Friday, 24 January 2014

ICC Position Paper: How do the votes stack up?

The day is getting closer, it’s likely that the draft ‘Position Paper’ on the future of cricket will be voted on at the ICC board meeting on January 29th. If not then the saga will need to be resolved before media rights for the next round of ICC events need to be put out to tender in April. So, who’s voting which way? Either seven or eight votes are needed to pass the resolution, according to the ICC constitution, depending on whether it is designated an ‘ordinary’ or ‘special’ resolution. A bit of fact, a bit of speculation and the votes fall this way...

India, Australia, England
The architects of the scheme, they are the only guaranteed votes for it. To get the remaining five they need to persuade five other boards to vote with them. The BCCI has already started this ‘persuasion’, with a threat not to participate in ICC events if this is not passed..

The ZCU is known to often align with the BCCI, and it’s possible that the promise of an occasional tour by India would surely be enough to buy their vote. Zimbabwe cricket has desperate financial problems, and the ODI tour from India earlier this season with two extra ODIs were added on from the three in the FTP was vital for their bottom line. South Africa are trying to organise a Test match against Zimbabwe plus a couple of t20s, but Haroon Lorgat has denied the suggestion that is an attempt to curry favour ahead of the vote. Meanwhile, perhaps understating the gravity of the situation, ZCU head Peter Chingoka has said “It’s just a proposal.”

New Zealand
Initially, NZC director Martin Snedden told the New Zealand Herald that the proposal might not be a bad thing, and that they would support it if five assurances including ones about schedules and revenue are given to them. Since then, it’s been slammed for kowtowing to the big boys, but hasn’t changed its position in public, whilst meeting on the 22nd to prepare its response

West Indies
WICB president Dave Cameron sits on the Finance and Commercial affairs committee which the working group that drew up the proposal was drawn from. It’s not clear whether Cameron was involved in drafting it, but it’s possible he wasn’t, since another member of the committee (Neil Speight, associate/affiliate representative) claims not to have had any knowledge of it. WICB director Baldath Mahabir has come out against the proposals, the board have discussed them via teleconference, and come to a position privately that some expect to be against the proposal.. If they align with India, they could be rewarded with the fourth seat in the new Executive Committee, or more tours like the Sachin farewell extravaganza.

The PCB are said to have “made their opposition privately known”, whilst in public they have taken guidance from the Prime Minister describing the proposal as “important matters of national interest.” A sweetener to the deal may be offered; the BCCI is reported to have dropped its opposition to series’ in neutral venues and is willing to discuss a series in the UAE or even in Pakistan.

South Africa
CSA were the first board to come out fully against the proposals, and after calling for the draft proposal to be withdrawn, they are certain to vote against it. Until recently, part of the ruling elite of cricket, but their choice of Haroon Lorgat as chief executive angered the BCCI, and they’ve been eased out of the frame in favour of the ECB. The only country among the ‘other seven’ to be excluded from the Test cricket fund, they look set to be marginalised at the ICC.

Sri Lanka
SLC hasn’t gone as far as South Africa, but have asked for the discussion on the position paper to be postponed, so the boards can consider their options. ESPNCricinfo reports that they are opposed to the measure, “as it would result in a significant loss of the board's influence on the global governance of the game.” It remains to be seen if they can be placated or persuaded by the BCCI though.

The BCB has been cautious on the issue, but ESPNCricinfo reports that most of the board favours aligning with India. Board president Nazmul Hassan has said that Bangladesh cannot stand against this on their own, but even with several countries seemingly planning to vote against, it’d be an unlikely move for them to vote against it, as the prevailing opinion within the board seems to be that it may help their chances of moving up the Test rankings by dropping into the Intercontinental Cup briefly.

UPDATE: Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has become the first player to speak out against the proposals specifically the two tier system, which the BCB has also said it will oppose.

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