The ‘Big Three’ in the International Cricket Council – India, Australia and England – will join forces to ensure Shashank Manohar’s exit from the world governing body for cricket. If he manages to win the numbers game to stay in the office, “there is a game plan to make the ICC virtually redundant”.
“In the new Big 3 game plan, either Manohar or ICC will survive. Manohar has already inflicted enough damage to three major cricket powers. If he thinks he can survive by managing smaller international cricket bodies, ICC will suffer unforeseen damages,” a former BCCI official told InsideSport.co.
“If ICC has to exist in its present form, Manohar will have to go. If he stays, ICC will be struggling. This is not a threat. This is simple economics of the global cricket business,” said the veteran cricket administrator. “BCCI has suffered enough under the CoA (Supreme Court-appointed committee of administrators). In these past three years our representation in the ICC has only been symbolic.”
The official did not rule out the fact that Manohar in the present equation can win the ICC ballot, but asserted that the scenario change when his vote bank will realise the real situation. “They (smaller nations) will soon realise what are they going to lose if ICC did not get money from India. In the Big 3 model, they might get lesser percentage, but their net revenue will always be higher. It is for them to decide whether they want 5% of ten dollar, or 1% of hundred dollar.”
Another senior cricket administrator asserted, the BCCI is determined to ensure that Manohar does not get another term in the ICC. “If anybody thinks that global cricket can be run without money generated from India and contribution of Australian and English cricket boards, they are mistaken,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
The ICC boss is well aware of the mounting pressure. A source has confirmed that the world cricket body’s chairman and newly-elected Chief Executive Officer Manu Sawhney are “closely monitoring the developments in the BCCI. They are also concerned about Rahul Johri’s position in the BCCI,” said the source.
The ‘Big Three’ – Board of Control for Cricket in India, the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia – have already flexing their muscle. Their denial to sign the member participation agreement is the first major sign of defiance.
The Indian cricket administration veteran further asserted that “do not rule out a scenario where the Big 3 come together and threaten to play international cricket among themselves with an option to other nations to join the party. ICC or smaller cricketing nations cannot afford that scenario. This an extreme, but not impossible if Manohar continues with his game plan”.
“The present situation (in the ICC) has arisen as the BCCI had no strong representation. What did the CoA know about the international cricket equations and lobbying. The day BCCI (representative) will make its point in the ICC, a majority of fence sitters will tow the line. The refusal to sign the MPA means we are not ready to play on the proposed ICC future tours programme. That means we will not play international cricket if our demands are not met.
“India, England and Australia can survive without the ICC, but ICC cannot survive without them. Manohar cannot play the divide and rule game with these three bodies. Others know what will happen if these three opt out. I am not speaking hypothetically. You just see what is going to happen before the (ICC) board meeting.”
BCCI has given enough hints that it is not going to accept Manohar as the ICC chairman. The team led by Sourav Ganguly has already initiated a move to ensure veteran cricket administrator N Srinivasan’s re-entry in the ICC.
Manohar, serving his second term in the ICC chairman’s office, is eyeing another extension. The rules favour him. An ICC member can has three terms of two years as the ICC chairman. The elections will take place at the ICC Full Council in June next year. However, the Board Meeting in April will almost determine is future in the ICC.
Srinivasan was in the chair, when the Big 3 model was accepted in the ICC. As India contributed over 70% to the ICC revenues, the model provided for BCCI to receive $ 570 million as its share from the ICC earnings between the 2015-2023 business cycle. The share has since been reduced to $405 million.
BCCI was also irked over being kept out of ICC’s newly-constituted working group. The group is assigned the task of looking into the future governance structure of the world body.