Mustafa Kamal, the ICC president, has resigned from his position, saying his decision was “in protest [against] those who worked unconstitutionally, and for the greater good of cricket.”
His resignation follows a public falling out with the ICC stemming from the India-Bangladesh quarter-final at the World Cup, when he had strongly criticised the umpires – even questioning their motives – over a dubious no-ball call that went against Bangladesh.
In a statement the ICC confirmed his resignation and said it would consider the vacancy caused by it at a meeting in Dubai later this month. It said Kamal’s letter said he was stepping down on personal grounds and “offered his apologies to all associated with the ICC”, while adding that he had no complaints to make against anyone.
Kamal had hinted at his resignation in comments made to reporters in Melbourne after the World Cup final, where he was passed over for the duty of handing out the trophy to the winners. He protested that the decision went against his right as ICC president but to no avail.
On Wednesday, he announced his resignation from the largely ceremonial position after landing in Dhaka and then said henceforth his statements would be as a former ICC president.
He related the sequence of events that he said had forced his decision, including being “strongarmed” by the ICC, but clarified that he would not be taking legal action against the ICC or anyone attached to the body as he had little proof.
The central issue was the comments he’d made after the India-Bangladesh match and on Wednesday Kamal expanded on his theory, saying that the absence of a spider-cam and the lack of use of technology in making some decisions irked him.
His comments were markedly more placatory than his inflammatory outburst immediately after the match when he intimated that the umpires, Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, had a disposition towards India.
“I noticed the absence of the spider-cam from that game, which I think was a first at the MCG,” Kamal said. “There were a number of controversial decisions in the game. The technology available wasn’t utilized properly, which resulted in the controversial umpiring decisions. I am not going to say that it was entirely the umpires’ fault. They can make mistakes in their judgment. My observation was the lack of technology that was used.”
Those initial comments were the subject of a meeting organised on March 28 by ICC chairman N Srinivasan and attended by half a dozen directors.
Kamal’s version of events is not universally accepted by ICC: not by any means. He said he was asked to apologise for his statements, but he refused. He said he was then asked to withdraw them, to which he replied that he would not and said he was only willing to explain the reasons behind them. “(The ICC) asked me why I spoke in favour of Bangladesh. For me country comes first, before I am the ICC president. That’s why I spoke in favour of Bangladesh.”
Following that, Kamal alleged, he was told he wouldn’t be able to hand over the World Cup trophy, though it was specified in Clause 3.3B of the ICC’s constitution. Kamal claimed the meeting itself was unconstitutional since, according to him, it was the president who has the power to summon such a gathering.
“They still said that I won’t be able to give the trophy. I told them you have to give a notice for a meeting first, where it has to be mentioned that it is a meeting about a constitutional amendment. There wouldn’t be any changes without a majority. They would need 8 out of 10 Full Member votes, following which it will go to the Annual General Meeting. I am the chair of that meeting. You have to wait till the AGM. You cannot remove me, I told them. The person who will give the trophy, will he go as the ICC president? They didn’t say anything to this,” he said.
ICC officials are content that they acted within proper jurisdiction and contend that Kamal is sounding off without legitimate cause.
The powers of the president were greatly reduced following changes to the ICC constitution that came into effect in 2014 – the year Kamal, currently a minister in Bangladesh’s federal government, assumed office. Those changes effectively turned the president into a figurehead and a bulk of the power was transferred to the chairman.
Former PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who is scheduled to take over as ICC president from July 1, 2015, had offered to step in following Kamal’s resignation. According to the ICC’s rules, however, the Bangladesh Cricket Board can nominate Kamal’s replacement to take charge of the role for the next three months.