There are two points to note from the International Cricket Council meeting in Dubai, where the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s unsuccessful opposition of the proposed revenue sharing model made headlines. First is the board’s objection against changing the structure ICC introduced under N Srinivasan. Second and more significant is that seven of the nine other full members of the ICC board voted for the move initiated by Shashank Manohar and did not toe the BCCI line after nearly two decades. Whatever be the outcome when the matter comes up for ratification in the next meeting in April, these are signs that a world body which got accustomed to succumbing to every BCCI demand has at least realised it can function independently.
There is something peculiar about the board’s objection against the 6 per cent cut (Rs 3,600 crore in 16 years). It has not come from the kind of officials the judiciary deems unfit to the run the board but has come from Vikram Limaye, a member of the court-appointed panel. He has questioned the “scientific basis” of the distribution system, wherein the BCCI gets a lion’s share even in the new structure, based on contribution to the ICC’s total revenue. Barring Sri Lanka and India, other boards (Zimbabwe didn’t vote) accepted the new formula.
Dominated by Indians since Jagmohan Dalmiya became its president in 1997, the ICC had got used to bowing to BCCI pressure under the subsequent leadership of Sharad Pawar and Srinivasan. With India generating roughly 75 per cent of funds, it was almost forgotten that the BCCI can’t have what it wants. By introducing a more populist and equalitarian model, Manohar has won the confidence of other boards. While it can be said with some justification that it’s important for Manohar to appease ICC members after having abandoned BCCI, finding a long-lost backbone is what the world body can consider as gain in the bargain.