By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Cricket South Africa (CSA) did not sell out to India, England and Australia over the decision to allow the 'Big Three' to effectively take control of the sport, president Chris Nenzani said on Tuesday.
However, Nenzani acknowledged it was "not ideal" the International Cricket Council (ICC) governing authority had given more power to the three wealthiest nations, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA).
CSA originally stood alongside Sri Lanka and Pakistan in opposition to what was widely viewed as a hijacking of the sport by the Big Three before making a U-turn and voting in favour of the ICC proposal in Singapore at the weekend.
"We did not leave the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and Sri Lanka Cricket hanging," Nenzani told a news conference. "I met them before the meeting in Singapore and explained to them our position.
"I would also like to correct the perception that we changed our vote at the last minute. I exercised the voting position handed to me as a mandate by the CSA board on Feb. 1."
The PCB and Sri Lanka Cricket abstained from voting in Singapore.
Nenzani said CSA changed its stance after "significant improvements" were made to the proposal by the Big Three and denied any deals were struck to gain its vote.
"The first proposal talked about the chairmanship of the ICC, finance and commercial affairs (F&CA) committee and the new executive committee being held permanently by the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia.
"The new proposal says there will be elections for these positions involving all member countries after 2016.
"The original proposal also excluded South Africa from the test cricket fund that helps boards finance incoming tours but we have now been included in that as a beneficiary," said Nenzani.
"It was also previously proposed the F&CA and executive committee board contains representatives from the Big Three and one other board. That has been amended to three plus two and we are pushing for three plus three."
Nenzani, though, said that handing more control and financial muscle to their main rivals, on the pitch and in terms of revenue generation, has in part been forced on the other seven test-playing nations.
"What we have achieved is not the ideal outcome but it is the best possible one that was available to us both for our own future and that of the global game," he explained.
Nenzani added CSA was also negotiating to host one of the ICC's major limited-overs events between now and 2023.
The existing proposal states that all events will be hosted by India, England or Australia in that period. (Editing by Tony Jimenez; firstname.lastname@example.org +27832722948 Messaging email@example.com; To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum)