KARACHI - Pakistan cricket chief Zaka Ashraf Saturday said he felt "cheated" after South Africa abandoned their opposition to controversial reforms of the sport's world body, allowing the proposals to be approved. The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman said South Africa had opposed the International Cricket Council (ICC) reforms, seen as favouring the "Big Three" of India, England and Australia, as recently as Friday.
But South Africa supported the proposals at an ICC board meeting in Singapore on Saturday, giving them the extra vote they needed to pass. Of the 10 full ICC members, eight were in favour with only Pakistan and Sri Lanka abstaining. "I think South Africa cheated us," Ashraf told AFP by phone from Singapore. "Just last night (Friday) they told us that they have changed their stance and told us that it was the decision of their board (CSA). It disappointed us."
Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa were the three opponents when the reforms were debated at an ICC board meeting last month. Pakistan and Sri Lanka will now discuss the proposals with their respective boards. "Our stance was based on principle but other countries went after money. I am afraid the big share of money will go to the 'Big Three'. The 'Big Three' will get money from the share of the other seven," Ashraf said.
But he added: "We have requested the ICC board to give us time. We will discuss this matter further in our board of governors meeting and will try to get the PM's (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) advice on this."
"This much stress on money matters is going to harm world cricket in the future," Ashraf said. Ashraf, whose own future as the PCB chief is uncertain with strong reports that the government is planning to replace him next week, said Pakistan had stuck to its stance which it had taken when the draft proposals were presented by the "Big Three". "Greed is never good for any sport...that is our stance and we now have to see what happens in the future. But as a board, Pakistan is still firm on its stance," he added. A senior board official said that Ashraf during the International Cricket Council meeting had made it clear that the proposed changes if implemented would lead to polarisation and groupings in the ICC and world cricket. Ashraf said that the Indian cricket board and the other boards had indicated lot of gain for Pakistan cricket if it voted in favour of the changes. "But we stuck to our stance and so did Sri Lanka, so we were not alone in our resistance to these changes," he said.