Kolkata: Shashank Manohar, the man who many say is responsible for India’s snub at International Cricket Council (ICC), has agreed to continue as the ICC chairman till June, 2018. Manohar had tendered his resignation last March, but was then requested by every ICC Board member to reconsider his decision.
In an exclusive interview, the cricket administrator welcomed India’s decision to participate in the Champions Trophy, reiterating that the ICC’s offer of $390 million (Dh1.43 billion) for the BCCI is still on the table and the fact that both the bodies need any each other. While the ICC recognises India’s contribution, the distribution has to be based on principles of equity and good governance, he said.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Question: Now that all is finally good and India is set to participate in the Champions Trophy, how do you see the BCCI decision?
Shashank Manohar: I think it is a welcome decision. India is very important for world cricket and I had always wanted the BCCI to send an Indian team to the Champions Trophy. India are defending champions and there is no way the players should be denied the right to defend the title.
Also, let me tell you that the ICC needs the BCCI as much as the BCCI needs the ICC. There has to be synergy between the two bodies for that’s the best thing for the health of the world game. I am glad the Indian board has unanimously agreed to end the debate and send a full strength Indian team to England.
What about your own decision to stay on as ICC Chairman till June 2018? Why did you resign in the first place, because of the impasse?
The resignation had nothing to do with the BCCI. I was not enjoying myself and hence had decided to give up the post of chairman. Thereafter, almost everyone at the ICC have asked me to stay on and has either written to me or spoken to me. May be it will help the ICC and hence I have decided to stay on till the end of my tenure in June next year. I hope to leave world cricket in a very stable state at the end of the next 13 months.
It was unprecedented that the BCCI was defeated 13-1 at the floor of the house and for the first time in years. As an Indian and former President of the BCCI, how do you look at this power shift?
Look, let me make it clear. ICC recognises the contribution of the BCCI and hence I am still willing to go up to $390 million for the BCCI, which is 100 million more than the current allotment. Let me give you the real picture. Out of the ICC’s net revenue of $1.8 billion dollars, this amounts to 21.5 per cent.
England, which gets the second largest share, gets seven per cent. So India, in effect, gets Rs15 billion (Dh860 million) more than England. Now that’s a sizeable sum, isn’t it? While we recognise India’s contribution, any distribution will have to be based on the principles of equity and good governance.
But the BCCI claims it will still be considerably less than the $570 million it would have got under the Big Three Formula ...
It is not true. The ‘Big Three’ formula was never implemented, it was never a reality. It was supposed to be implemented in 2016 and when I took over, many boards were opposed to it. This is why a working group was constituted to take a relook at the model. To say India’s share was $570 million etc is all hypothetical talk. These things have no basis and everyone needs to know the real truth.
What’s the way forward then?
India needs to come forward and accept the proposal. We want India to get the best possible deal and move on. We have done the best we can, but now it is upon the BCCI to decide. As I told you as chairman, I will have to ensure all distribution is based on equity and good conscience.
And the Champions Trophy threat?
This was raised at the meeting and the members don’t think this was right. World cricket needs to be together and that’s what will benefit India. I am glad this is now beyond us and I congratulate the BCCI for looking at the bigger picture and the health of world cricket.
However, the tussle with the ICC isn’t over yet as the BCCI will want to renegotiate. Will you sit across the table and renegotiate?
I am always available to sit down and talk and as I said, I have always recognised India’s contribution as ICC chairman. That will never change. But the model is based on principles of good governance and that will not change.
As chairman, I will always uphold the principles I stand for.
— The writer is a sports journalist and historian based in Kolkata, India.