John Howard, the former Australian prime minister, is no stranger to losing elections. But even for him, the events that unfolded in the International Cricket Council's annual meeting in Singapore on Wednesday must have come as a rude shock. Howard, who was in line for the vice-presidency of the ICC, found that his career in cricket administration ended very early.
As per ICC rules, Howard was the candidate jointly proposed by Australia and New Zealand, and required only to be rubber-stamped by the ICC's board, comprising 11 full members. But when it became clear that he had the support of only three members (England were the third), the ICC had no option but to ask Australia and New Zealand to propose an alternative candidate, without even putting the matter to a vote.
Late on Tuesday, as many as six members signed letters saying they would not support Howard's nomination. India did not get behind Howard, and this left him with no chance as the rest of the Asian members fell behind India, in addition to South Africa, who had already opposed Howard, and Zimbabwe and West Indies, who were set to abstain.
It was not as though Howard was the most popular candidate to begin with. His strident views on the Robert Mugabe regime and his calling Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan a “chucker” — on top of the fact that he was proposed ahead of New Zealand's distinguished and experienced administrator Sir John Anderson, endeared him to few.