MUMBAI, April 26, (RTRS): India failed to submit its squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy by the Tuesday midnight deadline and, as it tries to thrash out a better revenue deal with cricket’s governing body, the world’s richest board has not ruled out boycotting the tournament altogether.
International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Shashank Manohar has been critical of the ‘Big Three’ model of 2014, which effectively put India, England and Australia in control of the game’s finances and administration.
At a meeting in February, the ICC agreed “in principle” to reverse the 2014 decision and proposed a governance structure including a new revenue distribution model, which seeks to address the current imbalance favouring the three.
The Indian board (BCCI) unsurprisingly opposed the new proposal, which would see their revenue share decreased.
India’s huge market is a major draw for sponsors and the BCCI move in delaying the naming of its squad for the Champions Trophy is being seen in some quarters as a pressure tactic aimed at getting the deal possible from the ICC.
However, local media have reported that pulling out of the tournament, to be staged in England and Wales in June, is a serious option if the revenue sharing talks break down.
Vinod Rai, who heads the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators to supervise the running of the BCCI, said negotiations were ongoing but did not rule out such a scenario unfolding.
“It’s too early to comment on that,” Rai told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.
Under the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) for the 50-over tournament, to be played between the world’s top eight sides, the deadline for the submission of squads to the ICC was midnight on Tuesday.
India, who won the last edition in 2013, was the only country not to name its 15-man squad for the June 1-18 tournament.
However, there is no scope for sanctions or penalties under the MPA.
The ICC is expected to make a final decision on the new financial model and governance structure at its ongoing meetings in Dubai.
Cricket website ESPNcricinfo reported on Tuesday that Manohar, who is from India, made an improved offer to the BCCI, increasing their share of revenue by about $100 million.
Manohar, who has also served as BCCI chief, resigned from his ICC post in March citing personal reasons but later deferred the decision and said he would continue as chairman until administrative reforms of the governing body were complete.
A new city-based Twenty20 tournament in England was given the go-ahead to start in 2020 following an England and Wales Cricket Board meeting on Wednesday.
Proposals for the eight-team tournament, designed to rival similar events such as the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash, were approved by 38 of the ECB’s 41 members.
Essex and Middlesex were the only two English counties who voted against the plans, while Kent abstained.
“We are delighted that such an overwhelming majority of our members have voted to support the change to the ECB’s Articles,” said ECB chairman Colin Graves in a press release.
“In doing so, they have paved the way for an exciting new era for cricket in England and Wales.”
The new tournament will sit alongside England’s existing domestic competitions, including the T20 Blast.
The cities that will host teams have not yet been announced.
“Over the past year our members have seen the clear evidence outlining why an additional new T20 competition is the right way for cricket to reach new audiences, create new fans and drive the future of the game,” Graves added.
“I passionately believe that the game has chosen the right path. Each of our members will benefit and, critically, so will the whole game.
“Our clear ambition is that this new competition will sit alongside the IPL and Big Bash League as one of the world’s major cricket tournaments.
“The benefits it will bring can deliver a sustainable future for all 18 first-class counties and an exciting future for the game in England and Wales.”
Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari unexpectedly announced his retirement from cricket at the age of 25 on Wednesday, just six months after making his England debut.
Ansari, who had been with Surrey since the age of eight, said he wanted to pursue other opportunities and was contemplating a career in law.
“After seven years as a professional cricketer and almost two decades in total playing the game, I have decided to bring my cricket career to an end,” he said in a statement released by Surrey.
“This has been a very difficult decision to make and I have not made it lightly. It is… with great sadness that I say goodbye.
“Nevertheless, I have always been clear that when the time was right for me to move on I would, and that time has now come.
“While the timing may come as a surprise, I have always maintained that cricket was just one part of my life and that I have other ambitions that I want to fulfil.
“With that in mind, I am now exploring another career, potentially in law, and to achieve this I have to begin the process now.”
Ansari was first capped by Surrey in 2014 and made his one-day debut for England the following year.
His Test debut was delayed by a freak hand injury sustained while fielding at Old Trafford in late 2015.
He eventually won his first Test cap against Bangladesh last October.
Ansari has combined his cricket career with academic studies.
He secured a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology from Cambridge University in 2013 and was awarded a Master’s degree in History by Royal Holloway, University of London last year.
Alec Stewart, director of cricket at Surrey, said: “Zafar’s exceptionally tough but considered decision is one that we should all respect and understand.
“We wish Zafar the very best in whatever the future holds for him and he will always be welcomed back to the Kia Oval with open arms.”