The Indian board is pessimistic of some of ICC’s global strategy plans for cricket buildout. (Source: File)
Representatives from 18 Full-Member units of the BCCI held a teleconference on Wednesday and took a “dim view” of some recent developments at the ICC. According to a state association source, former BCCI president N Srinivasan attended the conference call and spoke about safeguarding India’s interest.
The ICC’s Strategic Working Group (SWG) is scheduled to discuss global strategy for cricket with the Indian cricket board representatives in Delhi on Thursday. On the eve of the meeting, a sizable chunk of the BCCI members assembled to have a conference call that focused on the global body’s SWOT analysis, highlighting the game’s over-dependence on India’s revenue and the Indian fans.
Two BCCI office-bearers, too, took part in the conference call, which incidentally was arranged the day after Shashank Manohar had been elected unopposed to serve his second term as the ICC chairman.
“The members of the BCCI have been observing certain developments at the ICC over the past year and a half. One such development being the shape being given to the outline of the Global Strategy for Cricket which lists the heavy dependence on the Indian fans and revenues as a weakness and laments the lack of aggressive growth strategy to counter over-reliance on India,” a press note issued after the conference call said. It further added: Thus, the intent with regard to India is apparent. The decision to convert the Champions Trophy into a World T20 event is another such recent development.”
The members felt that it’s high time the BCCI called a general body meeting to deliberate on the Member Participation Agreement (MPA), with regard to India’s participation in the ICC events for the 2019-2023 FTP cycle.
“The members took a dim view of these developments and were of the view that the BCCI as an organisation would necessarily need to discuss these issues of policy and take appropriate decisions in this regard at a General Meeting. Consideration of and deliberations on the proposed Member Participation Agreement with the ICC would also be undertaken to safeguard the BCCI’s interest before the same is executed on behalf of the BCCI, in lines with an earlier decision of the General Body of the BCCI,” the press note mentioned.
The Indian board hasn’t signed the MPA yet, but during its December 2017 Special General Meeting (SGM), the members had agreed upon the proposed FTP in principle on the basis that India would host the ICC Champions Trophy (in a 50-over format) in 2021 and the World Cup in 2023. After the ICC Board meeting in Kolkata last month, however, the global body’s chief executive David Richardson spoke about the 2021 Champions Trophy’s impending conversion to a World T20, on the heels of the scheduled World T20 in Australia in 2020. Richardson had stressed upon the unanimity of the ICC board in this regard, although the BCCI categorically denied that.
“The MPA hasn’t been signed yet. It can only be signed if the general body approves it. If the MPA is signed without that, it will have no sanctity in law, because it will not have the authority of the BCCI general body. So now the members will decide,” a cricket board functionary told The Indian Express.
“Today’s teleconference decided that we won’t allow India to suffer,” a state association office-bearer told this paper.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s meeting will be attended by Richardson, the ICC chief operating officer Iain Higgins, along with two BCCI office-bearers—secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry (acting president CK Khanna is uncertain)—the Indian cricket board CEO Rahul Johri and the BCCI general manager, cricket operations, Saba Karim. Australia’s David Peever, who is a member of the SWG, is unlikely to turn up.