Singapore:Barely a few hours after taking over as ICC President, Sharad Pawar on Thursday sought to downplay the controversial rejection of former Australian Premier John Howard as a Vice President candidate, saying there was no political connotation to the issue.
Addressing his first press conference as the top official of the game's governing body, Pawar said they have asked Australian and New Zealand Boards to find another candidate and submit it to the ICC by August 31.
The 69-year-old Pawar, the second Indian after Jagmohan Dalmiya to occupy the top post, said the rejection of Howard had nothing to do with politics and his policies on Africa, in particular towards Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
"What is the political connotation? There is no question of political connotation," Pawar said.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, who was also present at the press conference, said that the game's governing body was not obliged to explain why Howard's bid failed.
"The ICC does not have give those reasons. There weren't sufficient number of directors in support of the nomination, (it) did not go to a vote and the outcome was to request Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket to reconsider their nomination," Lorgat said.
Lorgat refused to be drawn into a debate on how the ICC would react if Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand re-nominated Howard.
"I think that's speculative and we must wait for 31st August and see what comes forward," he said.
Pawar said, "We (will) wait for their recommendation."
If Howard's nomination had gone through, he would have become ICC vice-president for two years and then take the top post from Pawar in 2012.
The Asian and African nations united to reject his nomination as Howard failed to get the required seven votes.
Only England, Australia and New Zealand supported his candidature thus forcing ICC to withdraw his nomination.