BCCI to present Manohar as witness in dispute with PCB

ICC chairman looks good for further two years in the chair

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi in Calcutta
  • Published 25.04.18
ICC chairman Shashank Manohar at The Oberoi Grand on Tuesday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh

Calcutta: Shashank Manohar, the International Cricket Council(ICC)’s first independent chairman, will be presented before the panel constituted from within the world body’s Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC) as a high-profile “witness” by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

That would, of course, be in Manohar’s capacity as a former president of the BCCI. Manohar, a lawyer, held that position twice.

Nobody should take umbrage, as Manohar’s past as an administrator — or anybody else’s for that matter — cannot be erased. He was, after all, nominated by the BCCI before going on to become the independent chairman.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken the issue of bilateral series to the DRC. However, neither did the BCCI sign a contract nor was an MoU inked...

“From our side it was only a statement of intent and a full-fledged contract was to follow. It wasn’t an agreement as the PCB has been insisting...

“It never got to the agreement stage. If it had, then the clearance from the government part would definitely have been incorporated... 

“In fact, the letter from PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who is a dear friend of mine, to Sanjay Patel (the BCCI secretary in 2014) clearly states that the two Boards ‘will enter into a long-term FTP agreement’...

“Following the procedure laid down, the BCCI is submitting a list of witnesses to be presented before the DRC’s panel. Our list will feature Mr Manohar, Sanjay, Mr Narayanswami Srinivasan (who was then the president) and Mr Anurag Thakur...

“Mr Manohar and Mr Thakur’s names would be put forward as there were happenings subsequent to that March 9, 2014, letter from Mr Sethi,” Amitabh Choudhary, acting secretary of the BCCI, told The Telegraph on Tuesday afternoon.

Amitabh is in the city to attend Thursday’s Board meeting of the ICC as the director representing India.

Amitabh Choudhary

A million-Rupee question is whether Srinivasan would actually appear as a witness before the DRC’s panel. There was, by the way, a phase when he held complete sway over the world body.

With the focus on Sethi’s letter to Patel, one may as well go through the excerpts. So... 

“Re: Future Tours Programme 2014-23

Further to our meetings and discussions over the past few weeks, regarding the bilateral tours between India and Pakistan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hereby agree that the senior
men’s cricket teams of India and Pakistan will play each other as per the following schedule:

• In December 2015: Pakistan to tour India for three Tests/three ODIs

• In November-December 2017: India to tour Pakistan for three Tests and three ODIs

• In December 2019: Pakistan to tour India for three Tests and three ODIs

• In August 2020: India to tour Pakistan for three Tests/three ODIs

• In November-December 2022: India to tour Pakistan for five ODIs

The BCCI and PCB will enter into a long-term FTP agreement in respect to the above Future Tours.”

Adopting an aggressive stance, the PCB is seeking massive damages on account of India not playing Pakistan in a bilateral series after the T20Is and the ODIs in India back in 2012-2013. 

As for the DRC’s panel, hearing has been scheduled from October 1-3 in Dubai, where the ICC is headquartered. The well-known Michael Beloff QC will chair, with Dr Anabelle Benett and Jan Paulsson his colleagues.

The DRC panel’s decision “shall be non-appealable and remain the full and final decision in relation to the matter and binding on all parties.”

Meanwhile, Manohar looks set for another two-year term as the independent chairman.

Manohar’s term will end with the ICC’s Annual Conference, in Dublin, from June 27 to July 3.

While Manohar hasn’t said anything publicly, those who have been working with him are certain that he’s game for a further two years.

Giles Clarke (England) and Sri Lanka’s Thilanga Sumathipala are understood to be “very keen” or at least “keen”, but the numbers seem to be with Manohar.

“So far, at least, I haven’t seen a challenger in the real sense emerging,” a well-placed source pointed out.

Two of the 12 directors representing the Test-playing nations have to propose an individual’s candidature. The electoral college would comprise those 12, plus three Associates and, possibly, the nominated female director too.

The ICC’s Board meeting has 11 items specifically listed on the agenda, with six of them having subheads. Item No.6 (Governance Matters) has a subhead on “ICC Chairperson 2018-2020.”

It couldn’t be confirmed, but the modalities of electing the next independent supremo should become clear by dusk on Thursday.

Postscript: Amitabh has confirmed he’ll attend the Asian Cricket Council’s annual conference, in Lahore, in September.