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By Kamran Rehmat 2014-02-18
SO what if the very idea of anointing `Big Three` militates against the very essence of what has been described for more than a century as the `gentlemen`s game`the sporting` manor was creaking for some time now.

Like much else in life, money has played an evil hand in banana swinging notions like `power with responsibility`, `principled position` and `fair play` out the ICC window.

The stakes were so high, especially forthe moneyed three that the power grab was inevitable.

Actually, India is in a league of its own on that score, and hence, the more realistic appraisal would be to describe the restructured edifice as One-Plus-Two versus the Scrawny Seven.

At least three boards the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were dying a slow death and Sri Lanka and Pakistan were bobbing just above the surface. South Africa had also begun to feel the heat after its current chief executive and former ICC president Haroon Lorgat annoyed India by pushing for Lord Woolf`s Report -reforms premised in an independent executive.

New Zealand was slightly better off than all these boards, but unlike them knew from day one which side of the toast to butter. For the record, Alan Isaac, the ICC president is aNew Zealander, and he unabashedly pushed the Big Three reach the finish line.

BCCI chief N. Srinivasan found two convenient takers in the ECB and CA to ride roughshod over boards that depend on its largesse to even survive. In hindsight, it is remarkable that the paradigm shift even took this long! The Big Three have gone on record to claim that the revamp while redressing the revenue balance (corresponding to the contribution their respective boards make to the ICC) also leaves all the other boards richer than before.

However, none of this has been sufficiently explained -neither the model nor the approximate figures; hence, some boards have gone on record saying they didn`t get the math.

Basing their projections on figures reported by The Economist the analysts estimate that global cricket will generate total revenues of about $2.5 billion over the next eight years. The Big Three will together amass around $520 million more than they would under the existing revenue-sharing model. Of that total, BCCI alone would receive approximately $450 million. The Scrawny Seven, on the other hand, would lose an aggregate of about $585m! So, in a nutshell, what does one make of the revamp? The International Business Times recently quoted Robert Boland, J.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Sports Management at New York University, making an interesting observation `It is predominately about revenue sharing and moving the sport forward, based especially on broadcast revenue ` he says. `It is a situation where a global sports governance entity is functioning more like a domestic professional sports league think the NFL or EPL (English Premier League). But because it is international in its scope, the solution certainly will have elements of geopolitics, national rivalries and influence that will need to be surmounted ` So where does that leave Pakistan? The pantomime surrounding the PCB leadership has considerably damaged Pakistan cricket. A case, of course, can be made that it was already damaged before the latest political spin from the PCB patron, but there can be little cure for a festering wound when it is treated like the ever-impatient Shahid Afridi does his time at the crease.

The cricket world is poorer today because Pakistan is no longer a countervailing force at ICC. It can do only two things to get back into some sort of reckoning: one, the national team has to perform big against the best consistently to become an irresistible choice for marketdriven forces.

Two, Islamabad has to initiate a concerted diplomatic push if need be, with the prime minister at the helmto woo, for starters, countries like Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe to somehow get international cricket back home, and simultaneously, get cracking immediately to tie up as many bilateral series as possible with the biggies.