The powerful Afro-Asian bloc today thwarted former Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s bid for the ICC Vice-President’s post,prompting the governing body to seek a new candidate from the Australian and New Zealand cricket boards.
“The ICC Executive Board today met to discuss the nomination of the Honourable John Howard AC for the role of ICC Vice-President for the period 2010-12,” the International Cricket Council said in a statement.
“Following lengthy consideration it was recognised that the nomination put forward by Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket did not have sufficient support within the ICC Board. No vote was taken.
“Under the ICC’s regional rotation process for the nomination of the ICC Vice-President,which was adopted by the ICC in October 2007,Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have now been invited to re-nominate a candidate by 31 August,2010,” it added.
Howard needed seven of the 10 votes to become the ICC Vice President — which would have been the first step towards the President’s role in 2012 — but only his own country,New Zealand and England backed his bid.
All four Asian countries — India,Pakistan,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — and South Africa opposed Howard’s bid,underlining their clout in the governing council.
According to media reports in Australia,six leading Test playing nations signed a letter,opposing Howard’s candidature.
During his stint as Australia’s Prime Minister,Howard was a vocal critic of the Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe and he in fact banned their cricket team’s tour of Australia in 2007,which earned him lot of enemies.
Howard visited Zimbabwe last week to win their support but did not really succeed.
Among others,Sri Lankan cricket board also had a score to settle with Howard,who called the popular Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan a “chucker” in 2004,which created lot of bad blood between the boards from both the countries.
In such a scenario,a lot depended on the Indian cricket board,which also turned its back on the former Australian Prime Minister with Bangladesh and Pakistan also joining them.
Howard was the joint nomination of both Cricket Australia and New Zealand cricket but his candidature was plagued by controversy right from the start.
NZC initially wanted Sir John Anderson,a respected administrator,for the job while CA insisted on Howard. This led to a deadlock and there was speculation that Australia arm-twisted New Zealand in supporting Howard.