ICC annual conference June 29, 2011

ICC defers decision on presidency

The ICC's Executive Board has deferred till October, when it next meets, a decision over a proposed amendment of its constitution regarding the appointment of its president. The amendment seeks to replace the current rotational system with an open candidature.

In its deliberations this morning, the Executive Board decided not to take the matter to the Full Council for a vote when it meets tomorrow on the final day of the annual conference. Today's meeting went as expected with the PCB objecting, as it had done in May, and Bangladesh arguing that the amendment should take place on completion of the full cycle of the rotational policy, which would be after the 2014 candidates for president and vice-president were named by Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Along with Pakistan and Bangladesh - who have agreed to not nominate a candidate for ICC Vice-President before the matter is again considered by the Executive Board - a third member of the Executive Board approved of deferring the amendment on procedural grounds. The member said that while they supported the idea of only the most meritorious candidates taking on the job of ICC president, the issue of a constitutional amendment needed a more careful and reasoned deliberation than how it had been done in May - by circular resolution, through written communication alone. The decision, the Full Member said, was far too important to be taken without a full and proper discussion by the Board.

Between now and its next meeting in October, the Executive Board will discuss the matter and it will once again be brought to vote if necessary. By then the Governance Review Committee would have completed its look at all related matters - including the possibility of appointing independent directors.

Should the amendment reach the Full Council, another annual general meeting could be called between now and June of 2012 to push it through. In June 2012, the ICC will have to pick a successor to New Zealand's Alan Isaac for the position of ICC president. Within the next 12 months, the ICC will have to either push through the amendment or stick with the rotational policy, in which case someone from Pakistan or Bangladesh will assume the highest office in cricket in 2014. The choice of candidate to succeed Alan Isaac as of now still belongs to Bangladesh-Pakistan, but those who want the change will use the next four months to build consensus and strike deals.

Nonetheless Wednesday's events, in which a gathering of the least powerful of cricketing nations had through will and argument managed to hold off cricket's most forceful nations, were marked by scenes of unity and celebration among the underdogs. After the Executive Board meeting had ended, Sri Lankan cricket officials were discussing their repeated and unsuccessful attempts to win over the BCCI on the SLPL issue. A member of the Bangladeshi delegation walked up to them, shook hands and said, "Good fight."

By sticking to its stance on abstaining on the issue, the Sri Lankans ensured that the eight votes needed to pass any decision would not be earned. The fourth member nation who wanted the procedure around the May resolution to be discussed as much as the merit of the argument in favour of the amendment, had ensured that it could not be taken to the Full Council.

The Pakistan delegation had waited outside the Executive Board meeting room for news from within. Whenever they were questioned about whether they had heard what was happening inside, they replied with a laugh, "We haven't heard the sound of fireworks yet."

Once the Executive Board ended its meetings, the Asian Cricket Council gathered for their AGM. It lasted all of 30 minutes and, for its duration, neither ICC president Sharad Pawar nor was BCCI president Shashank Manohar was seen entering the conference room from its main entrance. It is learnt that BCCI secretary N Srinivasan left Hong Kong on Tuesday itself.

The ICC's gala dinner tonight for members was kicked off with a three-man panel of speakers including former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd, former India captain Sourav Ganguly and Australian allrounder Shane Watson. The members moved to a neighbouring venue, Hong Kong's tallest building, a 484m tall tower block only completed last year. It is found everywhere on local road signs and also goes under the name of ICC but is not cricket's new home.

The abbreviation stands for the International Commerce Centre, which many could argue is what the ICC's annual conference could have ended up as, but for a few skirmishes that went in the way of the underdogs.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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