As if their dominance on the field wasn’t enough, the controversial ‘Big Three’ – India, Australia and England – have now taken effective control of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and will rake in the most revenue generated by the sport’s governing body.
Leaked draft proposals of the ‘position paper” revealed that these three countries wanted more decision-making power in the council as they represented the wealthiest test-playing nations. Plans were also revealed for two divisions of Test Cricket, but with India, Australia and England guaranteed to avoid relegation to the bottom division due to their commercial importance.
While an ICC Executive Board meeting in Dubai ruled out immunity for the three nations in the two-tier format, a decision was taken to allow Board of Cricket Control India, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and Cricket Australia (CA) to take major control over the governing body.
Happiest of all would be the BCCI. "Recognition of the need for strong leadership of the ICC, involving leading Members, which will involve BCCI taking a central leadership responsibility," said a press release.
The meeting also cleared the path for BCCI president N Srinivasan to take up the role of ICC chairman from June 2014. The Indian cricket board was also successful in getting rid of the proposed World Test Championship. Instead, the 50-over Champions Trophy will be played after every four years.
Also, according to the proposed changes, revenue from cricket will be distributed among all the Test playing nations according to their commercial value. Since all countries will get a slice of the pie, one would imagine that teams such as Pakistan would welcome the sharing format as it has not hosted international cricket since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.
The drought of cricket has resulted in a depleting bank balance for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and experts believe it would be foolish to forego assured revenue.
However, before the decision was taken, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated it would strongly oppose any structural overhaul that would hand over power to India, England and Australia.
"Chairman Zaka Ashraf has been told Pakistan should not support any such changes as it would divide the cricket world and effectively give all veto powers to India, Australia and England," a member of the PCB's governing board told Reuters.
The governance of cricket has changed forever and while some test nations believe it will bring benefits, other leading countries such as Sri Lanka and South Africa have been scathing in their criticism. One wonders if the landmark move will leave the world of cricket divided.