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4 nations oppose ICC revamp: PCB ‘United’

KARACHI, Jan 28, (AFP): Pakistan’s cricket chief said Tuesday that his board, along with South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, were united in opposing plans to revamp the game’s governing body. Proposals under discussion at a two-day International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting in Dubai on Tuesday and Wednesday would effectively cede control of the sport to the three richest nations: India, Australia and England. Cricket South Africa and Sri Lanka Cricket have both called for the withdrawal of the “position paper” and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf said they were not alone. “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,” Ashraf told media before entering the meeting in Dubai. India have offered Pakistan a sweetener to support the so-called “Big Three” plan by proposing a bilateral series, possibly in the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistani cricket has been badly hit by foreign teams refusing to tour since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in 2009 and a series against wealthy arch-rivals India could be a huge money-spinner for the PCB. “They (India) have offered us to play series on neutral venues but we have to see how sincere they are in their offerings,” Ashraf said. “Pakistan has stuck to its stance and we can see there is a reaction on this proposal.” India and Pakistan have not playing a full series since Pakistan toured in 2007, as New Delhi stalled ties in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, blamed on militants based in Pakistan. There is also a plan to create two divisions for Test cricket, in which England, Australia and India would never face relegation from the top tier because of their commercial importance.

Many former players and administrators — and even anti-corruption campaigners — have voiced dismay at the plans. But supporters argue they would free boards from “unviable” tours and would allow the teams outside the “Big Three” to become more financially self-sufficient. The Indian board have appeared to threaten to withdraw from all ICC events if the proposals are not accepted. This is a potentially disastrous outcome for the game’s smaller nations, given that India currently generates around 80 percent of the ICC’s global revenue.

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