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Howard not to withdraw candidacy for ICC's top post

cricket Updated: Jul 01, 2010 17:44 IST

PTI
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The rejection from the powerful Afro-Asian bloc notwithstanding, a defiant former Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Thursday refused to withdraw his candidacy for the ICC president's post.

"I won't be withdrawing. Even in private discussions they (the opposing boards) are very reluctant to give a particular reason. It's a very unusual situation," Howard told Sky News.

Howard's name was proposed by Australia and New Zealand and backed by only England at an ICC meeting in Singapore. The self-confessed "cricket-tragic" failed to get the crucial support from the powerful sub-continental bloc -- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka -- and the African Boards.

Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Jack Clarke and his New Zealand counterpart Alan Isaac said they were angry and gutted by the rejection.

In a joint statement issued after Howard's nomination was rejected, the two boards said "we remain convinced it is reasonable for his nomination to be supported by the ICC executive board."

There is speculation that Howard was rejected by the African Boards for his vocal opposition to the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe during his tenure as Australian prime minister.

Howard said if that was the reason, he would rather accept the rejection then back down on his past comments on Mugabe.

"All I can say in relation to Robert Mugabe is that if that is the reason I wear the negative attitude as a badge of honour because I don't apologise in any way for the criticism I offer of the Mugabe regime," Howard said.

No past experience in cricket administration also worked against Howard but the Aussie said it is hardly a reason to oppose him.

"If it was in some way based on past political reasons then that is a very bad precedent to be establishing for the ICC because there are serving politicians holding positions of authority within the ICC.

"I'm not criticising that but I'm just drawing attention to it," he said.