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New Zealand ICC representative sees no need to fear ICC restructure

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand's representative on the International Cricket Council, Martin Snedden, says his country has nothing to fear from the changes to the world body's structure agreed in principle at a meeting in Dubai Tuesday.

Snedden said under the new governance system, which accentuates the power of cricket's big three nations — India, Australia and England — New Zealand will be assured of regular matches against top opponents.

The new structure will likely see the abandonment of the Future Tours Program under which smaller nations such as New Zealand were guaranteed test and limited overs series against the big three nations. That is likely to be replaced by a system of bilaterally negotiated series which, Snedden said, will assure New Zealand a schedule which is "similar, if not the same."

"I'm confident enough now with where we've reached at the end of today to say a couple of things," Snedden told National Radio from Dubai. "Firstly, (New Zealand) will have a comprehensive home and away test-playing, ODI-playing schedule through to about 2023 which is going to see us playing regularly against all the cricket-playing countries.

"We've got strong commitments from Australia, from India, from England about the home and away commitments we're going to have with them during that time. We're building up a program which is going to be very, very similar or even the same as what's already contained in the FTP.

"So on the field, I think we're getting close to getting a really, really good result out of this."

Snedden's assurances may not allay the concerns of the sternest critics of the ICC restructuring who fear the moves will allow the big three to pick and choose who they play and when. The FTP carried the weight of enforcement of the ICC, meaning that all nations had to meet their commitments or face possible sanction.

The new bilateral system seems to carry none of that binding authority, making it possible for the big three to opt out of tours they consider inconvenient or unfinancial.

Snedden also argued New Zealand would not be disadvantaged by a new model which would see ICC revenues shared among test-playing nations on the basis of their commercial contribution. On that basis India, which generates almost 80 per cent of ICC revenues, while revenues would be distributed among other member nations on a pro-rata system.

Critics of the plan in New Zealand fear that might result in a major fall in the revenue New Zealand Cricket receives but Snedden said the new model would result in an increase, not a reduction.

"It's going to see our revenues from ICC events increase from the $52 million we got out of the last eight years to, depending on what the results are sold for, somewhere between US$70 and $100 million over the next eight years," Snedden said.

He said the new structure was positive for world cricket.

"I think one of the problems the ICC has had in recent years was that India has been outside of the camp rather than inside it," Snedden said. "Part of what's been happening at the moment has been a deliberate process, led by Australia and England to actually draw India back in to this."

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