New Delhi, Aug 13: International Cricket Council (ICC) vice-president Alan Isaac has played down the “Big Brother” tag linked to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) because of its huge influence on world cricket decisions, and added that it is a very decent outfit to work with.
In a free wheeling interview, Isaac, who will become ICC president in 2012 after Sharad Pawar steps down from the post, said: “In my experience, they (BCCI) are very decent to work with.”
Commenting on cricket as it is played and watched in India, he saID: “It's really hard to explain. We think we're a rugby-mad country but there it's a religion.”
Referring to the Indian cricket board and players' releuctance to adopt and apply the Umpires Dispute Redressal System (UDRS) in full, Issac agrees with the BCCI that the system still needs improvement and requires to be absolutely full proof before it can be accepted.
“Around the DRS, for example, the media have tended to give [India] the blame as to why the DRS is not being implemented. But it's not only them. I am personally not convinced the technology works well enough, so we've got to do something about that,” Isaac said.
“Often when [India] hold a view, they are right, but various parts of the media have a different view, whether you're Geoffrey Boycott or whatever. So this perception has built up that A, [India] are hard to deal with and B, they control world cricket. But in fact they are good to work with and on the DRS I actually think they are right,” he added.
This Wellingtonian is embarking on something special and unique, and certainly one with a whole heap of responsibility attached to it. He is about to take hold of the wheel that controls a sport which is more like a religion in some countries and he will soon pull on the strings of a billion-dollar organisation in the form of the ICC.
He realises the magnitude of the task that he is about to take up in 2012.
“A little thing that was told to me to help me learn about this role: the president of cricket in India (Sharad Pawar) said, “Alan you need to appreciate that only 99 per cent of Indians actually love cricket,” he said jokingly.
Many of the ICC funding streams start from Indians' obsession of the sport, Isaac said, but he stresses that speculation the Indian Cricket Board hold so much power they control the ICC is a long way off the mark.
“It is challenging. Allegedly there is a whole lot of money being spent betting on sport, not just on cricket and betting on sport in India is illegal so it's not like you can manage it. In New Zealand, Australia or Singapore it's legalised and you can monitor more closely where bets might take place. Part of what we are doing is making sure the education is there, making sure the sanctions are there, there's a heck of a lot of monitoring that takes place,” he says.
Isaac was a left-handed batsman who represented Wellington through the age groups and for three years captained their second team. He retained his connection with the game of cricket as a member of the New Zealand Cricket board for 18 years, and in 2008 succeeded Sir John Anderson as chairman. Two years earlier he had retired as chairman of KPMG after a 35-year career with the company.
The 59-year-old is also currently a member of the New Zealand Golf Board, on the NZRU board and is a trustee with the New Zealand Community Trust.