India in doubt for Champions Trophy

India’s participation in the Champions Trophy is in doubt following a landmark vote by the International Cricket Council that went against the sport’s most powerful nation and means their share of the financial pot from global events will suffer a significant cut.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had already missed Tuesday’s deadline to submit their squad for the eight-team tournament, which begins in England on 1 June, and reports in the country are now claiming a boycott is being considered by factions within the embattled governing body. India’s delay in naming a 15-man party for their title defence had been flagged up in advance as being down to “operational reasons” but it comes in the same week they were outvoted 13 to one at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on a new financial model in which their share of revenues from 2016 to 2023 is slashed from $570m (£440m) to $293m in a scaling back of the so-called Big Three reforms of 2014.

Under the revised calculation India’s considerable contribution to the money generated by global tournaments is still recognised, earning more than double the $143m allocated to England (down from $150m) as well as the $132m for each of Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand. Zimbabwe will earn $93m, while the 39 associate nations will share $280m.

Nevertheless, a split remains within the BCCI over the terms drawn up – as well as changes to the ICC constitution that were passed by 12 votes to two – such that some officials have reportedly begun discussing whether either a boycott of the Champions Trophy or the deployment of a second-string side would make a point. The changes are to be ratified by the ICC full council at the end of June.

Asked about the impact of such a move, Steve Elworthy, the tournament director, said: “The blow, if you think of the number of games we have sold out across the tournament, would be huge. India have an incredibly strong support base in this country. Never mind the operational issues, which would be immense. But at the moment we are just cracking on and planning everything as if they are coming.”

The BCCI will meet to discuss the situation at a special general meeting next week although officials at the ICC, which is chaired by the former BCCI president Shashank Manohar, insist they are relaxed about the delay to India’s squad. The situation will become more critical in time, because of the need for names when applying for visas.

One ICC source pointed out a full withdrawal by India, who should begin their campaign against Pakistan at a sold-out Edgbaston on 4 June, would be in breach of the existing members’ participation agreement and therefore have serious legal ramifications.

As well as changes to the ICC’s financial model and constitution, which includes new membership criteria that could mean Ireland and Afghanistan applying for Test status by the end of the year, was confirmation plans are being explored to send a World XI to play in Pakistan in September.

The ICC is also continuing with its project to create leagues for Test and one-day cricket that would provide greater context to international cricket, with broadcast revenues for bilateral series on the wane amid the rise of domestic Twenty20. (Courtesy The Guardian)

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