Manu Sawhney has hit back at the ICC leadership ©Getty Images

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has become embroiled in a row with its own chief executive after Manu Sawhney claimed he had been the victim of a "pre-mediated witch-hunt" following allegations of workplace bullying.

Sawhney, appointed chief executive in 2019, was placed on leave by the ICC after an internal review into his management style conducted by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers alleged misconduct.

In the report, which has not been made public, the Singaporean official was accused of four specific offences - targeted acts of bullying against certain staff, exhibiting physical aggression, such as fist banging, impacting directly or indirectly on individuals' health and wellbeing through his behaviour and failing to report to the Board and implemented decisions without proper consultation.

Sawhney has rejected the findings of the report and launched a scathing attack on the investigation, claiming there had been "no attempt to comply with the ICC's internal policies or even basic principles of natural justice" and that it represented "nothing short of a scandal".

"I reject categorically that I have engaged in bullying of any kind during my time at the ICC," he said in a statement, which he read out at a disciplinary hearing with ICC chairman Greg Barclay last week. 

"In addition to the extremely vague nature of the allegations against me, no proper disciplinary process has been followed, including any thorough disciplinary investigation."

Manu Sawhney was placed on leave by the ICC in March ©Getty Images
Manu Sawhney was placed on leave by the ICC in March ©Getty Images

In the statement, seen by insidethegames and sent to all 15 ICC Board members, Sawhney said he believed "two or three" people were behind the accusations that essentially forced him out of the position.

"These allegations have been based completely on anonymous statements which no one has made any attempt to verify or investigate," he added. 

"On the basis of four bullet points, I could potentially lose my livelihood and my reputation. 

"Frankly, the whole situation is nothing short of a scandal."

insidethegames understands the PwC report has not yet been sent to the ICC Board.

Sawhney was officially appointed in April 2019 to succeed David Richardson, and has since embarked on several projects, including expanding the ICC's World Cups and pushing for cricket's inclusion on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games programme.

The latest development, which pits the chairman of the ICC against his own chief executive, may also catch the attention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The ICC is an IOC-recognised International Federation and falls under the IOC's code of ethics as a "stakeholder of the Olympic Movement".

The ICC declined to comment.

insidethegames has contacted the IOC for comment.