Dave Richardson picked as next chief executive
Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager (cricket) and former South Africa wicketkeeper, has been picked by the ICC board to succeed Haroon Lorgat as chief executive. Richardson, who will become the first former Test cricketer to occupy this position, was an unanimous choice over ECB chief executive David Collier - his closest competitor - because of his experience within the ICC.
The ICC board will recommend Richardson's name at the ICC annual conference in June, when Lorgat's term ends. The nominations committee had met in Mumbai on Sunday to interview four candidates, including Collier, for the role and on Thursday obtained the ICC board's support for Richardson.
ICC president Sharad Pawar, who headed the nomination panel, said all four candidates were "good enough" but Richardson's CV swung it in his favour. "What made Richardson the most suitable candidate was his knowledge of the ICC, and that was the most important thing," Pawar told ESPNcricinfo. The other advantage, he said, was Richardson's familiarity with the ICC board members, and vice versa.
"He was an internal candidate. He is a former Test player and brings a lot of international cricket experience to the table," Pawar said. "In addition he has been working with the ICC for quite long and is completely aware about the ICC operations and the members. All this only made it an unanimous decision."
Lorgat said he was happy to welcome a fellow South African to occupy the seat he will vacate on June 30. "He is experienced in the ways of the international game, both playing and in administration, which will hold him in good stead. He knows everybody and everyone knows him so he is a very familiar figure and it would provide a lot of comfort to members, to players, to stakeholders."
It is understood that though Richardson's name was supported by almost all 13 members of the ICC board, things were much closer when the nomination committee discussed the issue after completing the extensive interview process on May 6 in Mumbai.
"Things were very tight when it came to the nominations committee. There were only two candidates really as favourites - Richardson and Collier. The thing that swung it for David was his cricketing experience," an ICC member board official revealed.
That meeting was chaired by Pawar and attended by Alan Isaac (ICC vice-president), Julian Hunte (WICB president) and Keith Oliver (Cricket Scotland chairman). However, it was the presence of N Srinivasan and Giles Clarke - heads of the Indian and English boards who, it is understood, had been added to the panel at the last minute - that added intrigue to the selection process.
There had been talk in the days leading up to Sunday that the BCCI and the ECB would enter into a deal to name Collier as the chief executive and allow the BCCI to nominate its candidate to the seat of ICC chairman when that post is created in 2014.
Pawar, though, laughed off the theory. "What does the issue of the chairman have to do with the selection of the chief executive?" he asked.
However, another ICC member board official did not rule out the possibility that there could have been some differences between Srinivasan and Clarke that might have forced the BCCI president to vote against Collier. "It is fair to say probably either Clarke or Srinivasan did not support Collier. If India and England both back the same candidate, do you think they are not going to convince the others at the table?" the official said.
The official suggested that any alliance between Srnivasan and Clarke was not a deep one. "They are strong men, who want their way. Their collaboration was one of convenience," the official said.
According to this official, Richardson faced a big challenge in the form of India and England. He felt one possible factor for Lorgat not seeking another term was the increasing influence of Srinivasan and Clarke at the ICC board. "The future is not clear because here are some very different personalities at the ICC board who want increasingly to play the role of executive director in their style," the official said. "I don't know what role the chief executive will play. I do not even know what the role of this operational chairman means," he said.
For his part, Richardson called the nomination a "great honour." "I am delighted with this opportunity and thank the ICC board for their approval. It has been a privilege to serve as ICC general manager, and that work will continue until such time as the ICC annual conference ratifies my nomination."
A qualified lawyer, Richardson has served as ICC general manager (cricket) for ten years and also played 42 Test matches and 122 ODIs for South Africa. After retiring from international cricket in 1998, Richardson was a business director with Octagon SA and a media commentator before becoming the ICC's first general manager in January 2002.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo