Ashraf warns that ICC shouldn't be guided by money

Associated Press
Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf talks to reporters in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Ashraf warned the sport will be ruined if, in the proposed changes to the International Cricket Council, "We go after money." (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
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Pakistan Cricket Board chief Zaka Ashraf talks to reporters in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Ashraf warned the sport will be ruined if, in the proposed changes to the International Cricket Council, "We go after money." (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Cricket will be ruined if, in the proposed changes to the ICC, "we go after money," Pakistan board chief Zaka Ashraf warned on Friday.

Pakistan, along with Sri Lanka and South Africa, has sought time to consider radical changes to the International Cricket Council proposed by the rich boards of India, England and Australia. The ICC delayed any decision on reforms in Dubai this week.

"I told them in the ICC meeting that we should see whether we need money or cricket because if there's cricket every board will get the money. If you go after money, it won't bring in cricket," Ashraf said.

The proposed changes give more powers to the big three, and it will be discussed again at the next ICC meeting on Feb. 8.

Three boards considering their options suggests seven out of the 10 full ICC members back the reforms. Just one more vote was needed to get them approved.

The big three toned down the proposals in an attempt to seize power in the ICC meeting this week.

The ICC board has provisionally approved a five-member executive committee and a five-member finance and commercial affairs committee. They would each include members from India, England and Australia and two others from the ICC board. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia proposed a four-member executive committee with the big three rotating the chair between them and deciding who should join them.

The ICC executive also rejected promotion and relegation among the 10 test-playing countries, much to the relief of lowly ranked Bangladesh, which initially was with Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

"They (Bangladesh) must have seen their interest (answered), but we have to see if it's a short-term gain or a long-term gain," Ashraf said.

"We will also see what is good for our board and for our country."

Following his re-election last year, Ashraf was suspended for eight months until this month, when he was reinstated by the Islamabad High Court. The government filed a review petition against Ashraf's reinstatement in the Supreme Court, but took it back on Friday after the high court said the PCB patron, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has the authority to keep Ashraf or not.

Ashraf said he wanted to meet Sharif and seek his opinion on reforms in the ICC.

"These are important decisions and it will affect the future of Pakistan cricket," Ashraf said. "I want to take his opinion and his guidance so that when we move forward everyone should be on board."

The turmoil in the PCB setup didn't go down well during the ICC meeting when Ashraf said he was criticized by Cricket Australia.

"They said 'there's no consistency in your board, today it's you, after six months it's somebody else,'" Ashraf said.

Pakistan has not hosted India for seven years and during the meeting, according to Ashraf, BCCI offered to resume cricketing ties.

"BCCI offered to all the cricket boards of the world, they offered us a lot, too," Ashraf said. "They told us they will make a bankable document and they won't back out from their promise.

"We will discuss this, and after taking approval from the prime minister then we will see what happens when we go back in the next meeting."

Ashraf has convened a special meeting of the PCB governing board on Monday to discuss the ICC reforms.

Ashraf said Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka didn't form any opposing group, but reminded that former test cricketers and top administrators had criticized the proposals.

"The proposals were criticized everywhere in the world and faced a very strong reaction," Ashraf said.

Former top ICC officials Ehsan Mani, Malcolm Speed and Malcolm Gray were among critics of the planned reforms.

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