DRS, World Cup 2015 format top agenda
The Decision Review System (DRS) is likely to be the focal point at the ICC's five-day annual conference that begins on Sunday in Hong Kong. The ICC's cricket committee had unanimously recommended the use of the DRS in all Tests, but the system has been a source of disagreement among the boards, with the BCCI opposing its implementation.
"The ICC cricket committee is in favour of employing DRS in all formats of the game," ICC chief Haroon Lorgat said ahead of the conference. "They were quite impressed with the success in terms of all the research and feedback they received. It was very strongly evaluated during the cricket committee meeting in May, and after long deliberation they were unanimous in supporting the application of DRS across all forms of the game."
The cricket committee also proposed changes to enhance the ODI format - stricter penalties for over-rate offences and amendments to the law pertaining to runners - all of which will come up for discussion in Hong Kong.
The other issue likely to dominate proceedings is the revaluation of the ICC's decision to restrict the 2015 World Cup to its 10 Full Member nations. "The board had decided earlier that 2015 will be a 10-team Member World Cup, but that did not go down well and the president [Sharad Pawar] decided to reconsider the topic," Lorgat said. "I do support that there should be some sort of qualification process for all members to get to the World Cup. I do favour a 10-team World Cup with a qualification process."
Also on the agenda are possible amendments to the ICC's constitution, aimed at ensuring free elections of Member boards and avoiding undue government interference in administration. "We are going to discuss the concept of Member boards ensuring there is no government interference in the sport, that they are able to hold free elections and make appointments of members to the boards from among themselves," Lorgat said. "In other words it [needs to be] a democratic process, where elections are free, and people who are elected come in to administer the sport." The Pakistan board had sent a legal notice to the ICC raising questions - and threatening legal action - over this proposed amendment. The PCB is one of the boards directly affected by the amendment. Its constitution states that the President of Pakistan - invariably but not always a political figure - is the patron of the board and the sole authority in hiring or firing the chairman.
The ICC's full council will also consider a constitutional change to the process of nominating and electing the ICC president. Under the new proposal, the executive board will decide the process and term of office from time to time, subject to certain qualifying criteria. This would replace the current rotational system of nomination and the fixed term of appointment. Pakistan and Bangladesh - the two members who are to nominate the next candidates for president and vice-president - are believed to have objected to the change.
"There is a view from among boards that the best person should be nominated as the president," Lorgat said. However, he said that "for a constitutional change to go through, you need 38 of the 50 members supporting the change, and of the 38, eight will have to be Full Members, so it is quite a hurdle to cross".
The inclusion of cricket in the Olympic games is one of the peripheral issues that will be discussed. "We need to do a proper and scientific evaluation of cricket's participation the Olympic games," Lorgat said. "We need to do this evaluation to put this debate once and for all to rest, and on a scientific basis prove that there is a case for participation, or no case."
Lorgat also expressed his satisfaction with the Pakistan security task force set up after the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in February 2009. "I am encouraged by the work and results I have seen through the engagement of the Pakistan task team with the PCB, and I hope the PCB themselves feel as excited as I do about the contents of that report. It is a very thorough report, and we will be tabling what I would hope to be the final report.
"Once the board reviews it, and the PCB accepts and hopefully implements the recommendations in a manner they have done before, we can conclude the work of the team."