LONDON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has moved closer to a radical shake-up to restrict the power of the ‘Big Three’ – India, England and Australia – and pave the way for Afghanistan and Ireland to become Test nations.
Following a meeting at its Dubai headquarters, cricket’s global governing body said on Saturday it had reached an “agreement in principle to constitutional and financial change, further progress on future international cricket structures and agreement around the consistent use of DRS (the Decision Review System).”
Among key proposals are that the top nine Test-playing countries will compete among themselves in a rolling two-year league and against the three lower-ranked teams. Those three would comprise Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan, with the last two also in line to become full or Test members provided, the ICC said, they met the ‘membership criteria’.
Meanwhile a 13-team one-day international league would be run over a three-year period leading into qualification for the 2023 World Cup. Plans are also in place for a regional Twenty20 competition structure to be developed as a pathway to qualification for the ICC World T20.
The ICC statement said: “a scheduling summit will now be held in March before a detailed proposal is put to the ICC board in April.” The aim is to provide greater “context” for bilateral matches and ICC chief executive David Richardson added: “The ICC chief executives’ committee has explored a whole range of solutions to the future structure of bilateral cricket ranging from the status quo to two tier leagues and every possible option in-between.”
The former South Africa wicket-keeper added: “The model the group has agreed on enables us to provide context for all three formats of the game and in the case of the ODI and T20 solutions the approach goes beyond the full members and aligns bilateral cricket with qualification for ICC events.”
In 2014, control of the ICC was effectively ceded to the ‘Big Three’ with many observers arguing they took too large a share of the game’s global revenue. But under the guidance of India’s Shashank Manohar, the current ICC chairman, the governing body has been trying to curb the power of the ‘Big Three’.
The ICC said the “broader principles” that have been agreed included a “revised financial distribution ensuring a more equitable distribution of revenues” and the “equal weight of votes for all board members regardless of membership status.”
“Today was an important step forward for the future of the ICC and cricket around the world,” said Manohar. “The proposals from the working group to reverse the resolutions of 2014 and deliver a revised constitution and financial model were accepted by the ICC board and now we will work collectively to refine the detail for final sign-off in April.
“I want the ICC to be reasonable and fair in our approach to all 105 members and the revised constitution and financial model does that,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.
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