India, Australia and England -the self-proclaimed 'Big Three' -- are close to officially becoming the super boys of world cricket. The 'Position Paper', largely aimed at giving sweeping powers to Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board, will soon become a reality, if reports are to be believed. The 'rebel' group is slowly losing its 'unity' and the Big Three is surely but steadily en route to securing the votes needed to push their ambitious revamp plans through. (Cricket to be run by India, England and Australia?)
Although no Board has officially put pen to paper, several top officials on the Executive Board and representing their nations at the ICC, have, on record, nodded in approval of the proposed changes that give the Big Three supreme control in the way cricket will be played from 2015 and revenue from the game shared in accordance to the commercial 'value' a Test-playing nation brings on the table. (West Indies back ICC plans on revenue share)
A lot of water seems to have flowed down the Persian Gulf in the last 48 hours when the ICC Executive Board met in Dubai on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 'Position Paper', piloted by the BCCI, sparked a furious debate with the cricket world almost on the verge of a split. The cricket Boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa were clear that the paper had "fundamental flaws." With four of the 10 Full Members in hostile mood, the ICC went against a vote. Better sense prevailed when the Big Three took the path of dialogue, agreed to tweak the 'disturbing' clauses and of course, offer a few guarantees. Within 24 hours, cash-strapped West Indies officially accepted the key principles leading to the revamp, New Zealand verbally backed the big boys and Bangladesh carefully let their guard down. (Pakistan, Sri Lanka oppose ICC overhaul plans)
Given the importance of this 'Position Paper', it will need a special resolution to accept the far-reaching changes. ICC will require a meeting to pass the resolution and according to its constitution eight out of the 10 full members will need to back the proposal. The 'Big Three' is apparently one vote away from the three-fourths majority needed to push the proposals through. If one among Pakistan, Sri Lanka or South Africa agree to back the 'Big Three', the battle would be won. (Blog: Only good on-field performances can boost India's stature in ICC's boardroom)
Article 6.12 (a)3(b) in the constitution, which deals with voting on a special resolution, reads: "Resolution proposed at Conference or at a Special Meeting shall be deemed to have been carried as a Special Resolution only if not less than three-quarters of the aggregate number of votes exercisable by all the Full Members shall have been cast in favour of the Resolution, irrespective of whether or not all of the Full Members shall have actually been present in person or by proxy."
Financially struggling Pakistan look the most gullible to bite the revenue share bait. Virtually banished by the cricket world due to the hostile political condition prevailing in its country, the Pakistan Cricket Board has not hosted an international fixture at home since March 2009 when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. This has resulted in depleting bank balance. Under the circumstances, it would be foolish to let go of assured revenue.
Last week, former Pakistan skipper Rameez Raja, when asked on the draft proposal, told a TV channel: "I think we can benefit a lot from the situation and what we can do is get long-term financial benefits and also sign long-term bilateral contracts for series with these three nations. We should not go with the popular opinion but think about our own benefits because every board will do that." India have already agreed to play Pakistan at a 'neutral' venue.
It is a known fact that BCCI generates 80 per cent of world cricket revenue. The only way most other Boards remain financially afloat is from the colossal television rights they receive from a tour by India. West Indies and Bangladesh quickly fell in line when they were guaranteed no relegation from Test cricket and India will tour more frequently to help generate revenue. These clearly proved to be the clinching factors. For the Big Three, the asking rate is pretty much achievable now.