BCCI’s plans to be on top of ICC – the possibilities

The BCCI, along with the England Cricket Board and Cricket Australia has come up with a string of proposals, which have been created in a way to ensure that their business interests are protected. The proposals have already faced tremendous opposition from countries such as South Africa and Pakistan, while other countries like West Indies and Bangladesh have stated that they shall be acting in the best interests of their cricketers. Now let us attempt to analyze the various proposals and their possible effects one by one:


New ExCom committee – permanent membership of BCCI, CA and ECB in the same


The newly proposed ExCom committee will have the power to overrule the other committees of the ICC. Since BCCI, ECB and CA are permanent members they will have greater power like the permanent members of the UN Security Council and they shall also make sure that their interests are catered to. This will mean that all the other members, if any, of the committee will need to follow their lead or face drastic consequences.


Promotion and relegation in test cricket with the exception of the Big 3


The main reasoning given behind this proposal is that India, Australia and England are the most vital cricketing nations in terms of importance as well as market prowess. So it is essential that they are never relegated so that the tournament itself does not become meaningless. The question is, what will happen in a situation where the Big 3 end up at the bottom of the ladder? Will the clause of relegation be applicable during that year and what will happen to the lower teams?


Several former cricketers such as Martin Crowe have also critiqued the idea of two-tiered test cricket structure. Their main grouse is that in the present scenario there is a possibility that if two divisions are created then teams like New Zealand and West Indies, which have had proud and long traditions, may be forced to start out in the lower tier, which would be shameful indeed.


FTP agreement to be thrown out of the window – only bilateral agreements from now on


A few months back, when India was dallying-dallying over the tour of South Africa, it had been suggested in some circles that the FTP (Futures Tours Programs) is legally binding for all ICC members and therefore India was bound to follow it. At that time, India may have avoided playing South Africa given a choice. There are also instances where BCCI has arranged series on an ad-hoc basis like the retirement series of Sachin against West Indies. So it is but natural that it will push for such arrangements. However, this also means that the Big 3 will play against each other more often than not and the other members will have to make do with sporadic and short series with the Big 3 or try and appease them in the hope of a big series or two. With this, there is also a possibility that all the countries will be able to create windows for their T20 leagues where they at least have their national players available. Major beneficiaries will be England and Australia.


New financial model with regards to distribution of ICC revenue


As per the newly proposed financial model for distributing ICC revenue, BCCI has already asked for a raise in the money it receives from ICC events and it can be expected that the ECB and CA shall follow suit as well. This will mean lesser amounts for the other full members. However, they may still be able to make it up from bilateral series but the smaller nations, most of whom depend on grants from ICC, will be severely affected as a result of this ruling. Such distribution will impede their youth and infrastructure development initiatives and seriously restrict the spread of the game. May be, the Big 3 should give it a thought!


Major positions to be filled by BCCI, CA and ECB officials


Just like their aim to monopolize the ICC ExCom, the Big 3 are also looking to make sure that they have all the major posts like ICC President for example. This would enable them to make all the important decisions, which may or may not be in the best interests of others and then implement them as they see fit.


Reinstating the Champions Trophy


This is a positive thought considering how well appreciated the 2013 Champions Trophy, held in England, was. This tournament could also mean more earnings for the ICC and thus, by extension, the big 3. So, while the cricketing aspect of this decision is laudable the business angle cannot be ignored altogether.


While commenting on the said proposals Sharda Ugra had lamented that, if realized, these changes will lead to the creation of a new world order that will rule the game of cricket. The New Zealand cricket board has however stated that it will be unfair to criticize the rules even before they started.


One has to agree with the Kiwi administration on grounds that India has not agreed to the FTP for a long time and countries such as Zimbabwe have found it hard to go ahead with tours owing to financial problems. Pakistan has suffered from a perceived lack of security and Bangladesh is almost in a similar situation. So, quite evidently the FTP has never really been fully adhered to and most countries have played each other on bilateral basis.


Thanks to its share in revenue generation through advertisements and sponsorships India calls all the shots in world cricket. So, some of the possible effects of the proposed changes are already there – may be when all the countries are finally forced to vote it will complete the circle and the game will never be the same.