Alan Isaac, the ICC president, said that he had encouraged the Big Three - the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia - to work together on finding a resolution for "commercial and governance issues facing the game". He further stated that the strong criticism of the leaked draft proposal, which intended to give more power to the three boards was unwarranted.
Isaac's statements were part of a media release related to the ICC's Board meeting on January 28 and 29 to discuss a "working group position paper" drafted by the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs committee (F&CA), which suggested structural overhaul of world cricket, giving more power to the BCCI, ECB and CA. Some of the changes suggested in the "position paper" included a change in the ICC's FTP and a greater share of the revenue to the three boards.
"Several months ago I encouraged the BCCI, CA and the ECB to enter into a constructive dialogue together to help resolve some of the key commercial and governance issues facing the game," Isaac said. "These leading cricket nations have worked tirelessly to produce a document which provided the basis for the past few weeks of extremely constructive discussions."
Isaac welcomed the "unanimous agreement" over the key proposals discussed in the Board meeting on January 28, saying the draft suggested by the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia emphasized the primacy of Test cricket and introduced meritocracy in the game worldwide.
"This is an important time for world cricket and it is extremely encouraging that the ICC Board has unanimously supported a set of far-reaching principles that will underpin the long-term prosperity of the global game," he said. "These principles emphasise the primacy of Test cricket and that, for the first time in cricket's history, participation will be based entirely on meritocracy, giving everyone powerful incentives to play better cricket and develop better cricketers."
The draft proposals created a stir in the cricket world as many former players and administrators saw it as a concentration of power in the hands of three boards driven by financial influence. Cricket South Africa, who were likely to suffer financially if the draft was implemented in its original form, had protested against the implementation of the proposals.
Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president, called the secretly drawn proposal an indicator of "serious weaknesses in ICC's governance" and charged the BCCI, the ECB and CA with "completely undermining the integrity and standing of the ICC". Malcolm Gray and Malcolm Speed, former senior administrators of the ICC, backed Mani's protests and signed a formal letter requesting the "Big Three proposal" be withdrawn immediately. The letter was also signed by former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, former PCB presidents Shahrayar Khan and Lt Gen. (retd) Tauqir Zia and former BCB president Saber Hossain Chowdhury.
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan joined the chorus of criticism on Tuesday night. "The idea of a 'Big 3' will divide cricket world.I recall rep Pak at ICC in '93 & cannot forget the imperial attitude of England & Australia," he tweeted. "The idea of a 'Big 3' will divide cricket world."
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, former England captain Michael Atherton and global anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, are among those who also slammed the proposals.