The start of any year is a time for optimism and anticipation about what is to come and for cricket in 2017 that is particularly true. Coming up this year we have two global events being held in the UK; the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Women’s World Cup and both provide a platform for the sport we love to be showcased around the world to hundreds of millions of fans.
Both events are looking like record breakers with almost 90% of tickets for the Champions Trophy sold or allocated and more than 8000 tickets have already been sold to the Women’s World Cup final which will be held at Lords. This shows the appetite for both the men’s and women’s games and it is our ambition at the ICC to continue to grow cricket around the world.
As Chairman of the ICC, I feel optimistic for our sport for a number of reasons away from the field of play. Sport governance is under the spotlight more than ever before and it is no secret that in our recent past the ICC has taken decisions that were in retrospect not always in the best interests of the game as a whole. I believe 2017 is the year when we start to reverse that and provide a genuine opportunity for our sport to grow.
My vision is to ensure the sport has strong governance, finance, corporate and cricketing structures that support all of our members and decisions are taken for the long term benefit of the sport from the largest nation to the smallest.
We have had a working group in place for the last twelve months and it has been carrying out a complete review of the 2014 resolutions and constitutional changes. The group will present their findings at the ICC Board meeting this week and I look forward to discussing them with my Board colleagues and considering the next steps.
The ICC constitution, our governance and financial distributions will all be discussed as we navigate our way towards a better sport that enables all of our members to grow and flourish and for the ICC to grow the game in new markets.
Another widely discussed area of focus for our sport that we hope to make progress on in 2017 is around the structures of international cricket. We must ensure we protect and promote three vibrant formats of the game that each have context and meaning in relation to global events, along with an event pathway that is open to every member.
However the rights to bilateral international cricket are not owned by the ICC. These rights vest in the respective Boards. Thus it is not for us to impose a structure on the members. We need to work in partnership with them, facilitating discussion around the future structure and providing the resource to work through and test ideas.
This takes time and we must be comfortable with that. Making ill-thought out and hasty change or change for change sake will not have the transformative effect we’re all focused on. I believe there is a genuine will from across our membership to deliver a structure for each of the three formats of the game and I am confident that collectively we will achieve that in 2017.
I have of course been following developments in regard to the BCCI and the decision of the Indian Supreme Court and will continue to do so over the following weeks. India is a vitally important member of the ICC and contrary to some reports, I believe a strong BCCI based on solid governance foundations is good for cricket. India is a nation that others look up to and it can play such an important role in the opportunity we have with other full members to grow the global game. The ICC will continue to work closely with the BCCI administration and provide any support necessary.
Change is not always easy to champion nor is it easy to digest, but we must think of the global game when taking decisions and only then will history judge us kindly. Wishing you all the very best for 2017.
Yours in cricket