What’s the story?
In what comes as an absolute shock to world cricket, 59-year-old Shashank Manohar has stepped down as ICC Chairman with immediate effect citing personal reasons. His decision to resign from the post comes less than a year after he was elected unopposed as the board’s first-ever independent chairman (not affiliated with any member nation) in May.
Extra cover: BCCI opposes World Test Championship
In his letter of resignation to the ICC, he wrote, "I have tried to do my best and have tried to be fair and impartial in deciding matters in the functioning of the Board and in matters related to Member Boards along with the able support of all Directors. However, for personal reasons it is not possible for me to hold the august office of ICC Chairman and hence I am tendering my resignation as Chairman with immediate effect. I take this opportunity to thank all the Directors, the Management and staff of ICC for supporting me wholeheartedly.I wish ICC all the very best and hope it achieves greater heights in future."
Manohar’s tenure as Chairman of the game’s governing body has been anything but smooth. After taking over from N Srinivasan (primarily responsible for the implementation of the ‘Big 3’ revenue model), he was involved in an intense power tussle with the BCCI. He served as the President of the BCCI before taking up the position of Chairman for the ICC.
Manohar faced severe resistance from the BCCI under its previous leadership and continued to be involved in a tussle with the game’s richest body in the last couple of months. One of Manohar’s primary objectives was to dismantle the existing revenue structure and implement a new, transparent model.
ICC member nations were scheduled to vote for making the transition to the new revenue system in a meeting in April but these plans have now stalled. BCCI opposed Manohar on other grounds as well, notably voting against the proposed two-tier Test structure and the World Test Championship.
It is improbable that Manohar will return to the game of cricket any time soon. Finding a replacement for Manohar will be the top priority at the ICC’s Chief Executive Meeting next month.
Manohar clearly recognized that the influence of the BCCI in the upper echelons of the game is massive and he will not be able to implement the changes he sought to make. Going forward, it is highly likely that the next Chairman of the ICC will not be from India.
With the BCCI in a state of flux and unwilling to give up the influence it wields in the decision making body of the game, the next few months might see a state of chaos in the ICC. For now, it appears that this is a win for the BCCI who appeared to be on the backfoot for the last couple of months.