The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has been quietly resenting the International Cricket Council (ICC) for what it considers favouritism towards other cricket boards, may pull out of the Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in England next year. The final straw, according to a report in The Indian Express, was the exclusion of BCCI from the ICC finance committee meeting held a few days ago.
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke has termed the exclusion a "humiliation". "These are the committees where all the important decisions are taken — finance, commerce and chief executives committee. India not having a representative (in those committees) is a humiliation for us. We will tell the ICC, 'Either you amend this or we will decide what to do to protect India's cricket interests globally.' It could be anything. We may even not play the Champions Trophy. Better sense may prevail, and we may not reach that stage at all. But there are so many options," Shirke told the Express.
This is not an isolated case where the BCCI has felt slighted by the ICC's functioning. Last week, reports said it had problems with the way the apex body was disbursing funds. The ICC had earmarked a $135 million budget for organising next year's Champions Trophy, a three-fold increase from the $45 million the BCCI received for the T20 world cup held in India earlier this year.
Whenever ICC conducts any tournament, a certain budget is allocated to the host country. What many in BCCI find baffling is the huge cost escalation for a 19-day tournament in UK considering it will host only 15 matches, compared to the World T20 in India, which was a 27-day event with 58 matches in all (35 men's and 23 women's matches).
A senior BCCI official, who played a significant role in organisation of the 2011 World Cup and ICC World T20 in 2016, told PTI, "It is strange, but when the ICC World T20 was held in India, the BCCI organised a tournament of a longer duration at one-third the cost. Even if we take into account that the costs will be more in the UK, as expenditure will be in Pounds, there are more overheads in India, including logistics as you need to take flights from one city to another which is not the case in England."
The revenue sharing model in place at the ICC has also been a cause of much resentment, as it sought to scrap the "big three" formula that was giving India, Australia and England the lion's share of cricketing revenues. "I do not agree with the Big 3 countries bullying the ICC. Because it is nice to say that India (BCCI) will get 22 percent of the total revenue of the ICC but you cannot make the poor poorer and the rich richer, only because you have the clout. The ICC runs cricket throughout the world," Manohar had said in November.
Manohar's predecessor, N Srinivasan, had helmed over the 'big three' proposal, under which BCCI was scheduled to get 22 percent of ICC's revenues, but Manohar had reportedly said he'd return six percent from this to the world body.
The ICC's plan of creating a two-tier system for Test cricket also proved to be very unpopular with the BCCI, and president Anurag Thakur has repeatedly spoken out against the proposal.