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Bangla faces heat

- Control of ICC India, England, Australia almost there

Calcutta: The heat is on Bangladesh, the youngest Test-playing nation.

Late on Monday, the buzz in Dubai, where the International Cricket Council (ICC) is headquartered, was that India, England and Australia needed the support of just “one more” Test-playing nation to jointly take control of the ICC.

“As we speak, one short is the Big Three’s position... It’s going to be a long night,” is how a well-placed source, in Dubai, put it.

Apparently, the West Indies and Zimbabwe have “joined” New Zealand in supporting the proposals, some of whom are very controversial, made by a working group of the ICC’s finance and commercial affairs committee.

For the proposals to be pushed through at the executive board, which meets on Tuesday-Wednesday, the Big Three need the support of seven of the 10 Test-playing nations.

South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are opposed to the proposals, even though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hasn’t made an announcement. Bangladesh is against some of the proposals.

The PCB can’t, of course, raise its voice beyond a point, for it’s desperate for the return of international cricket on Pakistan’s soil and, so, can’t tackle the Big Three head on.

Former captain Ramiz Raja chose to be practical and “advised” the PCB to make the “best use of this situation.”

“With two big events coming up in Bangladesh, the Asia Cup and the World T20, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is being pressurised to fall in line or risk losing the two tournaments...

“One of the Big Three is really turning on the heat and it’s now a matter of whether the BCB can sustain the enormous pressure... To put it crudely, it’s blackmail,” another well-placed source told The Telegraph from Dubai.

The February 25-March 8 Asia Cup is being organised by the Asian Cricket Council, which is headed by Board of Control for Cricket in India president Narayanswamy Srinivasan.

Srinivasan has global ambitions, the scandal surrounding son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan notwithstanding.

The World T20 is an ICC event and is scheduled between March 16-April 6.

Among the controversial proposals is the one about relegating the two lowest-ranked Test teams. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are at No.9 and No.10, respectively, at this point in time.

Other proposals, too, have a distinct class divide flavour and the Associate and Affiliate Members will effectively become non-entities.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that there were “heated exchanges” during the day’s governance review committee meeting.

It’s headed by Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards, who also sits on the finance and commercial affairs committee.

There were objections, it seems, over why the proposals, which involve “issues of governance,” weren’t first discussed by the relevant committee.

Edwards wasn’t able to convince everybody.