If John Howard was rejected for inexperience then even Sharad Pawar does not qualify to be ICC President as he knows "little about cricket administration", said former ICC CEO Malcolm Speed describing the snub to the ex-Australian Prime Minister a "disgrace".
"Rest assured, he (Howard) was not rejected because of his lack of experience as a cricket administrator, 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 wrote in a column for the 'Sydney Morning Herald'.
Speed said Pawar, who will head the ICC until 2012 starting on Thursday, would not even be available full-time as he is a serving Union Minister in the Indian government. "The man who is to be the next ICC president, 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.
The Australian claimed that Pawar spent little time in the ICC meetings he attended in the past. "I was present at several ICC board meetings he attended. ICC meetings generally last two days. Pawar attended for one hour and was then replaced by one of the Board of Control for Cricket in India apparatchiks. They were concerned that he was too busy and would be too reasonable," he recalled.
Speed's tenure in the ICC ended rather acrimoniously in 2008 after a fall-out with the then President Ray Mali over the governing body's refusal to take action against financial bunglings in Zimbabwe Cricket. Speed said Australia and New Zealand, who jointly nominated Howard, should now refuse to put up an alternate candidate as has been asked by the ICC.
"The decision of the ICC members to reject the nomination of John Howard by the cricket boards of Australia and New Zealand is a disgrace and an insult to both countries. So where to now? Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket should refuse to put forward another nominee. Under the rotation system, it is then the turn of Pakistan and Bangladesh," Speed said.