The power play is always interesting to watch whether in politics or in sports. This power struggle gets even better when you mix sports and politics. The similar situation has arisen in the world of cricket wherein countries are pitted against each other and the holdover ICC is up for grabs. But the power play, though, interesting is equally harmful to global financial health. World’s economic health is already not in a very good condition due to the pandemic, Covid-19 but if the gap that has become evident between cricket nations, widens anymore, this already deteriorating financial health would become worse.
BIG THREE NOT TO BE IN THE RACE FOR THE ICC AUTHORITY?
Big Three is the name given to the three major nations that rule the world of cricket. Big Three refers to India, Australia and England. Big Three has come into the forefront as Pakistan Cricket Board’s Chairman, Ehsan Mani, has raised concern regarding the hold that they have over cricket. PCB’s chairman, Mani believes that the next ICC Chairperson should not be from Big Three nations. But it does not mean that Mani does not want ICC to have a chairperson. Mani is quite worried about the condition of cricket in the present times and he believes that “there will be a breakaway in global cricket administration if the present uncertainty continues.”
The question about who may and may not take the seat of ICC chairperson has come to the surface as the seat has been going vacant for the last two months now. The International Cricket Council has been going without a leader since the former chairperson, Shashank Manohar left the charge. Manohar left the interim charge to Imran Khwaja but it is not a permanent hand over. Khwaja is supposed to manage the seat till the time a new chairperson is brought to the ICC. The interesting factor to note here is that the former chairperson Shashank Manohar was Indian. He was a lawyer who was based in Nagpur, India. Now he has left the charge to Khwaja who is from Singapore.
It is clear from the present situation that ICC is in a dire need of a new chairperson. Then, what’s causing the delay? The delay in electing a new chairperson is the decision about the process of electing the new chairperson. ICC wants it be a unanimous choice but the council is not coming to a decision regarding the count of votes. ICC is not able to decide whether they should go with simple majority for the selection of the chairperson or the ballot for election should be a two-third one.
ICC SKEWED TOWARDS INDIA AND ENGLAND
India and England as per Mani, are the countries, ICC is partial towards. Mani says that ICC has created policies that make the council, “skewed towards India and to some degree, England.” Meanwhile, the Big Three are also getting impatient with the delay in the process and finally have started to make their stand clear. ICC has had many meeting in the recent past with BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly but no conclusion can be drawn from these meeting. India and England cricket boards seem to have made up their minds id the ICC does not arrive at a decision soon. The boards are ready to find “other solutions” if the ICC keeps this matter in the lurch anymore. Two-third majority ide is also not a hit with the Big Three and they find the process to be unfair.
BCCI has made a firm decision in this regard, looking at all the uncertainty that surrounds this topic. BCCI, being the richest cricket board has decided to go solo, if the situation demands so, rather than being the part of a procedure that it does not agree with. An important cricket official recently gave a clear picture of the next move that BCCI may make while talking to TOI. The official stated, “global cricket administration is being held to ransom so, BCCI can make one thing clear: Indian Cricket is elf sustainable and can fend for itself by playing the IPL and select bilateral tours until this issue is sorted.” Thus, it is clear that BCCI has no desire to be a part of this fiasco that ICC has created by letting this matter suspend for more than two months. But at the same time, BCCI does not intend to cut all ties with ICC and would happily wait for the council to sort things out. BCCI official also left a question hanging in the air for the other boards. He asked, “How do the other boards want to pursue this matter?”
PROBLEM WITH THE PROCESS
England and India have made their stand clear about the selection process. Both countries do not find the notion of a select group to be acceptable. As per this notion, if a candidature gets six of the total 17 votes in its favour, it should be accepted. And this is where the problem begins as according to BCC, “this is where the ransom begins.” BCCI says that if a candidature receives more than 8 votes in its favour, it should be selected. This is only fair England and Wales Cricket Board also finds this process to “extremely unhealthy for the game”. The board is of the view that it is an important and crucial time for the sport and cricket needs “somebody who can drive the game’s global economics forward.”
England and India are together in this and hold a very few members of ICC responsible for this issue. ICC is being led by a chairperson right now whose country “does not even play top-grade cricket”. BCCI officials are bitterly true about this situation. They do not even shy away from saying that the present situation at ICC is just like the Olympic Committee being led by an Indian representative. They truthfully ask, “can that work? Or will the west allow it to work?” In this case, “west” is India and seems like it won’t allow it to work.