Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“I don’t think this is about principles, it is about safeguarding our own self-interests in the long run in world cricket”
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are likely to support the new International Cricket Council (ICC) revamp out of fear that they might be isolated if they decide not to.
With all the other boards having agreed to the changes proposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia, the PCB are also concerned that they will be excluded from numerous bilateral tours.
“I don’t think this is about principles, it is about safeguarding our own self-interests in the long run in world cricket,” PCB chairman Najam Sethi said. “We are the only ones now, left alone [against the revamp]. Whomever I have spoken to says they also initially opposed the changes but later went with it because they were gaining a lot by supporting these changes.”
However, former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf revealed that the ICC revamp was unfair on the other boards since only the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia will receive a larger share of the ICC’s revenues.
He also claimed that the PCB was offered the chance to join the ‘Big Three’ and receive the same benefits they do.
“The situation is very tricky,” Ashraf told ESPNcricinfo. “The PCB obviously will be the last country [to accept the revamp], but that doesn’t make any difference. The restructuring is still against the basic principle of equality and the ‘Big Three’ will be acting despotically.
“The [revised] financial model is based on merely theory and a dummy model [by which no Full Member loses] is shown with a verbal assurance that they won’t let the things slip. They promised that every board would get its fair share according to their commercial value. They also asked us to be the part of the scheme, to make it Big Four, as Pakistan holds a productive commercial value.
“The revamped ICC model is bound to fail in the long run. Their bid is to control things and that is what the whole idea was, but there is no indemnity if the structure collapses. And I am afraid the way cricket is being treated, the structure won’t sustain itself in the long run and in the next three years board members, especially the supporters, will start realising this and things will start splitting.”
Even though they have not hosted any international matches since the Sri Lankan team were ambushed by armed militants in March 2009, the PCB have been able to support themselves by moving all their home games to the United Arab Emirates.
“Pakistan, in last few years, despite being isolated are still standing tall and the PCB is not in debt as many boards are,” Ashraf said. “No board is ready to help Pakistan at a crucial time to revive cricket in Pakistan. But Pakistan cricket is still going strong.
“The world knows the value of Pakistan cricket and this is what keeps us going. Despite the isolation, cricket in Pakistan still a profitable product.”