ICC vote may lead to World Cup role
It might well be a case of quid pro quo - or to put it more simply, 'you scratch my back, and I will scratch yours' - at this week's International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference where the associate members could get their wish granted for a role in the 2015 World Cup in return for supporting a move to scrap the rotation policy for appointing the ICC president and vice-president.
The members will be expected to vote in favour of scrapping the two-year rotational move traditionally used to appoint the ICC hierarchy in 2014, when New Zealand's Alan Isaac, who next year succeeds incumbent Sharad Pawar steps down.
There is speculation that both the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) are in favour of a 14-team 2015 World Cup, in return for support for the constitutional change from the associate members. This is believed to be because both Narayanswamy Srinivasan, the BCCI's secretary, and Giles Clarke, chairman of the ECB, have their sights on the ICC presidency in 2014.
'I can't say if this has a ring of truth or if it is just scuttlebutt, but I have read a report like this previously,' said John Cribbin (pictured), secretary of the Hong Kong Cricket Association, who also represents the associates on the ICC chief executives' committee. 'The associate members will meet [tomorrow] and we have a broad agenda, but as far as I know, nobody has heard anything about such horse-trading, although this sounds very interesting.'
For a special resolution to change the ICC constitution to be effected, it needs the support of eight of the 10 full members, plus 30 of the 40 associate and affiliate members who will be present at the full council meeting on Thursday, when the conference draws to an end.
When the resolution was first floated among the full members, the Pakistan Cricket Board voted against it, while Sri Lanka abstained. If one other full member shows dissent, the move will be shot down. Yet if it is not, it will depend on the backing of the minnows. Bangladesh, a full member, who together with Pakistan should head the ICC hierarchy in 2014, have apparently bowed to the BCCI's interests and agreed to the change.
However, the outcome was not clear-cut, said Cribbin, who added that, even if the offer of participation at the 2015 World Cup was hugely tempting, there was a strong feeling among associates to maintain the ICC presidency's two-year rotation.
'In 2016, it will be the turn of the associates to nominate a person to the vice-presidency and he could become the president in 2018. We have had some preliminary discussions and it has been mooted that an ideal candidate would be Malaysia's Tunku Peter Imran,' Cribbin said.
Imran, 63, once on the ICC executive board and a keen cricket fan, is now president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia and is an International Olympic Committee member.
The ICC executive board, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, will revisit the decision to restrict the 2015 World Cup to only the 10 full members. It is widely expected this decision will be revoked in favour of a qualifying format that includes the associate members, and possibly retains this year's World Cup format of 14 teams - 10 full members plus four associates.
Yet will the associates pay a price for such a move? Cribbin refused to speculate. 'All I can say is that the next few days are going to be very interesting,' he said.