Cricket Business : BCCI needs to provide leadership at ICC;

The CEOs of the 12 Full Members and three Associate representatives of the International Cricket Council (ICC) were part of last weeks Chief Executives Committee meeting and while the road ahead amidst the coronavirus outbreak was the topic of discussion, BCCI representative Jay Shah’s clarity of thought impressed one and all.

Speaking to IANS, one of the executives in the know of developments in the meeting said that Shah was not just clear with his speech, but also contributed meaningfully which is a welcome change from its last representative at the ICC’s CEC.

“The main focus is on the way that he conducted himself and the vision and clarity of mind he showed. The ICC at this point in time needs such leadership considering the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. He showed great composure as he put forward what the BCCI is looking at during these tough times,” the executive said.

Another executive pointed at how it was a clear case of putting the hand up and telling the other members that we are here to help and do not hesitate.

“I think the message was loud and clear that the BCCI is a friend willing to help all and this is exactly what the ICC needs at this point in time. It needs BCCI and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) to come together and help the game out. You have to understand that at this point in time, the member boards need the Indian and English teams to play everyone to help recover from the economic setback and for that you need strong leadership coming in from BCCI. You need someone from BCCI to be sitting in the principal’s chair,” the executive said.

Asked if there has been a word from the Indian board on the chairman’s position since it is expected that Shashank Manohar will be leaving and Colin Graves from the ECB will take over, the executive answered in the negative. “I believe it will be a wait and watch policy to be honest,” he said.

But the member boards do seem to heavily agree that the world of cricket needs the Indian Premier League now more than ever. “See, you cannot have a Test match right now without crowds because that will not generate the revenue you need but the IPL will not only generate revenue for the BCCI, but also for the other boards because they will get a 10 per cent fee from the players’ salaries. It is a must in the current scenario and you cannot ignore that,” one of the executives said.

Reacting to the impression that the BCCI Secretary managed to create at the meeting, a BCCI official said that the Indian board has always had the ICC and the board members’ interests at heart.

“It was always the case that the BCCI was willing to take leadership and to generate more revenue for the ICC and the member boards, but some vested interests gave that intent a different spin and the BCCI was unable to respond to that spin effectively for various reasons.

“The BCCI’s interests were also sacrificed for positions by individuals on the pretext of the �greater good.’ The result is there for all to see. Even before the pandemic, the ICC was struggling to meet its financial targets but now, it would find things very difficult without the BCCI. It is heartening to see that there is an elected secretary of the BCCI in the CEC once again who has the BCCI’s interest at heart.

“This is a welcome change from the last three years when the previous representative to the CEC was merely making up the quorum with no significant contribution at all. As a BCCI official it is heartening to know that we have gone from being a laughing stock at the ICC over the last three years to being taken seriously once again. When the Supreme Court hears us again, there is a possibility of a corresponding strong BCCI presence at the ICC Board as well. That would augur well for world cricket,” the official pointed.