Players have become more powerful than ICC – Michael Atherton

Former England captain Michael Atherton has questioned the power of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Recently, New Zealand called off their white-ball series against Pakistan due to security reasons. Soon after, England followed the suit and cancelled the scheduled T20I series in Pakistan.

Earlier, India refused to play the fifth Test match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester after a coronavirus outbreak in the camp. However, despite T Natarajan testing positive for COVID-19, the match between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad went ahead. All these events prompted Atherton to question the ICC.

“At the same time that the players have become more powerful, so some governing bodies have become weaker. The ICC, the game’s supposedly ultimate powerbroker, has been reduced to an events-organising company,” Atherton wrote in his latest column for

“It runs its properties well — World Cups, World Test Championships, and the like — but has little standing where the game’s moral issues are concerned and little influence over the game’s direction. The ICC has had an acting chief executive since July,” the veteran stated.

According to Atherton, money and franchise, T20 leagues have made the players more powerful than the institutions.

“Two factors have made the players far more powerful than previously. The first is money, and the way it is distributed, and the second is opportunity. Greater opportunity outside of international cricket, through franchised T20 leagues, means the players hold the whip hand.

“Bizarrely, the ECB has allowed a situation where it, as the employer, has washed its hands of its contracted players for two months of the year during the Indian Premier League (which became longer than two months this year, with players unavailable for the New Zealand series because of it),” Atherton added.