Key changes to the “future structure, governance and financial models” of the International Cricket Council have been unanimously supported by the ICC Board, though not all aspects of the controversial ‘position paper’ have been retained.
The powerful 16-man group met in Dubai yesterday (the meeting had been scheduled for two days) to debate widely-leaked draft proposals made by an ICC sub-committee, which proposed a radical reshaping of the world game and increased power vested in the boards of England, India and Australia.
Some of those recommendations have been shunted aside or diluted but several central proposals look set to become a reality.
Among the plans to receive support at the meeting was the formation of a powerful five-man Executive Committee with three seats reserved for the England and Wales Cricket Board, Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Australia.
The board also passed a death sentence on the World Test Championship, due to be held in England in 2017, in favour of a restored Champions Trophy.
The apparent end of the Test championship, a supposedly flagship event that had already lost its place in the calendar in 2013 due to limited support from broadcasters, is not the only change to the international fixture list.
The board has agreed to discontinue the current centralised Future Tours Programme – an egalitarian concept that tried, though often failed, to ensure all full member nations hosted and toured each other over an eight-year period.
Instead, a raft of bi-lateral agreements between nations will exist between 2015 and 2023, a period of time covering the next commercial rights cycle.
This idea was one of the most concerning to opponents of the draft, with speculation that less attractive teams such as Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and even New Zealand could find themselves starved of competitive cricket against the top sides.
The ECB and CA have already committed to a minimum number of fixtures against all other full members, though the BCCI’s position is one of a number of questions which are yet to be answered.
Tellingly, a new meeting has been scheduled to take place in February while details are thrashed out behind the scenes.
ICC president Alan Isaac said: “This is an important time for world cricket and it is extremely encouraging that the ICC Board has unanimously supported a set of far-reaching principles that will underpin the long-term prosperity of the global game.
“These principles emphasise the primacy of Test cricket and that for the first time in cricket’s history participation will be based entirely on meritocracy, giving everyone powerful incentives to play better cricket and develop better cricketers.
“There is more work to be done by the members in developing their schedules of bilateral cricket while at the ICC we need to work through the detail of the manner in which these principles will be implemented.
“Extensive work will now be undertaken in advance of a follow-up board meeting next month.”
England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad meanwhile is determined to leave Australia with something to show for three months of touring.
Broad has had precious little reason for cheer since arriving Down Under in late October.
England take on an under-strength eighth-ranked Australia side in the three-match Twenty20 series, which was scheduled to start in Hobart, Tasmania, today.
“It would be huge (to win the series),” said Broad.