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Now, a former prime minister wants to run cricket

Politicians running sport is nothing new, but it’s not every day a former prime minister takes up a role in administration. And that too after fighting off a strong contender. But that’s exactly what has happened with John Howard, who was Australia’s premier for 11 years, being nominated to the presidency of the ICC, reports HT Correspondent.

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2010 01:16 IST
HT Correspondent

Politicians running sport is nothing new, but it’s not every day a former prime minister takes up a role in administration. And that too after fighting off a strong contender. But that’s exactly what has happened with John Howard, who was Australia’s premier for 11 years, being nominated to the presidency of the International Cricket Council.

After months of wrangling, the cricket boards of Australia and New Zealand put forward Howard’s name for the post that comes to a candidate from their region September 2012 onwards. David Morgan, the current president, relinquishes office in September this year and will be succeeded by Sharad Pawar.

Howard, a self-confessed cricket tragic, has no background in cricket administration, save for presiding over the annual Prime Minister’s XI v visitors’ match.

The other contender from the Australia-New Zealand region was Sir John Anderson, former chairman of New Zealand Cricket.

The 70-year-old Howard was characteristically gushing in a statement issued by the ICC. “It is a great honour to be nominated by Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket for the vice-presidency of the International Cricket Council from June-July 2010,” he said. “Cricket has been one of my lifelong passions and, if the ICC accepts my nomination, it will be a privilege to serve this great game.”

Howard’s nomination will be put before the ICC’s board, which meets next in April, and if ratified, he is likely to assume office in June-July when at the ICC’s annual conference week.

When New Zealand cricket and Cricket Australia could not agree on one candidate, they formed a joint committee to help settle the matter. This included Sir Rod Eddington, the Australian businessman who sits on various boards and committees.

“It was an extremely difficult decision,” Jack Clarke, Cricket Australia’s chairman, said of the decision to nominate Howard over Anderson. “The decision ultimately relied on the input of Sir Rod Eddington, whom both cricket boards respect enormously.”

Another election of sorts and another victory for Howard, but the real challenge awaits.