Snedden fighting for NZ's test cricket future

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014

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Martin Snedden has won some battles for New Zealand Cricket and does not believe it will be cast into the international wilderness just yet.

The NZ Cricket board member and former chief executive will try to ride to the rescue again in Dubai on January 28 and 29 when a draft proposal is presented to the International Cricket Council's executive meeting which signals India, England and Australia taking most of the decision-making power.

Snedden broke his silence on the issue yesterday and confirmed reports that the ICC's finance and commercial affairs committee, which includes New Zealand's ICC president, Alan Isaac, had worked on the proposal for months.

NZ Cricket chief executive David White first saw the document on January 9 and Snedden will outline the key points to the NZ Cricket board via teleconference on Wednesday.

The obvious fear for NZ Cricket is that its revenue nosedives and obligations under the ICC's Future Tours Programme would be scrapped, potentially meaning the end of big ticket tours such as the current visit by India.

Bilateral agreements between countries would replace the programme under the proposal.

Snedden said the status of the programme was unclear and it was not a signed agreement. But he remained confident the programme, which New Zealanders Sir John Anderson and the late Chris Doig played a big role in establishing, would not be thrown out.

"We must have a test-playing programme which sees New Zealand playing all of the major countries in the same sort of cyclical way as we have been doing. That is a fundamental outcome for us and just about every other country," Snedden said.

"If we get a ratification of the existing schedule [which runs until April 2020], that'd be an excellent outcome. I think we've got a chance of doing that. We're in the early stages of this process and there's some good positive signs in there."

A highly competitive New Zealand showing in the current series would boost their cause too, Snedden said.

Under the Future Tours Programme, New Zealand are scheduled to host Australia in February 2016, England in March 2018, and India for three tests, five one-day games and one Twenty20 in February-March 2019.

The current tour was cut back by one test and one T20, reportedly because India was unhappy with NZ Cricket's involvement in establishing a T20 league in the United States which could detract from the mega-rich Indian Premier League. Neither party has commented.

The ICC's draft proposal covers four main points: governance issues, the Future Tours Programme, ICC events such as World Cups, and distribution of revenue.

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The latter is the big one, with Snedden saying India now generated 70-80 per cent of world cricket's revenue and they wanted a bigger slice of the pie, "which I don't think is unreasonable".

Snedden said the old revenue share agreement set up nearly a decade ago had countries getting an even slice of the pie from World Cups. But he still felt NZ Cricket's revenue could increase if the ICC could present a robust schedule for broadcasters to go to the market with in their eight-year package which covers 2016-2023. That is dependent on India committing fully to an agreed tours schedule and world tournaments, in exchange for a bigger revenue slice.

"It's a different world I've walked back into now. When I exited from cricket in 2007 there was no IPL," Snedden said.

"Do we have power at the ICC table? Not a hell of a lot. Do we have an ability to influence and persuade?

"A little bit. The critical thing that David [White] and I have to do is identify those things that are most critical to us and try and ensure we secure the stability of a playing programme and the stability of revenue that we need."

- Fairfax Media

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