ICC annual conference June 30, 2011

PCB satisfied with meeting's results

Few boards had as much riding on the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong as the PCB. A change to the rotational policy of appointing ICC presidents would have deprived them of a potential nomination for 2014. The Pakistan Task Team's (PTT) first report was due to be released, a state of affairs report on the game in the country after a period of extreme turbulence. The proposed constitutional amendment to remove government interference from boards and introduce elections was also under discussion, an amendment which pushes far-reaching, but difficult changes on to the PCB.

The meeting was also held against a backdrop in which increasingly over the last couple of years the PCB has found itself isolated in boardroom matters. They have had few allies, and an ongoing cold war with the BCCI has been particularly damaging on and off the field. In this context then, the results of the five-day meeting are not as bad as they could have been for the board. "The meeting has gone extremely well for us," Ijaz Butt, chairman PCB, told ESPNcricinfo. "There were a couple of main issues for us and we are happy with the developments on those."

A more reasoned assessment came from Subhan Ahmed, the board's chief operating officer. "It was a reasonably good meeting for us," he told ESPNcricinfo. "We obviously didn't achieve 100% of our objectives but overall the meetings went well for us." The deferment of the change to the rotational policy of appointing presidents was, according to one member of Pakistan's delegation, "a big victory" and built on "hectic corridor diplomacy". Officials were surprised with the support they found among Full and Associate members; three other Full Members backed Pakistan' opposition to the change, on the "principled basis that every country should have a right to appoint a president", according to the official. The deferment, the official believes, is as good as it being struck off the agenda entirely, which means that Pakistan and Bangladesh are expected to put up their nomination by December 31 this year.

The PTT report has also, according to Ahmed, expressed its satisfaction with the work the board has put in, particularly on the integrity issues that arose in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal last summer. "They've appreciated the work we have put in to accomplish the tasks they had set us last October," Ahmed said. "That integrity chapter of the PTT and PCB is now concluded." But the body was set up before the spot-fixing scandal, in January 2009, to help Pakistan combat the lack of international cricket in the country; following the Lahore terror attacks in March that year the body's mandate grew and over the last year it has taken on governance issues as well. The report has made 63 recommendations on a whole host of matters, macro and micro.

For example, the PTT has recommended constitutional changes to the board to make it more democratic - a recommendation that now overlaps with the ICC's governance amendments. But the PTT has also suggested that the board should appoint a long-term manager instead of on a series-by-series basis. Some of these are likely to not go down too well with the board. Butt said some had gone "beyond the mandate" originally intended for the body. "We will now go back and look at the recommendations that have been made, review them and give our feedback to the PTT. We have some observations on the recommendations," Ahmed said. It is believed - and the board sought to clarify this - that the recommendations are just that at the moment, and not directives or binding in any way.

The trickiest issue on the agenda was the ICC's proposed constitutional amendment, which called for the removal of government interference from cricket boards and the holding of elections for senior officials. The PCB's patron-in-chief is the president of the country - in theory a non-political post, anything but in reality and historically - and he appoints the board chairman. There are no elections either and failure to make the changes could result in suspension.

Here victory is a relative one, for the ICC has gone ahead and implemented the proposed changes - despite the threat of legal action by the PCB - but has given them, effectively, two years and possibly more to do this. That, too, came from meetings Butt, Ahmed and the PCB's legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi had with the ICC in Dubai in the run-up to the AGM. "We had discussions with the ICC about this before the meetings and it was there we agreed to set this deadline and that is what has been decided here," Butt said.

Even the results of the FTP negotiations are not as bad as initially expected. Between now and April 2020, Pakistan have 88 Tests scheduled which is considerably lower than the big guns of England, Australia and India but alongside Sri Lanka (88) and ahead of West Indies (84), South Africa (82) and New Zealand (80). This, officials said, was the result of increased efforts over the last year with other boards, an indication that relations with a few members might be improving, albeit tentatively.

In March 2012, they are even scheduled to tour India and getting that inked into the FTP is being considered an achievement by the board. If political relations improve, there could be more tours which will add considerably to Pakistan's schedule.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rauf on July 1, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    "PCB satisfied with meeting's results" is a diplomatic talk for "We got 10% of what we wanted but there is nothing we can do about it."

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2011, 7:59 GMT

    Being a Pakistan cricket team's fan, not everything written there can be deemed as a success for Pakistan. Firstly ICC has given Pakistan two years or more to remove political interference from the PCB, that is a lot of time. One year maximum would have been enough, I guess the money of Zardari is talking here with ICC directly benefiting from it. Secondly only 88 tests in 9 years, how is that a success!?Though in all fairness it says in the end that ' If political relations improve, there could be more tours which will add considerably to Pakistan's schedule' but does that means if political relations with India improves ONLY then will we get more tours added to our schedule, is India the only other test playing nation apart from Pakistan! Ridiculous. BCCI running the show again. No room for Pakistan in the CL and still PCB is satisfied with the results? Only the presidency issue can be subject to some cheers as the rest are still largely questionable decisions by ICC aka BCCI's ICC.

  • khurram on July 1, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    88 tests are more than the initial report of 64 matches. But stil i would say apart from Aus , eng, india rest of them are below 9 tests per year which is very bad. and bngla even more less.same is the case with odis. smaller teams need to play more to promote cricket. on rotational policy, yes complete 1 cycle then change it. but icc is international. if there was no rotational policy then only 1-2 countries will select.

  • Ryo on June 30, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    By and large 88 Tests with over 100 ODI's and T20's thrown in, is a very good result. The possibility of some future Ind-Pak matches is also a good sign and they've been given a 2 year lee-way with the political interference charges (something which many boards will have to deal with not just PCB). Don't expect any Pak players in IPL or CL, but this whole ICC conference could have been much, much worse for Pakistani cricket. By and large it's turned out OK. Just need Ijaz Butt to retire permanently and all will slowly return to normal.

  • Jawwad on June 30, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Yeah, there are satisfied alright. The current government has two more years to loot and plunder the cricket board. If ICC is reserving window for champion league and ipl means these are ICC sanctioned? So how come team from Pakistan is not representing in champions ( I can understand ipl) when according to it's constitutional framework it should represent ALL the Test playing nations? Is there no one making Pakistan's legit case?

  • imran on June 30, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    An average of 8.8 tests a year in next ten years for PAK, WI, SL, SA and NZL? Seriously? Is ICC really trying to screw over the Test cricket? It definitely looks like it. Three test series in a year sounds reasonably lower giving the fact that now ICC has given two official windows for Champions' League and IPL, both a domestic event. Why not all small guns just start playing more domestic cricket so all international events are played every 3 years. That is going to be victory, eh?

  • Stark on June 30, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    What about CL exclusion?

    How can this be a "success" for Pak if, Pak aren't allowed to represent a team?

    They made a window so, let everyone play or don't give it a window in the FTP!

  • Dummy4 on June 30, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    Yes the results are satisfactory considering the fact that pakistan is playing away from home.

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