Dave Richardson, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC) said there is no plan by the apex body for the game to reduce Mohammad Aamer’s ban for his role in match-fixing.
In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Richardson spoke of the ICC’s role in promotion of T20 leagues round the world as well as initiatives to encourage the popularity of the game on a global scale. He also addressed some common misconceptions about the role of his organisation in matters such as alleged favoritism of richer Cricket boards.
Excerpts from an interview:
PakPassion (PP): What role does the ICC see in governing T20 leagues around the world?
Dave Richardson (DR): These are domestic events which are run by our member boards. ICC Board agreed that domestic T20 leagues can add to the game as a whole and that any deliberations should be aimed at “the growth and sustainability of international cricket” by “attaining co-existence between domestic T20 leagues and the international game.
Domestic Twenty20 leagues have provided so many opportunities for players and officials alike as well as entertaining large domestic crowds. A workable and balanced international playing calendar is key to the sustainability of the game. We also need to ensure that cricket is played in a corruption-free environment.
The ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is doing some great work in this regard. All Boards should be complimented on the progress they have made in putting their own anti-corruption resources in place but this is only the first step. Effective implementation of appropriate programmes and processes together with the timely and effective investigation and prosecution of all reported incidents is also crucial.
PP: Some fans, perhaps in their optimism, believe that Mohammad Aamer’s five-year ban could be reduced. Can you clarify if this is possible?
DR: Under the ICC Anti-Corruption Code the minimum ban is five years and at this stage there is no plan to change that minimum sanction.
PP: Do you regret taking your task force, with Geoff Lawson, to try and force the New Zealand team to travel to the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, especially after the hotel they were supposed to be in was bombed?
DR: The so-called task team was made up of ICC officials and included an independent security advisor. The job of the task team was simply to advise the various Boards and players the facts of the security situation in Pakistan at the time, and the security plan that had been proposed to deal with the situation, so that they could make an informed decision themselves on whether it was safe to travel to Pakistan for the Champions Trophy. The task team made no attempt to hide the facts or the extent of the threat as it was known to ICC at the time.
PP: Some fans believe that the ICC favours the richer cricket boards. How can this opinion be changed?
DR: The ICC Board comprises of the 10 Full Member chairmen/presidents and each have an equal vote. It is for those members to decide on what is best for the game and make their decisions accordingly.
PP: Some feel that cricket needs to be expanded and more countries need to become permanent members. What are you doing to make this happen?
DR: There is an expansive development programme which caters for the 96 members below the Full Members. Recently the ICC has introduced at Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme which is aimed at improving the performances of the lower ranked Full Members as well as the leading Associates and Affiliates.
Through the Pepsi World Cricket League, there is a clear progression path for Associate and Affiliate nations which has seen countries such as Afghanistan as well as Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands emerge recently. It also provides a qualification path to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The ICC Strategic plan also encourages the development of more competitive countries. Full Members are also encouraged to play Associate and Affiliate countries on a regular basis to help with their development.
PP: Is the ICC mulling a separate window for the IPL?
DR: No window has been requested nor discussed although ICC and the Member Boards are looking at the best ways of capitalising on the success of T20 cricket domestically around the world.
PP: Your thoughts on the potential introduction of a two division setup, with promotion and relegation in Test cricket?
DR: This hasn’t been discussed and our aim is to increase the number of competitive countries, not to set up a two-tier competition.
PP: What developments have been made in regards to the ICC Test Championship?
DR: The event is scheduled for England in 2017 and over the next year we will identify the qualification process.
PP: Is there any indication that we will be seeing day/night Tests in the not-too-distant future?
DR: In Kuala Lumpur at our Annual Conference in 2012 it was agreed that countries wishing to play day-night Test matches can do so with the approval of their opponents. There have been several trials at domestic level of coloured cricket balls, encouraged by the ICC, and there is still some debate on the quality and the best colour for day-night cricket.
(Amir Husain is Senior Editor at PakPassion.net. The above article is reproduced with permission from http://pakpassion.net/)