Melbourne: Former Australian batsman Dean Jones feels international cricket has become one of the world's most popular sports in recent years due to the influence of India, which he says "generates 80 per cent" of the revenues.
"The reason cricket is one of the world's most popular sports is mainly due to the influence from India. Cricket is played by 10 nations with Test status and 35 associate countries. But it is India that provides nearly 80 per cent of the world's cricket revenues," Jones said. "And cricket-playing countries and players around the world are a lot wealthier because of that revenue generated by India," he wrote in the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
Jones said the BCCI is very shrewd when it comes to using its influence. "Generally, people who have the most money get what they want. India is no different, and it is very protective of its power and very shrewd when it comes to using it. Many fans and cricket leaders think this is a bad thing for the game. I don't," he said. Jones added:
"The Indian authorities are the ones who have invested heavily in cricket, and ultimately they are the ones who pay the invoices. Other countries just hang onto India's coat tails. Today, India always has a massive audience and it brings along a massive bank cheque. The Indian board ploughs most of its money back into grassroots cricket, where there are more than 55,000 matches played in India every day. It pays out millions every year in player pensions for former players. India also helped South Africa return to international cricket and helped Bangladesh reach Test status," he further said.
Jones reiterated that BCCI becoming the major powerbroker has helped the game. "Since the board has started to be the major powerbroker of the game, has world cricket benefited? Yes, and more power to it," he said.