Faf du Plessis downvotes ‘Big 3 + 1’ Super Series

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Shared News| December 31, 2019 8:24:30 am

Earlier this month, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had floated the idea of having a four-nation ODI tournament from 2021 onwards.

‘It’s probably better if you include more teams, better to grow the game as much as you can,’ said Faf du Plessis on the proposed tournament. (Reuters)

The proposed Super Series involving India, England, Australia and a fourth Test nation received disapproval from Faf du Plessis. The South Africa captain criticised the idea of creating a new annual ODI event, which, if it sees the light of day, would be controlled by the Big Three.

“The last year or so you can see what’s going on in terms of the ‘big three’ countries. There’s a lot of movement going towards that, a lot more matches being played against the top three, or big three. It’s probably better if you include more teams, better to grow the game as much as you can,” du Plessis said after South Africa beat England in the first Test at Centurion. “There are a lot of smaller nations not playing a lot of Test cricket, they are actually playing less,” he added.

According to a BCCI functionary, at this moment in time, the four-nation tournament is only a proposal, not even a plan. A former cricket board official said the proposed tournament is basically an extension of a three-nation ODI event that had been mulled on by the late Jagmohan Dalmiya after he became the cricket board president in 2015. “The idea was to organise the tournament during the now-defunct Champions League window,” the ex-official said.

About two years after Dalmiya’s passing, the BCCI’s May 7, 2017 general body meeting in Delhi had unanimously approved the proposal, as a countermeasure to the Indian board’s reduced revenue from the ICC. “Mr Abhay Apte (former Maharashtra Cricket Association president) made a request to the house to implement the plans that Mr Dalmiya had proposed as the president. He had proposed that in the Champions League slot, BCCI can organise a bilateral or tri-series.

“The chairman assured to look into this proposal suggested by Dalmiyaji who had contributed to the development of BCCI as well as ICC,” the minutes of the SGM noted.

It is learnt that after the SGM, the matter was informally taken to ICC chairman Shashank Manohar and it received a positive response. During the Committee of Administrator’s reign, however, the whole thing was on the back burner.

Earlier this month, when BCCI office-bearers – president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and treasurer Arun Dhumal – met the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman Colin Graves and his team at Lord’s, Ganguly floated the idea of having a four-nation ODI tournament from 2021 onwards. With the ICC contemplating on having eight flagship tournaments in eight years during the next rights cycle commencing from 2023 – adding two Champions Trophy-like ODI events with six top teams is also on the global body’s agenda – the idea of having a Super Series was deliberated upon, apparently to protect the revenue stream of the game’s three biggest stakeholders. India, England and Australia are the chief contributors to the ICC coffers. India alone contributes to over 70 per cent of the ICC’s revenue.

The ECB responded to Ganguly’s proposal, saying they are “open” to more discussions with India and other ICC members, with an eye to developing the concept “further”. The Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts termed the idea as “innovative”. Ganguly has maintained that at this stage, it’s only a “proposal” and that the idea is to have a “good, competitive tournament”.

Some BCCI members, however, are excited at the prospect of having a Super Series in the near future. “I totally support the BCCI president and secretary. When the three (India, England and Australia) get together we don’t need anyone. If the ICC opposes it, we should keep our options open to break away from the ICC. What is ICC without the BCCI,” the Saurashtra Cricket Association president Jaydev Shah told this paper.

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