World cricket as we know it is all set to undergo an unprecedented metamorphosis with the ICC having approved a major overhaul of its managerial hierarchy along with other path-breaking initiatives.
After all the squabbling and finger-pointing that has gone on in the ICC’s corridors of power, it was the ‘big three’ or the BCCI, ECB and CA that had their way, getting the key points of their proposal sanctioned at the governing body’s meeting in Singapore on Saturday.
While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) were the only two boards to withhold their votes, the proposal received the 8-2 majority it required with Cricket South Africa (CSA) coming in with the decisive vote.
The sweeping changes will have a radical impact on all aspects of the game including governance, financial and commercial clout and the scheduling of matches.
Each of the changes will also in turn strengthen the grip of the BCCI, ECB and CA over the administration of the game, just like they had proposed.
For starters, the prevailing FTP will be done away with once it reaches its climax next year. The Full Members, meaning the 10 Test teams, will then have to enter into a series of contractually and legally binding bilateral agreements for the eight-year period between 2015-2023.
A BCCI official explained that the only difference in the new FTP model would be that the schedules and tours will be decided outside the purview of the ICC.
But it will still mean that all the Test teams will play each other across all formats over the next four-year period. Only that these matches will be negotiated upon based on the convenience of the two boards in question. But neither of them will have the option of backing out of a tour like we’ve seen happen repeatedly in the present scenario.
Windfall for BCCI
As expected, the BCCI were rewarded with their wish to bite into a bigger chunk of the ICC revenue pie on the basis of earning a purportedly 80 per cent of the governing body’s earnings.
The distribution of the ICC’s monies will now be based on a ‘financial score-card’, which will take into account the contribution of each board in terms of finance, their ICC history and their on-field performances.
While the big three stand to gain a lion’s share of the revenue, the ICC in their press release believe that ‘the structure of the new model will ensure that none of the Full Members will be worse off than they are at present and will be significantly better off’.
Come July, India will also have the best vantage point from which to dictate terms with BCCI president N Srinivasan set to take over as the first-ever ICC chairman.
The English and Australian boards too will get to hold their status quo with Cricket Australia’s Wally Edwards being appointed as the chairman of the newly formed Executive Committee (ExCo), which will have operational powers and ECB’s Giles Clarke set to be retained as the head of the Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee (F&CA). These posts will be on a transitional basis and will extend only until 2016, after which a new ICC chairman will be elected from among all the directors-basically the heads of the various global cricket boards. But the BCCI, ECB and CA will maintain a permanent membership of the ExCo, which will have representatives from two other boards, and the F&CA.
Not surprisingly, the BCCI was more than pleased with the eventual outcome, with secretary Sanjay Patel reiterating the enormity of the achievement. “It’s a historic day for all of us. The whole ICC thought that there is no other man better for the chairman post than Mr Srinivasan,” he told The Sunday Express.
Apart from fixing the new FTP schedule, the first agenda for the newly formed sub-committees will be finding bids for the new media and broadcast rights cycle.
Incidentally, the first board to vehemently oppose the draft proposal was the CSA, whose president in fact referred to it as being `fundamentally flawed’. But it was the South African board’s vote that ended up as the turning point of the negotiations.
“Both the parties discussed the whole issue at length and the CSA chief wanted some clarity which we gave them. We as a cricketing nation always want cricket to expand and this proposal has come into place for the betterment of everyone,” explained Patel.
ICC president Allan Isaac too revealed that despite the PCB and SLC having abstained from voting it didn’t mean that they were against the proposal. “There were eight Full Members who were in a position to support the resolution today and the two who abstained have pledged to further discuss the issues with an aim to reaching unanimous approval over the coming weeks,” the Kiwi was quoted as saying in the press release.
Meanwhile, the other key executive decisions that eventuated on what turned out to be a historical day for world cricket included the formation of a Test Match Fund for all nations except the big-three, a realistic path-way for the leading Associate teams earning Test status, the scrapping of the World Test Championship and the promise of enhanced financial support for the teams outside the Test arena.
The New World Order