Former South Africa captain and administrator Ali Bacher has criticised India, Australia and England for ‘hijacking’ the ICC.
The 72-year-old was speaking to the Telegraph of India about the current state of the game, and expressed his dissatisfaction at the way it had been skewed in favour of the so-called ‘Big Three’, and India in particular.
‘My grave disappointment with the new direction in which cricket is going is mainly aimed at England and Australia who, together with India, have hijacked the game,’ Bacher said.
He then took aim at the other boards for allowing the ‘coup’ to happen, pointing out that they should have stood up to the three boards, with CSA particularly at fault, as they stand to lose R850 million in revenue from 2015 to 2023.
‘What staggers me the most is that not a word has been said by any of the member countries of the ICC. Initially, South Africa raised a hue and cry, but quickly gave in. Earlier this year, CSA did come out strongly against the new direction. They were applauded across the country. South Africa, in fact, held the trump card. Pakistan and Sri Lanka had also been resisting then, but what happened?
‘India induced South Africa to change direction. Those who’d hailed CSA now came down heavily on them. To amplify how South Africa have been used and then discarded, there is no South African in the high-level committees of the ICC. Even Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have been given positions, but not South Africa. What more is there to say?’
Bacher also made reference to convicted fraudster Allen Stanford in the interview, using the disgraced businessman as an example of the bad choices that the ECB have made in the past.
‘Who can forget that a few years ago, the England and Wales Cricket Board jumped into bed with a gentleman who is now serving the equivalent of a life sentence in a Texas prison. I needn’t say more.’
He drew parallels between Stanford and the new ICC chairman, N Srinivasan, who was elevated to the position despite being barred from the chairmanship of the BCCI due to an ongoing fraud case.
‘A certain gentleman is currently being investigated by a committee set up by the Supreme Court in India. Despite that, he becomes the ICC chairperson. It’s mind-boggling.’
Bacher is no longer an administrator in the game, but it still well-respected in cricketing circles, and said that when he saw Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards during the Test series in South Africa earlier this year, the Australian was on the defensive.
‘Edwards must have known about my opposition to the new direction because, without my saying anything, he tried to justify Australia’s position. He said that, for the last two years, life at the ICC had become untenable.
‘He was, of course, referring to the persistent demands made by India. According to Edwards, Australia and England were going along with India, keeping it in the loop, as that was a way of having some control over India.’
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