CHENNAI: A day before Wednesday’s online ICC meeting to finalise the electoral process for choosing its next chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board’s Ehsan Mani emerged a potential challenger to Colin Graves. It is believed that the current regime led by outgoing chairman Shashank Manohar thinks Mani’s election will keep intact the current financial model which has benefited the smaller boards. This is not guaranteed if Graves is elected.
The BCCI has ambitions of fielding its own candidate, but there is no clear indication whether president Sourav Ganguly will join the race. The BCCI is trying to gauge the situation, but an Indian replacing another may complicate matters.
Outgoing England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Graves was earlier seen as the favourite to succeed Manohar, with Singapore representative Imran Khwaja expected to give him competition. Khwaja played a role in stopping the Big Three from taking over ICC, but being the representative of an Associate nation queers the pitch for him.
Mani is a former ICC president, who was PCB’s representative in ICC from 1989 to 1996. He was also part of various committees. Sources close to Mani didn’t rule out the possibility and one understands that he has the backing of current members.
“It’s important to continue the work done by Manohar, which has brought stability in member boards. If we disrupt it, it will be a setback for many. There is time for filing nominations and it will be a long process. We’ll know in the coming days,” sources said.
Mani’s candidature will be seen as a blow for BCCI, which aspires to take control of the ICC post Covid. While it plans to get support by committing to tours, ICC members are wary that BCCI might change the revenue sharing model. The ICC is unlikely to take a decision on the T20 World Cup in Australia in Wednesday’s meeting. While Cricket Australia is expected to reveal its stand, a decision is unlikely until a new chairman is elected.
The PCB handed over hosting rights of this year’s Asia Cup to Sri Lanka at Monday’s Asian Cricket Council meeting. A final decision will be taken once the ICC decides on the T20 World Cup. It may become an ODI event if the T20 World Cup is not held this year.