Dubai: A five-day conclave of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which began in Kolkata on Sunday, is a contentious one as it is expected to resolve a number of key issues — including election of a successor to the current chairman Shashank Manohar. The draw for the schedule of 2019 ICC World Cup will also be finalised, along with a discussion on Future Tour Programme (FTP) and some new initiatives like a fan engagement programme.
Manohar, a former President of Board of Control of India (BCCI), will be finishing his term this June — throwing open the hot seat for election. According to sources close to administrator which enjoys a squeaky clean reputation, Manohar is not keen on fighting an election and is agreeable to serve another term if there is an unanimity among the members.
Giles Clarke of England, who has been instrumental in organising World XI matches in Pakistan and also at Lord’s on May 31, to raise funds for the damaged cricket grounds in the Caribbean, is the only other aspirant for the top post.
Ironically enough, the Indian board members, who recently met in Delhi, had decided to oppose Manohar’s re-election as some of the latter’s decision had rubbed the BCCI the wrong way like a decrease in their revenue share as well as the proposal of converting the ICC Champions Trophy into a T20 affair.
The meeting had evoked some expectations about a resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan over their bi-lateral ties with the arrival of Najam Sethi, President of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Subhan Ahmad, their Chief Executive, who took an arduous 19-hour journey via Dubai to reach Kolkata. The PCB has pressed forward a claim of $70 million as compensation for the two series that India were supposed to play and a tribunal appointed by ICC will adjudicate the issue in Dubai in October.
Speaking to the media in Kolkata, Sethi, however, could not offer a timeline to the solution nor could he confirm if the two arch rivals can play the bi-lateral series in a neutral venue like the UAE. “From what I hear in the media, the BCCI is not ready to play us even in a neutral venue. Our position is that the whole notion of a neutral venue came up when security was a consideration.
“If India come to Pakistan, they want security and vice versa because of the political situation. But there is no security issue if we play in a third country which is what we have been saying. We play other countries also in the UAE but apparently, the BCCI is having difficulty in ensuring that they can do that. They say they don’t have government permission. Our position is that why should you require government permission? We don’t take government permission as the ICC does not want interference from the government in affairs of cricket boards,” Sethi said.
Admitting that a clear picture will emerge only after the dispute resolution committee’s hearing with the ICC-appointed tribunal in Dubai from October 1-3, the head honcho of Pakistan cricket said: “The current FTP that everybody else is planning for the next five years has more or less been settled and India have not slotted any games for Pakistan. In principle, we have said alright if this is the way you want it fine, but we will only agree to this FTP subject to what decision is taken in the dispute resolution committee. If the decision is in our favour, they will have to change the FTP.”