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The ICC board of directors meeting in Dubai decided, as expected, to end the unloved trial of the Supersub with immediate effect. It also announced a new pitch-monitoring process, endorsed an anti-doping policy and received a report from Peter Chingoka on the state of play in Zimbabwe.
Among other items were an agreement on the minimum number of matches required for a team to be ranked in the official ICC One-Day Championship, and an agreement to revert to full recognition of the administration of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) subject to certain conditions.
The briefest discussion surrounded the agreement not to continue with the Supersub experiment, introduced in haste last June and widely lambasted ever since. Indeed, it would not be right to describe it as a discussion so much as a rubber-stamping exercise.
The board endorsed the adoption of an ICC anti-doping policy for all major ICC-run events. The proposed policy complies with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and will be introduced in time for the Champions Trophy in India in October.
The board also proposed the first formal pitch-monitoring process for international cricket. This process, which has been adopted with immediate effect, includes potential sanctions ranging from a formal warning to a fine, or even suspension of international status for venues that produce substandard pitches.
The continuing problems in Zimbabwe were discussed, with a presentation by Chingoka, the chairman of the interim board. An ICC statement said that the board were told that an independent auditor had been appointed to conduct a forensic audit and that a new constitution would be in place by the middle of the year. Chingoka was told that Zimbabwe Cricket would be required to provide a report to the ICC board at its October 2006 and March 2007 meetings reviewing the on-field performances of its teams ahead of any decision regarding its resumption of Test cricket.
With regard to the ICC One-Day Championship, the board decided that the minimum number of matches needed to be played by a side to qualify for a ranking should be eight matches. That meant that Kenya have now played sufficient matches in the qualifying period. The two matches it played in the ICC Champions Trophy 2004 have a 50% weighting, while their recent four matches against Zimbabwe and the opening two matches of its series against Bangladesh take it to the eight-match threshold. Kenya is ranked 11th on the table with a rating of 18 points. It needs to win both remaining matches of its four-match series against Bangladesh to climb to tenth and claim the last qualifying spot for the ICC Champions Trophy.
Another board that had been a thorn in the ICC's side, the USA Cricket Association, has again been recognised subject to certain conditions. The only one specified in the media release is that it must conduct independently-monitored elections before November 30, 2006. The USACA has been at odds with the ICC since a split last year challenged the existing board's right to run the game.