The prospect of a school of blokes in suits and ties sitting in meetings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground voting on the future of the game mightn't captivate everyone. Andrew Alderson gives five reasons why fans following the latest International Cricket Council meeting need to keep apathy at bay.
1. To make a note of fixtures until 2023.
Previous negotiations gave a "live on your knees rather than die on your feet" impression, raising questions over fairness and equity. It seemed that provided The Big Three's entitlement to the lion's share of revenue from international tournaments was tolerated, then Australia, England and, in particular India, would honour bilateral agreements as an alternative to the Future Tours Programme. Those tours are set to be revealed soon.
2. To ensure the ICC keeps its promises with The Big Three in charge.
New chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan of India opened his account with this gambit: "In this new structure there is a lot of emphasis on meritocracy. The glass ceiling has been broken, the associates and affiliates, up-and-coming teams, they can come up and play the longer version." This is either politically correct tosh or we're going to see a genuine hand-up to less well-resourced nations. Still, as New Zealand ICC board representative Martin Snedden concluded: "Having India on the outside [of the ICC previously] resulted in endless disputes which made proper governance difficult. We've moved a considerable distance and are now in a good position to sell commercial rights to ICC events".
3. To keep an eye out for Quislings and Uncle Toms
The term Quisling was coined by The Times in 1940 after Norwegian Vidkun Quisling. He sided with the Nazis and was rewarded with power in a puppet government before his later execution. Basically those who collaborate with an occupying force get (sometimes temporary) power. An 'Uncle Tom' originates from the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel Uncle Tom's Cabin noting someone subservient to perceived authority figures. Muhammad Ali was fond of using the term to aggravate Joe Frazier.
4. To see democracy in action?
The ICC members, by allowing the creation of the five-member Executive Committee (with compulsory representatives from India, Australia and England) gifted control to The Big Three. ExCo must be accountable to the board but, according to the draft paper released earlier this year, will be "the sole recommendation committee on all constitutional, personnel, integrity, ethics, development and nominations matters". Former ICC president Ehsan Mani suggested it should consist of seven members including two independents to offer balance so The Big Three don't have an automatic veto.
5. To be entertained
On Thursday Srinivasan said: "I can't accept that cricket has an image problem". This would be amusing if the allegations of corruption, the occurrence of regular match-fixing and the perception of bullying by The Big Three weren't so prevalent. Srinivasan's love of cricket is undisputed but such statements points to a disturbing disconnect from fans.