John Howard nominated for ICC presidency
John Howard, the former Australian prime minister, has finally been nominated by the boards of Australia and New Zealand as their candidate for the post of ICC president from 2012. Howard, who led the country from 1996 to 2007, will have the position rubber stamped in June and will succeed India's Sharad Pawar in two years.
The decision ends a long-running dispute over the preferred Australasian candidate. Cricket Australia searched outside their board of directors for a nomination and wanted Howard, who admits to being a cricket tragic, while New Zealand Cricket recommended its former chairman Sir John Anderson. Howard is a 70-year-old with no background in cricket administration but was pursued by Cricket Australia for his diplomatic skills.
Jack Clarke, Cricket Australia's chairman, and his New Zealand counterpart Alan Isaac issued a joint release saying they were pleased Howard had agreed to take on the role, which begins as vice-president in June. Howard said in the statement he was honoured and humbled to receive the recommendation for the appointment, but believed it would be inappropriate to comment until the post became official in June.
However, he was more expansive in a release from 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."
The countries' boards set up a committee including an independent member in the businessman Sir Rod Eddington to decide who should be nominated. "It was an extremely difficult decision and ultimately relied on the input of Sir Rod Eddington, whom both cricket boards respect enormously," Clarke and Isaac said. "The ICC faces significant and complex internal and external challenges in its quest for cricket to become a genuinely global sport. Australia and New Zealand considered a number of distinguished candidates of global stature before deciding to invite John Howard to consider the role."
The ICC presidency is given to countries by rotation and the incumbent David Morgan, the ECB's representative, will hand the responsibility to Pawar in June. Howard will then act as vice-president and take over after Pawar's two-year tenure ends. His nomination will be approved at the ICC's executive board meeting in April and the position will be finalised at the annual conference in the middle of the year.