Pressure on the ICC after World Cup

No immediate no-confidence plans - Indian board

Anand Vasu

May 2, 2007

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Niranjan Shah's comments about India tabling a no-confidence motion doesn't seem to be a collective sentiment in the board © Getty Images
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The Board of Control of Cricket in India has no immediate plans to table a no-confidence motion against the International Cricket Council, contrary to reports appearing in the media.

"There is no question of any individual deciding on an action like this," a top BCCI official, who just returned from the West Indies, told Cricinfo. "A no-confidence motion is a serious issue and before we take any action like this it has to be discussed within the BCCI and also among other nation members to see if there is some sort of consensus."

The buzz that the BCCI would table a no-confidence motion against the ICC has been doing the round since Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the Indian board, made statements to this effect - which he subsequently denied - while still in the West Indies, shortly after the final. Shah was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying, "Some of it [a decision on the no confidence motion] will depend on how other boards are feeling. It is fair to say that there are quite a few things to sort out at the next chief executives' meeting."

However, it is understood that the BCCI is unhappy with several aspects of the ICC's functioning. "See, the job which five people used to do, in an honorary capacity, now some hundred people do, as paid professionals. If that is the case then the results should also be different," said a BCCI official who had witnessed first-hand the chaos and confusion that engulfed the dying moments of the World Cup final. "Even in domestic cricket you can't imagine a match being played after the streetlights have come on. How come all those professional people in the ICC could not make the right decision at the time?"

The BCCI believes that the ICC has become too bureaucratic in its functioning and that too many people are involved in taking any decision. It is the BCCI's contention that the fiasco of the last moments of the final, where Sri Lanka were forced to bat out three overs in near-darkness, after they had initially accepted an offer of bad light and the Australians had celebrated their win, could have been easily avoided. "Had there not been so many people involved in making decisions at the time, and just one person who knew the rules properly, this situation could easily have been avoided," said the official. "After all it is the World Cup final, the biggest stage in cricket, run by the ICC, and at the end of the day the whole of the cricket world looks bad when something like this happens."

However, another board official dismissed the suggestion that the BCCI is, at the moment at least, looking at tabling a no-confidence motion. "If he [Shah] made those comments, then they are his individual opinion," he said. "There has been no discussion among senior members and office bearers of the BCCI about tabling any such motion."

While Cricinfo could not reach Shah for comment on Wednesday morning, the Times of India has quoted him as saying, "The ICC keeps reminding us that we need to be more professional in our functioning. But the entire world has seen how the World Cup final was conducted. Maybe the problem is that they [the ICC] are too professional."

It is understood that there are several members of the Indian board who are unhappy especially with the functioning of Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the ICC, and that this latest brouhaha is centered around his behaviour and actions. For some time now there has been a growing belief in the BCCI that Speed has been autocratic in his decision-making, and has not given the Asian-bloc, which accounts for a sizeable chunk of the ICC's financial clout, its due.

Tabling a no-confidence motion, however, would not help their cause in this case as Speed is not an elected office-bearer of the ICC but a paid employee with a fixed term. If the BCCI does decide to press for a no-confidence motion, they are sure to have the votes of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but it is difficult to see them winning over any of the other nations in support of their petition.

Anand Vasu is associate editor of Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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