Bell tolls for ICC Big Three

Times Media


EVEN the objection of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) failed to stop the International Cricket Council (ICC) from announcing the imminent dismantling of the Big Three in Dubai on Saturday.

In 2014, the Big Three – India, England and Australia – mounted a hostile takeover of international cricket that heavily skewed in their favour how much money countries would earn from the ICC’s 2015 to 2023 rights cycle.

For instance, the BCCI grabbed 22% of that revenue for themselves while Cricket South Africa had to be satisfied with 1.3%.

On Saturday, at their first board meeting of the year, the ICC reached what the headline of a release termed the “in principle agreement to constitutional and financial changes”.

They include “a revised financial distribution ensuring a more equitable distribution of revenues”, and a “revised constitution to reflect good governance, expanding and clarifying of the roles and objectives of the ICC to provide leadership in international cricket”.

In other words, the days of the Big Three bullying the rest of the world are numbered – and should end when the ICC board meets in April, where Saturday’s “in principle agreement” is likely to be rubber-stamped into practice.

Stand by, too, for tests against Afghanistan and Ireland, who were on the cusp of being added to the game’s elite nations “subject to both meeting membership criteria”.

And, not before time, the ICC plans to appoint its first female independent director.

“Today was an important step forward for the future of the ICC and cricket around the world,” ICC chair Shashank Manohar was quoted as saying.

“The proposals from the working group to reverse the resolutions of 2014 and deliver a revised constitution and financial model were accepted by the ICC board and now we will work collectively to refine the detail for final sign off in April.

“This also allows the new BCCI leadership appropriate time to appraise the detail and contribute.”

Manohar shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for that to happen.

At the ICC board meeting today in Dubai there was an agenda item for discussion on a proposed new financial model and governance structure of the ICC,” a BCCI release said.

“The BCCI representative, Vikram Limaye, expressed his concern over both the documents especially in light of the insufficient time available to the supreme court appointed committee of administrators to take an informed view on the said proposal, and also there being no scientific basis behind the percentage distribution allocation that was being proposed other than ‘good faith and equity’.”

The ICC board also arrived at a sweeping list of decisions that could change the shape of the international game itself.

The release spoke of a “nine-team test league run over a two year cycle”, and said that the “remaining three test teams  (would) be guaranteed a consistent and confirmed schedule of test matches against all other teams”.

A “13-team ODI league run over a three-year period” would lead “into qualification for the (2023) World Cup”.

On top of that, a “regional T20 competition structure (would) be developed as a pathway to qualification for the World T20”.

It’ll be cricket, Jim, but not as we knew it.


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