countries, including England who should support the governing body. Should but will not.
Talk to the ECB about principle and the greater good of the game and you see glazed eyes. Every answer is about money because, as we shall see when the proverbial hits the fan, the rupee is a great persuader.