Revolt hits Howard's ICC leadership bid for six

Updated: 30 June 2010 08:38 IST

Former Australian prime minister John Howard is set to fail in his bid to lead world cricket after a revolt by Asian and African countries, a report said.


Former Australian prime minister John Howard's bid to lead world cricket has been thrown out, the International Cricket Council said on Wednesday, after a revolt by Asian and African nations.

A statement from the ICC board at a meeting in Singapore said the right-wing former leader's nomination to serve as president of world cricket's governing body had failed to muster enough backing.

"Following lengthy consideration it was recognised that the nomination (of Howard) put forward by Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket did not have sufficient support within the ICC board," the ICC said in a statement.

Also read:Australia, New Zealand resent Howard's rejection

"No vote was taken," added the statement.

Opposition from Asian and African nations sealed the fate of Howard, 70, who has no experience in cricket administration and who clashed repeatedly with some of the countries opposed to his ICC bid when he was Australia's premier.

"There was nothing personal against Howard," a source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told AFP.

"But we do accept the argument that only a man with previous experience in cricket administration should head the ICC. Howard was not involved with Cricket Australia at any time."

Australia and New Zealand cricket officials said they were "deeply disappointed" by the ICC decision, and said they would look at submitting a new nominee by August 31.

Former BCCI chief Sharad Pawar, a federal minister in the Indian government who has served as ICC vice-president for the past two years, takes over from outgoing president David Morgan of England on Thursday.

Howard, who was Australia's prime minister from 1996 to 2007, would have assumed the ICC vice presidency before assuming full leadership in mid-2012 under a system that rotates the job between cricket's regional blocs.

Praising his credentials Wednesday, Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket said: "We were delighted that the most senior world figure ever considered for this role agreed to accept the nomination."

But The Australian newspaper said six of the 10 Test-playing nations had signed a letter opposing Howard's bid amid anger that New Zealand's former cricket board chairman, John Anderson, had been overlooked.

A seventh nation, Zimbabwe, did not sign the letter but was "one of the main agitators against him", respected cricket journalist Malcolm Conn wrote on the paper's website.

"Howard's only supporters were the three white nations: Australia, New Zealand and England, reinforcing the power of the Afro-Asia bloc in world cricket," he said.

A source familiar with the Singapore talks confirmed to AFP the existence of the letter and that six of the 10 Test nations had ruled out Howard's bid.

Howard is a self-described "cricket tragic" who has regularly been seen watching the game around the world since losing office in November 2007.

When his candidacy was announced in March, he spoke of his passion for the sport and said he looked forward to "working in the interests of the game that I've loved all my life and is very dear to me".

But Howard had earned the wrath of the powerful Asian bloc in 2004 when he labelled Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan a "chucker", or someone with an illegal bowling action.

In 2007, he strongly supported Australian umpire Darrell Hair who outraged Pakistan by halting a Test match and awarding victory to England as the South Asian side protested against ball-tampering accusations.

The conservative Howard, known for his tough treatment of asylum-seekers as prime minister, was also a leading critic of Zimbabwe's regime and included its cricket officials in 2008 sanctions.

Topics : Cricket
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