Indian lawyer Shashank Manohar has stepped down as chairman of the International Cricket Council ahead of upcoming elections for the post.
Imran Khwaja, ICC deputy chairman and a former president of the Singapore Cricket Association, will temporarily replace Manohar until the election is held. The ICC board is to decide on the election process in the next week.
Manohar had served as chairman for two two-year terms, beginning in November 2015. In 2018, he got a second term after running unopposed. ICC regulations would have permitted him to run for a third term. He has also previously been president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India on two occasions, from 2008 to 2011 and from 2015 to 2016.
The Times of India reported that the BCCI had lost influence within the ICC during Manohar’s chairmanship. During that time, the ICC moved away from the Big Three revenue distribution model which favoured India, Australia and England – the three biggest cricket boards – in terms of revenue distribution. The ICC voted for a more equitable distribution of revenues among its member boards. The BCCI also lost a seat on the important ICC Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee. More recently, the BCCI and ICC have been at loggerheads over demands from the latter that the Indian board obtain tax exemptions from the Indian government for international cricket tournaments in India.
In a press release, ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “On behalf of the ICC Board and staff and the whole cricket family, I would like to thank Shashank for his leadership and everything he has done for the sport as ICC Chairman. We wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”
Khwaja said: “Everyone on the ICC Board extends their wholehearted thanks to Shashank for the commitment he has shown to our sport. There is no doubt that cricket owes Shashank a debt of gratitude for all he has done for the sport. He has left cricket and the ICC in a better place than he found it.”
Khwaja is reported to be among the main contenders to succeed Manohar, along with former England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
ESPNcricinfo reports that Khwaja, also a lawyer, is “a powerful voice” on the ICC Board and sits on a number of influential committees including those for Financial and Commercial Affairs, Nominations, Development and Memberships. He worked closely with Manohar on reforms of governance and finance at the ICC during the previous chairman’s terms.
Dave Cameron, former president of Cricket West Indies, is interested in the position, and ESPNcricinfo reported he has been lobbying for support in the Caribbean. The Times of India reported that New Zealand’s Gregor Barclay and Cricket South Africa’s Chris Nenzani have also previously expressed in the post.
To contest an election, candidates must be either a past or present ICC director, have attended at least one ICC board meeting, and have the support of two or more other directors.