ICC news June 1, 2010

Malcolm Speed slams move to block Howard

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed, the former chief executive of the ICC, believes it is "outrageous" that Zimbabwe and South Africa are pushing to block John Howard's nomination as the ICC's president-designate. However, Speed is confident that Howard will gain the support of India and have his nomination confirmed.

"There is some irony in this," Speed told the Australian. "Zimbabwe throughout has said 'you must come and play against us for the sake of our cricket. You can't have politics in cricket, you can't make political considerations', and the ICC has consistently endorsed that position.

"Their position now, as I understand it, is that Howard's not qualified because he's a politician and he's criticised Zimbabwe, so they bring politics back into it when it suits them. I think the behaviour of Zimbabwe, and South Africa supporting them, has been outrageous.

"They agreed to the process. They knew it was to be Australia and New Zealand's decision and they should have been prepared to accept that position and not second-guess those countries. The process should have been followed."

Speed also described as "a nonsense" the suggestion that Howard, a former prime minister of Australia, was not qualified because he was not a member of the Cricket Australia board. That was the criteria raised by Sri Lanka to justify their possible opposition to Howard, but Speed said there was a precedent.

"[Ehsan] Mani wasn't a member of the Pakistan board," Speed said of the ICC president elected in 2003. "In fact he lived in England, but he was their nominee and he was a very good president."

Howard's nomination will be formally discussed at the ICC's annual meeting in Singapore later this month.