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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bangladesh give up the chance to head the ICC

Calcutta: Even as there are whispers that India’s tough posture on the Sri Lanka Premier League could have much to do with Sri Lanka abstaining from a crucial “resolution via circular” vote, in the International Cricket Council (ICC), many have been shocked by Bangladesh’s stand.
By supporting that resolution, which seeks to amend the constitution and end the rotation policy where the presidency is concerned, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has actually signed away the chance of its nominee getting to head the ICC in 2014.
It was, after all, Bangladesh’s ‘turn’ to nominate a vice-president who’d eventually succeed New Zealand’s Alan Isaac in 2014. Isaac becomes the president next year, when Sharad Pawar’s tenure comes to an end.
Bangladesh and Pakistan have been clubbed together in the rotation cycle and, given that the latter have already had their chance (Ehsan Mani was the ICC president from 2003-06), Bangladesh had the strongest claim this time.
“Clearly, the BCB has fallen in line with the wishes of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which wants the rotation to be scrapped... Obviously, the BCB must have been promised something in return, but what has happened is nothing short of a scandal,” a top source told The Telegraph.
A senior BCB official neither took calls nor responded to a text message on Wednesday afternoon.
Once the rotation policy is done away with, during the ICC’s Annual Conference week later this month, in Hong Kong, the road will be clear for a ‘Suitable Man’ to succeed Isaac.
Problem, of course, is that the ‘Suitable Man’ may not really bethe most suitable.
The scrapping was recommended by the ICC’s governance review committee, which met in Chennai around the time of the IPL-IV final. A “resolution via circular” was then moved. While the Pakistan Cricket Board opposed it, Sri Lanka Cricket abstained.
Eight of the 10 Full (or Test-playing) Members have to support a constitutional change and that number is with the BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who’re understood to be spearheading the move.
However, that’s not all.
A further 30 votes out of 40 are going to be needed when the change is put to vote before a much larger house, in Hong Kong. Of those 40, 35 will be Associate Members, with the remaining being Affiliates.
The buzz is that the BCCI and the ECB won’t mind backing a 14-team World Cup, in 2015, just to ensure that the Associates (like Ireland and The Netherlands) don’t get together and defeat the constitutional amendment.
After initially dumping the Associates, the ICC is “reviewing” the composition of the next World Cup, to be hosted by Australia-New Zealand. Pawar had to himself step in after a furore.
What’s more interesting is talk that Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the BCCI’s secretary and president-elect, and ECB chairman Giles Clarke (at 58, eight years younger) possibly have their sights on the presidency, in 2014.
As things stand, though, the path there is via the vice-president’s chair and, right now, the ICC’s constitution doesn’t allow the incumbent to simultaneously hold any position in his home Board.
However, if the rotation bit can be thrown out, nothing stops the BCCI, in particular, from getting that clause removed as well. It has the muscle, it has the money and, to put it bluntly, is controlling world cricket.
Not that there’s anything wrong, but Srinivasan is known to be ambitious. Significantly, his term as the BCCI president ends in 2014, the year Isaac vacates the No.1 post.
Clarke is in office till next year.
Meanwhile, speaking from London, Mani (who once worked very closely with the BCCI, during the Jagmohan Dalmiya days) said: “I don’t wish to comment on individuals and specific instances, but governance is lacking in the ICC... It’s bending to suit the BCCI’s interests.”
The Tony Greigs, too, have been saying that.
Footnote: Confirmation was awaited, but one learns that Isaac's successor won't have a fixed term.
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