Power is to be taken away from cricket's legislature and handed instead to its executive. The committee is planned to contain permanent members from CA, ECB and BCCI, and it is their interests that it would serve. Each of those three boards would have the right to veto any proposal that didn't take their fancy. There would be one other member on the Executive Committee to represent the remaining 103 ICC members.
Additionally, these three superpowers take a much bigger slice of the ICC pie, essentially taking from the poor to give to the rich. This isn't such headline news, and is really quite a basic premise of business, but it is still quite startling. They also reserve the right to make decisions regarding...
The report recommends two-tier Test cricket. I think I made my thoughts on that pretty clear last week, but for the record, I think it is wrong. Utterly. There are still some pretty major details that remain to be debated, though, like the number of nations in the top Tier, and what form the second Tier would take. At present, the most widely talked-about incarnation is an eight-team top-tier, with the bottom two Full Members being dropped into the Intercontinental Cup, and retaining their Test status in name only.
The FTP is to be scrapped and tours are to be arranged via bi-lateral agreement, the same way that they were in the bad old days. However, this bi-lateral agreement is likely to create a cricketing aristocracy even amongst the top-tier: namely Australia, England and India. Most gallingly of all, those three nations are to be exempt from relegation. As Jarrod Kimber so rightly says, a competition where anyone can win but some can't lose is nothing more than legalised match-fixing. It should be stamped on. Hard.
Although this report is apparently supposed to be the work of the ICC's Finance & Commercial Affairs committee, it appears to be much more the private brainchild of the three boards with most to gain. Indeed, Neil Speight (right), the Associate and Affiliate rep on the committee, hadn't so much as seen the report until it appeared on the internet. Additionally, one board member from outside the main three nations says that the report was sprung on them without any fore-warning. It would appear that the main three boards have given themselves a head-start of several months' worth of collusion.
In my utopia, Test cricket is restructured. There are now twelve Test nations, a number which includes Ireland and Afghanistan. Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin have both been offered the opportunity to be welcomed back into the Irish fold without having to wait for the intervening years, on the back of a special dispensation. These twelve teams play in a World Test Championship every four years, and the Future Tours Programme operates on an eight-year cycle. For those teams who aspire to be the next Test nations, the Intercontinental Cup continues to provide a crucial stepping stone, while the Outreach Program offers them the opportunity to establish a good-quality domestic structure.
Those teams who are good enough to reach the World Cup are also good enough to play in ODIs at other times, and as a result they are often included as the third wheel in the tri-series that usually follow the Tests. These are the same teams who make use of the Outreach Program, and after a good few years of hard work and opportunities, they are ready to push for Test status themselves.
This new, independent Wales would be entered into the Associate ranks at an appropriate level, and would hopefully rise through the echelons towards the upper end of the pile owing to the performances of the likes of Jim Allenby and Gareth Rees. It's little skin off the ECB's nose - they rarely gain much from hosting internationals at Sophia Gardens, and they've not deigned to select a Welsh player since Simon Jones - not that many have exactly been banging the door down.
Of all of my ideas, it is this system of governance that I am least certain of. The ten-man committee, for instance, has been used for convenience far more than for any kind of logical reason. Similarly, such an even split between the various kinds of members of the ICC could also cause problems. Despite the best of intentions, the right financial decisions need to be made as well, and there is no guarantee that these would be made when Associates and Affiliates control between 65 and 70 per cent of the ICC despite contributing so much less financially.
A tiny part of me pities the ICC, and how difficult it must be for them to please everyone, But a far bigger part of me looks wistfully at the long list of common sense proposals in the second half of this article and feels aggrieved that it's only the first half that really matters.