New Delhi: When Shashank Manohar took charge as International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman earlier this year, many experts and cricket fans might have been excused for thinking the cosy relationship between the apex body and BCCI would become cosier still. But barely five months into his tenure, things have not quite panned out the way one might have expected.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India and ICC have found themselves on opposite sides of several disputes in recent times, the latest being the two-tier Test system, the DRS ruling and the budgetary allocations made for the 2017 Champions Trophy. In fact, so fractious have these issues become, that the BCCI has threatened to pull out of next summer’s “mini world cup”. So while critics claim Manohar has let BCCI down by ignoring India’s interests despite being at the helm of international cricket, the Nagpur-based lawyer has said his loyalties and responsibilities are towards the ICC alone, and he will do whatever it takes to ensure he protects its interests.
“When I was the BCCI president, it was my duty to look after the BCCI’s interests. Today I’m unconnected with any particular member of the ICC. I’m the independent ICC chairman, so I have to look at the best interests of the ICC. It’s for the BCCI representative to look after the best interests of the BCCI,” he told The Indian Express in an interview.
For the BCCI, which contributes over 70 percent to international cricket’s revenue to be short-sighted in this manner was a particularly hard blow to absorb, and board functionaries are reportedly upset with the ICC for not giving it a greater say in the running of the sport globally. Manohar’s predecessor N Srinivasan had mooted a “big three” plan giving India, Australia and England the lion’s share of international revenues. But that has also been revoked by Manohar.
In the interview with Express, he said he doesn’t agree with the argument. “Then, why the same logic shouldn’t apply to the BCCI? There are 30 state associations (in India), why shouldn’t somebody have a veto power? I ask a question to myself, why shouldn’t the same status be given to some associations in India? For example, Mumbai generates the highest revenue but does that mean that they should have a veto power on the BCCI decisions? Institutions function in a democratic manner and decisions are taken by the majority,” he said.
As for the BCCI’s problems with the $135 million allocated to the England Cricket Board (ECB) for organising the Champions Trophy, a figure significantly higher than the $45 million it received for staging the World T20, Manohar said both figures were misrepresented. “$135 million is a factually wrong figure. The budget for the 2016 World T20 was $55m, which included the production cost too. The budget that has been earmarked for the Champions Trophy is $46m, which includes the production cost for the event. You must remember that the cost of accommodation and travel is much more in England than in India,” he told The Times of India in an interview.