Less lonely battle in Dubai

2014-01-28 00:00

CRICKET SA’s president Chris Nenzani and financial officer Naasei Appiah will from today fight against overwhelming forces in Dubai in an attempt to scupper a proposal by Australia, England and India to take over world cricket.

Amid reports from Dubai that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is attempting to isolate South Africa, increasing resistance yesterday against the plans by the “Big Three” from outside the International Cricket Council (ICC) was seen as “encouraging”.

The ICC is due to discuss the proposal by the “Big Three” in Dubai today and tomorrow.

South Africa is the only country among the ICC’s 10 member states that has been openly opposed to the proposal.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) will try to fight the proposal by pointing out the unconstitutional manner in which it was tabled.

Reports from Dubai are that the BCCI has already had informal talks with all the ICC member states except South Africa over the weekend.

An informed source close to the CSA has meanwhile described resistance by some of these ICC members states as “encouraging”.

Former England captain Michael Atherton had also added his voice to the growing opposition to a “Big Three” takeover. In his column in London’s Times, he wrote that the management of the ICC left a lot to be desired, but said the best solution was to place control of world cricket in the hands of an independent executive council.

Atherton wrote the ICC comprises two member states who are suspected of being corrupt and four who are bankrupt, while most of them depend on India for handouts.

He believes the only advantage to the proposal is that it would keep India inside the ICC instead of leaving an angry BCCI “outside on the roof”.

A group of former ICC managers have also entered the fray with an open letter addressed to the ICC.

In it they make an urgent appeal to the curators of cricket to immediately withdraw the proposal.

Ali Bacher, who headed the former SA Cricket Association, warned ICC president Alan Isaac in a personal e-mail on Sunday that cricket will be torn apart if the proposal is carried.

Bacher wrote that the restructuring would lead to division and unhappiness on a scale never seen before.

Bacher supports the former ICC president Ehsan Mani from Pakistan, who also wrote a letter in which he and a group of former administrators ask that the proposal must be withdrawn.

Two former Australian administrators, Malcolm Speed and Malcolm Gray, respectively former executive head and president of the ICC, as well as the former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, have also signed the letter.

Mani said if the proposal is carried through, ICC members will lose more than $312 million, (over R3,4 billion) which will be divided among the “Big Three”. On top of this they will from 2015 to 2023 be the only hosts for ICC tournaments, making an estimated $3 billion during this time. The International Cricket Players Association also said its members did not support the proposal. Former Protea fast bowler Fanie de Villiers said he hoped the “bully system” would not be approved.

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