Eng, Aus fear India's importance: Gavaskar

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/gavaskar.jpg' class='caption'> India's growing stature in the cricketing world is upsetting countries like England and Australia, according to ICC cricket committee chief Sunil Gavaskar.

Updated: March 24, 2008 07:08 IST
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New Delhi:

India's growing stature in the cricketing world is upsetting countries like England and Australia, according to ICC cricket committee chief Sunil Gavaskar.

"Once again, it is (a) misplaced belief that they are the only ones with honesty, integrity and have the welfare of the game at heart, while the 'sub-continentals' do not," the former India captain wrote in a newspaper column published Sunday.

"Every controversy in international cricket has shown that no country has the monopoly on honesty and integrity, and so should not be looking down upon others."

Gavaskar was referring to the International Cricket Council's executive board announcing IS Bindra, a former president of India's cricket board, as a possible candidate to succeed Malcolm Speed of Australia as ICC chief executive.

"As soon as Mr Bindra's name was announced, there were a flurry of articles in England and Australia that giving him the job would put too much power in India's hands," Gavaskar wrote.

The ICC has since selected Imtiaz Patel, a South African who is the CEO of Supersport TV channel in his homeland, to replace Speed. However, India cricket board chief Sharad Pawar has been awarded the ICC presidency for 2010.

"Those worried at the prospect of India's hegemony were conveniently forgetting that only a few years back, there were two Australians at the top of the ICC - Malcolm Gray as president and Malcolm Speed as the CEO, but there were no fears about Australia ruling the game then," Gavaskar said.

"The cricketing world has found that India no longer has a diffident voice in the international cricketing community, but a confident one that knows what is good for its cricket, and will strive to get it."

Gavaskar's comments come weeks after the Indian team's return from a contentious three-month tour of Australia. The tour was dogged by controversies involving racism, sledging and umpiring, with much of it centered on India offspinner Harbhajan Singh.

Harbhajan had a three-test ban for an alleged racist remark against Australia allrounder Andrew Symonds in the second test overturned on appeal after India threatened to withdraw from the tour if it was upheld.

That followed India's successful lobbying to have umpire Steve Bucknor removed from the test series after a string of poor decisions in the second test left India trailing 2-0 in the four-match series it eventually lost 2-1. India then won a best-of-three, limited-overs finals series 2-0 against Australia.

"Gone are the days when two countries - England and Australia - had the veto power in international cricket, even though the dinosaurs, still trying to voice their prejudiced opinions in the media, may not open their eyes and see the reality," Gavaskar said.

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