The Federation of International Cricketers Association has demanded an ICC ethics committee inquiry into the Board of Control for Cricket in India-backed L Sivaramakrishnan's appointment as a players' representative in the governing body, saying captains could have been forced to vote against incumbent Tim May.
Sivaramakrishnan replaced May, who is also the FICA CEO, on the ICC Cricket Committee after a reported re-vote pushed for by the BCCI.
It is alleged that in the initial vote, May had won 9-1, but the BCCI used its financial might to coerce the cricket Boards of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe into asking their respective captains to vote for Sivaramakrishnan.
FICA's legal advisor, Ian Smith, said Boards were pressurised despite ICC warnings of not interfering in the secret ballot.
"In light of media reports that five ICC full-member boards applied direct pressure on their captains to amend their votes in the recent elections, FICA's official stance is that these allegations must warrant careful and independent scrutiny," Smith said.
"Especially because we understand ICC specifically instructed the Boards not to interfere in the voting process. The actions, allegedly instigated by BCCI, are a timely and stark reminder of the very serious shortcomings in governance at ICC highlighted more than a year ago by the Woolf Report and about which ICC has done nothing in the intervening period," he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Smith rejected the argument that lobbying for a post should not be construed as threatening.
"It is further apparent from statements made by unnamed ICC Board sources overnight that they are trying to position the involved Boards' actions as 'lobbying', but there should be a very clear distinction made between a candidate lobbying for a vote and an employer threatening an employee to change their vote."
Jimmy Adams, former West Indies captain and FICA president, said the election has created serious doubts about the credibility of the ICC.
"How can the players of the world look to ICC for leadership in these circumstances and how does the spirit of cricket apply to the organisation itself?" Adams asked.
"Board members didn't like how their captains intended to vote, so they apparently ordered them to change that vote. This type of behaviour from the game's ruling body makes a mockery of their motives behind the procurement of the Woolf report," he said.
Adams said the manner of Sivaramakrishnan's appointment signifies everything that is wrong in the governance model of the ICC.
“… the reported actions of some of the Member Boards and ICC directors, at the very least warrant investigation under this Code. We call on ICC to hold itself up to the high standards of moral conduct it constantly tells the players and officials it expects from them.
"Ultimately, these actions are symptoms of poor governance at the top level and a blatant disregard for what most would regard as the necessary ethical standards required to run a prominent international sport - cricket deserves a lot better," he said.
Image: Haroon Lorgat, former ICC Chief Executive, and Tim May, Chief Executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, during the ICC Committee meeting at Lord’s on May 11, 2009 in London.
Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images