New Zealand goes into bat for Indian chairman

Fortified by legal advice, New Zealand Cricket will help usher in the N Srinivasan era at the International Cricket Council's annual conference today.

NZC board member Martin Snedden flew to Melbourne last night and confirmed its vote would go to the controversial Indian administrator to chair the ICC for the next two years. Snedden expects it to be unanimous among the 10 test-playing nations, rubber-stamping a takeover by the Big Three of India, England and Australia which was agreed in principle in February.

The Supreme Court of India has barred Srinivasan from his duties as BCCI president while the investigation into corrupt activities around the Indian Premier League and Chennai Super Kings continues. Srinivasan vehemently protested his innocence and persuaded the BCCI and the Supreme Court that the unproven allegations should not stop him from taking the big seat at the ICC.

Snedden emphasised NZC wasn't voting for an individual, but for a constitutional change which allows India to appoint its chairman.

"The NZC board spent quite a bit of time on this and we called in some external advice, legal advice, but in the end our position is that there is nothing there that prevents us from proceeding with what we agreed to do earlier in the year," Snedden said.

"The allegations themselves, we have no information about what they are. There is no public detail about the nature of them. The Supreme Court three times has been given the opportunity to exclude Srinivasan from having anything to do with ICC and each time they weren't interested and said it wasn't their business."

NZC and the ICC would take a wait and see approach. Snedden noted the Indian cricket environment was extremely volatile and political, and some of the allegations levelled at Srinivasan were by his bitter rival, Lalit Modi, formerly the sport's most powerful man in India.

It means the ICC will be largely run by the Big Three, who also take a bigger share of profits from major world tournaments.

NZC is happy with what it gets under the new governance, Snedden said. In exchange for its compliance, NZC reached agreement on a Future Tours Programme that mirrors the current one, meaning regular four-yearly tours by the Big Three from which NZC generates a large chunk of its revenue.

"Basically there's a schedule that's more or less agreed that takes us through to 2023. It looks really good for New Zealand and looks really good for everybody.

"If we go back 4-5 months there was very strong reaction that the smaller countries would be significantly disadvantaged in terms of the FTP arrangements. That hasn't proved to be the case."

A dollar figure on NZC's reduced cut of revenue from world tournaments wouldn't be known until the ICC sold broadcasting and commercial rights to the World Cup, Champions Trophy and World T20 events between 2016-2023. "The signs we're getting is it's a positive market for the ICC to be going into," Snedden said.

The Dominion Post