• Thursday, October 02, 2014

Bangladesh’s Test future safe for now

Star Online Report

Bangladesh made its case in the strongest possible manner at the ICC (International Cricket Council) board meeting in Dubai today where the BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) president Nazmul Hasan Papon said that he would vote against anything that bars Bangladesh from playing Test cricket.

Living up to the hopes and expectations of the whole nation, which is protesting the controversial draft position paper that proposed a two-tier Test system virtually relegating Bangladesh from Tests, the BCB chief registered an official memo to the ICC in which it stated: “BCB will not endorse any proposal that compromises Bangladesh’s full member rights in terms of status and participation”.

The draft of the Big Three led by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket India) that proposed structural and financial overhauling of the ICC was not put to a vote on the first day of the two-day ICC meeting.

Bangladesh is the only country who opposed the draft while three other members from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa asked for a deferral. 

However, there was a six-hour heated discussion once the radical draft, which was reportedly tweaked, was tabled. There was nothing conclusive that came out after the meeting.

An ICC release on the meeting stated that there had been a "unanimous approval for a set of principles relating to the future structure, governance and financial models of the ICC." It also added that a follow-up meeting will be held to discuss the proposals again next month.

The ICC board unanimously supported a few principles including two pertinent issues relating to Bangladesh.

The first one is that ‘there will be an opportunity for all members to play all formats of cricket on merit, with participation based on meritocracy; no immunity to any country, and no change to membership status’. And the second one is that ‘mutually agreed bi-lateral FTP agreements will be legally binding for the same period as the ICC commercial rights cycle (2015-2023)’.

If these two principles are agreed upon then Bangladesh’s status as a Test nation will not only remain intact but will also guarantee their participation in Test matches till 2023.

Earlier PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf has said that the boards of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa are in opposition to the revamp of administrative and financial structures of the ICC, at the governing body's executive board meeting that is currently on in Dubai, reports espncricinfo.

Before entering the meeting, Ashraf told Pakistan's ARY TV, that "Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka, we all have one stance. Let us see what we vote inside. We will stick to our stance."

It is now known that CSA, the PCB and SLC had formally written to the ICC, asking for a deferral of the "position paper" proposals being pushed through by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB, the three richest and most powerful cricket boards.

Zaka said he would vote for "whatever is in Pakistan's interests". "We have to see what is in our interests when we vote," he said, adding that during his discussions with the BCCI over the last two days discussions had come up about the two countries playing each other at "neutral venues".

In a late development on Monday night, the three cricket boards wrote to the ICC asking that the discussions on the proposal be deferred.

Cricket's formally-united Big Three - the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB - is expected to present the seven other Full Member nations with a set of re-drafted "resolutions" around their radical "position paper" at an ICC executive meeting in Dubai on Tuesday.

The resolutions - five in number - were being talked through the first official meeting of the Finance & Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee after its "working group" - made up of the heads of the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB - came up with the proposal in a 21-page document that called for a complete overhaul of the ICC's administration and its revenue distribution.

The first of the proposals to be watered down is expected to be the one pertaining to a two-tier format for Test cricket and the relegation of the bottom two ranked into the ICC Intercontinental Cup. The other proposal which could be reworked pertains to a newly formed Executive Committee (ExCo) and it's possible expansion from four to five, with a second nominee coming in from the "small seven," as opposed to only one according to the draft position paper.

A senior Bangladeshi cricket official said, "It is a big thing, (to us) this status. In 13 years, Bangladesh have managed to win four Test matches. India and New Zealand did not win their first Test till 30 years. So how come these people are now telling Bangladesh that you will need to fight out in the I-Cup to retain your Test status."

However, a BCB press release today said, the Bangladesh Cricket Board reiterated its position regarding issues pertaining to full member rights of status and participation during a discussion on a draft position paper put forward by a working group of the Finance and Commercial Affairs committee of ICC.

The paper seeks considerable structural changes to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and its governance, future tours programme and Test cricket.

Speaking at the meeting of ICC in Dubai BCB Acting CEO Nizam Uddin Chowdury said “We have communicated to the ICC Board that the BCB will not endorse any proposal that compromises Bangladesh’s full member rights in terms of status and participation", the press release added.

 

Published: 1:36 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last modified: 10:24 pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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