Interim International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Imran Khwaja will contest the leadership of the global sports governing body in the form of a two-horse race with New Zealand nations Greg Barclay.
After months of speculation since Shashank Manohar left as chairman mid-year, sources say Khwaja and Barclay are expected to be nominated by current board members on Sunday (Oct. 18) and officially accept nominations mid-week. Under current rules, a nominee for chairman must be a past or current director.
While taking shape as a battle between Khwaja and Barclay, sources say a third candidate could emerge as a tactical approach. If nominated – and seconded, according to the rules – as expected, Khwaja, the former president of the Singapore Cricket Association, will run for crickets’ best job, sources said. He aspires to be the first ICC leader from outside the Full Member countries – the 12 elite countries in a cricket system – but has been the interim chairman for more than three months.
The pragmatic Khwaja has struggled by having a long-term presence on ICC boards and committees. The 64-year-old is seen by his donors as the person with the independence and integrity necessary to protect cricket in a tumultuous period, in which the ICC is expected to work through gradual reforms to address financial inequalities between countries. – with increasing fear of smaller cricket countries. because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the leadership of Manohar and Khwajas, the ICC had initiated a more inclusive approach and slightly reduced the weight of the big three – India, England and Australia – which made the much derided seizure of power and skewed financial distribution formula in 2014.
However, there is some reluctance about someone who is not a Full Member rising to the top and it is believed that there is renewed strength from the big three to take back the reins. After much media speculation, the Indian governing body will not push a candidate forward.
The recently departed English boss Colin Graves has been touted as the front runner for a while – and supposedly boasting about big three support – but his potential candidacy took a plunge recently. Barclay, a director of New Zealand Cricket (NZC) since 2012, has emerged as the compromise candidate as mentioned in the Indian media – of the big three.
Cricket in New Zealand has long been acclaimed and also underscored by the continued success of the men’s national team, which came within inches of winning the World Cup last year.
However, the NZC did not oppose the unpopular power movements of the big three in 2014. “It’s no use squashing India; it’s just not going to work,” Barclay said. in 2016. They make the money together with, to a lesser extent, England and Australia.
“We had to look at it from a pragmatic and commercial perspective. From our point of view, nothing remains as it is. There would always be changes.”
There is widespread suspicion in the media about the voting process and whether a two-thirds majority will be needed to elect a chairman or whether it will return to a simple majority. Under the ICC’s unamended constitution, the two-thirds majority is required – meaning 11 out of 16 votes are required.
The competition will be held next month by secret ballot, but if no winner is determined after three tries, Khwaja will automatically be the chairman for the next 12 months.
An ICC board review will have to be conducted during the election process.
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