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Big Three get bigger – India, England, Australia set to change world order

It remains to be seen how the FTP-defying BCCI will make use of the new arrangement.

N Srinivasan The proposal suggests that the 16 countries will be split into two groups with the top eight, including the big three, playing Test matches and the bottom half playing against each other in an Inter-Continental Cup. PTI

A new draft proposal that will be tabled in the upcoming ICC meeting later this month is all set to trigger the formation of a new nexus of power in world cricket, literally handing over the reins to India, Australia and England. The drastic suggestion was part of a 21-page document formulated by the ICC’s Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee, reported first on Cricinfo last week.

Interestingly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are the vital members of the F&CA committee, which also includes ICC president Allan Isaac from New Zealand and CEO Dave Richardson, former South African wicket-keeper.

The major changes recommended in the proposal, coined the ‘position paper’, are based on restructuring the revenue distribution model, the abolishment of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) and the scrapping of the much-vaunted World Test Championship (WTC).

The BCCI has already confirmed that it will be meeting on Thursday to discuss a bid to push for the new proposal, which was made available to all member countries on January 9, during the ICC’s quarterly meet on January 28 and 29.

“The meeting has been summoned to get the working committee’s nod for pushing

BCCI’s case of getting more revenue from ICC’s earnings as bulk of it is generated by the Indian cricket board,” said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel. Top of the priority list is the genesis of a new executive committee (ExCo), which will be a four-member group, with three permanent memberships for BCCI, CA and ECB. The ExCo will basically be made up of the incumbent presidents of the new ‘big-three’–the chairmanship of which will be decided on a rotating basis—while the fourth will be nominated by the ICC’s Executive Board and will be a member of one of the other seven Test, or Full Member, nations. Once it comes into place, the ExCo will run the game, armed with the power to take decisions on all matters from constitutional and personnel to development and nominations matters.

On the finance front, the document also deals with and stresses on what we have always known that the ICC’s maximum revenue is generated by Indian cricket. It proposes that the ‘distorted distribution model’ be replaced with a new ‘contribution cost’ model, which will base the revenue distribution on the individual contribution of each board towards the ICC’s total earnings. As of now, the the governing body’s surplus revenues are shared equally with all the full member nations. The new proposal aims to change that for good, while noting that the BCCI brings in 80 per cent of the ICC’s income.

FTP diluted

There is also a recommendation to dilute the FTP and introduce a Test match promotion-relegation module with agreements between bilateral countries taking precedence. This could basically allow teams to play whosoever they please, whenever they want to. Though Australia and England are beleived to have agreed to play the other seven top Test nations in a four-year cycle. It remains to be seen how the FTP-defying BCCI will make use of the new arrangement.

The proposal suggests that the 16 countries will be split into two groups with the top eight, including the big three, playing Test matches and the bottom half playing against each other in an Inter-Continental Cup. The winner from the lower bracket will get a chance to be promoted in a eight-year cycle. The nexus will wield power in the two-tier system too with the three top teams to be accorded with ‘relegation exceptions’, whereas they will never have to worry about being demoted into the second division.

New Zealand backs proposed changes …

Wellington: New Zealand Cricket has backed the proposed changes in the ICC’s administrative structure, which would leave major decision-making in the hands of India, Australia and England, despite facing severe criticism from the country’s players’ association.

The New Zealand Players’ Association has described the draft proposal of this plan, which will be presented to the ICC Executive Board during its quarterly meeting in Dubai on January 28 and 29, as “scheming” by India, Australia and England.

The proposal, drafted by a “working group” of the ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee, in which the BCCI, CA and ECB are key members, recommends wide-ranging changes in the ICC’s revenue distribution model, administrative structures and the Future Tours Programme.

It questions the relevance of Test rankings and suggests the reinstatement of the Champions Trophy over the World Test Championship. And almost every recommendation of the “position paper” gives a larger share of control over world cricket to the Australian, English and Indian Cricket boards — both in the boardroom and on the field.

NZC, however, is not complaining too much about it. In a statement by NZC board member Martin Snedden, who attended the Dubai ICC meeting where the plan was unveiled, insisted that New Zealand would not be “disadvantaged” or “downgraded” under the “changes that are currently proposed.”     —PTI

… but Pakistan says will oppose any overhaul

Karachi: Miffed with the changes being proposed in the ICC’s administrative structure, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday that it will oppose any overhaul of the ICC that will cede executive decision-making solely to India, Australia and England.

A member of the PCB governing board said that at the meeting held on Saturday in Lahore, the members had made it clear to reinstated Chairman Zaka Ashraf that the draft proposal should be opposed strongly at the ICC meeting. “The governing board was firm that this was a very sensitive issue for Pakistan and the PCB should go to the ICC meeting well prepared to give strong arguments against the proposed changes,” the member said.

“The governing board made it clear that the draft proposal basically would divide the world cricket order and Pakistan should not accept any position in the lower tier,” he added.

He said the governing board has authorised Ashraf to use all possible means to convince the ICC against going ahead with the changes.

Another source disclosed that the Chairman had been asked to contact the other Boards which will be affected by the proposed changes and ensure a unified stance at the ICC meeting.

“The PCB chief has been advised to form a unified stance on the matter with South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies before the ICC meeting,” he informed.     —PTI

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