Srinivasan meets Associates before formal ascension
At the labyrinthine ICC annual conference, where pre-meetings, informal meetings, corridor meetings, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks meetings surround the actual conference, it seems somehow fitting that the ICC chairman-elect N Srinivasan has begun dispensing his duties even before he is formally invested on Thursday.
With no sign whatsoever of any significant opposition to his position - as a result of vast constitutional changes to the ICC at the behest of its most powerful three members - Srinivasan has begun working the rooms at the MCG and the Grand Hyatt hotel, convincing the game's Associate and Affiliate nations that there will be plenty of money in the regime for them even if they maintain reservations about the ethics of the new governance structure.
On Wednesday afternoon, Srinivasan addressed all Associate delegates and the five Affiliate representatives, stressing to them that the changes to be formalised at the conference would encourage Full Members to work more closely and collaboratively with the smaller cricket nations in their regions. This attitude of co-operation would be combined with the money to trickle down from the next round of ICC rights negotiations, which will be superior to the previous distribution in dollar figures if not as a percentage of the total.
Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, said Srinivasan's words had helped allay some fears among Associate and Affiliate nations, though it remained to be seen whether or not the promises being made this week would be kept over the next eight years.
"He spoke about the future and about how much more the Full Members want to engage with the Associates," Deutrom told ESPNcricinfo. "I think previously development has been a bit of an adjunct to ICC's central business and Full Member business.
"What was clearly coming across is that the Full Members want to engage a lot more with the Associate members and the Associate group, not just in terms of trying to plan a development strategy but actually being part of the decision-making. I think there's going to be a lot more weight to the development committee and Associates groupings, so that will be better heard at the board table."
Among Srinivasan's most passionate arguments was that all cricket nations, no matter how large or small, needed to devote time to tending their own backyards and trying to grow the game domestically, rather than devoting all available money and energy to top-line qualification for overseas tournaments.
"He wants countries to focus less on travelling across the world to play in a competition, and to focus more on their own indigenous development," Deutrom said. "Growing the game, growing participation in the game. That's something he felt very strongly, and felt the Full Members felt very strongly, was an incredibly important element for Associate and Affiliate countries to focus on."
Any lingering opposition to the mooted changes has been replaced by a pragmatic view that protests would be fruitless and result in greater hardships being imposed. Instead, cricket's developing nations will accept the proposals for the next eight years and do their best to work with them, taking the "Big Three" on faith that they will receive more bilateral help alongside the work already done throughout the world by ICC management.
"The Associates and Affiliates had heard the proposals explained to them beforehand, in writing and the information went through yesterday," Deutrom said. "But this was really the first time for those guys themselves, the so-called 'Big Three' to properly engage with the Associates and explain for themselves not just what was happening but why - why they're important and what they're hoping to achieve.
"There was a one-on-one engagement with Wally Edwards a couple of months back, notwithstanding any individual engagements that Giles, Wally and Srini have had with representatives. So it's happening individually, it's happened at representatives group, and today was the first opportunity in a plenary session for the three guys to really address us. Everyone is beginning to get a much clearer sense of what's going on."
More meetings of all shapes and sizes followed this one, including a debate around an issue as contentious as the DRS. Thursday morning will bring further gatherings before the annual conference meeting itself, where Srinivasan's ascension to untold power will finally be confirmed.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig