Barclay – who has the support of India, England and Australia among others – will require 11 votes (including South Africa) out of 16 to become the next chairman of the ICC while Khwaja – who has the backing of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ICC’s independent female director Indra Nooyi among a few others – will require a total of six votes to ensure he continues to remain in the chair.
ICC’s threat to ban Cricket South Africa (CSA) given the “government interference” in the cricket board, poses a potential risk to Barclay’s candidature.
Khwaja has been the interim-chairman of the ICC for close to four months now after Shashank Manohar stepped down from the chair on July 1. Known to be close to Manohar, the 64-year-old Singapore resident has the backing of a tightly-knit coterie that is trying to retain control of the game’s governing body.
Barclay, on the other hand, is being seen as a “consensus” candidate, considering he has the backing of the ICC’s full-members.
Whether or not an election is held to decide who takes over in December or the members come to a mutual agreement and settle for a ‘neutral’ candidate will depend on what ensues in the coming weeks.
Sunday evening was the deadline for submitting the nominations.
England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Colin Graves had been a potential contender these last few months. However, Graves did not submit his nomination and those tracking developments say he did not receive the required backing from his home board. Questions sent to Graves remained unanswered.
Incidentally, both Barclay and Khwaja happen to be lawyers, in line with their predecessor, the Nagpur-based Manohar.
While Barclay is seen as a rank outsider to the set-up, who is learnt to have conveyed to the members that he “doesn’t mind coming on board if they want him to”, Khwaja has been integral to the ICC board ever since Manohar took over as the governing body’s first independent chairman in 2015.
The battle once again pits India and Pakistan, central to this whole framework given that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani is refusing to concede control of the ICC to India, against each other. Khwaja, backed by Manohar earlier, now has the full support of Mani going forward.
There are multiple layers to this whole election, that remains soaked in mystery for reasons best known only to a handful of individuals.
Here are some questions being asked, to which the ICC hasn’t given categorical answers:
* Has an effort been made to figure if the election should be held on a simple majority or two-thirds? Please suggest another instance anywhere in the world, where elections are held by two-thirds majority instead of simple.
* Why did the ICC remain quiet on the election procedure for more than three months? Secondly, the ICC gave merely a week for the nominations to be filed but has reserved close to six weeks for the elections to be held. Why?
* Why is the ICC quiet on questions being raised regarding Khwaja’s appointment as the Associate Member representative to the board in 2018?
* Why did the ICC make sudden changes to the page on its website that lists the ICC structure?
* If the nominations have been filed, why isn’t the ICC making it public?
Khwaja’s stint at the ICC clearly seems shrouded in mystery as a section of ICC members refused to accept India as the ‘proverbial elephant’ in the room once again, after the members took over from the Supreme Court-appointed committee last year.
The onus, therefore, is on the BCCI and its office-bearers. Will they let go of the control of an organisation to which India brings top-dollar and let a handful of individuals ‘arm-twist’ them or will they seize control of world cricket once again?