Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
It is definitely, however, judging by the behaviour of its management team, of its lawmakers and its highest stakeholders, the laughing stock of the world.
It is the only game with three different World Championships - T20, 50-over, Test cricket.
It is the only game where the law outlaws a throw, but one in which one does not know when a bowler throws the ball and when he does not; and it is the only game where one does not know when a batsman plays a legal stroke and when he does not.
Cricket, based on the attitude of the officials, does not know the difference between a switch hit or a reverse sweep.
It is the only game which changes its conditions of play almost daily, it is the only game in which the rules differ from match to match, from country to country - regardless of the competition and the prize - and it is the only game in which one team can openly decide to challenge the authority, decide not to play according to the rules and still play.
And the changes have been going on for years now, and so quickly that it has been difficult to keep up with them and the many instances of one-upmanship.
The changes in the rules, or the conditions of play, have included the leg before wicket rule, the front-foot rule, fielders behind square-leg, when the ninth wicket falls, and the continuation of the innings, and the number of overs per day.
In one-day cricket, how a tied match is broken, the introduction and the changes in the powerplay, the number of fielders in and out of the circle in the powerplay, when the powerplay is taken, and the use of two balls in each innings - one from either end - have been some of them, some of which makes sense, some of which are neither here nor there.
Recently, however, instead of getting better, things seem to have been going from bad to worse and this seems to have affected the much-debated DRS.
For years, ever since the invention of the game, cricket has been plagued by poor umpiring decisions and that has always been blamed on hometown decisions.
Despite the call for changes, the ICC resisted it, until, possibly due to the lack of funds, when it went for one "neutral" umpire during a Test match, and then for two "neutral" umpires.
The mistakes, however, continued, and finally, the ICC decided on technology - on the use of television cameras and the role of the third umpire.
The television replay, for whatever the reason but according to the ICC, is supposed to be used to get rid of 'howlers' - blatant bad calls such as some of the leg-before-wicket decisions, and not for getting the perfect decision.
India, however, did not believe that these decisions could be trusted to be reliable or would be consistent; India did not believe that the decisions would be dependable; and India believed that the technology could be manipulated.
In short, India did not believe in the decisions and India did not support the idea.
On top of that, there was the cost of putting in the system; some countries said they could not afford it and the ICC decided to wait on them.
The result was that with India saying no and with a country like Bangladesh saying it was too costly, the DRS - with Hawkeye and Hot Spot - was not available in some countries.
And just last month, India threatened to pull out of any tour if forced to use the DRS.
At an ICC executive committee meeting in Dubai, Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, proposed a policy change whereby the approval of the host country would be enough to implement the DRS.
India, through N. Srinivasan, chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, shot down the proposal, saying that India still did not believe that the system was foolproof, that it could easily be manipulated and that it is unreliable.
Earlier, on December 4, every ICC member had voted for a change in the implementation of the DRS. At the January meeting no one backed Clarke.
India has a point: the DRS is not foolproof, and mistakes continue to be made. The DRS is, however, better than nothing. It is better than the nothing that was there before and it will be better until it becomes perfect, or near perfect in a game that, by its very nature, cannot be perfect.
The ICC shot itself in the foot when it talked about "howlers" and is not prepared to give the batsman out leg before wicket when, for example, the replay shows the ball only clipping the stumps after the standing umpire has signalled not out.
In that case, when all other things are correct, the batsmen should be final, where it is close or not.
A batsman can be ruled not out depending on the standing umpire's original ruling. It matters not whether - all other being equal - the ball would have hit the stumps or not.
It prefers to support the umpire's decision as much as possible.
In the Australia/Sri Lanka series recently, a few batsmen were ruled not out after they were dismissed by a no-ball and were asked to stay while it was checked; in the West Indies/India series a couple of years ago, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ruled out leg before wicket by the third umpire after he was given not out by the standing umpire simply because the third umpire looked at the wrong delivery; and just last Sunday, Ramnaresh Sarwan scored a century after he was run-out when the umpire made a quick decision and failed to review it.
Right now, there is a Test series going on in India between India and Australia. Up to a few days ago, there was one in South Africa between South Africa and Pakistan. One is playing without the DRS and one was playing with it.
Both are playing, or were playing, under the banner of the ICC, the winners will move up in the rankings and the questions are these - which result will be respected: will it be the one with the DRS or will it be the one without it?
Most importantly, will it affect a batsman who fails to add to his record due to the watchful eye of the DRS, or will it be kind to another batsman - one who gets another chance, may be two chances, by playing without the DRS?