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‘In principle’, an exalted status for India in ICC

- India could play Pak on Neutral Territory

Calcutta: “In principle,” India’s nominee will be the first chairman of a “revamped” all-powerful board of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

That, in all likelihood, should be the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, Narayanswamy Srinivasan. He’s been nursing global ambitions for quite a while.

Again, “in principle,” Australia’s nominee will chair the proposed executive committee, while England’s man will be the chairman of the finance and commercial affairs committee.

Those positions could go to Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards and the England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke, respectively.

All three will hold office for a “transitional period” of two years, from 2014-15. After that, the positions will be “thrown open.”

“In principle,” that was decided on Tuesday, the first day of the ICC’s board meeting, in Dubai.

So, come June and the ICC will be controlled by India, Australia and England with the president reduced to doing ceremonial duties. Nothing more.

According to the ICC, all the proposals put forward by the “working group” of the finance and commercial affairs committee have been “accepted in principle.”

However, “some fine-tuning” is required and, so, the ICC is set to have another board meeting in the “next 10-15 days.”

Indeed, late on Tuesday, Cricket South Africa, which had termed the process “unconstitutional” and “flawed,” issued a media release which could have dampened the rejoicing among the Big Three.

For the proposals to be shot down, four of the 10 Test-playing nations had to force a vote. That just didn’t happen.

Getting back to the “fine-tuning,” it won’t cover the much-enhanced percentage of revenue distribution to India, Australia and England from the ICC’s kitty.

A media statement from the ICC was rather clever: “A need to recognise the varying contribution of Full (Test-playing) Members to the value of ICC events through the payment of ‘contribution costs’.”

Well, not surprisingly, India’s pressure tactics paid off handsomely.

On account of his mother’s demise, Srinivasan didn’t travel to Dubai, but featured in the deliberations via a video link.

Srinivasan’s in the midst of mourning, so celebrations of the personal kind will be at a later date.

Confirmation was awaited, but well-placed sources of The Telegraph said that India had offered to play Pakistan on “neutral territory.”

That, then, must have gone a long way in convincing Pakistan to shed their reservations over the proposals, some of whom were, at the draft stage, extremely controversial.

Thus far, India’s stand had been to stay away from bilateral engagements on neutral ground.

South Africa’s position has become somewhat confusing, while it’s not clear how Sri Lanka (in financial distress) was won over. ‘Threats’, though, seem to have worked with Bangladesh.

Perhaps, what also played a part is that the team (not teams) which gets relegated to playing in the Intercontinental Cup won’t lose Test status.

Bangladesh is right at the bottom, No.10, in the Test rankings. The relegation/promotion cycle, over four seasons, begins from 2015-16.