Biggest test ever for Cricket South Africa
Cricket South Africa faces one of the most challenging days of its existence on February 7, when their desperate alliance with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will be tested to breaking point in an attempt to block the takeover of the global game by the powerful triad of India (BCCI), England (ECB) and Cricket Australia.
The unlikely trio appear steadfast in their objection to the restructuring of the administration and financial affairs of the ICC, which would see all relevant decision-making processes handed over to the "big three" boards as well as more than 50% of the revenue from ICC events.
Eight out of 10 votes from the Test-playing nations are needed to approve what amounts to an annexure of the game and seven are firmly secured with West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe having joined the big three in exchange for the promise of either future tours or, in the case of Zimbabwe, a cash bailout.
Should any of the three nations standing in the way of the coup capitulate to the BCCI and withdraw their objection, South Africa will be relegated from "major" status for the foreseeable future with a vastly reduced capacity to generate income and no meaningful say in the way the game is run.
The Future Tours Programme, which currently ensures that the top eight nations play each other home and away every four years will be scrapped and the Test rankings, which provide the only relevance to Test cricket, will become meaningless, with the "big three" playing each other more often, for longer series, while the rest scrap for "mini-series".
The three "rebels" that have refused to accept the BCCI-led revamp stand to be isolated, ostracised, threatened and bullied until they comply. CSA, with its own recent history of poor governance, is committed to the principle of democracy and the letter of the ICC Constitution.
The PCB, having survived without a home base let alone India’s patronage for the past four years, has nothing to lose. SLC, with a total debt exceeding $40-million, remains the most vulnerable of the trio with little or no chance of balancing the books without the revenue that Indian tours provide.
One of the "problems" the objectors have is the projected television revenue forecast by the "big three", which have predicted an increase from $1.5-billion to $2.5-billion for the eight-year cycle from 2015 to 2023.
That figure, according to a senior broadcast rights specialist, is "extremely aggressive, especially in the current climate. An increase is assured, but the number they have produced is extreme."