More than two-thirds of players polled in a recent survey believe the BCCI has an unfair influence on decision-making within the ICC. The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has renewed its calls for a review of the game's governance after releasing the results of its 2011 player survey, which also revealed strong support for the decision review system and 50-over cricket.
Despite overwhelming approval for how this year's World Cup was run, the findings were not all positive for the ICC. Of the 45 players polled, only 6% believed that decisions at ICC board level were made "in the best interests of cricket", while 49% felt decisions were made according to "party lines or best interests of the country that they are representing". The remaining players were "unsure".
When asked if ICC decision-making was influenced unfairly by the power of the BCCI, 69% said 'yes', while 31% answered "don't know". None of the respondents gave a definitive 'no'. Despite those concerns, 63% said they had confidence in the ICC's ability to govern international cricket, although the FICA chief executive Tim May said the findings raised important issues, with 46% saying the structure and composition of the ICC executive board should be reviewed.
"Players have highlighted that the governance of the game is a serious issue," May said. "FICA have continually advocated for a review of the game's governance. Its present structure is outdated, full of conflicts, cronyism and far from best practice. FICA does believe though that the ICC day-to-day management has improved considerably and are unfairly tarnished as a result of decisions of the ICC Chief Executive and Board Committees."
The call for a review of the game's governance is not new. FICA have been pushing for change for several years, and the former ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed this year said he would be in favour of an independent commission running the game, although he also said the idea that countries always voted in geographical blocs was, based on his time at the organisation, not accurate.
The FICA survey did reveal some good news for the ICC, with 94% of players rating the recent World Cup as "good" or above, compared to only 11% giving the 2007 tournament that level of support. However, the event is still too long, according to 74% of those surveyed, while 72% backed the decision to reduce the number of teams in the next World Cup to 10, and 91% felt the Associate nations should have a chance to qualify.
The majority (82%) of players said the DRS made for better decision-making from umpires at the World Cup, and 97% thought the DRS should be compulsory in all Test matches. Notably, FICA is not affiliated with players from India - the BCCI being the major opponent of the DRS - or from Pakistan or Zimbabwe.
The survey also showed:
32% of players would retire prematurely from international cricket to play exclusively in the IPL and similar Twenty20 tournaments
40% said that given the magnitude of salaries being offered by the IPL, they could envisage a day where they would rank their obligations to IPL and other T20 events ahead of obligations to their home boards
94% believed that superior salaries offered by the IPL would motivate younger players to hone their skills principally to T20
40% said their board schedules too much international cricket
Only 24% of players favour a change in the format of ODIs
39% believe boards schedule too many ODIs, reducing the public's interest in the format