The ICC has become a cosy club following its structural overhaul in June last year. The “big three” — India, England and Australia — get the lion’s share of the money under the new revenue-sharing agreement, and they dictate the terms. In a way, it is a throwback to an earlier era, when the ICC was called the Imperial Cricket Conference. In such a scenario, Mustafa Kamal, the ICC president who resigned earlier this week, didn’t do himself any favours with comments which implied that the umpires favoured India in the quarterfinal against Bangladesh.
Kamal, a Bangladeshi minister, questioned what the ICC termed, in an official release, as a 50-50 no-ball call, which gave Indian batsman Rohit Sharma a reprieve. Following Kamal’s refusal to withdraw his comments or issue an apology, the ICC denied him the right to hand over the trophy to World Champions Australia. That was when Kamal put in his papers. He has also described the ICC as a “gang of three” with N. Srinivasan, the chairman, holding sway.
It can be argued that Kamal allowed emotion to get the better of him by criticising the umpires, and that such open displeasure was unbecoming of an ICC president. But the reality is that the president’s wings have been clipped in the restructured system of the ICC. Kamal is just a ceremonial head — as per Clause 3.3 (B) of the ICC constitution, he’s “solely responsible for presenting trophies at global competitions”. That Kamal is from a country that is not influential, politically and financially, in the ICC also put him on a weak footing. The drama which ended in Kamal’s exit once again underlined just where the power lies in the ICC.