Former ECB boss Colin Graves snubbed in race to be named next ICC chairman

Nick Hoult
·2-min read
Colin Graves at Lord's - ECB
Colin Graves at Lord's - ECB

Colin Graves has missed out on the most powerful job in cricket after he was not nominated for the vacant role as chairman of the International Cricket Council.

The closing date for nominations was Saturday and it is understood ICC acting chair Imran Khwaja, from Singapore, and New Zealand’s Greg Barclay have been nominated and will contest the election in December. 

They need two thirds of the 16 votes from ICC members to be named chairman, a role that holds a two-year tenure. 

Shashank Manohar stood down as chairman in July and Graves was the favourite to succeed him, but the delay in organising the election allowed others to emerge as opposition grew towards a candidate from one of the big three countries - England, India and Australia.

Candidates needed two nominations to go forward to the next phase and when it became clear in recent weeks he would have to go through an election, and support was dwindling for a candidate from the big three, Graves pulled out of the running.

The new chairman will have to navigate the Covid crisis and the politically difficult job of satisfying the big three, who want to protect bilateral cricket, and the other countries, who want to increase the number of ICC world events, which is the greater share of their revenue. 

England, India and Australia have been alarmed by moves to hold an ICC event every year with plans for a biannual World Twenty20 and possibly even a 50-over World Cup every two years.

Manu Sawhney was appointed chief executive of the ICC last year, succeeding former South Africa wicket-keeper Dave Richardson.

It is understood Sawhey, who has a background in broadcasting, was appointed on the back of promising the ICC he would increase the value of their next media rights in 2023 from $2 billion to $5bn.

This can mainly be achieved through more events but that cuts across the interests of the big three, particularly India, who now generate most of their income from the IPL, and are less reliant on ICC money.

Barclay is considered the compromise candidate, satisfying England and India as well as some of the smaller nations. He has been a director of New Zealand Cricket since 2012 and in February was appointed chair of the International Rugby League board. 

Graves stood down as chairman of the ECB on Sept 1 and has been replaced as England’s director at the ICC by Ian Watmore.