The Big Three’s takeover of the International Cricket Council (ICC) took place despite strong opposition from some boards – including Pakistan’s. But it has transpired that the row had briefly opened up a window of opportunity for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
India – which is now known as the biggest of ‘Big Three’ – had offered the PCB quite an attractive quid pro quo.
The Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) had offered the PCB three home and three away tours between 2015 and 2023 in return for support at the ICC. The deal would have fetched PCB around $100 million.
The deal, however, broke down when the then PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf, asked for guarantees which the BCCI was reluctant to commit. Details of the collapsed deal were shared with members of the PCB governing board at a meeting held on January 18.
Ashraf had chaired the meeting at the National Cricket Academy which also discussed a position paper about the distribution of ICC revenues in the years to come, according to minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune.
“India had offered a minimum of three home and three away tours between 2015 and 2023,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune. “The estimated income from these tours was to the tune of $100 million. But it was conditional upon the PCB agreeing to the terms of the position paper presented by the Big Three.”
In addition to this, a short tour to the UAE was also offered by India while in an initial discussion before the ICC meetings on new changes, Pakistan was told that they could become a fourth permanent member of the group led by India, Australia and England.
Ashraf wanted the BCCI to include clauses in the contracts that if the promise was not kept then the case would be heard in Switzerland – where all ICC-related cases are decided.
At the January 18 meeting, Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmed suggested that the proposal be looked at pragmatically and negotiation with India, England and Australia be done to extract the best bargain for Pakistan.
The whole saga led to the sacking of Ashraf by PM Nawaz Sharif, who is now also the patron of PCB.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.