Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Thursday took over the reins of the International Cricket Council (ICC), becoming the second Indian after Jagmohan Dalmiya to head the world cricket body.
The ICC president designate, who is former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, formally took charge at the ICC annual conference week here.
Dalmiya was the first Indian to be elected for the top post in 1997. Pawar, 69, is the seventh ICC president, succeeding Englishman David Morgan, who concluded a two-year term.
Pawar thanked Morgan for his “impressive innings” as ICC president during the last two years. “David Morgan has set the principles by which the ICC operates and now it is our responsibility to build on his legacy,” Pawar said.
Pawar has taken over the top post at a crucial time with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh scheduled to host the 2011 cricket World Cup.
Pawar and Morgan had agreed to take over the ICC president’s post by turn after both garnered an equal number of votes from 10 ICC full members for the top job in 2006.
The ICC referred the matter to its governance committee, which recommended that the world body restore the rotation system for the top post and suggested India and England be given the option of the first two terms. According to the consensus reached in 2007, Morgan, the former chairman of England and Wales Cricket Board, took over as ICC president when the English board hosted the T20 World Championship in 2009.
Pawar backs India-Pak cricket ties
New Delhi: The new president of the ICC says he is happy to encourage a resumption of cricket ties between India and Pakistan, which were disrupted after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Sharad Pawar said the recent visits of India’s home minister and foreign secretary to Pakistan for talks were welcome signs.
Howard’s rejection leaves ICC divided
Singapore/Melbourne: The game’s governing body was clearly divided in two blocks following the rejection of former Australian prime minister John Howard’s nomination for the vice president’s post.
Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) which floated Howard’s nomination were left seething in anger as the strong Afro-Asian block, including the Indian cricket board, opposed the candidature at the ICC executive board meeting Wednesday.
Howard is adamant and said he won’t withdraw his nomination.“I won’t be withdrawing,” Sky News quoted Howard as saying on Thursday.
Not mincing words, CA chairman Jack Clarke said he felt “gutted and incredibly disappointed”. Clarke reasoned the country’s financial clout in the ICC guided the outcome.
“In any business model where a company has 75 per cent of the income, it’s not an ideal model,” he said. “But that is not India’s fault ... it’s a powerful bloc but it’s a reality of life,” Fox Sports quoted Clarke as saying.
Had Howard been elected, he would have succeeded Pawar as ICC President in 2012.
The ICC has asked Australia and New Zealand to nominate a new candidate by the end of August. Should CA and NZC decide to admit defeat on Howard, it is likely that former NZC and ICC administrator John Anderson would be sought again, having lost out to the former Australian prime minister in a selection process.
Former ICC CEO Malcolm Speed said Howard was rejected because of his opposition to Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe. “His strong opposition to Robert Mugabe’s disastrous regime in Zimbabwe or his outspoken views about Muttiah Muralitharan’s controversial bowling action. There is more to it than that,” Speed said in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Speed also alleged Pawar knows little about cricket administration.
“Sharad Pawar, is the Minister for Agriculture in the Indian government — a serious full-time job, feeding 1.2 billion people. He is a good and fair man but he will be working part-time as ICC president and, take it from me, he knows little about cricket administration,” Speed said.