BCCI suffering due to ‘Big Three’ folly, says Ehsan Mani

The former ICC chief says the model did “great damage to cricket”.

Ehsan Mani... “I am not particularly happy with the way the ICC executed the things (leading to the annulment of the ‘Big Three’).”   -  S. Subramanium

The tempers are flying at the power corridors of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the International Cricket Council (ICC) outvoted its opposition with regards to the new revenue model. But then, the international cricket body's decision has drawn a huge cheer from various member associations, and former ICC chief Ehsan Mani, too, believes that this decision is beneficial for the game.

Mani, who headed the ICC from 2003 to 2006, has always criticised the ‘Big Three’ model. And as the BCCI - which happens to be the world's richest cricket board - finds itself under pressure, Mani says that the board suffers because of former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan's wrong decision. "The concept of Big Three can never be implemented in cricket. Mr Srinivasan, Mr Giles Clarke (England Cricket Board chief) have done great damage to cricket. And, the BCCI is facing the trouble for one wrong decision," Mani told Sportstar on Thursday morning.

Supporting the ICC's proposed revenue model, Mani believes that the money should be properly allocated to the countries which need it the most. "Look at the countries like the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka. They are struggling to survive due to severe financial crisis. They need the money immediately," Mani says, adding that no member association should be given any extra preference. "Every member is a full and equal member in the ICC and that's how it should be."

With the BCCI demanding the major chunk of money, since it generates the maximum revenue, Mani feels such logic is baseless. "If the BCCI's arguments are to be followed then the FIFA or the IOA should have given all the money to the USA, since it brings in the major money. But that's not happening, right? Then why should it happen in cricket?" Mani questions.

The former ICC chief also admits that the BCCI would be isolated further if it withdraws the team from the Champions Trophy. "Let's not forget, Champions Trophy is ultimately an ICC event and if a team pulls out, it would only isolate the BCCI. They would also be charged for breaching the contract with the ICC," Mani says.

The veteran Pakistani administrator also makes it clear that the lack of leadership and inability to react to the situation affected the BCCI big time. At a time when it was necessary to convince the other member associations, BCCI was caught in controversy at home. With the Supreme Court only naming the representative for the ICC Board meeting a few days back, there was nothing much the BCCI could do.

Competent leadership missing

Mani feels, this is where veteran administrators like late Jagmohan Dalmiya could have made the difference.

"At times like these you need a good leadership, and that's where Dalmiya stood out. Whenever he needed money, he had made it a point to convince all the Asian nations and would appeal to the ICC altogether. It showed that the Asian nations were in need of money, and not India alone. That's how it should be done," Mani adds.

While there is a consensus in the BCCI that its former chief Shashank Manohar let it down, Mani says after Srinivasan's exit, the BCCI officials should have unanimously taken a decision to avoid this situation. "They should have... But then, the BCCI too was muddled with controversies back home, and that made it difficult," Mani points out.

The administrator believes that the ICC, too, should have helped the BCCI find a way out. "I am not particularly happy with the way the ICC executed the things. Maybe, it could have just discussed the issue with the BCCI and help them come up with a new plan. The way it convinced other boards, BCCI should have also been taken into confidence," he says.

The former ICC boss also suggests that the international body should promote cricket in USA and China to bolster its revenue generation. "Had I been the ICC chief, I would have invested heavily in America. There is a huge popularity for cricket, and the revenue would just go up if cricket is seriously promoted there," Mani says.

With the battle lines drawn in the BCCI, a war looms large. But then, with all the member nations going against it, it would certainly be a lone battle for the world's richest cricket board. Will the BCCI ultimately dare the international body? Questions remain...