1909 - 1963 - Imperial Cricket Conference
The governing body of world cricket, which has 106 countries currently in membership, began its life with some very tentative steps. On 30th November, 1907 the President of the South African Cricket Association, Abe Bailey, wrote a letter to F.E. Lacey, MCC Secretary. Bailey, having accompanied the South African team on their tour of England, was now on his way home.
Bailey suggested the formation of an 'Imperial Cricket Board'. The Board's function would be to formulate a set of rules and regulations to govern international matches involving England, Australia and South Africa. He also wished to promote a Triangular Test series between the three countries in England in 1909. Though what was classified as a Test match had taken place on their own soil as far back as 1889, South Africa's 1907 tour to England was the first such visit to include official Test Matches. South Africa had first played Tests against Australia in 1902/03.
The idea of a Triangular Tournament found favour in England, but was rejected by Australia. This was probably on financial grounds - Australia had agreed to tour England in 1909 and was not keen to share the tour with South Africa. Bailey was not deterred and continued to lobby both MCC and Australia. On 15th June, 1909 representatives of all three countries met at Lord's under the chairmanship of the President of MCC, the Earl of Chesterfield, and agreed to stage a Triangular Test Tournament. A month later, under Lord Harris's chairmanship, a second meeting set the Imperial Cricket Conference on its way, when rules were agreed to control Test cricket between the three nations. The Triangular Tournament duly took place in England in 1912. The weather that summer was appalling and problems in Australia meant that their major cricketers refused to come. The tournament was not a success.
There was no further meeting of the Conference until 1921, when the main discussions centered on the use of eight-ball overs. Five years went by without a further meeting, but in 1925-26, MCC sent a team to the West Indies, a visit of particular interest to Lord Harris, who had spent his early years in Trinidad. A West Indies side came close to beating MCC in Georgetown and this performance strengthened the home side's resolve to join the Test-playing countries. When the Imperial Cricket Conference met in England in 1926, delegates from West Indies, New Zealand and India were invited to attend. Later that summer, Lord Harris presided at a second meeting at The Oval, where it was agreed that the membership of the ICC should comprise, 'governing bodies of cricket in countries within the Empire to which cricket teams are sent, or which send teams to England.' This definition rather unfortunately excluded the United States, which had regularly received teams from England since 1859 and had dispatched several teams to England. The meeting effectively created three new Test playing nations, West Indies, New Zealand and India. West Indies played their first Test in 1928, New Zealand in 1929-30 and India in 1932.
From now onward, the ICC met on an almost annual basis except during the war years. The main business of these meetings was to set out future Test tours, check that players were properly qualified and encourage the use of turf pitches as against matting ones. Possible law changes, the enlargement of the wickets for example, also came under discussion.
The next major event was the admission to the ICC on 28 July, 1952 of Pakistan, and in October of that year, Pakistan played their first Test match. In May 1961, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth and was thus no longer eligible for ICC membership. However, they did send an 'observer' to the ICC meeting that summer.
1964 - 1988 - International Cricket Conference
In 1964, Pakistan suggested an expansion of the ICC in order to include non-Test playing countries. The following year at the July meeting, the ICC changed its name to International Cricket Conference and Pakistan's idea was acted upon - USA, Ceylon and Fiji being admitted to a new type of membership named Associate. South Africa did not apply to rejoin. The Netherlands, Denmark, Bermuda and East Africa became Associates in 1966. At the same meeting, after several years of debate, a 'throw' was redefined. The basic rules of ICC were amended in 1969.
At the 1971 Conference, the possibility of a World Cup was mooted and ideas requested from members; in the same year, the voting system was amended with full members (i.e. Test playing countries) having two votes each and Associates, one. A scheme to stage a World Cup (60 overs-per-side) in England during 1975 was approved in 1973; East Africa and Sri Lanka were invited to take part, as well as the six Test playing countries.
New Associate members were regularly added - Argentina, Israel and Singapore in 1974, West Africa in 1976 and Bangladesh in 1977. It was agreed to stage a competition for Associate members, with the most successful nations qualifying to play in future World Cups. 1978 was largely occupied with the controversy surrounding World Series Cricket, the matches staged by the Australian media magnate Kerry Packer, which attracted many of the world's best players and, for a time, threatened to de-rail official Test cricket.
In 1978, Papua-New Guinea joined as an Associate, but South Africa's application to rejoin was rejected. After several years of trying, Sri Lanka was raised to full membership in July 1981 and played their first Test in February 1982. The problem of whether to re-admit South Africa occupied much time at the 1981 Conference before their application was again rejected. 1982 saw the idea of an international panel of umpires for Tests being discussed. In 1984, a third category of membership was approved - Affiliate - with Italy being the first to gain admittance; Switzerland followed in 1985. New Affiliates in 1987 were Bahamas and France, followed by Nepal in 1988.
1989 - present - International Cricket Council
A special meeting in 1989 agreed a set of rules effectively banning from Test cricket players who had sporting links with South Africa. In July of the same year, the ICC had another name change - to International Cricket Council - but still retained the three initials that had served from its inception. This was also the year in which the practice of the President of MCC automatically assuming the chairmanship of ICC came to an end, but with the election of Colin Cowdrey, it was still a British hand at the helm. The newly-named organisation had more teeth: it was no longer confined to making recommendations to national governing bodies; now it could impose binding decisions on Members.
UAE joined as an Associate in 1990. January 1991 saw the first ICC meeting away from England - in Melbourne, where the discussions centered on the appointment of independent Match Referees, created to enforce the proposed new Code of Conduct for the players. In July, South Africa was re-admitted as full Members and the ban on players who had sporting connections with South Africa was revoked. Zimbabwe was admitted as a full Member, their first Test being in October 1992. Namibia joined as an Associate and Austria, Belgium, Brunei and Spain as Affiliates. A revised set of ICC Regulations was published.
The most far-reaching effect of the changes at this time was the creation, in 1993, of the post of Chief Executive of ICC, a position to which David Richards of the Australian Cricket Board was appointed. Then, in July, Sir Clyde Walcott, from Barbados, was elected the first non-British Chairman, in succession to Sir Colin Cowdrey, who had been very active in encouraging cricket development in countries with little tradition of the game.
Since its inception, the ICC had been run as a virtual appendix to MCC. Even after MCC's influence within the game in England had been curtailed by the formation of the Cricket Council and the Test and County Cricket Board in 1969, and after the club's annually changing President had no longer assumed the chairmanship of ICC, MCC's Secretary was still performing the same administrative function for ICC. But with Richards' appointment, this came to an end. Another change saw ICC with its own office for the first time, though this was still at Lord's, with a separate office soon established for commercial purposes in Monaco.
For thirty years, from the time of South Africa's withdrawal, England and Australia had enjoyed the status of 'Foundation members,' and this effectively meant that little could be achieved unless the two countries concurred. But with the implementation of the new Regulations, all this changed. England and Australia lost their special privilege, all Test playing countries now being of equal standing.
New technology was becoming available around this time to show with increasing accuracy the correctness of umpires' decisions. 1993 saw the first chance for umpires in Test matches to refer doubtful line decisions to a third umpire equipped with video playback facilities. By 1995, it had been agreed that TV replays should be available in Tests 'wherever possible' and that the third umpire should signal out with a red light and not out with a green. The following year, cameras were also permitted to pronounce whether a ball had crossed the boundary. In 1997, the third umpire could be called on to rule on the cleanness of catches. This was also the year in which, for the first time, the Duckworth-Lewis method of adjusting targets in rain-affected matches was trialled by ICC in ODIs.
New countries joining ICC were Ireland (1993), Scotland (1994) and Italy (1995) as Associates, and Greece, Thailand, Vanuatu and Portugal as Affiliates, whilst Nepal was raised to Associate status in 1996. Problems occurred in 1996, when there was much bitter wrangling as it became clear that no candidate could command the necessary two-thirds majority to succeed Sir Clyde Walcott, who was to retire from the chairmanship the following year. A meeting in Kuala Lumpur in March 1997 resolved the impasse with a revised ICC structure.
Implementing proposals drawn up by Sir John Anderson, Chairman of New Zealand Cricket, ICC became an incorporated body with a President, an appointment which was to be assigned to a member country who would then nominate an individual to serve in the role for a period of three years. India was the choice, and Jagmohan Dalmiya became the first man to hold this new office, with the policy and direction of ICC now vested in an executive board comprising representatives of all the Test-playing nations plus three Associate members. Reporting to that board were committees covering cricket, development and finance and marketing.
Bangladesh's application for full membership was deferred in 1998, but France and Uganda were raised to Associates and Kuwait, Luxembourg and Malta became Affiliates. Match-fixing and betting by players and other officials had featured in the media: in April 1999, a Code of Conduct Commission under Lord Griffiths, a British law lord with first-class cricket experience, was set up to investigate the rumours. This was followed by the setting up of an anti-corruption unit under Sir Paul Condon, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom.
In 2000, on the completion of Dalmiya's term in office, Malcolm Gray from Australia became President, and in July 2001, Malcolm Speed succeeded David Richards as Chief Executive. A full-time panel of eight elite umpires, who would stand in all Test matches, was created in 2002, one umpire from a non-competing country having stood with an official of the home country in all Tests since 1994. In March 2004, a new ICC Intercontinental Cup was inaugurated for major Associate members and the matches were granted first-class status.
In August 2005, ICC left its base at Lord's to set up its new headquarters in Dubai. There, under the presidency of David Morgan until 2010 and now under Alan Isaac, it continues to face such matters as match-fixing, player conduct, the use of floodlights and the challenge of balancing the three formats of the game. As it addresses these issues, ICC strives to remain true to the purpose enshrined in its mission statement that 'As a leading global sport, cricket will captivate and inspire people of every age, gender, background and ability while building bridges between continents, countries and communities.'
|Lord Colin Cowdrey||1989 - 1993*|
|Sir Clyde Walcott||1993 - 1997*|
|Jagmohan Dalmiya||1997 - 2000|
|Malcolm Gray||2000 - 2003|
|Ehsan Mani||2003 - 2006|
|Percy Sonn||2006 - 2007|
|Ray Mali||2007 - 2008|
|David Morgan||2008 - 2010|
|Sharad Pawar||2010 - 2012|
|Alan Isaac||2012 - 2014|
|Mustafa Kamal||2014 - 2015|
|Zaheer Abbas||2015 -|
|ICC Chief Executives|
|David Richards||1993 - 2001|
|Malcolm Speed||2001 - 2008|
|Haroon Lorgat||2008 - 2012|
|David Richardson||2012 -|
*Cowdrey and Walcott both served as 'Chairman' of the ICC. Prior to Lord Cowdrey's appointment the ICC was administered by the secretary of the Marylebone Cricket Club.