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No window for IPL, says Lorgat

New Delhi: The ICC sought to dispel the notion that IPL has been given a window in the international cricket calendar, saying the issue did not even come up in the governing body’s annual conference, nor did the BCCI push for it.

ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said the BCCI never tried to arm—twist the governing body on the matter and the ICC didn’t consider it either even though gaps have been left in the Future Tours Program for most nations during April and May for the eight—year period from 2012—20.

“No, there is no window for the IPL in the FTP. The issue has never been discussed at ICC Board level, and neither the IPL itself nor the BCCI has requested such a window,” Lorgat told PTI in an interview.

“On the contrary, the BCCI is fully aware of the primacy of international cricket and should be commended for the recent stance against the Sri Lanka Premier League when it strongly advised its players of their commitment first to international cricket,” he asserted.

The FTP, which was approved by the ICC Executive Board on the recommendations of Chief Executives’ Committee, contains an official two—week window in September for the Champions League Twenty20 each year and leaves space for a seemingly unofficial IPL window in April and May.

All the earlier four editions of the IPL were held in April—May and the fifth edition next year is scheduled from April 4 to May 27.

Lorgat also sought to dismiss apprehensions that the BCCI has become too influential in the ICC due to its financial might, asserting that the Indian Board is no more or no less powerful than any other member nation of the governing body.

“The BCCI is one of 13 members on the ICC Executive Board and the Chief Executives Committee. All 13 members have equal standing and exercise their minds on a range of issues affecting international cricket, and all 13 have a vote on the Board,” he said.

“That is the forum for members to voice their opinions on how the game should be run, and collectively we arrive at decisions,” he explained.

But he did concede that it took a lot of convincing to ensure that the BCCI accepted the controversial Decision Review System which has been improvised to address Indian concerns.

“It is evident that the BCCI needs convincing on the accuracy and reliability of ball tracking technology and that is what we have agreed to do. The good news is that we now have DRS as mandatory and we can only improve from this point onwards,” he said.

Now that the DRS has been made mandatory, the ICC is also considering bringing in sponsors to fund the cost of installing the system.

“Sponsorship of the DRS is now indeed an opportunity that we can fully explore. It may be possible for us to secure a sponsor to cover the global costs of the system, but let’s not forget that some members have already implemented the DRS successfully.

“However, now that all members are in favour of the system we will be in a position to investigate all options for funding the system,” Lorgat said.

Lorgat was quite critical of the Indian team’s criticism directed at Australian umpire Daryl Harper, who chose to step down from his farewell Test (the ongoing India—West Indies third Test) after being lambasted by Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his bloopers in the second Test.

“There is no doubt Daryl received a lot of unfair criticism after the first Test in the series and in the wake of that he informed us that he did not wish to stand in what would have been his final Test. That is most unfortunate and also unjust on an elite umpire whose statistics reflect a 96 per cent correct decisions in Tests involving India,” said Lorgat.

“As a matter of fact this is better than the international average for top—level umpires. We were content for Daryl to finish the series and while we regret his decision we do respect it,” he added.

“Umpiring at Test level is no easy task and I personally feel sad that Daryl was deprived of the opportunity to sign off in a manner befitting someone who has been a servant to the game as an elite umpire for many years. His international debut was way back in 1994.”

Among the most important decisions taken at the ICC annual conference was to ask members boards to become autonomous, free of government control and Lorgat said he did not foresee any implementation problem despite countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh having politicians at the helm.

“The appreciation and resolve displayed by all Members around the table for the need for such a clause was very good and I think there is clear determination to achieve best practice in governance,” he said.

“This can only be good for the game. The challenge now rests with each Member to implement and the ICC will provide all necessary support,” he added.

The rotational system of Presidency is also among the key issues facing the ICC but the body chose to leave it for another day.

Lorgat said this has been done to ensure that an improved system of governance can be agreed upon after a thorough review.

“The topic on President rotation system or nomination was not considered at Annual Conference. The Executive Board had decided to defer this topic until an independent review of the entire ICC governance structure and processes has been completed.

“This is a significant and important piece of work and one of eight key initiatives agreed to in the new ICC Strategic Plan 2011—2015,” Lorgat said.

“The Board’s decision supports a recommendation from the the ICC Governance Review Committee to conduct a wide—ranging and independent review across all governance—related matters,” he added.

Besides governance and structural issues, the ICC deliberated on formats of the game and the much—anticipated concept of night Tests. Lorgat said more trials would be conducted to decide on a suitable ball before it is introduced at the top level.

“…good progress is being made as regards day/night Test matches. Trials of this have been ongoing at domestic level for some time now with the main challenge being the colour and durability of the ball,” he said.

“As it is being developed further, there will be more trials in domestic first—class cricket and event in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, so that the right ball and related conditions can be determined,” he added.

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