Mumbai:The most powerful man in Indian cricket has become the most powerful man in international cricket. But the new President of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Sharad Pawar, has more than a few issues to sort out back home.
The saga of former Australian premier John Howard's nomination being rejected has an Indian twist. Sharad Pawar supported Howard s nomination for ICC vice-president, but his own board did the opposite at the meeting in Singapore.
Well known Cricket Writer Peter Roebuck from Australia has commented in his column, "now comes the long feared divide between black & white. All six predominantly black countries objected to John Howard, the white nations backed him. The true battle is not between countries or colours. Its between the corrupt & the common man."
Cricket Australia Chiarman Jack Clarke has also commented on the issue and refered to the growing clout of the BCCI on the international market. He says, "Any business model where a company has 75% of the income is not ideal. But that is not India's fault. They earn & distribute money to other countries. It's a powerful board & that is a reality of life."
The controversy over Howard's failed bid will not have any impact on Pawar, who is the second Indian to head the ICC after Jagmohan Dalmiya. He has the top job at an opportune time, the four sub-continent countries host the 2011 World Cup in eight months from now. But while his and the BCCI's clout in the ICC is undisputed, Pawar s relations with his own board seems to be a problem area.
The question is will the new ICC chief be supported by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)?
The former BCCI chief has been left embarassed on quite a few ocassions of late by the BCCI, especially on matters relating to suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.
Pawar has still been batting for Modi, while the current BCCI regime, led by board president Shashank Manohar, is totally against him.
Very recently, during the huge IPL controversy, Pawar said a failed IPL bid for Pune was made by the Managing Director of Citycorp, a company in which his family holds a stake, while the BCCI said the bid was in the name of the company.
The issue of Pawar openly supporting John Howard s candidature and the BCCI blocking it was another such incident. Publicly, Pawar had no option but to say that Howard's bid was thwarted since he did not have enough support. Pawar has also insisted there is no political connotation to this.
Pawar s argument does not work because it is known that if the BCCI wanted John Howard, it would have got him.
The 69-year-old Pawar, who also served as union minister in the Indian government, began a two-year term as ICC president today and on taking over lauded his predecessor David Morgan for his "impressive innings" during the last two years.
"David Morgan has set the principles by which the ICC operates and now it is our responsibility to build on his legacy," he said.
Morgan, in turn, hoped Pawar, who has served as his ICC vice-President since 2008, would have a successful stint.
"In the past few days many people have thanked me for my contribution to cricket. All I would say is that cricket has been kind to me it has given me much more than I have given back," he said.