It was fantastic news to hear that the ICC directors (Member Nations) had agreed to a new, refreshed and updated constitution at their quarterly meeting in Dubai over the weekend – and also a new financial model for the distribution of television rights revenue.
It might all sound a bit ‘removed’ from the day-to-day running of the game for the hundreds of millions of cricket lovers throughout the world who actually keep the game alive, but they will notice – and benefit – if the changes are adopted. If…
At the moment they have been agreed to in principle but will have to be ratified by the ICC Full Council in June. There are still several massive hurdles to clear before that happens. If it does, then greater accountability, transparency of administration and equitable standing will have been achieved. And, with the addition of five new votes to the ten existing Test nations, including independent directors and a greater say for the Associate Members like Ireland and Afghanistan, the effective monopoly of India’s BCCI will no longer exist. Which is why nobody should take anything for granted just yet. Indeed, healthy scepticism should prevail.
Sadly, there was no news on the acceptance or otherwise of a proper, recognisable Test or ODI Championship. Not even on a World T20 league which should be the easiest and least contentious to organise. Bizarrely, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe counted amongst those who objected to the most recent proposal for a Test Championship which would be contested over three years on a home and away basis wherever possible. Governments, of course, mean that India and Pakistan will have to play on neutral territory and England will probably still never play each other.
But Bangladesh and Zim would, at the very least, benefit from far more regular Test cricket than they are currently enjoying. So why vote against it? There are still far too many ‘deals’ taking place under tables and behind closed doors for the health of the game.
Way back in 2011, when Haroon Lorgat was the ICC’s chief executive, an agreement was reached to stage the first-ever Test Championship in 2013. But the BCCI rallied its cronies and vetoed the plan before final details could be confirmed. It was agreed to postpone it to 2019. Not only did it never happen, but the admittedly popular and successful Champions Trophy was reintroduced.
So next month we have another 50-over Champions Trophy. If the Test Championship had gone ahead next month, it would have been India against South Africa, either at a neutral venue of India’s choosing as the number one ranked nation, or at a venue in India. How mouth-watering would that have been?
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