Cricket Australia chases votes for John Howard
Cricket Australia officials are still lobbying to gain enough support to install John Howard as the ICC's vice-president in Singapore over the next two days. The appointment of Howard, the former Australia prime minister, is supposed to be a formality but it has become increasingly uncertain following complaints raised by Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Howard's vice-presidency will be a key issue at the ICC's executive board meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, which occurs before the elevation of India's Sharad Pawar to the top job. James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, and the chairman Jack Clarke are in Singapore for various talks this week and are attempting to secure the seven votes required for Howard to get the deputy's role. "There are still discussions taking place," a Cricket Australia spokesman said on Monday.
In an effort to improve relations with Zimbabwe, Howard, who as prime minister was critical of Robert Mugabe's regime, met with senior cricket officials there last week. A similar approach to speak with South African administrators was rejected while Howard was in the country for the football World Cup.
Despite the claims of Zimbabwe Cricket's managing director Ozias Bvute that reports of its influence were "maliciously incorrect", its senior officials raised the initial protest through its South African counterparts outside ICC meetings in Dubai in April. The issue has continued to simmer and there are concerns India will side with the African countries in the executive meeting to block the appointment.
David Morgan, the out-going ICC president, supports the Howard nomination, which was proposed by Australia and New Zealand following a drawn-out selection process. Under the ICC's guidelines Howard should become president in 2012, replacing Pawar, the Indian politician.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo