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Volume 6 No. 197
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ICC Shoots Down South Africa's Bid To Prevent Shake-Up Of World Cricket

South Africa is "highly unlikely to have any joy" in its attempt to prevent the proposals for a shake-up of world cricket -- supported by England, Australia and India -- even being discussed at a board meeting of the Int'l Cricket Council, according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. They "have been strikingly snubbed" in the proposals from the ICC's financial and commercial affairs committee, "despite being top of the world test rankings, cast aside by the Big Three among the 'other seven.'" The ICC "has seen no need to amend the simple statement it issued when details of the proposals emerged over the weekend." The statement read, "The recommendations, which have been put together by a working group, are to be discussed by the full F&CA and ICC board when it meets in Dubai from 27-29 January. The ICC will only make a comment on this matter once the board has had the opportunity to meet and properly consider the proposals" (GUARDIAN, 1/21).

SOUTH AFRICA CHALLENGE: In London, Wilson also reported South Africa has "called for the proposal under which England, India and Australia would seize greater control over world cricket to be withdrawn on procedural grounds, confirming the threat of a schism in the game." Cricket South Africa Chair Chris Nenzani "has released an open letter" to ICC President Alan Isaac stating the proposal from the ICC's Financial and Commercial Affairs Committee, which was to be considered at a board meeting in Dubai the week after next, is "fundamentally flawed." Nenzani: "Without addressing the merits of the proposal insofar as it concerns constitutional amendments and changes to ICC competitions, these proposals should first be referred to the relevant ICC committees or sub-committees for proper consideration and to make recommendations to the ICC Board" (GUARDIAN, 1/20). The AFP reported one key proposal "is for a four-man executive committee" where the England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India "would all be guaranteed a place, with the other position selected by the trio annually." On the field, there "is also a suggestion of the creation of two divisions for Test cricket," but with England, Australia and India all guaranteed to avoid relegation from the top tier "because of their commercial importance" (AFP, 1/22).

PAKISTAN, NEW ZEALAND OPPOSITION: REUTERS' Nick Said reported CSA's response follows that of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which confirmed on Monday that "it would oppose any structural overhaul of world cricket's administration." A PCB governing board member said, "Chairman Zaka Ashraf has been told Pakistan should not support any such changes as it would divide the cricket world and effectively give all veto powers to India, Australia and England" (REUTERS, 1/21). FAIRFAX NZ NEWS' Mark Geenty reported the proposal makes "damning reading for New Zealand despite the initial positive response" from New Zealand Cricket board member Martin Snedden. The proposal "scraps the existing Future Tours Programme which underpins a fair chunk of NZC's income" from TV rights, notably from "the current tour by world powerhouses India." The basic principles of the proposal for tours are: "No member should be forced to play another member except as bilaterally agreed; no member should be forced to host uneconomic tours; and the content and timing of all tours should be agreed bilaterally" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 1/22).

SRI LANKA CHANGES: The PTI reported Sri Lanka Cricket is "set to oppose the proposed changes in the ICC administrative structure." Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said, "It poses a serious challenge to Sri Lanka Cricket set-up." He added that the SLC's exec committee would meet on Thursday "to take an official stance on the proposals which would then be conveyed to the ICC" (PTI, 1/21).

THE HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS: In Chennai, Nirmal Shekar opined "you cannot fault either Cricket Australia (CA) or the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for agreeing with the game’s most unabashedly autocratic administrative body -- the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) -- to clearly divide the world of cricket into one of haves and have-nots." The "position paper drafted by the International Cricket Council’s financial honchos -- or should we just say a few greedy Indians plus one or two others from the once mighty cricketing powers, England and Australia -- is so flawed that it is not even wrong!" The 21-page document "makes a mockery of the very essence of what we have come to believe as the spirit of the great game." For more than 100 years, "civilised souls in the cricket-playing world have been used to inhaling in horror, uttering the words ‘It isn’t cricket,’ whenever they thought something that was taking place was not fair." Today, "what isn’t cricket IS cricket." If no sport can rise above the meanness of the age, then the ICC’s latest proposal "pushes a great sport that has always been a metaphor for fairness into a moral cesspit" (THE HINDU, 1/21).