Mani regrets transferring Test status to B~~desh

Published: Friday, June 30, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:In a candid admission, outgoing ICC president Ehsan Mani has said that conferring Test status to Bangladesh on the basis of their One-day performances was a mistake.

''The mistake we (the ICC) made in the past -- we should be honest enough to accept and learn from them -- is the way that countries like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were brought into Test cricket,'' Mani, who hands over the reins to South African Percy Sonn on July 7 told Cricinfo magazine while reflecting upon his three-year term as the ICC president.

''They became Test-playing nations on the strength of ODI performances and that was wrong. We should've given them more support in terms of playing more of the longer version of the game,'' he said.

On the future of the game in crisis-ridden Zimbabwe, Mani said the African nation was not yet ready to be brought back in the longer version of cricket.

''Zimbabwe is playing international cricket as ODI matches are still being played. It will play in the World Cup. There is no threat to Zimbabwe's ICC membership as a full member,'' he said.

''But what I said, and I support, is that Zimbabwe should only come back to Test cricket when it is ready,'' Mani added.

The ICC president also lent support to the workload on players in view of the packed Future Tour Programme (FTP) and the expansion of cricket in Associate nations and hitherto uncharted territories.

''The real worry from this development is the player workload.

We've got to make sure boards balance the amount of cricket their players are playing with the money they are making. That is going to be the bigger challenge from this development,'' Mani said.

''When captains and senior players -- and this has happened in India, Australia, England and Pakistan -- when they are saying we need a balance, we need more space between tours, that tells me there is a lack of communication between the players and their board. That is a worry.'' However, he said there was not much the ICC could do.

''When we talk to the board, they tell us they do not fix their tours without consulting their players. So boards are taking player wishes into account but it will remain a concern so long as players complain,'' he said.

''Where there are gaps, countries try to fill it to generate money. But they've also got to take into account the workload they are putting on their players. undefined The ICC can recommend a limit but beyond that there is not much you can do,'' Mani added.

However, Mani said expanding cricket in other countries would not put an addional load on the cricketers.

On the game's would governing body's face off with financial powerhouse BCCI on issues like ICC Champions Trophy and sponsorships, Mani said it was due to communication gap and all the issues have since been sorted out.

''There was change within BCCI last year and some statements coming out gave the impression that there was a difference in views and there was.

''I put that down to a lack of communication between the new board and ourselves. As I sat down with them and worked through issues with them, it became clear to them how the ICC worked and they realised that what the ICC was saying was really part of the decisions taken by countries including India.

''Once they got over that and there was better trust and understanding, you've seen in recent months things have eased off,'' Mani said.

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