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Sunday, July 05, 2020

Goodwill hunting: BCCI hopes to build consensus on ICC’s leadership role

On Tuesday, the ICC Board will meet to lay down the procedure for the election. Two days later, on May 28, the Board will meet again and is likely to announce the timeline for filing nominations.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: May 25, 2020 8:53:07 am
The May 28 meeting might also take a decision on the T20 World Cup. (AP/File Photo)

The BCCI will try to build consensus for the next ICC chair, as the incumbent, Shashank Manohar, vacates the post in July. Manohar has already confirmed that he will not seek a third term and if everything goes to plan, an election will not be required to pick his successor, this paper understands. Some ICC Full Members, it is learnt, want the Indian board to take the leadership role for global cricket, with the game reeling under the Covid-induced economic downturn.

On Tuesday, the ICC Board will meet to lay down the procedure for election. Two days later, on May 28, the Board will meet again and is likely to announce the timeline for filing nominations. The May 28 meeting might also take a decision on the T20 World Cup, scheduled in October-November in Australia. According to sources, there’s a growing feeling within the global body that a postponement will favour everyone.

As for consensus-building – a candidate from India or someone nominated by the Indian board – the BCCI is expected to start the process after May 28. “We will take a call in the best interests of world cricket. Many people feel that the BCCI should take the reins of the ICC and should play a larger role in this time of crisis for world cricket to revive. We will discuss amongst ourselves and will take a decision. We will wait for the ball to be rolled,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.

Former England captain David Gower has backed current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to take charge of the ICC. Former Proteas skipper and current Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith has spoken on similar lines. However, it is learnt that the BCCI hasn’t even thought about it yet. The Indian board’s priority is to have someone at the helm of the ICC through consensus, which benefits everyone. Once the ICC issues the election date, the Indian board will start devising its strategy.

“When all the boards are struggling, everyone has to come together for the best interests of world cricket. We need to revive the game. So we have to find a common interest and collaborate with each other,” the BCCI official said.

Given that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), of late, has been at odds with the BCCI – the IPL ban on Pakistan players means the PCB doesn’t get any revenue from the tournament either – the consensus-building process might have to overcome a major hurdle. The BCCI official, though, begged to differ.

“No, I don’t see any reason for Pakistan to pitch for an (unexpected) election. Pakistan also understands that all the cricket boards will have to come together at this point in time. There’s no point in going against each other’s interests,” he said.

READ | ECB mulls Test series as BCCI decides to wait in bio-secure bubble

Decision on T20 World Cup

The T20 World Cup is scheduled in October-November in Australia. (Source: File Photo)

The majority of ICC Members, it is learnt, want the ICC Board to take a call on the T20 World Cup’s future during its May 28 meeting – “whether it’s happening or not happening (this year)”. The members want clarity so that they can plan accordingly.

Sources said, in case of a postponement, February-March 2021 or the beginning of the Australian summer in 2022 could be the two choices. Although the Women’s Cricket World Cup is scheduled in February-March in New Zealand next year, a section of the Members is of the view that a little bit of tweaking and some adjustments to fit in the Men’s T20 World Cup will benefit every cricket-playing nation. Stretching it to 2022 will pose logistical problems, as the global body will have to start everything from scratch.

As reported by this paper, the T20 World Cup postponement will open a window for the BCCI to organise this year’s IPL in the autumn. And there’s a school of thought that deferring the ICC event for a few months and holding the IPL will serve everybody’s interest.

Cricket boards that issue no-objection certificates to their players for the IPL get 10 percent each based on the total contract value of the players affiliated to the respective boards. At the same time, the ICC Members stand to gain at least around $7-8 million each in terms of revenue from the T20 World Cup. So as an official pointed out, a postponement looks like the “best option for everyone”.

READ | If T20 World Cup is off, IPL may find a window

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