New Delhi: The internal tussle between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) members and the Committee of Administrators (COA) about India's participation in the Champions Trophy has reached tipping point with the latter asking the board to announce the squad at the earliest.
Speaking to Cricketnext a source close to the COA said that a strongly worded letter has been written by the COA to the BCCI asking the officials to announce the squad for the event at the earliest. The BCCI is the only participating board which has not announced its squad yet, the deadline for which was missed on April 25.
The contents of the letter reads: "It would be appropriate to make all necessary preparations for ensuring that Team India can successfully defend its title in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which commences on 1st June 2017. You are aware that the squad representing India at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 was to be submitted by 25th April 2017 but the squad has not even been selected as yet. Please convene a meeting of the selection committee for selecting the squad immediately. The squad can then be submitted to the ICC without prejudice to BCCIâs legal rights.
"We believe that any decision taken at the SGM should be predicated on the fact that India has the best team in the world today. Team India should be provided with a supportive environment to showcase Indian cricket instead of being surrounded with uncertainty and confusion. There has been more than enough negativity surrounding Team Indiaâs participation in the ICC Champions Trophy and the sooner the same is put to rest the better. The playersâ interests are paramount and they must be given the best chance to prepare for, defend and retain the ICC Champions Trophy. The focus should be on enabling our team to achieve even greater heights and further laurels, which will automatically attract higher revenues."
The source further told Cricketnext that senior members of the Indian team management have spoken to the COA about clarity on India's participation in the showpiece event. India remember are the defending champions, having won the last edition in 2013.
[blurb]"The players are starting to get wary and while some are willing to talk about it, other are not. Having spoken to a few, the COA does understand the mindset of the players as no cricketer wants to pull out of international cricket. Pulling out of the Champions Trophy means simultaneously pulling out of international cricket for the next cycle which is eight years. It is the duty of the COA to also safeguard the interest of the players," the official said.[/blurb]
Several members of the BCCI are adamant about pulling out of the tournament in the wake of the new revenue model passed by the ICC, which has left the Indian cricket board with a diminished share.
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The COA though has advised the board members to take a unanimous stand on the issue and have also said that they could move the court if they find BCCI's stand to be against the interest of Indian cricket.
Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official said that the best interest of Indian cricket will be kept in mind on Sunday and in all probability it will be a pullout from the mega event. He went on to add that moving court was COA's right and the board has no qualms about it.
[blurb]"Pulling out of the Champions Trophy definitely looks like the best option under the current circumstances and if the COA feels that it will move court, they are more than welcome to because the best interest of Indian cricket is in our mind. Let the SC decide post that and we have no issues," he clarified.[/blurb]
Asked about COAâs clear statement that a pullout would need a unanimous decision at the SGM, the official said: âThis is what baffles me. Till now, all decision were taken on the basis of majority. How come only this time round it is about a unanimous call and not a vote by majority?
âIn the point 10 of the letter sent by the COA to the state units, it is written that it is extremely unlikely that ICC and other cricket boards will agree to the amount/share envisaged under financial model that was put in place in 2014. But then, when did we ask for the old share? We only wanted a higher share than what has been proposed so that both parties come out happy. But sadly, that did not happen.
âGoing into the meeting, the BCCI representative had clearly told the other ICC board members that there are two ways to solve the issue, take a soft stand and discuss the problems or take a hard stand and stand ground. The ICC chairman clearly preferred the second way of solving the problem.â
While the BCCI is claiming that they are left with no option but to pullout of the tournament, it could also mean the other member countries being rubbed the wrong way. Can BCCI sustain cricket in the country without the assistance of the other boards, especially if they refuse to provide NOC to the players to participate in the IPL?
The official said: âFirstly, sustainment is no issue for the Indian board. And secondly, we had even during the meeting made it clear that let us postpone the discussion on the revenue model for two months, let the Champions Trophy end and then we can happily go back and discuss the matter. But some adamant people made it an ego battle.
[blurb]âNow, we cannot really let them trample us just because we are involved in a mess of our own with the daily functioning of the board. Is the money coming to the accounts today? It is an eight-year process. So what was the hurry? Could we not have waited till June to come to a conclusion on this? Why is it that our stance is being considered as an attempt to jeopardise the Champions Trophy when we were the ones to ask them to wait for the tournament to get over before taking a call on this?â[/blurb]
In the meantime, Star India, the broadcast giants who telecast all International Cricket Council tournaments in India and other South Asian countries, has written a letter to the governing body, expressing concern over India's participation in the upcoming Champions Trophy.
Speaking to Cricketnext, a senior official of Star Sports confirmed that that the host broadcaster had indeed raised concern over the ongoing tussle between the ICC and the Indian cricket board.
[blurb]"Yes a letter has gone to the ICC from our side because you must realise that the Champions Trophy is round the corner and a conclusion must be reached," the official said.[/blurb]
In the event of India's pull out from the showpiece event, the broadcaster is expected to feel the heat as viewership could take a massive hit. This is also a major cause of worry for the advertisers, who have already booked prime slot for the event, which begins on June 1.
India are supposed to take on Pakistan in their first match on June 4. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has already missed the deadline for announcing the squad for the tournament.