Pakistan news March 11, 2014

PCB likely to back ICC revamp


The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is likely to back the ICC revamp at the world governing body's board meeting next month to give it leverage with other countries, especially India. The PCB is aware, ESPNcricinfo understands, that a pragmatic approach will give it the benefits of bilateral tours it needs in its current situation, while not signing it will increase the sense of isolation.

The PCB is the only Full Member to have not extended its support as yet to the governance, finance and FTP changes in the ICC, which were proposed by the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia in February. When the changes, which increase the power of those three boards within the ICC, were first proposed, four Full Members had come out against them: the PCB, the Bangladesh Cricket Board, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The proposals have since been revised and were approved by eight of the Full Members on February 8. SLC and the PCB were the only two to vote against it at that meeting, and SLC extended its support to the revamp 10 days later.

The PCB's previous chairman Zaka Ashraf believed the revamp was against the principle of "equality", and so the PCB, under, Ashraf objected to it. Current chairman Najam Sethi, though, who has been exchanging the reins of the PCB with Ashraf frequently over the past few months due tolegal and political reasons, said it was important to "safeguard" Pakistan's interests.

"I don't think this is about principles, it is about safeguarding our own self-interests in the long run in world cricket," Sethi said. "We are the only ones now, left alone [against the revamp]. Whomever I have spoken to says they also initially opposed the changes but later went with it because they were gaining a lot by supporting these changes."

Sethi reportedly met with his Bangladesh and Sri Lanka counterparts, on the sidelines of Asia Cup, in Dhaka.

The PCB is keen on negotiating bilateral series with India. "The fact is every country wants to play India because they say it brings them much needed revenues. It is a fact that not playing cricket with India is damaging for us," Sethi said.

Ashraf, however, maintained that the revamp would be unjust to the other members. According to him, the PCB - given Pakistan's commercial value to world cricket - was offered the chance to side with the 'Big Three' and benefit from the original proposals.

"The situation is very tricky," Ashraf told ESPNcricinfo. "The PCB obviously will be the last country [to accept the revamp], but that doesn't make any difference. The restructuring is still against the basic principle of equality and the 'Big Three' will be acting despotically.

"The [revised] financial model is based on merely theory and a dummy model [by which no Full Member loses] is shown with a verbal assurance that they won't let the things slip. They promised that every board would get its fair share according to their commercial value. They also asked us to be the part of the scheme, to make it Big Four, as Pakistan holds a productive commercial value."

"The revamped ICC model is bound to fail in the long run," Ashraf said. "Their bid is to control things and that is what the whole idea was, but there is no indemnity if the structure collapses. And I am afraid the way cricket is being treated, the structure won't sustain itself in the long run and in the next three years board members, especially the supporters, will start realising this and things will start splitting."

Pakistan have not hosted any Full Member at home since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore five years ago. Despite that, the PCB has been functioning rather well and that shows "the value" of Pakistan cricket, Ashraf said. "Pakistan, in last few years, despite being isolated are still standing tall and the PCB is not in debt as many boards are. No board is ready to help Pakistan at a crucial time to revive cricket in Pakistan. But Pakistan cricket is still going strong.

"The world knows the value of Pakistan cricket and this is what keeps us going. Despite the isolation, cricket in Pakistan still a profitable product."

Currently, Sethi is discussing the matter of the revamp with previous chairmen of the board, including Ashraf, seeking their advice on what he has termed a "crisis". It is understood that all of these former chiefs have suggested Pakistan remain in opposition to the revamp.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on March 14, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    getsetgopk. If you think size does matters in games, you should feel humiliated by the fact that Ireland has an upper hand against your team!

  • Amjad on March 13, 2014, 9:52 GMT

    vkias and Fast track: And again, as a Pakistan supporter, cricket is all about beating India, thats what matters to me. How many times have we beaten India in India and across the globe, 12 to 9 in tests, 72 to 50 in ODI's. Fans of a country with 1.4 billion population are doing pick and chose when comparing against a country one tenth its size, that has to be sad and depressing LOL.

  • Niaz Hussain on March 13, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    now England Losing Everything in his country respected game. no enterfair in worst decisions in cricket history. before we said "Respected cricket" and now "Business Cricket" and about players before said "Legend Player" and now "Sold Player". i am worry that cricket should have good names in coming 2 decades.

  • Ashok on March 13, 2014, 5:44 GMT

    To be honest, I'm uncertain whether the revamp is going to change things for the better or the worse. The concentration of power in the hands of a few has been a reality since a long time now- nothing really has changed there. The proposed test match fund could give a much needed boost to cash strapped boards which have been forced to cancel/ postpone test rubbers due to financial implications. To me, much as I hate the BCCI, the jury is out as far the implications of the revamp are concerned.

  • saad on March 13, 2014, 5:16 GMT

    Unfortunately, cricket feels dirty. Blemished by politics and money. The advent and rise of the BCCI has left fans in the lurch. Afraid of discriminatory reprisals from a nouveau riche board. Lacking any evidence of the upstanding spirit that defines cricket.

    It is understandable that the Pakistani fans are wary of this restructuring. The BCCI's mixing of foreign policy with cricket - bias bordering on racism. Denial of Pakistani sportsmen entry into Indian competitions (including the IPL). No bilateral series. No current or future tours. The Pakistani fan is aggrieved and suspicious of the future ICC.

    The brusque Indian comments do not help. The pervasive sense of biased blind following of sheep. A flooding of unabashed aggrandizing of self. Revealing within the deep layers of spice and Bollywood tack a crevice of inferiority complex.

    For the sake of cricket fans it is hoped that only a certain type of Indian posts on these message boards and some sanity exists.

  • Dummy4 on March 13, 2014, 5:03 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully: Now from where has Pak team's cribbing against Indian losses come to discussion? To my belief India, after constant losses to Pakistan during the late 80's and early 90's came out with all sorts of whining. They boycotted Sharjah as a venue and put a stop to bilateral tours. They just waited for the 2 Ws, Saqlain and Saeed-Aamir to retire, as they massively feared the star power of that generation.

    Amazingly India alongside Pakistan, SL and other Asian countries fought hard to end the Eng-Aus imperialism in cricket during the 80's. Given a chance, they now want to be imperial themselves. What a pity... the game of cricket has given everyone the strength to plan and kill the game itself eventually.

  • Manesh on March 13, 2014, 4:25 GMT

    @getsetgopk. No one will ask you! lol. It is clear that Pak fans are irked by their lost to Indian in WC group stages, Knockouts, Semis and Finals. Thats why they saw everything as a WC final match!

  • Krishna on March 12, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    As far as I know Pak opposed this revamp because of India in the big 3, now see how fans are blaming India where there is also Aus(CA) and England (ECB) in this big 3.This sums up the entire story.

  • Rauf on March 12, 2014, 21:49 GMT

    @couchpundit. You cant blame PCB for CSA capitulating so easily. Only Sri Lanka and PCB held out for as long as they could. If there were more countries who played cricket then fingers on two hands then it could have been a tough fight but now thanks to big 3, we will probably have less countries playing cricket in five years time.

  • VIJAY on March 12, 2014, 21:28 GMT

    @ getsetgopk...then till now some 500-1000 world cups would have played according to your logic....winning in big tourneys matters....unfortunately your team has not achieved it so far

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