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Sonn a visionary, says Cricket Australia

india Updated: May 28, 2007 10:23 IST

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International Cricket Council President Percy Sonn had a vision for cricket becoming a genuine world sport, Cricket Australia said Monday, following the South African's death.

Sonn, the first African to head up the ICC, died Sunday aged 57 in a Cape Town hospital following complications after a minor colon operation.

Cricket Australia Chairman Creagh O'Connor said Australian cricket was saddened by his death.

"Percy devoted a large portion of his life to cricket, initially within South Africa and then globally through his role at the ICC, and we will miss him," O'Connor said in a statement Monday.

"Personally, what impressed me most was that he had a vision for cricket developing as a genuinely world sport.

"I had the good fortune to spend some memorable cricket moments with him, in Australia when he visited last summer, and most recently at the just concluded ICC World Cup in the West Indies, and his passion for the game shone through to the end.

"On behalf of all of us at Cricket Australia, I pay tribute to a man who loved cricket and did his best to make it a better game, and offer our condolences to his family."

Ricky Ponting, captain of Australia's World Cup-winning team, said he was shocked and saddened by Sonn's passing.

"First and foremost my thoughts are with Percy's family and friends," Ponting said.

"I will always associate Percy with one of the happiest moments of my career as he was the man who handed over the Cricket World Cup trophy to the Australia team at the end of the tournament in Barbados last month.

"He and his wife then flew with us back from Barbados to London where we went our separate ways and to think he is no longer with us less than a month later is a huge shock.

"I have been told of his lifetime of service to the game in what, for many years, must have been difficult circumstances in South Africa. Cricket obviously owes him a huge debt of thanks."