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ICC asks Australia to drop Howard as candidate

The International Cricket Council (ICC), on Thursday, urged Australia to find another candidate to lead the sport's governing body after former prime minister John Howard was rejected.

cricket Updated: Jul 01, 2010 17:01 IST

The International Cricket Council (ICC), on Thursday, urged Australia to find another candidate to lead the sport's governing body after former prime minister John Howard was rejected.

The conservative ex-premier vowed to fight on in his bid to become ICC president, which was thrown out during a meeting in Singapore on Wednesday.

The ICC was not obliged to explain why Howard's bid failed, chief executive Haroon Lorgat said, telling a Thursday news conference in the city-state that the sport's governing body "does not have to give those reasons".

"There weren't sufficient number of directors in support of the nomination, (it) did not go to a vote and the outcome was to request Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket to reconsider their nomination and to return to the ICC by the 31st of August," Lorgat said.

Lorgat declined to answer directly what the ICC executive board would do if Howard's name was again submitted by cricket authorities in Australia and New Zealand.

"I think that's speculative and we must wait for 31st August and see what comes forward," he said.

New ICC president Sharad Pawar, who also spoke at Thursday's news conference, added: "We (will) wait for their recommendation."

Pawar, an Indian government minister and former Indian cricket board chief, took over as president on Thursday after serving as vice-president for two years.

Howard, 70, would have taken on the ICC vice-presidency before assuming full leadership in mid-2012 under a system that rotates the job between cricket's regional blocs.

Opposition from Asian and African nations sealed the fate of Howard, 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.

Lorgat denied there was a rift between Asian and African Test-playing nations and Australia, New Zealand and England -- the three countries believed to have supported Howard's bid.

Pawar said the rejection of Howard had nothing to do with politics and the Howard's
policies on Africa, in particular towards President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

"What is the political connotation? There is no question of political connotation," Pawar said.

But the rejection of Howard, known for his tough immigration policies, is believed to stem from his zealous opposition to Mugabe's government including its cricket officials, who were targeted with sanctions.

He also incurred the wrath of the powerful Asian bloc in 2004 by labelling Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan a "chucker", or someone with an illegal bowling action.

Howard visited Zimbabwe in June to pacify the Mugabe-backed Zimbabwean cricket board, but South African officials refused to meet him when he turned up in Johannesburg for crisis talks.

Howard said he would carry to his efforts to become world cricket president despite his embarrassing rejection.

"I won't be withdrawing," he told Sky News late on Wednesday.

"Even in private discussions they are very reluctant to give a particular reason," he added. "It's a very unusual situation."