Howard praises India, pushes ICC presidency bid
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard today offered an olive branch to India but refused to stand aside as Cricket Australia's candidate for the next ICC presidency.Updated: Jul 04, 2010 13:50 IST
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday offered an olive branch to India but refused to stand aside as Cricket Australia's candidate for the next ICC presidency.
Howard's application was rebuffed by the sport's governing body in Singapore last week in a decision that has threatened to divide the sport along racial lines.
Australia and New Zealand nominated Howard as the next ICC vice-president, meaning he would become president in two years, but only those two countries and England supported him.
Normally the nominations, which are put forward by the different regions on a rotational basis, are a formality but the ICC executive refused to even put Howard's nomination to a vote, telling CA and New Zealand Cricket to come up with a different candidate.
While it is believed that the opposition to his nomination came initially from Zimbabwe, it is widely held that if India had decided to back Howard then the rest of the ICC nations would have fallen in behind.
Howard told Australian television station Channel Nine that Indians should be applauded for their love of cricket but they should be careful not to be seen to dominate the administration of the sport.
"There is one part of the world where a sport at the present time remains transcendent over soccer and that is the Indian subcontinent," he said.
"The fanaticism for cricket among the 1.5 billion people in the entire region... is unbelievable and we've got to see that in a positive light."
Howard would not be drawn on whether Indian board president Shashank Manohar had been behind the ICC's rejection of his nomination.
"We have to be careful of making India some kind of target of disdain in world cricket," Howard said.
"I think it is very important we understand there's got to be a fair sharing of responsibilities and no one part of the world, no one country, should dominate.
"People in the past criticised the fact it was dominated by England and Australia and now we don't want to replace one perceived domination with another.
"That in a way is why the ICC put in place this rotation system and that's one of the issues CA have got to take into account when it responds to what has happened."
Howard has refused to withdraw from the nomination process.
"I'd like the job but at this stage it's hit a roadblock and what happens from now on is really CA's call," Howard told Channel Nine.
"It's not about me, it's about the future of the game."
CA will discuss the situation this week but Howard was publicly backed during the week by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her New Zealand counterpart John Key.