India’s master stroke: Dole out Tri-series to regain control over ICC



India has played its master stroke to regain control, at least via remote control, of the seat of power in International Cricket Council. The impact is quick. Equation of power in the global cricket has started changing overnight. The Bangladesh Cricket Board, which has supported new constitution of ICC, has made a complete u-turn.

The BCB has put it on record that it had objected to two proposals in the revised ICC constitution that was agreed on in principle by a 7-2 majority vote of full members during the February meeting. The tenth member Zimbabwe had abstained.

Close on the heels of resignation by ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, India has confirmed a three-nation T-20 series in Sri Lanka, also involving Bangladesh. The series will mark the celebration of 70 years of Sri Lanka’s Independence. InsideSport has reliably learnt that a share from the series revenue will also go the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Besides, India has also committed Bangladesh full support in its bid to retain its full member status in the ICC.

Sri Lanka and India have always been on the same side in the ICC politics. Even though Bangladesh had voted against India at the ICC meeting last month. But, the latest move by India has forced Bangladesh to change its stance. India is also considering ‘some favour’ for Zimbabwe Cricket Union for its unconditional support. This could be a short tour of Zimbabwe, even though the likes of Virat Kohli and R Ashwin might not feature in that.

The BCCI CoA has also announced a sort of truce with the Cricket Sourth Africa and the West Indies Cricket Board by releasing their pending payments. The reason for holding the CSA payment was they have not supported India in favor of the ‘Big Three’ model in the ICC. For WICB, the payments were withheld for the losses suffered due to West Indies teams decision to leave without playing all the matches of the 2014 tour of India. The situation had obviously soured the BCCI relations with these boards, which BCCI expects to improve following the latest move.

This is a well-calculated ploy by BCCI to restrict ICC from implementing the reforms at its General Body next month, for which ICC will require the support of at least eight of the ten full member nations. It will also lend some support to the BCCI CEO, Mr Rahul Johri, and Committee of Administrators, who have faced flak for not being able to protect country’s interests in ICC.

In 2014, India, England and Australia – the ‘Big Three’ – were granted more executive powers within the ICC with a greater share of revenues. However, under Shashank Monohar the ICC had decided to roll back the powers granted to the Big Three. The roll back if implemented would see India’s revenue from the current ICC Media Rights scaled down by almost Rs 1,445 crores. The BCCI representatives, Mr Vinod Rai and Mr Vikram Limaye, had objected to the move, but hardly had any say and the new ICC constitution was passed in principal then.

As ICC meets next month to enforce its new constitution, it will require the ‘magic eight’ numbers in its favour. The BCCI with its well calculated move has completely derailed that calculation. India has enjoyed unconditional support from Sri Lanka and rewarded the Island Nation for that with the tri-series.  Bangladesh will never run the risk of losing the full member status if the new constitution is implemented. Zimbabwe, if comes to vote, will only go with India. Australia and England will be the major losers under the new constitution. Bait is already thrown to WICB. In such a scenario, votes of New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan become inconsequential  and insignificant even if they stand by their decision taken at the earlier meeting in February.

ICC will also voting to pick the new chairman, the current scenario has given India a major say in deciding who will hold the reigns of cricket’s global governing body. The second independent chairman of the ICC may well be an Indian, too. The name of the former BCCI President and ICC chairman N Srinivasan is already making headlines. The fact remains India has gained the most when Srinivasan headed ICC.