Regional journalists feel WICB should not support ICC revamp

At least three regional cricket journalists feel that the West Indies Cricket Board should not be in any way supportive of the proposed radical revamp of the International Cricket Council.

The three Veteran Trinidad Express Sports Editor and columnist, Garth Wattley, broadcaster Barry Wilkinson and cricket commentator Fazeer Mohammed were asked their views on the proposed ICC revamp which would see the control of international cricket being undertaken by three countries India, Australia and England and not the International Cricket Council as is the present situation.

The proposal which calls for an overhaul of the ICC’s revenue distribution also wants a two tier system of test cricket with India, Australia and England exempt from relegation to the second tier.

“I can’t see this being good; the countries with economic power will do what suit them and not the West Indies. West Indies need more test matches versus such countries and I see nothing in this proposal that guarantee’s this,” stated Wattley.

He continued: “Two tiers system also means less cricket and revenues for the board to do key structural and development work. If the Windies and rest of the world cave to this proposal, where does India and company stop? Potentially, even the laws of the game become vulnerable. It’s very over ambitions and shortsighted.”

Former ICC President Ehsan Mani, who played a major role as the head of the ICC’s Finance and Marketing committee from 1996 to 2002, produced a 13-page rebuttal and graph that shows why teams like the West Indies should not cave into these proposals.

“While there would be a significant reduction in the value of the ICC Commercial Rights if India did not participate in an event; it would not be a reduction of 80% of ICC revenues. The Indian broadcasters would still wish to broadcast ICC Events. There would be a relatively greater impact, than the values attributed to Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies in the Paper if these three countries did not participate in an ICC event. From discussions with broadcasters, if a World Cup was held without Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies ICC revenues for the event could be reduced by 30%-40%”.

Notable Regional journalist Fazeer Mohammed elaborated on the Mani statement:

“In principle, Mani is certainly correct. If Brazil, despite its history were to pull out of world football or a football World Cup, would football die?” questioned Mohammed.

“Surely not! Because the Brazilian public, just like India’s cricket public wants to see their team tested against the best in the World in high profile competitions to prove their superiority. If the unlikely were to happen in the Dubai meeting and the World stood up and the BCCI seceded from World cricket, I doubt Indian fans would settle for an IPL without international stars or zero international contests,” concluded Mohammed.

Wilkinson, of Line and Length cricket commentary queried what it meant for test cricket in the Caribbean.

“I think the proposal potentially kills off aspiring, young test cricketers in the region such as Kraigg Braithwaite. Such players would have nothing to aim for,” explained Wilkinson.

“The role of the new director of cricket, Richard Pybus, may also have to be tweaked, because under this potential new reality, he won’t be developing cricketers to play much long format cricket.”

WICB, Imran Khan, in Sunday’s Trinidad Guardian also gave his take on the issue.

“This is very good for us because we no longer would be obligated to host New Zealand and Zimbabwe and those loss-making tours. We can only look to host India, England and Australia where we know we will make money,” he said.

“However, the flipside to that is that England, Australia and India may very well look upon West Indies and say, ‘well, we really don’t have to host West Indies because Sports Max and CMC don’t really give us much money for when they come.’ So that is where you have to balance the issue out and it is a very sensitive issue.

“I don’t know we can say with absolute certainty at this stage that one is greater than the other where that specific issue is concerned,” he added.





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