The Global Cricket Body - Imperial Cricket Conference was founded in 1909 by Australia, England and South Africa; after 56 years in 1965 it was renamed as International Cricket Conference and only in 1989, after 20 years it was again renamed into current name International Cricket Council.
Interestingly in 2009, 100 years after the birth of Global Cricket Governing body, literally took actionable notice of its 57% total memberships called Affiliates, who were constituting then around 63% of 96 members of ICC Development Countries; as if, symbolically, just in one corps Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru were residing while Mizaru and Kikazaru defied the doctrine to cover eyes and ears but poor Iwazaru is forced to place hands to prevent any “evil” but truth to voice out, notwithstanding centenary year was the starting point of slow but effective development wheel movement, in real sense.
For the first time in 2009, ICC Affiliate members were allotted with merit based C&D funds and a fixed Administrative grant but associate members continued with an average of 1060% higher of fixed administrative grant that of Affiliate members.
For any evolutionary momentum, the “Word” Resistance is probably synonym to progress, once ventured. It is not necessary to be the follower of Aristotle to understand that institutional nature as guided by human, many often fails to project Humane, hence provides the glorious opportunity to pursue persistently by determined personnel with clear conviction to convince antagonistic situation in to a sympathetic status and that exactly had started to happen by then.
In 2009, the centenary year of ICC Capital & Development fund was basically divided in to two groups – A to C Category group for Associates starting with higher-base funding ratio & decreasing proportionately and D to F category group for Affiliates starting with lower- base funding ratio, decreasing proportionately, category wise. Also there were huge numbers of Strictly and exclusively Affiliates, belong to “No Category Group” with the right to have an insignificant & token C & D funding.
Development Team-ICC were committed in scrutinizing, grading & Categorizing members within the policy on merit through very restricted mechanism but acquiesce to huge fixed Administrative Grant for all Associates and did same but separately for Affiliate members but amidst insignificant Administrative grant until 2012. Curiously during this period the development obligations and prerogatives of Associate and Affiliate members are being followed up with high effectiveness by Development Team-ICC, to evaluate with gradual and progressive policies as suitable and as applicable without changing core structures.
In the meantime with the approval of ICC Board, on 1st February 2012, a general review by The Rtd. Hon. the Lord Woolf of Barnes, on ICC Structure and Governance, was published and that was indeed a great boosting to progressive thoughts and reforms of many members and perhaps to core Development Team-ICC too.
In 2013 Development Team-ICC introduced a revolutionary policy by abolishing highly contentious and debatable Administrative Fixed grant and all associate and affiliate members were left on an equal footing to prove their respective status and capacity, strictly based on meritocracy to acquire appropriate categories of Classifications.
The result of such new wonderful and justifiable policy kicked-off the prominence in terms of Global Cricket Development without any scope for discrimination and unfairness and expressly within next 2 years, by the end of 2015, a huge change of global statistic by rapid growth in grass root, junior, indigenous players emerged, precisely in South, South East and Middle East Asia and in African Southern, Eastern and Western region under able guidance of Cassim Suliman, who was then a competent developer as a Team-ICC-Africa “activist” for cricket development. By then, one could easily witnessed that globally, many affiliates successfully ascended to higher categories and ranks while some associates failed to maintain open-to-all rhythm of Development Team-ICC policy and criteria thus receded to lower places.
Thenceforth, visionary wisdom of some full member Directors of ICC led by President/Chairman Mr. Shashank Manohar, who is considered by many as one of the best head of ICC Board of Directors ever served and also famously known for his integrity and neutrality, equally practiced under his leadership at the highest administration of the Global Governing Body, synchronized with Development Team-ICC to introduced some extremely progressive policies for the benefit of global Cricket Development.
In 2017 at ICC annual conference, General Council approved the certain amendments of Constitution and one of them was to abolish Affiliate Membership in consonance of one of the recommendations of Lord Woolf:
M1. Membership classes should be simplified and divided into two categories. A Full Member class should be retained. The Associate and Affiliate Member categories should be combined into one class of Associate Member.
Finally symbolic “Iwazaru“ is free and permitted for the first time to enter with unconditional epaulette in arena of Annual conference of Global Governing Body. I do not have any hesitation to say that what global cricket body achieved in first 100 years of existence, the Development Team-ICC definitely achieved something in last 9 years which could only be described in one word “ASTOUNDING”….
It will be totally injustice to the readers if I fail to mention few names among many, who were/are responsible for such Astounding Development as part of Team-ICC and delivered uniform sense of integrity within this beautiful sport call Cricket.
Since 2009 till date just one face is constant as an elected Associate representative in ICC Board and today he can be called as an architect of many development policies with absolute fairness and impartiality for the benefit of all non full members, is - Imran Khwaja, and the immediate second name comes in my mind is none other than Neil Speight, who stood firm all the time for “numerical justice” to ex. Affiliate & Associate members as an Associate representative in ICC Board and also now in CEC since 2009 till date except just one year but one should always take a vow to another Associate rep who also served in CEC and now in ICC Board got the Midas touch to righteousness for the benefit of Associates and ex. Affiliates on important policy makings, is Francois Erasmus. Many look-ups at him with respect by naming as a “silent Soldier” always fighting for right cause.
There cannot be any philharmonic symphony on Development without Maestros and there cannot be any distinct development policy-making and execution without Senior professional of ICC managers. Former Global Development manager Tim Anderson was one of the young bright personnel who certainly did a lot for non-full members to be in better position than before and another highly competent officer / manager Ammar Shaikh , a dedicated professional for the financial welfare with highest sense of natural justice & integrity for Associate and ex. Affiliate members and definitely a Team-man and a strong pillar of Development Team – ICC. Head of Global Development William Glenwright, who is only close to 2 years with ICC substituting Tim Anderson, definitely causing many desirable results and making his presence felt among all present day Associate members with highly motivated policy implementation; reassuring ICC Associates & former Affiliates to play and enjoy more in various cricketing activities under his leadership.
Undoubtedly there are many heroes within ICC membership and ICC Office who are the equally strong contributor and committed to this beautiful sport Cricket as the part of the team.
I salute all for Astounding Development by Team-ICC, just couple of hours before the present day Development Team-ICC along with ICC Board and CEC members will be discussing on new projects and new dreams for 92 Associate members of International Cricket Council, not far from the places where I was born & brought up and full of reminiscence, in the City of ever Joyful Eden Garden, my beloved Calcutta – ( Kolkata).
21st April 2018.
Author Dipankar Sengupta (Dip), written at his absolute responsibility and had the honor and privileges in exchanging opinions with some of the individuals mentioned in the article. Opinion and assessments are personal not necessarily the views of ACA.
Imran Khwaja Neil Speight Francois Erasmus Tim Anderson William Glenwright