The International Cricket Council (ICC)’s stupid plan of giving the control and management of world cricket in the hands of a troika comprising England, Australia and India is a step towards dividing its permanent members into two strong factions. Those controlling the affairs of cricket at the ICC may consider themselves as wizards of the game but the proposed move indicates that they do not even possess an iota of wisdom. They must realize that progress and success in every sphere of life including sports depend on unity and not diversity. Creating hatred and enmity between the cricket playing countries by dividing them is the biggest damage that a controlling body of the game can cause to the world of cricket.
With the existing system, cricket has already achieved the position of the most popular sport in the world. One fails to understand what is the purpose and possible advantage in the minds of the group of fools who drafted the proposal. According to the ICC, ‘the set of principles if approved will grant the triangle of miscreants i.e. England, Australia and India cricket boards a bigger share of cricket’s global revenues and a bigger control of the game’s governance including the important aspect of formulating future tour programmes’. Though India already enjoys a dominating position in the ICC, for its partners England and Australia the financial gains of the scheme are too lucrative to be compared with integrity, justice and fairplay.
Although the proposal being derogatory to progress of the game is unacceptable to other cricket playing countries, the miscreants have drafted it after a deep study and analysis of the compulsions and weaknesses of the remaining seven permanent members of the ICC. The weak points collected by the ICC provide the controlling body enormous strength to blackmail them to accept the new scheme. For instance, India board has some matters unsettled with Haroon Logart and other members of South Africa Cricket Board. Once a compromise takes place on the issue, South Africa is likely to be granted a place in the elite trio. They intend abolishing the two-tier concept, which would have relegated Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to the lower division. Bangladesh hosting the Asia Cup commencing February 26 and another international event later this year would not like to lose the honour. A cash strapped West Indies Cricket Board is agreeable to accept the new arrangement. Zimbabwe struggling to pay salaries to its players is eyeing ICC’s financial assistance. Bangladesh being a protégé of India cannot defy its wish. Requiring financial assistance, Sri Lanka’s application for a loan of $ 8 million is pending with the ICC. The Sri Lanka Board is thus compelled to submit. Just as Sri Lanka cannot defy India, New Zealand cannot defy Australia.
Possessing enough material to browbeat all these boards, the PCB was perhaps the only board left for the ICC to buy. Since it was not possible to take an instant decision on the issue, PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf along with a couple of other members requested to defer the matter to give them some time to consult their respective boards. It was agreed to postpone the matter till the ICC meeting in Singapore to be held on February 8.
The issue was discussed in a meeting of the PCB governing board held on February 3. The members unanimously expressed the view that ‘the formation of Big-3 is a dictatorial decision which is harmful for the world cricket. The decision on such important cricket issues should not be taken under the influence of the Big-3. It should be taken with the unanimous agreement of all Test playing countries’. The members were generally critical of the plan because it was neither in line with the principle of equality nor in the interest of the game. It was also decided to seek advice from the Prime Minister before expressing Pakistan’s point of view in the ICC meeting.
Since the issue does not concern the Test playing countries only but the whole cricket world, I suggest our delegation should seek support from the left out members and propose that the proposal should be discussed in the ICC’s general meeting where the associated members should also be invited and allowed to vote.
(The writer is a former PCB chief executive officer)
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