Former ICC chief Ehsan Mani fears for game's future

Published: April 9, 2015
A file photo of former ICC chief Ehsan Mani. PHOTO: AFP

A file photo of former ICC chief Ehsan Mani. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Former ICC president Ehsan Mani on Wednesday expressed grave fears about cricket’s future, saying he is ‘more concerned about the health of the game today than I have ever been’.

Mani criticised the world governing body’s decision to reduce the 2019 World Cup to 10 teams and said that many of the game’s 10 Full Member nations faced serious challenges.

“A year has passed since the changes at the ICC,” said Mani at the launch of the new Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack at Lord’s, in reference to last year’s takeover at the ICC by the boards of England, India and Australia.

“I am more concerned about the health of the game today than I have ever been. When I look around, five of the 10 Full countries are in desperate need of help.

“They are faced with two main challenges: one, not enough money; two, not enough quality cricket.”

The five teams referred to by Mani are Pakistan, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and he expressed particular concern about the health of the West Indian game.

“It is desperately sad to see that some of the West Indian players prefer to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and other T20 leagues around the world rather than for West Indies,” he said.

“This is simply because of money. This problem must be addressed. It is the responsibility of the ICC to ensure that the priority for players should be to play for their country before anything else.

“Cricket needs a strong West Indies team. Its first-class players need to be paid well to keep them in the game.

“They will require $30 million (27.8 million euros) to $50 million more over the next eight years than what they will receive from the ICC and from the sale of their commercial rights.”

Mani expressed concerns over the futures of the Associate nations, who may not feature at the next World Cup if the two qualifying berths made available to teams outside the world’s top eight are taken by Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

He said the Associates needed more funding from the ICC and more opportunities to play against Full Member nations, adding that the World Cup ‘should be inclusive not exclusive’.

The Pakistani, who headed the ICC from 2003 to 2006, also called for Test series to feature a minimum of three matches.

“A lot of lip service is paid to preserving and protecting Test cricket,” said Mani.

“The reality is somewhat different. Sri Lanka toured England last year and played just two Test matches. India was given five Tests, purely because that would mean more money for the host.”

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (3)

  • Blue jersey
    Apr 9, 2015 - 3:35PM

    Dear Mani
    You don’t need to loose ur sleep fearing about the future of the game or ICC. It is in safe and good hands . But u need to really worry about the future of ur country and ur children living in it. It is in dire state and is in deep mess in all departments. So kindly worry about things that r are really relevant to ur life and ur generations and stop meddling in matters that does not concern you. One more thing PCB is not a new member of icc it’s as old as BCCI. So its high time PCB learned to stand on its own feet rather lean on to ur neighbour for support. Recommend

  • Hilarious
    Apr 9, 2015 - 6:38PM

    Sir, your fears are misplaced. It’s not the game you should fear for, only the game in Pakistan. If you could convince your government and your citizens to drop the hostility against India, we may reward you with some games, which would generate some funds so that the game in Pakistan could be saved. Similarly, if you could try moderating the views and actions of your citizens, and not treat visiting sports teams as targets, maybe some teams would resume visiting Pakistan.

    Just a few suggestions….. Recommend

  • Ali
    Apr 10, 2015 - 11:31AM

    Mani is on spot. It’s all about money. Look at the state of Indian cricket; they have pathetic records against Pakistan in the past. But only since their financial belly has bulged, they have become a good team, and BCCI has become a dominating (rather arrogant) body. Boards with lesser financial capacity have teams that r struggling.Recommend

More in Sports