COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has defended its decision to tacitly support a controversial shakeup of cricket’s world body, saying it was left with no choice after South Africa broke ranks over the move. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa all opposed the revamp of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) governance and structure when it was debated last month. But Sri Lanka decided to abstain from voting on the move during an ICC board meeting on Saturday, along with Pakistan, after South Africa switched to vote in favour.
Eight of ten Test nations in total approved the plans, despite concerns it gives too much power to the “Big Three” of India, England and Australia.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage accused South Africa of letting Sri Lanka down at the ICC meeting held in Singapore, saying “we had no choice but to abstain”.
“We were banking on South Africa’s opposition,” the minister told reporters in Colombo on Monday.
“When Haroon Lorgat (of South Africa) said they were backing the proposals, we had no choice but to abstain.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said “considering the circumstances it was the most appropriate” move.
Pakistan has already said it felt cheated by South Africa over its reversal to support the wide-ranging restructuring.
Under the revamp, India — which contributes 80 percent of global revenues — and fellow powerhouses England and Australia will have permanent seats on a new, five-member executive committee.
The Future Tours Programme, designed to guarantee series for all Test teams, will be changed with a series of binding, bilateral agreements to be struck between members.
Sri Lanka had previously described the proposed moves as being against the ICC constitution and also strongly objected to the scrapping of the proposed World Test Championship which was due to debut in 2017.