While the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are locked in a standoff over policy matters that include finance and governance, there are curious developments happening elsewhere.
A section of stakeholders say those curious developments have got to do with India’s loss being somebody else’s gain.
A source in the know Times of India on Wednesday that the ICC is working towards “resolving the financial struggles being faced by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)”.
The timing of this “help”, as the parent body looks to reduce India’s revenue in order to restore parity among all members, is being seen as a “well-timed” effort on the part of the ICC.
The fact that ZC had abstained from voting in favour of or against the BCCI in the February board meeting of the ICC but chose to vote in favour of the reforms in the April meeting is being seen as a result of the ICC “offering financial help” to the struggling board.
Unwilling to come on record and not wanting to antagonise either the ICC or the BCCI in the present circumstances, a senior executive well-versed with the functioning of the ICC, confirmed the ICC’s “help” and said: “Zimbabwe Cricket has been requesting ICC for assistance in dealing with its financial issues now for the past four years and, in fact, in 2013, you may be aware that a package was put together to assist the ZC to get out of its debt situation.
“So this is basically a continuation of that initiative. The request has been resurrected now. ZC is in discussions with the ICC to help them with their financial issues.
“I wouldn’t say the ICC has offered to wipe out Zimbabwe Cricket’s debts. That’s totally incorrect. But a package was put together to assist Zimbabwe cricket. This is a continuation of that package.”
Riddled with massive debts owing to enormous financial irregularities, and with some of ZC’s former office bearers being accused of corruption, the member board was close to being relegated as a full member of the ICC.
“That may not happen for now. In February, it was unclear and therefore Zimbabwe abstained from participating in the vote,” the source said. It is likely that the matter may not have been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) that met with member boards of the ICC last month. “This doling out of favours could be a clear move to keep Zimbabwe with the majority and secure their vote, but who can say that with absolute clarity? It’s only what is obvious that’s pointing things to a certain direction,” a senior cricket administrator said.
It is here that the BCCI has a grouse with the CoA.
“And they want to take India’s share and distribute it to countries (like Zimbabwe) for the game to prosper, clearly not knowing what is happening behind their backs,” a senior BCCI functionary said.