It was a day of hectic lobbying, heated arguments and far-reaching discussions, and concluded with "unanimous support" for a set of principles relating to the future structure, governance and financial models of the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, the so-called 'Position Paper' which will effectively cede executive powers to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), was not put to a vote. The proposals will be discussed again next month.
The all-powerful ICC Board, which comprises the head of each of the 10 Full Members (Test-playing nations), three elected Associate Member representatives (Singapore, Scotland and Bermuda) as well as the president, vice-president and chief executive of the game's governing body, unanimously supported nine principles, the most significant of which were "recognition of the need for strong leadership of the ICC, involving leading members, which will involve the BCCI taking a central leadership responsibility" and the return of the ICC Champions Trophy in place of the proposed ICC World Test Championship.
On a day when Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka vehemently opposed the proposals and even asked for a deferral, the ICC left the cricketing fraternity flummoxed by sending out a press release to the contrary. ICC president Alan Issac did, however, admit that "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".
Another crucial principle agreed upon by the ICC Board was to come up with "mutually-agreed bilateral agreements" which will be legally binding and bankable. In other words, the ICC will not decide who will play whom. Every board can form its own 'Future Tours and Programmes'.
The ICC Board also approved the establishment of a five-member executive committee (ExCo) and financial and commercial affairs committee (F&CA), both of which will have a representative from the 'Big Three'. Anybody from within the ICC Board can be elected to chair the Board and anybody from within ExCo and F&CA can be elected to chair those committees.
But here's the catch: "With the ICC undergoing a transitional period that includes a new governance structure and media rights cycle (2015-23), this leadership will be provided for two years from June 2014 by: a BCCI representative to chair the ICC Board, a CA representative to chair the ExCo and an ECB representative to chair the F&CA."
Till the time of going to print, the Bangladesh Cricket Board was the only one of the 'Other Seven' to issue a scathing statement. "We have communicated to the ICC Board that the BCB will not endorse any proposal that compromises Bangladesh's full-member rights in terms of status and participation," acting CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhary said. "Bangladesh was the only full member nation to take a stand on this issue."
Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, had told a news channel that "Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka have one stance". "I will vote for Pakistan and whatever is in Pakistan's interests," Ashraf had told Geo TV prior to the meeting. "We have to see what is in our interests when we vote. Four of us have the same stance. Let's see what we vote inside. We will stick to our stance."
* All teams will play all forms of cricket on merit
* A Test Cricket Fund paid equally on an annual basis to all Full Members (except BCCI, CA and ECB) will be introduced to encourage and support Test cricket
* Mutually agreed bilateral FTP Agreements which will be legally binding and bankable
* BCCI taking a central leadership responsibility
* Need to recognise the varying contribution of Full Members to the value of ICC events through the payment of 'contribution costs'
* BCCI man to chair ICC Board, CA man to chair cxecutive committee and ECB man to chair financial and commercial affairs committee
* There will be three major ICC events in each four-year cycle, including the ICC Champions Trophy which will replace the ICC World Test Championship