London - World cricket was set for a shake-up after the International Cricket
Council (ICC) gave "unanimous support" for "principles" to change its
structure and governance.
Leaked draft proposals from the sport's
most financially powerful 'Big Three' nations argued for more power to
be placed in the hands of India, England and Australia.
Tuesday's statement, following the first of a two-day ICC meeting at its
Dubai headquarters, ruled out talk of the 'Big Three' being spared
relegation in any new two-division Test set-up because of their
It even indicated the likes of Ireland might join the existing 10 Test nations but without any details.
will be an opportunity for all Members to play all formats of cricket
on merit, with participation based on meritocracy; no immunity to any
country, and no change to membership status," the ICC statement said.
But the statement was clear in signalling the end of the proposed World Test Championship.
Its delayed launch was supposed to happen in England in 2017.
instead it has been replaced by the reprieved one-day Champions Trophy,
a more commercial and broadcast-friendly proposition.
The 'mini World Cup' was spared after a successful 'final' edition in England last year.
to give the 'Big Three' a greater say in running ICC include the
formation of a new five-man executive committee, with three seats
reserved for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA). End of the Future Tours Programme
the ICC board agreed to discontinue the centralised Future Tours
Programme -- a well-meaning if not always well-enforced scheme --
designed to ensure the 10 leading countries hosted and toured one
another during an eight-year span.
Instead there will be a return
to bilateral agreements between nations. These will run from 2015-2023
in common with the ICC's next commercial rights cycle.
allay fears about a lack of top-class cricket for the likes of
'commercially unattractive' countries such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and
even New Zealand, the ECB and CA have said they will play a minimum
number of fixtures against all other full members.
But the BCCI which generates some 80 percent of the ICC's global revenue, has yet to declare its hand.
Indeed Tuesday's statement said a further meeting has been scheduled for February to work out the details of the new structure.'Proposals underpin prosperity of global game'
ICC president Alan Isaac insisted Tuesday: "It is extremely encouraging
that the ICC board has unanimously supported a set of far-reaching
principles that will underpin the long-term prosperity of the global
"These principles emphasise the primacy of Test cricket and
that for the first time in cricket's history participation will be based
entirely on meritocracy, giving everyone powerful incentives to play
better cricket and develop better cricketers," the New Zealander added.
"Extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up board meeting next month."
fact ICC used the words "unanimous support" rather than gave a
breakdown of figures indicates no formal vote took place in a closed
meeting that lasted several hours.
Cricket South Africa had said
the 'position paper' was "fundamentally flawed, with Pakistan, Sri Lanka
and Bangladesh weighing in behind CSA's stance.
But CSA, whose
side top the world Tet rankings, may have been mollified by being
included in a 'Test Cricket Fund', created by the 'Big Three' to benefit
the other seven nations in which the five-day game struggles for
There were reports the BCCI, cricket's financial
powerhouse, had threatened the 'nuclear option' of quitting ICC events
if more money and authority did not cone its way.
powerful India should have an even greater say in running world cricket
was acknowledged when the ICC spoke Tuesday of the "BCCI taking a
central leadership responsibility".
Meanwhile Isaac insisted he'd
"encouraged" the 'Big Three' to devise their 'position paper, adding
he'd been disappointed by a leak that led to "unwarranted" criticism of
"These leading cricket nations have worked
tirelessly to produce a document which provided the basis for the past
few weeks of extremely constructive discussions," Isaac said.
principles agreed today provide clear evidence that...over the coming
weeks we can be increasingly confident in achieving consensus."