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PCB ruing wasted opportunity during ICC revamp

PCB ruing wasted opportunity during ICC revamp
Zaka Ashraf who declined a chance for Pakistan cricket to make big financial gains and have a bigger say in world cricket affairs © AFP

Karachi: Mar 12, 2014

The present set-up in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is still ruing a golden opportunity wasted by the deposed chairman of the board, Zaka Ashraf who declined a chance for Pakistan cricket to make big financial gains and have a bigger say in world cricket affairs.

According to a reliable PCB official, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had last month offered some strong incentives to PCB to support the structural changes in the International Cricket Council (ICC) that were championed by India, Australia and England.

“Some of the incentives offered to Pakistan in pure money terms guaranteed earnings of around 200 million dollars over the next few years from playing bilateral series with India and other countries and more rewarding broadcasting deals,” the source told PTI.

“Before the ICC executive board was to meet in Singapore on February 8 to confirm the changes proposed by the Big three, the BCCI officials clearly conveyed to Pakistan a package of incentives. The incentives included restoration of bilateral series with India, the status of fourth member after the Big three in the ICC executive board, more attractive bilateral series with other nations,” he explained.

The source claimed the status of fourth member meant a bigger share for Pakistan from the ICC event earnings that are distributed among the member nations in the next eight-year cycle that begins from 2015.

“The biggest gain for Pakistan was a bigger say in ICC affairs and money gains around 200 million dollars,” he said.

The source disclosed that after the incentive package was offered to Zaka Ashraf he took his time in taking a decision and apparently this was also discussed at the Governing board meeting of the PCB held ahead of the ICC meeting in Singapore.

“But Ashraf at that time was counting heavily on the continued support and partnership of South Africa and Sri Lanka in resisting the changes by the Big three,” he said.

“Ashraf thus turned down the incentive package which even included written guarantees from India,” he said.

The source said that when Ashraf went to attend the ICC board meeting in Singapore he got the shock of his life when immediately after landing there he learnt that SA and Sri Lanka had changed their stance and decided to support the Big three stance.

Interestingly, he said that it was the BCCI President who had advised and convinced the Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka board heads on the day of the meeting from not voting against the proposed changes and instead just abstain from voting.

He said that after the Singapore meeting, Ashraf spoke to the Indian, Australian and English officials about discussing the incentive package but they told him in clear terms the situation had changed now and it would not be available in its original form.

“The present Chairman, Najam Sethi is now trying to salvage the situation by ensuring that Pakistan’s lone vote does not become a liability and instead the PCB can still gain something from it,” the source added.

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