Srinagar: Formet England batter Mark Butcher has claimed that ICC is being dictated by BCCI and does whatever India board tells them to do.
Mark Butcher criticised the BCCI for altering the pre-approved pitch for the World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
The match was overshadowed by controversy surrounding the pitch. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the originally designated pitch for the first semi-final—pitch number seven, which had not been used in the World Cup—was replaced by pitch number six, where two World Cup matches had already been played.
Allegations suggested that this change was made without consulting the ICC’s independent pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, purportedly at the request of the home board to favour the Indian team.
The ICC then had to release a statement saying that such alterations to pitch rotations are common in long tournaments and that Atkinson was “apprised” of the change.
Speaking on the Wisden Cricket World Cup Daily podcast, Mark Butcher said, “There is a growing perception that around the world in the game of cricket that the ICC is nearly sort of an executive branch of the BCCI. And when things like this happen, it does very little to change people’s opinion that that is the status quo”.
“Now, to have Andy Atkinson, the ICC pitch inspector, apoplectic at the way the whole thing had gone about, regardless of whether or not the Maharashtra (Mumbai) Cricket Association were actually overall in charge of the conditions, to feel as though the ICC had kind of been blindsided by the decision that they clearly hadn’t been made aware of until the leak came, doesn’t do much to change people’s thought that the ICC basically does whatever the BCCI wants.”
“Look, India are the best team in the tournament, right? And if they win it, they will have deserved to win for that fact. Is there any need whatsoever, for there to be any sort of shenanigans whereby the gloss gets taken off the brilliance of their playing team?”
“By this sort of, this nagging suspicion that the dice are loaded in their favour outside of the playing field as well. Stuff like this shouldn’t happen. And again, the pitch was fine, no issues with how it played. The issue is not how the pitch played.”
“The issue is the railroading of the protocol around how it came about. And that, gives that perception that things are not as they ought to be, or at least that the playing field is not that level.”
Butcher added that taking everything else into consideration including television deals, hosting rights, and much more, the pitch-swapping controversy only goes on to reinforce people’s perception that the ICC is under the BCCI’s control: “The perception is that ICC does what the BCCI wants and the reality looks as though that is the case.”