ICC to end private one-day events

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council will this week take the most significant step towards ending match-rigging by trying to ensure the beginning of the end of private one-day tournaments. If they succeed, it could have a far more profound effect than anything their Anti-Corruption Unit might do.

Malcolm Gray, the ICC president, stopped off in Sharjah last week on his way to the annual meeting in London and said: "We hope and strive to get more powers to control the game effectively. Programming of the game on a global basis by the ICC could help solve the problem." The venue of his comments was apt. Sharjah has been the venue for a vast number of private one-day tournaments in recent years ­ conducted with ICC officials but not under the organisation's auspices ­ and it has been singled out as being a hotbed of potential corruption.

If the ICC ran most, if not all, of the one-day competitions around the globe there might be more uniformity and more meaning to them. It might not send illegal bookies and hard cases running for cover, but the standard of officiating off the field would surely be higher.

The subject of who controls what ­ the ICC or the television companies, presumably ­ will be raised when the game's senior officials, chairmen and chief executives from the 10 full member countries start their deliberations today.

If the main discussions on the topic will centre on the future of one-dayers, the Asian Test Cricket Championship may also rate a mention. This four-nation competition involving India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will start later this year, only months after the ICC's own rolling World Test Championship began. It comes under the umbrella of the Asian Cricket Council. All will not be plain sailing, since India have already objected to the selection of Dhaka for the final, and it shows that relationships are not all smooth in the ICC corridors of power.

Protestations of undying mutual respect have always been difficult to take on board, but should have more credence after the annual meeting. It will be announced that Gray's successor as president of the ICC will come from Pakistan.

While that will not happen for a couple of years it will also break up the all-Australian power base at the top ­ Malcolm Speed takes over as chief executive next month from compatriot David Richards.

More fascinating even than corruption may be the publication for the first time this week of an ICC annual report. It should show for the first time how much money they have, where it is from and where it goes. Until recently they have been about as accountable as a Delhi bookie.

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