Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani on Thursday (September 10) lashed out at ICC’s ‘Big Three’ formula, saying it inflicted ‘severe damage to world cricket’.
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The formula, as per which India, England and Australia were to receive the bulk of ICC’s revenue, was devised by former BCCI chief N Srinivasan along with his ECB and CA counterparts.
Mani, who headed the ICC from 2003-06, felt that the formula was “imposed” on all other ICC members. He claimed that the ‘Big Three’ countries “threatened” not to play with those who did not endorse the new method of sharing total ICC revenues – 20.3 per cent for India, 4.4 per cent for England, and 2.7 per cent for Australia from 2015-2023.
“Certainly, during my time at the ICC, I was very fortunate that we had a united Board comprising all the members. That equation was very badly damaged by the so-called ‘Big Three’. India, England and Australia got together and imposed changes on the others that were not in the interest of others, threatening not to play with them unless they agreed (with the changes). Everyone is now scrambling to look after their own interests in an unhealthy environment (at the ICC),” Mani told IANS in an exclusive interview.
“The ‘Big Three’ formula was not in the interest of any form of cricket. It has done severe damage to world cricket. They have taken away money from global development fund and ICC associate member countries. The whole thing was very undesirable. All the major ICC events were divided between these three countries – India, Australia and England,” the 75-year-old further added.
The revenue sharing formula laid down by ‘Big Three’ weakened to a great extent after India’s Shashank Manohar took over from Srinivasan.
Mani credited Manohar for diluting the ‘Big Three’ method but added that much more work needs to be done to bring financial parity and harmony within the ICC member countries.
“Mr Manohar had to try and undo a lot of the damage. But a lot more has to be done and it can only be done through a proper governance review of the ICC, which will take place, otherwise we will have countries that will go bankrupt,” he warned.
“I have a lot of respect for Mr Manohar. I think he was superb; he was very good. He was decisive. What I am saying is that he started something that needed to be built on and taken to the next stage,” Mani said.
After Manohar’s two-year first term as ICC chairman expired in 2017, he was given another couple of years. In July 2020, the Nagpur-based senior advocate stepped down from his position weeks before his tenure was supposed to end.
Mani, however, wanted Manohar to carry on.
“It would have been good for cricket if he had continued. But he has his own reasons to not to continue. One has to respect that. He gave the ICC a fair bit and one has to accept that and thank him for that. But then we have to move forward. No institution can be built around one person. I would have liked him to continue,” he remarked.
In some quarters, Mani was also deemed as Manohar’s successor.
“That’s true. I am back in cricket (administration) only to help the PCB, and have no other interest,” he said.
When asked about ECB chief Colin Graves and BCCI boos Sourav Ganguly’s names being floated, for the same role, Mani replied: “I am not going to talk about chairmanship at all. It’s a matter of the ICC Board and its members to vote and decide.”
Ehsan Mani said he hasn’t got the opportunity to meet Ganguly in person since the latter took over the BCCI reins in October last year.
“I know Sourav from the time he was playing for India as captain and I have the highest regard for him. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 situation we have had no face-to-face meeting. We have spoken on the phone once or twice. And we, obviously, speak at the ICC meetings. But at those meetings, every country is looking after its own interests,” he concluded.
(With IANS inputs)