LONDON: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani doesn’t think the new ICC chairman should come from any of the ‘Big Three’ boards, even as the global governing body is yet to agree on a process to choose Shashank Manohar’s successor.
Mani said it would be ‘healthier’ for someone from another board to lead the ICC now because of the “politics introduced” by Cricket Australia, ECB and BCCI earlier.
Manohar stepped down more than two months ago but the ICC Board have still not agreed on whether the process to choose the new chairman should be based on a two-thirds majority vote or a simple majority. Imran Khwaja is serving as the interim chairman.
“It’s unfortunate it has taken so long,” Mani told Forbes about the delay. “The politics introduced by Australia, England and India in 2014 to protect their positions — now they are struggling to unwind it because it doesn’t suit them anymore.
“It would be healthier to have someone [the chairperson] not from the ‘big three’.”
Mani ruled himself out as a candidate, having served as ICC chairman from 2003 to 2006.
Colin Graves, whose term as ECB chairman ended on Aug 31, has been touted as a candidate, as has the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, whose future is certain in the Indian board with a hearing pending in the country’s Supreme Court. NZC chairman Greg Barclay and former Cricket West Indies head Dave Cameron have also popped up as names in the running.
“There is a huge problem of conflict of interest on the board,” Mani said. “I’ve never seen that before, not in 17 years. This sort of conflict of interest is not transparent. The ICC is crying out for more independent directors.”
In 2017, the ICC Board had approved a new finance model that replaced the controversial Big Three arrangement chalked out by BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia in 2014. Under the new agreement, the BCCI was to receive US$ 405 million out of the ICC’s estimated earnings of $2.7 billion for the 2016-23 rights cycle period.
Mani backed Graves’ recent statement on reworking that finance model in which the BCCI and ECB (US$ 139 million) get more than the other boards, most of whom — like CA, PCB, CSA, NZC, SLC, CWI and BCB, are set to receive $128 million each (all revenue distributions — which are projections — have been scaled down, however in recent time).
“It’s not only the funding model that is wrong and skewered to India and also to some degree England,” Mani said. “They allocated ICC events to themselves, gave themselves generous hosting fees and the benefits from gate money and hospitality.
“In 2019 [World Cup, hosts] England would have made what Pakistan, West Indies or South Africa do over an eight-year period. That’s what’s wrong with the system. There are some countries that won’t be able to survive if this funding model continues.
“We survived without playing India [who refuse to play bilateral series against their arch-nemesis]. Can you imagine if that happened to Cricket Australia if India didn’t come?”
Mani was hoping the PCB would get to host a World Cup in the next cycle, from 2023 to 2031.
“We want to host a World Cup during this cycle,” Mani said. “There are three-four events we have expressed interest, including some to host jointly with the UAE.”
Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2020