Kiwi gets top ICC job
There was relief, and some trepidation for New Zealand Cricket chairman Greg Barclay after waking to an email confirming him in one of sports’ most powerful roles.
The Auckland-based commercial lawyer will end his eight-year stint on the NZC board for the big one: independent chairman of the International Cricket Council. It leaves NZC seeking a new chair and board representative at the ICC, with former chief executive Martin Snedden one obvious candidate.
Barclay succeeds Shashank Manohar in the top job after heading off Imran Khwaja – the interim chair since Manohar vacated his seat nearly six months ago – after a secret ballot at the governing body’s quarterlymeeting.
He required a two-thirds majority to usurp Khwaja, which he didn’t quite achieve after the first round of where Barclay got 10 of the 16 votes. That changed to 11 in the second round, the result confirmed in the early hours of yesterday.
‘‘It’s a mixture of emotions, that the process is behind us. It’s been quite a divisive and protracted affair,’’ Barclay told Stuff.
‘‘[There’s] a little bit of trepidation, if I’m honest. I know it won’t be easy and will have a lot of challenges, and that’s exacerbated by the fact we are hit by the pandemic. It will be hard, without a doubt.
‘‘But I’m quietly looking forward to having a chance to make a difference and try to make it a better organisation and get the board more unified and focus on collectively moving us forward.
‘‘I’ve been there long enough and been around cricket long enough to know some of the things that are needing to be done.’’
Among the first priorities is formulating a Future Tours Programme and ICC events for the next cycle from 2023-2030, and going to the broadcast market.
Simply creating a meaningful schedule for men’s and women’s international cricket amid Covid19 and travel restrictions makes it a tough initiation.
The first video hook-up for the board – 12 full ICC members, three representing the associate member countries, and independent female director Indra Nooyi – will be later this week to plot the way forward.
Barclay didn’t covet the role but knew he had majority backing and felt as someone experienced in the ICC board workings he could potentially make a difference.
He was a director of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 and is a former board member and chairman of the Northern Districts Cricket Association.
‘‘It is an honour to be elected as the Chair of the International Cricket Council and I would like to thank my fellow ICC Directors for their support,’’ Barclay said in a statement.
‘‘I hope we can come together to lead the sport and emerge from the global pandemic in a strong position and poised for growth.
‘‘I look forward to working in partnership with our members to strengthen the game in our core markets as well as grow it beyond that ensuring more of the world can enjoy cricket.’’
Barclay becomes the highestranked New Zealand cricket official since former chair Alan Isaac, who was ICC president from 2012 to 2014.