Cricket

Resignation had nothing to do with BCCI-ICC issues – Manohar

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Shashank Manohar has said that any differences he might have had with the BCCI had no bearing on his decision to step down as ICC chairman.

Manohar revealed he had made that clear to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), which is presently running the BCCI, when he met them in Mumbai a day before he resigned: he told them he had already made up his mind.

“It has nothing to do with the ICC functioning or these issues which are going to come up,” he told ESPNcricinfo from Nagpur. Manohar, however, did not elaborate on why he had stepped down. “Personal reason means genuinely personal. And I don’t lie.”

Manohar said he would not reconsider his decision.

Differences between Manohar and the Big Three emerged soon after he became BCCI president in November 2015, when he equated the finance and governance model designed in 2014 to concentrate power in the hands of the BCCI, CA and ECB with “bullying”.

After being elected as the ICC’s first independent chairman in May 2016, Manohar made it a priority to revoke the Big Three model. The BCCI responded by saying Manohar was going against the body that had put him at the helm of ICC in the first place. It also objected strongly when Manohar wanted the BCCI’s share of ICC revenue cut from 20.60% to about 16%.

However, in the revised revenue distribution model worked out by the ICC and approved in principle during its meetings in February, the BCCI’s share was further reduced to 10-10.2%: a cut of $ 180-190 million.

Despite resistance from the BCCI, the ICC board voted in favour of accepting the draft constitution prepared by a five-member group led by Manohar. Only two boards had voted against it – the BCCI and SLC, while Zimbabwe Cricket abstained.

The BCCI had been represented at that ICC meeting by Vikram Limaye, who is a member of the CoA. Limaye had questioned the logic behind the new revenue distribution model, saying the methods used to arrive at such a break-up weren’t scientific.

Manohar, however, backed the new model during his meeting with CoA members Limaye and Vinod Rai in Mumbai on Tuesday. “It was a very good, constructive meeting,” Manohar said. “I will maintain even today that there cannot be a scientific formula.”

The meeting was called by both parties to try and reach a solution that would enable the new constitution to be passed at the ICC board meetings in Dubai in April. An official privy to the details indicated that both parties seemed to have worked out a figure that was higher than the one discussed in February.

Manohar said he had revealed to the COA that he was going to leave the ICC. “I told them before the meeting started that I had discussed my resignation with my wife yesterday only, and I am likely to resign. I have a message from the COA today that yesterday you told us that you were going to resign, but we were surprised. We never thought you were so serious.”

In a statement following Manohar’s resignation, the BCCI expressed its “surprise” at the “sudden decision”. “Mr. Manohar’s contribution to Indian cricket is invaluable. He is a man of few words but excellent deeds. The BCCI Committee of Administrators (CoA) was looking forward to a long-term cooperation between the ICC and BCCI with Mr. Manohar at the helm of affairs.”

Manohar said he could not have revealed his decision earlier to the ICC. “Most of the directors would not have allowed me not to resign.” He said he was happy with the work he had managed to accomplish during his eight-month tenure, and that he could not say whether he had disappointed the ICC board by leaving at this critical juncture.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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