BCB to decide on draft based on 'response of other boards'
BCB president Nazmul Hassan said the Bangladesh board will consider the other Full Members' takes on the 'position paper', put forward by a working group of the Finance & Commercial Affairs committee of the ICC, before coming out for or against it. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that when asked for their individual opinions at a board meeting on Thursday, an overwhelming majority of the BCB directors said the board should side with the BCCI or "we will be cornered".
The main concern for Bangladesh is playing Test cricket - something which is now under threat as one of the proposals is to make the teams ranked Nos. 9 and 10 play in the Intercontinental Cup (the ICC's first-class tournament for non-Test nations) from 2015. A board director, seeking anonymity, said that even if that proposal is approved, Bangladesh could still play bilateral series with the top eight if they align with India.
"The reality for the BCB is that we cannot afford to go against the BCCI," the BCB director said. "Bangladesh is the 10th ranked team, but if we align with them, there is every chance that they will help us get teams to tour Bangladesh and vice versa. Of course we have to consider many other factors before we go with them but the majority in the board believe that favouring India would be the best option for us."
In the press conference that followed the meeting, Hassan said the BCB would take a measured decision before the ICC meeting on January 29. He also hinted at the revamped system being beneficial to Bangladesh, in that it could help them climb the Test rankings. The board would not "risk" Bangladesh's chances of playing against top nations by hastily refusing the draft proposal, he said.
"We have decided not to express whether we have taken a decision or not," Hassan said. "I want to know the opinions of the other boards from today. It doesn't matter what is said in public, unless the same thing is said in the meeting. If we oppose the proposal but it still goes through, we will be under a lot of pressure.
"I will go to Dubai on January 25 to speak to other boards to understand the matter more clearly. We have to take a decision based on the situation. We have to rely a lot on the response of the other boards.
Hassan said he was confident that Bangladesh's hosting of three international series in the immediate future - Sri Lanka in a bilateral series, the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 - would not be affected by how the BCB votes. "If we oppose the proposal, it won't affect our hosting of the Sri Lanka tour, Asia Cup or World Twenty20," he said. "There's no connection between these two."
He believes if the proposal goes through and a multi-tiered system comes in, Bangladesh could take the No. 8 position in Test cricket - the draft proposal suggests the winner of the Intercontinental Cup could challenge the No. 8 ranked team, home and away, and if the Test team is beaten, the Intercontinental Cup winners are promoted into the top eight at the loser's expense.
"Our Test status will remain [since the draft proposal has a "no disadvantage" condition, by which none of the current Full Members will lose that status]. We will be among the ten Test playing nations. But our Test rating point is 18, so to reach No. 8 ranking [under the current system], we will need more than a decade. We are not getting enough opportunities. Zimbabwe has 34 rating points, so I don't know who we can beat to cover the difference.
"We have improved as a side in the last 18 months. We have played well against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies. But such performances haven't reflected on our ranking. There is a chance here to beat the others [in the Intercontinental Cup] and then have a go at the No. 8 ranked team..."
"We cannot take a risk, particular given the position of our cricket. If our vote doesn't matter, we will probably stay quiet. But if our vote decides the revamp, it will be very critical. What we will do at that stage is something I can only understand once I am at the meeting."
Hassan also believes that the Full Members will not be divided on this matter, but will arrive at a unanimous decision. "There won't be a split in world cricket. I don't think [the ICC committee] would have presented such a huge proposal without doing their homework and I also don't believe it will be a close-run thing. It will either be accepted or rejected."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here