Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo
The most significant ICC board meeting in three years gets underway on Thursday - significant because the aim of most members will be to sign off on the undoing of the Big Three resolutions that were approved in February 2014, in Singapore.
The ides of February is not quite right, but it is clearly a tumultuous month in recent ICC history: it was last February that a formal decision was taken by the board, under the ICC chairmanship of Shashank Manohar, to begin a comprehensive review of the changes wrought by the Big Three.
Now - February again - the results of that review, in the shape of a report put together by a five-man steering committee, will be the weekend's focal point at ICC HQ in Dubai. And those members in favour of its recommendations are keen to push them through at this meeting, with the hope of finalising them at the Annual General Meeting in June this year.
An irony in the identity of the authors of the report has not gone unnoticed: Giles Clarke, the ECB president, and Cricket Australia (CA) chairman David Peever represent two of the Big Three boards behind the changes expected to be reversed (unlike Clarke, however, Peever was not part of CA at the time of the 2014 revamp).
That should not detract from its substance, however, as the report covers a raft of issues fundamental to cricket's future: how members make money, how cricket will be governed, and how international cricket should be structured.
The thorniest battles will likely centre on a new financial model, the aim of which is to better share the revenues generated by ICC events. The Big Three's financial model upended the system of equal revenue distribution to Full Members that had been in place since the body took control of world cricketing events. It added a new element to the distribution - that of contribution costs, in which members who "contributed" most to the global game got a bigger share of the pie.
A new model will likely retain the idea of contribution costs. The belief among even some of the original opponents of the Big Three is that a completely even distribution of money to all Full Members is not sustainable.
But the model could see what one official says might be a "fair chunk" cut from the BCCI's earlier projected share. In that model, the BCCI stood to earn approximately US$571.25 million if the ICC were to secure US$2.5 billion for the 2015-2023 rights cycle (which they more or less have done).
Last February it was said by a Bangladesh Cricket Board official that Shashank Manohar, the ICC chairman, was mulling a 6% cut of the BCCI's share (which stood at 20.3% in the original model). That figure lowers by US$150 million the BCCI's potential earnings from ICC events in this rights cycle (to approximately US$421.25 million). Another set of figures circulating, but unconfirmed, place their earnings in this cycle as low as US$270 million, or under half of what the Big Three model promised. On any speculative scale of earnings that would sit at the lowest - and most improbable - end; interestingly enough, in these figures, even the ECB stand to earn less than the original model, though most of the smaller boards could end up with more.
The question of what the BCCI stands to potentially lose has been, understandably, a touchy one and both ICC management and its members have guarded zealously the contents of the report and details of the model.
Incidentally, there has been a partial pause on revenue distribution thus far in this rights cycle. Only one ICC event has taken place - the 2016 World T20 - and it is believed that Full Members were paid out equal distributions from it last year. The payouts based on the contribution costs calculations of the Big Three model - the bone of contention - have been held back until a new model is approved. Indeed, the smaller seven boards actually earned more from the ICC than the Big Three boards because they were also eligible for payments from the Test Cricket Fund (which was activated).
All of this means that potential opposition from the BCCI would have to be overcome at the board meeting for this to move ahead. Ordinarily that might be close to impossible, but with the BCCI in such administrative flux members might sense an opening; with CA and ECB now ostensibly on the other side, if it comes to a vote, the odds are firmly stacked against the BCCI (and the more cynical observers might choose to view Giles Clarke's recent visit to Pakistan and CSA's overtures to Zimbabwe recently as part of an effort to ensure unity at the meeting).
Under Manohar, the ICC has already made significant changes to the way the game is governed - last year, for instance, permanent positions for India, England and Australia on the Executive Committee and the Financial & Commercial Affairs committee were removed. The position of the ICC chairman has also become independent from any member board. The report is expected to make further recommendations on the structure of various other ICC committees, change which could stretch anywhere from rationalisation to an overhaul.
The other major conversation this weekend will be an ongoing one, on the structure of international cricket. Over the last year many models have been proposed, then discussed and then thrown away as cricket tries to bring greater context and meaning to bilateral contests.
From them, the only definitive development has been that a two-tier structure for Test cricket is not going to happen. A conference-style structure - with two conferences of six Test teams - was discussed at the last board meeting in October and holds promise, and it could yet allow a culmination of a Test championship. There is general agreement across members that progress towards a final destination needs to quicken, but as one official warned, it is easier to speak conceptually about these than to execute them. There is expected to be, however, greater progress on an ODI league structure.
One matter not to be found on the official ICC agenda, or in the report, but of equal significance will be that of the pooling of TV rights; that is, the effort by some boards to create a buffer against the game's reliance on the Indian broadcast market for sustenance, by pooling the overseas territory rights of their bilateral series and selling them as a bundle to broadcasters (the money from that sale divvied up equally among the participating boards).
These discussions will carry on along the margins of the official meetings - CA, ECB and CSA have led the way on this and there is support from Pakistan, though the rest of the Asian bloc have been cool to it. In the case of the BCCI it is understandable, given their considerable earnings from non-bilateral cricket broadcasts like the IPL. But in theory, a smaller board such as Sri Lanka Cricket stands to earn money in such a pool from, for example, an Ashes series broadcast. Ultimately, as this is not an ICC initiative, it will not matter how many boards choose to opt in or the pace at which it progresses.
With inputs from Nagraj Gollapudi, Daniel Brettig and Firdose Moonda.