Midweek fixture with Dylan Cleaver: How NZC are set to flip-flop

By Dylan Cleaver

New Zealand Cricket boss David White.
New Zealand Cricket boss David White.

While the Black Caps prepare for what could be termed an era-defining ODI and test series against Australia, those who run the game here are quietly pulling off one of the great administrative flip-flops of our time.

The ICC board meeting in Dubai this week, attended by NZC CEO David White and board member Greg Barclay, is set to bin the moves made less than two years ago that effectively appointed the 'Big Three' - India, England and Australia - as guardians of the game.

Followers of the arcane world of cricket geopolitics might recall that fraught time, when White and Martin Snedden, a former NZC CEO now on the board, returned from Dubai like a pair of Neville Chamberlains declaring peace for our time.

In this case peace meant not standing in front of a heavy roller driven by India, England and our transtasman 'friends', but rather falling meekly in behind.

Many, particularly among the South African delegation, were appalled with NZC's obsequious stance but in truth, White and Snedden were only playing the politics of expediency. South Africa had already proved how damaging a fight with the BCCI, India's controlling body, could be, having lost an estimated US$20 million when the world's most marketable team truncated a proposed two-month tour down to two tests.

New Zealand were then not a big drawcard; the opposite of big if we're being honest. The prospect of being left behind by cricket's new world order, no matter how distasteful that order appeared, was too frightening to contemplate.

With the Future Tours Programme effectively scrapped in favour of bi-lateral haggling, New Zealand couldn't afford to get offside with the three countries whose in-bound tours guaranteed a profit (despite the Black Caps' recent upswing in form and marketability, NZC are still forecasting a loss on the current financial year).

NZC had a choice to make: fight and scrap with the "smaller" countries and hope the collective voice was strong enough to carry; or cut their losses and buddy up with the bullies. They sided with the bullies.

But things change, oh my how they change.

The BCCI chairman and inaugural ICC chairman N Srinivasan has been forced to step down from both roles as his status as owner of the Chennai Super Kings was ruled a conflict of interest. He has been replaced by progressive lawyer Shashank Manohar who stunned the cricket world by slamming the Big Three takeover and declaring in November that: "I don't agree with the revenue-sharing formula, because it's nice to say that India (BCCI) will get 22 per cent of the total revenue of the ICC, but you cannot make the poor poorer and the rich richer, only because you have the clout."

Australia's chairman of the time Wally Edwards has also moved on to be replaced by David Peever, and England's patrician president Giles Clarke, the only surviving architect of cricket's odious land grab, is isolated and unloved outside his home country.

And where is NZC in all this now? Well, White and Barclay are in Dubai, with a wet finger in the air, sensing which way the wind is blowing.

They'll no doubt back the counter-revolution and argue that this was what they wanted all along.

They will find, if you will, peace for our time or, to put it more accurately, peace for the time being.

GIVE 'EM A TASTE OF KIWI ...

Ropey old quality sorry, but it couldn't really be anything other than this moment, could it?

SPORTS SHAREMARKET

I'm buying... Deet
I would not be travelling with 1000kms of Rio de Janeiro without first bathing in Deet and then smearing it on at every available opportunity. Every Olympics seems to have a crisis, but none have been quite as pernicious as the Zika-carrying mosquito.

I'm selling... The Nines
Look, I might be wrong here but I'm already sensing that the excitement and anticipation for league's pre-season jamboree is on the wane. I plan on going along on Sunday, which will be my first day at the event, so I'll let you know next week if I was right to sell.

I'M READING ...
I dead-set love this column by John Scott, the (ice) hockey enforcer that the NHL went to ridiculous levels to try to prevent playing in the All Star game.

MY LAST $10

So 2015 didn't go so well. My carefully hatched plan of backing strong favourites all the way to the bank crumbled under the first sign of pressure. I'm taking a more laissez faire approach in 2016, starting with...

$10 on 1st Over in 1st ODI between NZ and Australia - Total Runs over 3.5 at $1.85.
With Guptill and McCullum in one team and Warner in the other, combined with Eden Park's short boundaries, this is a gimme. Thanks TAB.

Total spent: $10 Total returned: $0

MAILBAG
Thought-provoking feedback is welcomed, boring rants are ignored. Write to me at dylan.cleaver@nzherald.co.nz. Correspondence may be published.

- NZ Herald

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