LONG-SERVING cricket player advocate Tim May is in danger of losing a key post at the International Cricket Council because of lobbying from India.
Indian interests have forced a re-vote for the position of players' representative on the ICC cricket committee, threatening to prevent the election of May, who had near unanimous support among other nations.
Australian Cricketers' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said the popular May was voted in to the position by a majority of Test captains, before the Indian board (the BCCI) stepped in.
They demanded the captains clear their votes with their home boards, and many are now changing their votes after intense BCCI lobbying.
"This issue sadly highlights the political problems that are rife in international cricket currently," Marsh said.
"The BCCI continue to abuse their power, the ICC to this point have sat back and allowed this shameful episode to occur and the five Test captains who changed their votes, admittedly under extreme pressure, weren't strong enough to stand up for what is right.
"The saddest part of this whole issue is that the ICC Cricket Committee deals exclusively with on-field issues and now the legitimate voice of the players won't be heard. Unfortunately the loser in all this is the game and it genuinely disturbs me that those running the game have allowed this to happen."
South African player boss Tony Irish, who is also on the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, said initial voting for the post by the 10 Test captains had overwhelmingly chosen Australian May. However a re-vote was called after lobbying by India.
Irish said the voting was now 5-5 or even 6-4 in favour of India's preferred candidate Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.
It's understood Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand remain in May's corner. But Irish claims some of the smaller Test nations were "pressured" into changing their vote.
The Sunday Mail understands some captains were told their failure to support Sivaramakrishnan could jeopardise future tours of India and even their captaincy.
Irish said FICA would lodge a written protest with the ICC about the intervention.
"It's a sad day for the governance of cricket when players aren't allowed to freely elect their representatives," Irish said.
The forcing of the re-vote was indicative of the burgeoning commercial and political power of India within world cricket.
"Cricket is a global game and the decisions that are made should be global decisions for the benefit of the global game, not for the benefit of one country, whichever country that is," Irish said.
If the voting is locked at 5-5, the ICC will have the casting vote.
The ICC cricket committee has influence upon the game's rules, including the video review system, to which India is opposed.
May politely declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Mail yesterday.
The developments could threaten relations between Australia and India and the ICC, which were tested in 2010 when Cricket Australia's bid to have former prime minister John Howard installed as ICC president was knocked back.
African and Asian blocs - including India - within the ICC dismissed Howard's candidacy without a vote.