It used to be called the Imperial Cricket Conference, it’s now called the International Cricket Council but soon people will be referring to it as the Indian Cricket Club. This is not because Imtiaz Patel, a South African of Indian origin has been appointed the Chief Administrative Officer, but because Inderjit Singh Bindra has been made principal advisor to the ICC, an all-powerful post that gives him the widest range of powers of anyone in the ICC barring the president, a post that Sharad Pawar will next fill. Pawar will succeed David Morgan in June 2010.
Bindra, who is 66, was thought to be too old and experienced for the CEO’s job, but this a position that is even better than the CEO’s as it puts Bindra in a position where he reports directly to the president. It gives Bindra, who will sign a formal contract for three years in the days to come, will have the right to attend any ICC meeting anywhere in the world.
Bindra, who has been president of the BCCI, will be charged with advising the executive board of the ICC and the executive council in all matters relating to promoting the game. This means that, for example, if the Indian Cricket League went to the ICC for redressal of its problems, the ICC board will refer it to Bindra.
But Bindra’s job will not be limited to firefighting, although that is one area in which is he a consummate master. Falling directly in his ambit will be the implementation of the ICC’s vision, spreading the game around the world – something Bindra’s staunch enemy Jagmohan Dalmiya started – specifically in crucial areas like China and North America.
Bindra will also be in charge of overseeing the relationship between various members of the ICC. After all, the ICC itself is merely a collection of different national boards. If any contentious issues arise – and there is no shortage of those, for example the Pakistan Cricket Board’s disappointment at Australia’s refusal to tour – it will be upto Bindra to smooth over the ripples.
Crucially, Bindra will also be principally in charge of handling the various major properties of the ICC, overseeing the smooth conduct of major events like World Cups, the Champions Trophy and the Twenty20 World Cup.
Bindra will have offices both in New Delhi and Dubai, and will continue to be president of the Punjab Cricket Association, which will enable him to attend important BCCI meetings as and when required, but he will not be able to hold any office within the BCCI. This ICC appointment also means that Bindra will have to resign from the governing council of the Indian Premier League.
It is understood that Patel was appointed CEO after close to 72 hours of “negotiations” between the BCCI and other members of the ICC. Initially the BCCI had pushed hard for Bindra to be made president, and he was one of the long-list of 50 candidates that was later whittled down to 15, and finally six.
“There was an absolute consensus on his choice,” said Morgan, the ICC president elect. “He was among six candidates shortlisted for the job by the executive board from a list of 15 chosen by our consultants.”
Patel was seen to be the ideal compromise candidate, with Bindra being made principal advisor.