New Zealand's Barclay elected ICC chair as SA vote tips scales
The International Cricket Council has elected Greg Barclay, chair of New Zealand Cricket, as its new chairman.
Barclay (pictured, third from left) secured an eventual two-thirds majority after two rounds of voting by the ICC’s 16-person board, eventually beating Imran Khwaja, who had been serving as interim chairman since July, by 11 votes to five.
He has been an NZC director since 2012, and is currently his country’s representative on the ICC board. He will now step down from heading up NZC in order to ensure independence as the ICC chair.
Barclay took over as the first independent chair of the IRL in January this year.
He becomes the second independent ICC chairman, after the previous permanent incumbent, Shashank Manohar, stepped down from his post in July this year, with Singapore’s Khwaja taking over at that point.
The first round of voting ended with Barclay securing 10 votes compared to Khwaja’s six, with the crucial 11th vote in the second round coming from Cricket South Africa, which tipped the scales.
Barclay also previously served as a director of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015, held jointly by New Zealand and Australia.
He said: “It’s an honour to be elected as chair of the ICC… I hope we can come together to lead the sport and emerge from the global [coronavirus] pandemic in a strong position and poised for growth.
“I look forward to working in partnership with our members to strengthen the game in our core markets as well as grow it beyond that ensuring more of the world can enjoy cricket.”
Barclay faces the task of guiding cricket through the multiple challenges brought about by the pandemic, as well as addressing a growing chasm over how revenues are shared, and also deciding the scheduling for and hosting of lucrative global tournaments.
It is understood that Barclay consistently had the backing of India, Australia and England throughout the election process, while Khwaja attracted support from smaller, less powerful ICC members.
The two candidates had differing priorities in terms of how the international fixture list should be arranged, with Barclay wanting to focus on bilateral series between nations, and to wean the ICC off its reliance on global events for revenue.
Earlier in the year, he told media in New Zealand: “NZC’s been pretty clear in our view around the bilateral playing arrangements… we certainly don’t want to be totally reliant on an ICC events programme.
“We absolutely want to see those bilateral rights catered for.”
Khwaja, on the other hand, was in favour of pushing for the primacy of ICC events, such as the T20 World Cup, in the next rights cycle, and reduce the number of bilateral series and tours while adding another global tournament to the calendar.
Barclay and Khwaja were the only two candidates to make it to the election, after various other contenders fell earlier in proceedings.
Colin Graves, the former head of the England and Wales Cricket Board, had been mooted as the favourite after Manohar vacated the position in July, but then did not put his name forward for official consideration after failing to secure enough support.
Sourav Ganguly, the former Indian captain who is now president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, was also mentioned early on as a possible candidate.
Despite his focus on bilateral series, Barclay, speaking after his election, told Reuters that the ICC needs to deliver the top-tier World Cups and other global events scheduled over the next three years, or there will be weighty financial consequences.
He said: “If we fail to deliver all of those events then we will be penalised by the broadcasters, and we won’t receive the last of the ongoing payments.
“That, in turn, is going to affect the ICC’s ability to invest in its own programmes and enable it to make distributions to members. A lot of the ICC members are heavily reliant on those disbursements.”
The list of ICC events pushed back from their original time slots because of the pandemic includes this year’s men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, next year’s women’s World Cup in New Zealand, and the 2023 ODI Cup in India.