The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) - for the first time in more than 25 years - will remain a mute spectator to the goings on at the International Cricket Council (ICC) that is all set to bring about a deluge of policy changes this weekend.
The two-day board meeting of the ICC will get underway in Dubai on Friday. It will not matter who is representing India at the meeting - though for the record Supreme Court-appointed administrator and IDFC MD and CEO Vikram Limaye will attend along with BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary.
It won't matter because the agenda for the meeting - that will have a major impact on all stakeholders in the game - was put in place long ago at the ICC's previous meetings in 2016 even as the Indian Cricket Board was busy fighting a never-ending battle for survival in the Supreme Court.
BCCI's only shot at stopping these policy changes from being ratified is if they pull out of an ICC tournament. "Should India decide to pull out of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in June - scheduled just before the ICC annual conference - the ICC will not survive the financial onslaught such a move will potentially unleash. That's the only way," says an ex-administrator.
For now, following are the policy changes that will be passed at the ICC Board meeting in the next two days and their repercussions:
A) Writing off the Big Three model that had initially allowed BCCI to rake in a 20.3% stake in ICC revenues, the newly done math is now likely to bring down BCCI's revenues from the ICC by half, if not more. Those in the know say 'expect worse damages'.
Repercussion: ICC's position paper for the 2015-23 financial cycle and one for the following seven years threatens India with a loss in excess of Rs 3000 cr.
B) Ireland and Afghanistan likely to be given Test status which in turn could make way for a new Test cricket structure. The structure may not be a two-tier but a baseball-styled conference structure as it happens in the MLB (US).
Repercussion: The BCCI's financial muscle has been such that member countries of the ICC depend on India's overseas tours to earn dividends from their respective rights holders. India, in turn, had been trying to use it to its advantage to create a viable home season - like the English summer and the Australian Boxing Day - which could now be made to wind up.
C) One ICC tournament mandatory every year alongside qualification tournaments for World T20.
Repercussion: India's biggest fear, and rightly so, will be that such a move could destabilise its IPL window, thereby hurting the interests of a well-oiled league that's easily world cricket's envy right now.
D) Pooling of overseas television rights - this is not on the ICC Board agenda but will be part of discussion among Member Boards.
Repercussion: From a section of broadcasters to ex-BCCI administrators, they've all never found logic in how rights - that do not sell individually - can sell in a bundle. But that aside, India's concern also stems from the fact host countries get to earn the most from India tours and therefore the BCCI should have a say in the decision.The water has already flown from under the bridge and there's little the BCCI can do now except wait for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Only if they threaten to pull out of it, they believe, will the wind begin to blow their way.
WILL THEY BE READY IN TIME?
Post the ICC Board meeting, these policy changes will come up for ratification at the annual conference of the governing body in June this year. To be specific, the annual conference will be held soon after the conclusion of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. The question Indian cricket administrators need to ask themselves - and those governing them right now - is if they will be ready by June if they need to defy these "undesirable" policy changes.
Should the Supreme Court see reason and the Committee of Administrators play ball, India can well bring out the ace up its sleeve.
Courtesy: The Times of India