Australia's cricket team poses for photographers -- 122
Australian cricket team poses with the Ashes urn at The Oval after they retained the honours in September. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: After the Indian board, Cricket Australia has also raised their concerns over International Cricket Council’s (ICC) proposed one flagship tournament every year during the next eight-year Future Tours Programme (FTP) cycle (2023-2031) as they are not willing to compromise on conducting bilateral Test series.

“The ICC schedule of tournaments is certainly something that is absolutely up for discussion at the moment and will continue in the months ahead,” Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts was recently quoted as saying.

“There’s a sense that fans really value World Cups and international events in general, and in this last cycle on the men’s side, I think we’ve had six world events in the eight years, whereas the previous cycle, we had one event per year with the Champions Trophy as part of that.”

The next eight-year cycle will see four T20 World Cups being played, along with two fifty over World Cups. With another Champions Trophy like tournament included in between, Roberts feels it might have an impact on the ICC Test Championship.

“We need a healthy balance of World Cups along with international cricket that occurs between World Cups and the space for great domestic leagues like the BBL and the IPL to thrive into the future,” Roberts said.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that a working group of the member nations had agreed to chief executive Manu Sawhney’s idea of selling eight ICC men’s events in eight years (2023-2031) as part of the next broadcast rights package.

The Working Group, which will be chaired by Eddings from Cricket Australia, comprises of Greg Barclay (New Zealand Cricket), Tony Brian (Cricket Scotland), Ehsan Mani (Pakistan Cricket Board), Chris Nenzani (Cricket South Africa) and Ricky Skerritt (Cricket West Indies).

“What we’re really keen to work on with the ICC and what we will be working on with the ICC and other ICC members is what parts of the annual calendar might the ICC events occupy in future, how many days of the calendar does that represent and how do we ensure the bilateral international cricket between ourselves and other nations is really embraced and respected in the process.”

Roberts also said he wants ICC to put a cap on the days for its events as it will then not collide with the window of popular private T20 leagues like IPL and BBL.

Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) had also raised an objection to the formation of a working group — led by Cricket Australia’s Earl Eddings — minus any representation from India.

One of the new office-bearers had said that these things need to be taken note of and any efforts by the international body to push BCCI against the wall must be acted upon with immediate effect.

He said: “What has happened in the last couple of years is now a thing of the past. We will be sitting down for a number of meetings in the next two days and one of the primary areas of focus will be India’s position with regards to the ICC. Some of the moves seem to show a specific line of thinking and also, this formation of the new working group also means that Chairman Shashank Manohar might be looking at another term from 2020 till 2022.”

The FTP of the ICC is another area of concern as it calls for a World T20 every year and a 50-over World Cup every three years. While the BCCI has refused to agree to that, a senior board functionary said that the new regime has to put its foot down and ensure that the ICC is no longer able to eat its way into India’s revenues.