The jury is still out on the legacy left by Shashank Manohar, the chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC), who stepped down spot on completion of his second term on Thursday. However, it will be no exaggeration to say that no ICC boss had polarised opinions about him in the cricket fraternity as much as the 62-year-old lawyer from India.
The biggest irony about Manohar’s four-year tenure in two terms – and it’s no secret – is that the all powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which nominated him to the ICC thought that he had been acting against their interests right through. The rest of the members, with the exception of England to some extent, thought he did a great favour to the sport by working for a more ‘equitable distribution’ of the revenue.
Just to jog the memory here, N.Srinivasan, Manohar’s predecessor in the ICC had laid out a revenue-sharing formula whereby the ‘Big Three’ of India, England and Australia would be entitled to a lion’s share of the revenue on the ground that they were the biggest generators of income. The move had created ripples in the board meetings, with countries like Pakistan and South Africa being the most vocal ones to criticise it.
The Manohar-led ICC felt that in order for all members’ survival, the pie should be more equitably distributed whereby the BCCI would still got the highest share but the percentage would be scaled down. The contentious ‘Big Three’ model was eventually voted out in 2017 and it’s also interesting to note that the hugely influential Indian board still has no representative in the key Finance & Commercial Affairs Committee (F & CA) of ICC.
Then in 2018, Manohar moved to restructure the Board of Directors by appointing PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi as the organisation’s first independent female director. Ms Nooyi, a globally respected name who was expected to introduce the tenets of corporate governance in the ICC, joined the Board in June 2018 and can serve for a maximum of six years (each term of two years).
While Manohar’s stepping down on Wednesday, apart from leaving rather big shoes to fill (his level of acceptance can be gauged from the fact that he had been always unanimously elected both as BCCI president and ICC chief), leaves it an open playing field in the election of his successor. Manohar’s absence at the Annual General Meeting – which has now been postponed indefinitely – means there will be no casting vote from the chairman as the strength of the Board gets reduced to 16 members.
The ICC is scheduled to announce a timeline for the procedure of the selections this week – and a clear picture will emerge after that. A consensual approach between the respective boards may be the best way to go as it will be difficult to garner a two-third majority of such a small house.
It will, however, be a challenging task for the new incumbent who will have his hands full – what with the suspense over World T20 dates, the Future Tours Programme as well as the financial health of the boards to contend with!