Full name Raymond Remember Mali
Born April 9, 1937, Eastern Cape
Current age 78 years 145 days
Education Lovedale College, Alice; University of Fort Hare
A teacher by profession, Ray Mali forged a reputation as a skilled administrator and a moderniser in South African cricket. He shook up the old provincial structure, was a leading advocate of Twenty20 cricket, and broke down old barriers and ensured there were equal opportunities in the game.
An administrator since the 1960s, he managed representative sides after South Africa's readmission to the international fold in the 1990s. He served as a member of the executive of Eastern Province Cricket Board from 1991 to 1996 and of Border Cricket Board from 1996 to 1999. In 2000 he became president of Border Cricket Board and was also a board member of what was then the United Cricket Board (UCB) of South Africa. In 2003 he succeeded Percy Sonn as president of the UCB, the first black person to hold the position. In June 2007 he again followed Sonn, this time as acting ICC president following Sonn's sudden death. The two men could not be more different. Sonn was bullish and confrontational, Mali, as Telford Vice wrote, "a unifying influence, a soother of savaged breasts. Try as they might, fires fail to ignite in his calming presence".
But Mali proved a weak and indecisive president at a time the world game was calling out for a firm hand, described by one ICC source as being "as easy to play as a piano". Peter Roebuck portrayed him as "a compromised and unworthy president of the ICC".
Few shed any tears when his year in office ended.
Martin Williamson November 2008
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