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Head in the sand?

Many boards are upset by the growing influence of the BCCI. In a chat with Kadambari Murali ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat tells why he thinks that perception is wrong.

cricket Updated: Oct 16, 2008 00:04 IST

At this point more than any other perhaps, with some boards in the midst of administrative chaos, other countries ravaged by political turmoil and still others upset by the influence the BCCI wields because of its economic clout, world cricket needs a strong governing body. The International Cricket Council is generally not considered one. Speaking to the Hindustan Times from Dubai on various issues, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat tells us why he thinks that perception is wrong.

Comments attributed to (ICC president) David Morgan indicated his unhappiness with a possible IPL financial bailout of Sri Lankan cricket, because of its repercussions on Test cricket…

The ICC view is very clear that all its directors support the primacy of international cricket. International cricket is paramount, we maintain and promote that. Having said that though, at this moment there are still discussions on between Sri Lankan and England cricket officials on the tour next year.

Is the ICC not worried about the image of discord the remarks attributed to officials of other member boards, indicating their unhappiness with the growing influence of the BCCI, creates?

It is perception, that's all. My experience in the boardroom has been very different. Member boards are very keen to cooperate with each other and matters are discussed very cordially. Everyone has the ICC vision in mind. For instance, in this Board meeting, we found a window to play the Champions Trophy next year. This was only possible because of the help of every single member board. And unless any problems are tabled on the agenda, we cannot really get involved in what are reported remarks.

There is also a perception that the ICC dithers on issues and many dub it a 'toothless tiger'. As chief executive, how would you view this?

I think there is pretty much a misunderstanding of what the ICC is. It is a collection of member boards. I am not the ICC. There needs to be an understanding that all ICC decisions are made collectively, by the directors as a whole. As a group, we need to understand what the road ahead is and that can only done by a complete understanding of the issues involved. Sometimes, this takes time.

Is there a time frame for the BCCI president to get back to the ICC on its talks with the Indian Cricket League?

The ICC only asked that Mr. Manohar get back to the board as soon as possible. After the (ICL) application was tabled, he requested that before we start the process, he be given the time to try and sort it out with the ICL first. The board agreed that that would be the best way ahead.

There are reports of players' associations putting pressure on boards to allow players to play in the ICL. Will the ICC get involved?

There has been some talk but I think those are bilateral discussions between member countries and their respective players. The ICC has not been requested to get involved at this stage. We cannot really get involved in what constitutes a country's domestic issue unless specifically requested.

Given the complex security issues there, what is the ICC doing to help Pakistan cricket?

This is really a complex issue but it is very crucial that we play cricket in Pakistan and we would do whatever we can to that end. In the short term though, it is good to see Pakistan playing some games in Abu Dhabi. There is still a long way to go before next September (when the next Champions Trophy is scheduled to take place). In fact, we have made a commitment that immediately after India tour Pakistan (scheduled for Jan-Feb 2009) we will review the security situation there. But yes, it is crucial that cricket is played in Pakistan.