We feel cheated over ICC vote: PCB Chairman

Singapore: Pakistan cricket chief Zaka Ashraf expressed his anger over the controversial role of SA in ICC board meeting. Zaka said he felt “cheated” after South Africa abandoned their opposition to controversial reforms of the sport’s world body, allowing the proposals to be approved.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman said South Africa had opposed the International Cricket Council (ICC) reforms, seen as favouring the “Big Three” of India, England and Australia, as recently as Friday.

But South Africa supported the proposals at an ICC board meeting in Singapore on Saturday, giving them the extra vote they needed to pass.

The proposals were passed after gaining the support of eight of the ICC’s 10 full members, with Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who have both been vocally opposed. Srinivasan from India, which contributes the lion’s share of cricket’s global revenues, will chair the ICC board from the middle of this year.

Board has gained the necessary votes to approve a large number of sweeping changes relating to the governance, financing and structure of international cricket. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the PCB were the only two Full Members who abstained when a “comprehensive resolution” was put to vote.

The BCCI, in particular, but also Cricket Australia and the ECB can now anticipate a period of greater wealth and influence in the ICC, although their proposals have been reduced in some areas and the ICC continues to claim that all nations will be better off as a result of the changes adopted.

South Africa had previously opposed the reforms, which met with virulent opposition after they were debated at a board meeting in Dubai last month. But South African board member Chris Nenzani was one of the eight to vote in favour at a luxury hotel in Singapore on Saturday. He did not answer questions about the meeting as he left. Members of the cricket establishment have lined up to criticise the proposals, with Imran Khan calling them “colonial” and Lord Harry Woolf, author of a report into the ICC’s governance, saying they were “entirely motivated by money”.

The reforms passed on Saturday include setting up a Test Cricket Fund available to all full members except India, England and Australia, and a move to make it easier for other countries to gain Test status. The proposed World Test Championship, which was due to debut in 2017, has been axed with the Champions Trophy – an eight-country tournament in the one-day format – continuing in 2017 and 2021. “It proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format,” an ICC release said.

THE REVAMP AT A GLANCE:

  • New executive committee: A five-man executive committee with permanent seats for India, England and Australia will be introduced. The committee will make recommendations to the ICC board, which remains the decision-making body.
  • India’s Srinivasan to chair ICC board: N. Srinivasan, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, will become the ICC board chairman from July 2014.
  • New financial model: Full members gain greater financial recognition based on their contributions in terms of finance, their ICC history and on-field performances.
  • Test Cricket Fund: A Test Cricket Fund will be introduced to guarantee all 10 Test-playing nations will be in position to host a home series through to 2023.
  • Future Tours Program: Members will strike binding, bilateral agreements “as a matter of urgency” with the aim of extending the program until 2023.
  • World Test Championship axed: The Champions Trophy one-day tournament will continue in 2017 and 2021, replacing plans for a World Test Championship.
  • Pathway to Test cricket: The winner of the next ICC Intercontinental Cup will play-off against the bottom-ranked F.