June 30, 2010

An outcome that could drag cricket to the dark ages

Sure, a candidate can be rejected, but there need to be compelling reasons for doing so, and those need to be made public
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The saddest thing about the rejection of John Howard's nomination to the vice-presidency of the ICC is that, prima facie, the cricket world has split, once again, on the lines of race. For years that was cricket's ugly truth: the white nations v the rest; the us v them syndrome underpinned every major conflict in the cricket.

But in recent years cricket seemed to have moved away from post-colonial angst into the lap of naked capitalism. Self-interest remained the guiding principle, but alliances based on commerce rather than race seemed far more palatable. The use of the term Asian Bloc - it had a pejorative ring to it - became rarer as India and Australia, the richest board and the strongest team, moved closer.

It's premature to proclaim an official split or speculate what immediate impact it will have on global cricket, but on the Howard issue it was evident who stood where. Australia and New Zealand stood by their nominated candidate, and they had only England by their side.

There are different ways of looking at it. One is this. Seven members of the ICC board didn't want Howard as vice-president. Clearly, he shouldn't then have been vice-president and president-elect. Democracy doesn't always produce the best outcome, but who'd rather have the other system?

Howard was not the best candidate in the eyes of the cricket world. Even between Australia and New Zealand, he was not the unanimous choice. New Zealand wanted John Anderson, the former chairman of the New Zealand board and a proven cricket administrator; and most other members would have preferred him. But Howard was nominated through a rigorous arbitration process, and New Zealand accepted the verdict with good grace.

Similarly, another process has been completed now. Howard's candidature needed to be ratified by a two-thirds majority - it might never have been applied before, but the provision exists. All over the cricket world, non-executive positions - presidents, chairmen - come through an electoral process, which rarely throws up the best possible candidate. Pawar became BCCI president that way, as did Giles Clarke.

There were clear signs for months that Howard's candidature was unlikely to go through, but CA chose to ignore them. Cricket South Africa chairman Mtutuzeli Nyoka wrote to David Morgan, the then ICC president, pointing out that an "overwhelming number of directors were opposed to Howard". It was strong letter which accused Morgan of acting unconstitutionally, a charge Morgan denied equally vehemently. And the Sri Lankan board openly said that they would vote against Howard. Cricket Australia was within their rights to stick by their man. Howard himself made a trip to Zimbabwe, another known opponent, to lobby support. Evidently that mission failed.

Since Howard had no administrative experience in sport and his association with cricket was limited to his self-professed love for the game, it is reasonable to assume that Cricket Australia chose a career politician in recognition of the political nature of the ICC. And now that he has been eliminated by a political process, CA should cop it in the same spirit.

In a political process, even if it is mere posturing, everyone knows who stands for what. In Howard's case, no one, apart from the Sri Lankan board, has articulated the opposition to him.

There is one crucial difference, though. In a political process, even if it is mere posturing, everyone knows who stands for what. In Howard's case, no one, apart from the Sri Lankan board, has articulated the opposition to him. And the Sri Lankan opposition - that Howard came from outside the realm of cricket administration - was so flimsy that it can't be considered a powerful enough argument to disregard a candidate chosen by two members following due process.

The worst part of the campaign against Howard has been the surreptitious and opaque manner in which it has been conducted. Cricinfo's correspondents, despite repeated attempts, have failed to elicit responses - except from the Sri Lankan board - about why Howard was considered unfit to hold the job.

While the provision for rejecting a candidate exists, the ratification process has always been a formality. For disregarding an established convention, there must not only be a strong enough case, it must also be made public. Even the most dreaded criminals are not hung without being assigned a reason. John Howard, whether you agree with his political stand on Zimbawe's regime, or his support for George Bush, or his personal views on Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action, deserves the courtesy of being told, as do Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand.

Or is it that the reasons are so hollow and petty that no board wants to put its name to them? Gideon Haigh has already pointed out,, forcefully and with rigour, the shallowness of some of the possible objections. I don't agree with him on every count. Cricket Australia, I believe, was wrong to pick a candidate who was potentially divisive, but the intrigue and back-room games that preceded the rejection of his candidature, have not merely been discourteous but threaten to drag cricket back to the age of acrimony and mistrust.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Doggy74 on July 1, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    @jillpreston "if Murali had the same bowling action as he always had, but was fair skinned, or was an Australian, will John Howard have criticised him?" Howard would never have had the opportunity to criticise Murali if he was Australian. Murali would still be kicking around at club level 3rds pleading for a bowl from his skipper who would rightly be replying, "Sure kiddo, soon as you stop chucking it!" IMO John Howard was a poor candidate and John Anderson was far better placed to achieve consensus. Howard was a purely political appointment and was never going to be accepted by those boards with vested interests in maintaining current stats quo.

  • on July 1, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Howard should start as a management trainee with the ICC

  • Sageleaf on July 1, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Sri Lankans are the friendliest compassionate, caring and most hospitable people in this world. But that does not give any cricketing administrators to have their way. The first ever ICC spirit of the game award was given to Sri Lanka for a reason even the following year. Look at cricket games played in Sri Lanka. It doesn't matter which country plays there if you are great the people are humble enough to applaud any cricketer. John Howard made the biggest mistake by criticizing a cricketer of world class also handicapped. So if Mr. Howard needs to be appointed in the future, I would suggest he better go to Sri Lanka or any other Asian country and do volunteer service. Because you make a statement as the prime minister of a leading nation you got to stand by it as a leader. Unfortunately Mr. Howard made a wrong statement. Wake up Mr. Howard this isn't 19th century. I'm very pleased that he was not appointed. Mr. Speed you have your opinion we have ours and the Nations have spoken.

  • Girishiyer on July 1, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    very good article!i think John Howard was rejected not bcoz he was new to the game but the fact that the BCCI was afraid that He would dominate ICC and bring about rapid changes. The BCCI has SLC, and Bangla cricket brd in its pocket and pak did not not have any other choice. The BCCI has done everything to get things done in its favour. this is going to take the game backwards and we can soon see game becoming more money oriented.

  • ram5160 on July 1, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    From 5 minutes spent on Wikipedia: 1.Howard suggested that to support "social cohesion" the rate of Asian immigration be "slowed down a little". 2.Howard said the idea of an Aboriginal treaty was "repugnant to the ideals of One Australia" 3. Howard repudiated her views seven months after Hanson's controversial maiden parliamentary speech. 4.Howard was the only living former Prime Minister who declined to attend the February 2008 apology made by Kevin Rudd with bi-partisan support. 5.Howard refused the landing of asylum seekers rescued by a Norwegian freighter-Tampa affair. Why not write an article about Howard s failings and controversial playing of the race card for votes? His political positions are absolutely germane to this issue.

  • chaithan on July 1, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    What I would like to know is why Howard was chosen as the joint candidate when Anderson was available. Australians might talk about politics but it looks a lot like CA arm twisted NZ into nominating Howard. Something tells me most New Zelanders are happy about this rejection.

  • on July 1, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Well well well Australia starts it again. They tried to dominate this game in the past. Now they should come to reality and forget Howard's nomination. Let's get on with it. Get an ex-cricketer more matured than Howard please

  • ZEUS00 on July 1, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Sambit, is the 'dark ages' bit in the subject line a pun or what! People are getting so cynical these days, that even this article will be looked at with suspicion! You can imagine some people in Australia saying...are these really Sambit's views...does he want to be politically correct... is he trying too hard to please the white population etc..?! If one person (Howard) is attracting such widespread condemnation, perhaps we should investigate his forgettable past to arrive at the reasons.

  • vinay_mertah on July 1, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Its realy amazing to see how an democratic process is been made into a issue. The decission to select or reject a condidate's nomination is within the board's right, and rightly done so. And they have also requested both the boards to nominate another person insted of the rejected one. Where is the question of losing grace? Does this mean they donot have any one better than howard? When did one man became so important to a great nation like Australia, a person who is not even in power any more. and why is Indian board blamed, there were five other too who rejected. After reading the articles present on cricinfo it is certain, Oz are realy bad losers.

  • D.V.C. on July 1, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    @jillpreston: Yes, he would have. Would he have said so if Murali was playing for Australia? Maybe not. He was a fan of his national team, like a lot of people are here. Most fans, when they see someone they think is getting away with something against their team, they speak up, no matter what colour they are.

  • Doggy74 on July 1, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    @jillpreston "if Murali had the same bowling action as he always had, but was fair skinned, or was an Australian, will John Howard have criticised him?" Howard would never have had the opportunity to criticise Murali if he was Australian. Murali would still be kicking around at club level 3rds pleading for a bowl from his skipper who would rightly be replying, "Sure kiddo, soon as you stop chucking it!" IMO John Howard was a poor candidate and John Anderson was far better placed to achieve consensus. Howard was a purely political appointment and was never going to be accepted by those boards with vested interests in maintaining current stats quo.

  • on July 1, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    Howard should start as a management trainee with the ICC

  • Sageleaf on July 1, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Sri Lankans are the friendliest compassionate, caring and most hospitable people in this world. But that does not give any cricketing administrators to have their way. The first ever ICC spirit of the game award was given to Sri Lanka for a reason even the following year. Look at cricket games played in Sri Lanka. It doesn't matter which country plays there if you are great the people are humble enough to applaud any cricketer. John Howard made the biggest mistake by criticizing a cricketer of world class also handicapped. So if Mr. Howard needs to be appointed in the future, I would suggest he better go to Sri Lanka or any other Asian country and do volunteer service. Because you make a statement as the prime minister of a leading nation you got to stand by it as a leader. Unfortunately Mr. Howard made a wrong statement. Wake up Mr. Howard this isn't 19th century. I'm very pleased that he was not appointed. Mr. Speed you have your opinion we have ours and the Nations have spoken.

  • Girishiyer on July 1, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    very good article!i think John Howard was rejected not bcoz he was new to the game but the fact that the BCCI was afraid that He would dominate ICC and bring about rapid changes. The BCCI has SLC, and Bangla cricket brd in its pocket and pak did not not have any other choice. The BCCI has done everything to get things done in its favour. this is going to take the game backwards and we can soon see game becoming more money oriented.

  • ram5160 on July 1, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    From 5 minutes spent on Wikipedia: 1.Howard suggested that to support "social cohesion" the rate of Asian immigration be "slowed down a little". 2.Howard said the idea of an Aboriginal treaty was "repugnant to the ideals of One Australia" 3. Howard repudiated her views seven months after Hanson's controversial maiden parliamentary speech. 4.Howard was the only living former Prime Minister who declined to attend the February 2008 apology made by Kevin Rudd with bi-partisan support. 5.Howard refused the landing of asylum seekers rescued by a Norwegian freighter-Tampa affair. Why not write an article about Howard s failings and controversial playing of the race card for votes? His political positions are absolutely germane to this issue.

  • chaithan on July 1, 2010, 12:26 GMT

    What I would like to know is why Howard was chosen as the joint candidate when Anderson was available. Australians might talk about politics but it looks a lot like CA arm twisted NZ into nominating Howard. Something tells me most New Zelanders are happy about this rejection.

  • on July 1, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    Well well well Australia starts it again. They tried to dominate this game in the past. Now they should come to reality and forget Howard's nomination. Let's get on with it. Get an ex-cricketer more matured than Howard please

  • ZEUS00 on July 1, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Sambit, is the 'dark ages' bit in the subject line a pun or what! People are getting so cynical these days, that even this article will be looked at with suspicion! You can imagine some people in Australia saying...are these really Sambit's views...does he want to be politically correct... is he trying too hard to please the white population etc..?! If one person (Howard) is attracting such widespread condemnation, perhaps we should investigate his forgettable past to arrive at the reasons.

  • vinay_mertah on July 1, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    Its realy amazing to see how an democratic process is been made into a issue. The decission to select or reject a condidate's nomination is within the board's right, and rightly done so. And they have also requested both the boards to nominate another person insted of the rejected one. Where is the question of losing grace? Does this mean they donot have any one better than howard? When did one man became so important to a great nation like Australia, a person who is not even in power any more. and why is Indian board blamed, there were five other too who rejected. After reading the articles present on cricinfo it is certain, Oz are realy bad losers.

  • D.V.C. on July 1, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    @jillpreston: Yes, he would have. Would he have said so if Murali was playing for Australia? Maybe not. He was a fan of his national team, like a lot of people are here. Most fans, when they see someone they think is getting away with something against their team, they speak up, no matter what colour they are.

  • amitgarg78 on July 1, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Sambit, Why are we trying to debate the issue? Mr. Howard wasn't a popular choice and was rejected. If you read the article posted by Mr Speed where he's commented about Pakistan and Bangladesh representatives in a derogatory language, you will understand exactly the reason why this ought to have happened. They cant even bring themselves to accept defeat with a decent behaviour but will talk of moral high ground as if they are free of corruption and all other ills that supposedly ail the other countries that didn't vote for them. As per Mr Speed, Australian agenda was to bring "good governance" to ICC and yet in his article he is trying to berate every other member nation. Where is the diplomacy so essential to governance that is needed at these moments? Brashness doesn't work with people. The truth is other boards were wary of a man with a controversial political past and did not play ball. If they consider it an insult, they had it coming for nominating Mr Howard over Mr Anderson.

  • crackers134 on July 1, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    C'mon India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka, your silence is deafening. Spell out your reasons each and every one of you. Australia, NZ and England have never blocked some of your questionable ICC "appointments".

  • LALITHKURUWITA on July 1, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    @realredbaron, Well said. Why was not NZ given the opportunity? AUS outmusslled young brother. I am 100% sure if Sir Anderson was proposed everybody would have ben supported. If Coward would have been selected, crcket world will have a lot of problems.

  • __PK on July 1, 2010, 9:30 GMT

    What's the point of sharing the nominations around if the non-nominating nations exercise their tyranny before the nominations are even made? So John Howard can be trusted to run a country, but not the ICC? Perhaps it's because he can be trusted that he's unpalatable to the other nations.

  • critek on July 1, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    Great. Yet another decade of the "cherished" India vs SL bilaterals to follow. Yawn.

  • CHARLA on July 1, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    everyone wants india's money but want to keep control with them.our indians are too democratic,much more than the aussies at least!and people like sambit bal are too polite unlike gideon haigh,who writes filthy about india.why does'nt sambit come out and say what he does'nt like about gtideon's article. the truth is not being able to swallow being shown the door,the aussies are vommitting filth. the truth is MR.JOHN HOWARD is not qualified to be in the icc,both because of his lack of cricketing knowledge and because of his arrogance and racial approach. cricket australia says ties with icc(meaning india?)will be strained.so be it.we wil be better off utilising our money for ourselves! charla

  • Shinboner on July 1, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    It is true that for many years Australia and England's treatment of the other cricketing countries bordered on contemptible, but for India, and in a wider sense the Asian bloc to return the favour now they have the power, is an extremely shortsighted tactic. The amount of test playing nations can be counted on two hands, and some of these don't consider cricket as their number one sport. A split between the few countries that play test cricket will only be disastrous for the game

  • on July 1, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    gr8 article. i hope the cricket boards read it.

  • crictonite on July 1, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    Sambit, you want a compelling reason for Howard's rejection? He's got that Dick Cheney look. Surely, that cannot work in one's favour.

  • amitgarg78 on July 1, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Sambit, Why are we trying to debate the issue? Mr. Howard wasn't a popular choice and was rejected. If you read the article posted by Mr Speed where he's commented about Pakistan and Bangladesh representatives in a derogatory language, you will understand exactly the reason why this ought to have happened. They cant even bring themselves to accept defeat with a decent behavior but will talk of moral high ground as if they are free of corruption and all other ills that supposedly ail the other countries that didn't vote for them. As per Mr Speed, Australian agenda was to bring "good governance" to ICC and yet in his article he is trying to berate every other member nation. Where is the diplomacy integral to good governance that is needed at these moments? Brashness doesn't work with people. The truth is other boards were wary of a man with a controversial political past and did not play ball. If they consider it an insult, they had it coming for nominating Mr Howard over Mr Anderson.

  • BillyCC on July 1, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    jillpreston, I could definitively state that if Murali had the same action but was fair skinned, John Howard would still have the same views. In fact, I would say that most cricket fans don't believe this is an issue of skin colour. Bedi has always stated that Murali is a chucker, and he also is from the sub-continent.

  • interloping on July 1, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    This demonstrates that the ICC is completely disfunctional. There is no conceivable argument against Howard which would withstand even slight scrutiny - the only possible one is a perception of racism which is unfounded. Distasteful as it is, arguing that the large numbers of Asian immigrants to Australia is changing the culture too quickly for his liking is not the same as racism in the 'he doesn't like Murali's action because Murali is not white' sense. Patently absurd to think that a lack of experience as a cricket administrator is the problem. How hard can it be for someone used to running an entire country? It's either extraordinary pettiness, or it's a realisation that as a strong outsider he would be likely to impose accountability, discipline and fiscal rectitude on the ICC. I hope it's the former. I suspect it's the latter.

  • RedRascal on July 1, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    FIFA gets most of it's revenue from England ? Since when ? Are people so lost in the English speaking world that they do not know about Series A, the Spanish and the German Leagues ? It's Europe where the money in football is, and Europe dominates the number of slots at the World cup- the money is from Europe and Europe runs Fifa. Iin Cricket, when the money was from England and Aus, they dominated the ICC did not see anyone cribbing then. All this outrage is best reserved for real issues, for the BCCI makes a lot of stupid moves, but not supporting Howard would not even make the top 50 list of BCCI faults, it's a non issue, the gentleman was looking for a paid holiday in public limelight after his political career was over, Bring on the NZ guy and move on.

  • on July 1, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    well, Johan Howard's inglorious political past has come back to haunt him. rather than his cricketing inexperience, it is his political past that has done him in. the CA should have realized that a man of Howard's record would result in serious reactions. still they decided to assert themselves over other members, including New Zealand. but the cricketing fraternity has changed over the years, the power equations no longer give a veto to the Australian/English. so the CA feels humiliated, its the result of their own action. they have invited this disgrace on themselves.

  • on July 1, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    Whatever the reason CA expects from other boards, those written/unwritten reasons are really much better reasons than the reason for CA to choose Howard over John Anderson.

    CA is paying the price for its muscle twisting game against NewZealand. In fact whole of cricket world will pay in short duration. Hopefully people (every board) will understand the negatives of the muscle twisting and use the consensus instead of muscle twisting in every decisions.

  • Rahul_78 on July 1, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    Two thumbs up...! A wonderful reply in very well mannered and calculated words to lot of Gideons questions...Very ibalanced perspective on the whole issue! Bravo mr.sambit bal.

  • kapsy on July 1, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    ICC's rejection of Howard's candidature was imminent. CA chose the wrong candidate and stuck by him even when the writing was on the wall. Now they're cryng foul. CNZ and most Kiwis aren't at all upset at this rejection. All my Kiwi friends are, in fact, rather pleased that Howard's out and that their man's going to be nominated.

    It's well known that John Howard is widely seen, just like George "Dubya" Bush and Tony Blair, as a war criminal by many. Even here in Australia, he's seen as an astute politician who used every guile and fear mongering to keep himself in the PM's office for nearly a decade. He was eventually dumped by his own constituency! He's the man responsible for encouraging neighbours to dob on each other. He's left behind a very insecure Australia. Does cricket really need this sort of a person to run the show?

    ...and democracy is still the way to go. Never mind that the USA and Australia are the fastest growing socialist states in the world tod

  • cricmypassion on July 1, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    I think this incident has only served to bring out in the open, the true nature of these boards. Australia and India were acting hunky dory as long as their coffers were getting filled. Beyond that, there always has been and always will be the ill feeling that comes with years of racism. Australia rarely toured India, when India wasnt such a big force in cricket. The clock has turned and now we see that the Indians are also racist - they hate anything Australian! Ultimately cricket will go on, but lets not pretend that cricket acts as a bridge connecting people and cultures. If anything, it acts as a platform for people's true feelings (hatred for each other) to come out.

  • Redtilldeath on July 1, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    A person who is biased and intervenes in the daily to daily proceedings of the game ought to be treated like this. Remember the Murali episode, How can a PM of a Country comment controversially on an opposition player. Also he intervened to allow Mark Taylor to be the captain of the team, when he was struggling for form. Imagine Vajpayee/ Manmohan Singh commenting on Hansie Cronje or pressuring the selectors to continue with Ganguly. Hes already controversial so why take him in and create more of it?

  • AshishKeshri on July 1, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    Why there is so much brouhaha over a political election and rejection...Isn't what politicians are supposed to do and come on Sambit..you are giving this incident an undertone of war cry this vs this and that vs that...ICC is a political body and it will remain so. So lets all graciously accept the outcome of political circus. Also there is always this discussion on growing Indian power and its influence. In my opinion it is natural. Did Eng not ruled Cricket when they could, Does US not rule UN. Power will always be vested with money. You can not run away from this fact. Also there will always be a section of people who will like to flaunt this power.There were English and there are Indians and who knows there will be Kenyans/Zimbabwians..who knows..so chill and enjoy the game..

  • Ash20 on July 1, 2010, 6:03 GMT

    Good that Mr. Howard is rejected. He was against Asians (ask Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese who even don't play cricket) during his time at the helm of Australia. If he is not acceptable to the majority then he should be rejected. It was clear at the time of Mr. Howard nomination that he was not liked by many boards but still CA continued with his nomination. If it is anybody's fault then it is CA who should answer why he was even nominated?

  • TheOnlyEmperor on July 1, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    I am of course cut up with the Oz attitude against India when it comes to giving India uranium. Aus want India to sign the NPT before giving it, but have no qualms sucking up to China, which has broken every rule in the book on human rights and non proliferation. NZ and Aus were the proposer/seconder for sanctions against India because it didn't want to sign the CTBT. And then the Oz ostrich in the sand attitude when it comes to the racial attack on Indian students... Of course, who will forget all this? And if these countries want to mess with a country of 1.17 billion as on date, then they must be awfully stupid. It's not just the politics. Every Oz media outlet seems to rally behind Oz political actions. Yeah, they can all stick together - the Oz, Kiwis and what have you? It's not a race thing. Race bifurcation on the basis of color is antiquated. There are 7 countries opposing Howard and these 7 countries are not all brown, so let the "white" man stop whining.

  • eminem on July 1, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    I am intrigued to understand why CA should project Mr.Howard so vehemently when you have stalwarts like the rugged Alan Border, the visionary Steven Waugh or for that matter any administrator in CA current or past. The answer would be that there is a political agenda already in place for Mr.Howard, and with Mr.Howards political prowess he will be able to put people in their places (if you know what I mean, read "The Asia Block") and get things back in order (read "back to the good ole days"). So the very idea of having Mr.Howard be pushed so hard is in itself a politically motivated idea, so why doesnt Mr.Speed or CA understand and accept that on the same lines that Mr.Howard was voted out was also political. If this hypothsis is false then CA would have already backed the post with another person which it did not do because it knows that there isnt anyone as good as Mr.Howard to do the job, neither it wants to hand over reins to Mr.Anderson in which case CA wouldnt have full control

  • BhuvG on July 1, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    Sambit, 'An outcome that could drag cricket to the dark ages' is an exasperation, to say the least. I am sure when you read the article yourself, you feel that you read too much into the ICC boards decision. Which period of cricket history that you were referring to by saying 'dark ages'? Many people are over reacting to the decision which is pretty much a predicted outcome as soon as John Howard name surfaced as a nominee. Let us be clear on one thing -the 'power' always swings towards the financial clout just as a magnetic needle always swings towards north.Don't ever try to change that. Indian board is powerful not because smart men are running the board, it's only because of its game market, and thanks to Indians.What's new in using your power to get your way out? It happens in every game and in world politics.I don't think it is Indian boards idea to reject Mr. Howard, but it might have obliged to other Asian boards, especially Sri Lanka. John is off, the cricket is better of.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on July 1, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    A candidate stands up for election and is put to the vote. There's no obligation on the voter to explain his reasons for casting his vote either way. I think the Oz need to grow up and stop whining. People vote for people only if they like them. Howard and the Oz in particular have completely distanced themselves from a great chunk of the voting countries, in the way they behave... Be it sledging, coming out with stupid "mind games" before a series, their umpiring history, the way they live in denial after the nmerous racist attacks on Indian students in Aus, crass comments on Murli, their thinking that Ponting is better than SRT, etc. The reasons don't matter. The Oz with the way they project themselves are just not likeable. It's not about Howard. Even if had been the present PM, he would have been rejected. End of story. Decision stays. Live with it.

  • Doggy74 on July 1, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    @jillpreston "if Murali had the same bowling action as he always had, but was fair skinned, or was an Australian, will John Howard have criticised him?" Howard would not have had the opposition because Murali would have been playing for a 3rd club eleven pleading with his captain to give him a bowl. The Captain quite rightly would have said, "Sure when you stop chucking it kiddo!". IMO ICC is better off without Howard, John Anderson far superior candidate.

  • primal_d on July 1, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    let see .. a lousy politician wanted to a chair a group of useless non-administrators and failed. who cares?

  • akaps786 on July 1, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    please read this artcle by mr. christian ryan written in 2004 when sri lanka toured australia. should answer all those guys who r dissaponted on y he was rejected. u reap wht u sown http://www.cricinfo.com/australia/content/story/139495.html thanks

  • DrunkenDuck on July 1, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Based on the shameful events of the past few days it just shows to me how cricket administration will continue its downward spiral. I'd suggest if Robert Mugabe applied for the same position that he would have a better chance of getting in. And I dearly wish that the Indians stop looking for payback from the "years of oppression of their colonial masters". We should just look to get a better giovernance of the game and this little episode has convinced me that this will never happen.

  • on July 1, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    For the information of some: John Howard never stopped the Aussie cricketers from going to Zimbabwe. In fact he wanted them to go. it was the Professional Cricketers Assocation that made the call and CA followed suit. John Howard would have been an excellent choice. You don't need to have brains or cricket experience to run cricket. But little Johnny would have been too smart for the corrupt manipulators from the BCCI etc. Australia, England and NZ should go alone and bring in Ireland who should be playing test cricket ahead of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who are just hopeless. This is one of the most racist decisions I have heard in a long time. The anti-white brigade from Africa and Asia.

  • bobagorof on July 1, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    "For years that was cricket's ugly truth: the white nations v the rest; the us v them syndrome underpinned every major conflict in the cricket. But in recent years cricket seemed to have moved away from post-colonial angst " It is an absolute joke if anyone believes this statement to be true. The number of posters on CricInfo's own boards from supporters of India, putting the boot in as the Australian team comes back to the fold and hijacking any discussion to try to focus on Tendulkar or Sehwag, indicates that the 'us vs them' mentality is alive and well. It may have been slightly less vocal with India's ascention to #1 on the Test cricket rankings, but it is still there. I have no love for Howard, but I do not dismiss him out of hand because he has no specific cricket admin experience - management skills are transferable. Some ICC Presidents with loads of cricket admin haven't always had the best interests of the game at heart, putting profit above all...

  • viks_j on July 1, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    I would blame CA for this drama as they know from the start that his appointment is unlikely but they take risk. they want to prove their stronghold and they are furious becuse they now know reality.

  • on July 1, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Sambat, what you are missing i the background of John Howard. his own electorate dumped him because he was yesterdays man...he is a creature trapped in the 50's and the Australian public got sick of him. How can you expect the many nations to accept him with open arms and love him when his own people dumped him. Admittedly, he is under this level oof scrutiny only because he was a politician, but he knew that when he put in for the candidature. His inglorious moments were...tacitly supporting the anti-asian politician Pauline Hansen which set back Austral/asian relations 25 years, draconion refugee policies, the 'tampa' affair in which he falsely demonised refugees throwing children overboard to scare the electorate and win an election while knowing that it was inaccurate and finally the Murali comments. Regarding Zimbabwe, he is not the only politician/citizen who had the same views, so it is probably a bit unfair to accuse him of that. His lack of Cricket admin exp is an out claus

  • on July 1, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    If we are talking of democracy and elections, then no one should cry foul. In democracy every one has a right to speak and vote for the best. Still Aus and NZ have their chance to post a new candidate, then how could this decision be racist. I feel these are very big and sensitive terms 'racist' and should be used cautiously. Fans in the grounds are least bothered with all these stories, they will still keep loving the game and players will keep giving their best. These all are stories for media and power game for boards but the GAME of CRICKET will keep on achieving new heights.

  • on July 1, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    Good article, but I have to take issue with 'Howard was nominated through a rigorous arbitration process, and New Zealand accepted the verdict with good grace.' Fact is, NZ was stupid enough to accept an 'independent referee' when Australia blocked Anderson. The referee was Australian, and there's no such thing as an independent Australian, so Howard was inevitable from that point. Unfortunately we have a very weak NZ Cricket organisation atthe moment. But outside the Board, this left a very sour taste.

  • Nerk on July 1, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    why is it so hard to promote people within the game, who have played at the highest level or worked in it their whole lives to positions of power. part of the problem with the ICC as it is currently formed is that people are too busy playing politics to care about cricket. Of course, the logical way to fix this is to bring a former politician into the mix. That ought to fix it. Its not that Howard won't do a bad job, I think he would do a terrific job, I just think that its time the ICC became a sporting organisation rather than a political one.

  • drdude on July 1, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    99.9% of comments in online Oz newspapers have said that JWH asked for it.Now it's interesting & amusing that CA etc etc are so indifferent to the mood of the majority here.As for CA/JWH feeling insulted,they do know now exactly how the N.Z board must have felt when they were roughshod by CA to withdraw their candidate.People/organizations who have a talent for frequently dishing it out to other due to a delusional sense of cultural/moral superiority should also have the guts to take it in.

  • plmx on July 1, 2010, 3:30 GMT

    So…….some of the member countries think that the candidate is controversial and polarising and feel that this negative aspect overrides his competence and ability. Some other member countries think the opposite. The first group, being entitled to their views, have made their feelings known and being greater in number have prevailed. The second group being smaller in number should acknowledge the democratic and constitutional right of the first group, accept the decision and move on. This is how it is meant to work in a civilised institution. The fuss that the second group and its friends and family are creating reminds us of the dark ages!

  • jillpreston on July 1, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Mr Sambit Lal, please tell me from your conscience- if Murali had the same bowling action as he always had, but was fair skinned, or was an Australian, will John Howard have criticised him?

  • lanka_86 on July 1, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    Western-style democracy has been adopted by the ICC. Australia and England can't really complain. They simply don't have the votes. Maybe they should try to give Test status to Canada, US and EU countries.

  • Natx on July 1, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    @ ruchiraranga - great response.

  • Hammond on July 1, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    The real reason he wasn't chosen is that he is a strong leader and simply would not act as a sycophant to sub-continent power brokers less interested in cricket than money. It's a shame that this has happened. I forsee a future when the original members of the Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC) Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, split from the rest and continue playing cricket as it was originally meant to be played. The rest of the cricketing nations can then play whatever they want with whatever rules they want and politicise the game as much as they want- the rest of us won't care.

  • lucyferr on July 1, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    Pass the popcorn - this is fun! Racial lines in cricket have always been there, and it's ironic to see them come out to greet a man who used and benefited from racial divisions and inequalities in his political career. Sure, we all know Chingoka's far worse than Howard, but that's just how it started - Zimbabwe doesn't control seven votes. I blame New Zealand for kowtowing to Big Brother (kinda like Blair & Bush really - an analogy Howard should get) in giving up on the most qualified candidate - their own candidate! - so easily. The Kiwis have been totally humiliated here - they should have turned their backs on Howie by now - and they totally deserve it. All in all, I quite agree with Mr Bal that "John Howard... deserves the courtesy of being told." Oh yes. Absolutely. He's been told to buzz off, and buzz off he should. Doesn't he claim to believe in - what's it called again? - oh yeah, democracy, that's it. And politics too. Now, about that popcorn...

  • on July 1, 2010, 2:24 GMT

    HOward was a divisive character and it is better for world cricket that he is not selected for the post. As for eating humble crow it is not bad the former veto members do that ....game power has moved. If rest of the world dont want Howard Aussies cannot thrust him down their throat...

  • shrimati_bradman on July 1, 2010, 2:10 GMT

    Well done ICC members. Boo ya Speed, Howard, Bal.

  • AleemLatif on July 1, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    This was something which was always in cards. John Howard - ex PM of Australia with extremely unfriendly, fanatic attitude towards Asian/African countries - how can somebody think of such things that the other countries would FORGET about his attitude/actions towards them for 10 years. It is a lesson for some of bloody hard-lined OZs cricketers and Cricket Australia that they should change there rude and arrogant attitude towards other nations, to be able to have any friends in this world - other than USA, and UK off-course. Nominate Richie Benaud (OZ) or Richard Hadley (NZ) and see that everybody would love to have them on-board, just because of them being highly sensible and uncontroversial personalities. Common OZs stop being frogs in the well and get out in the ocean to see the world and the world's perspective about you, which some of the hard-lined OZs have changed since the last 15-20 odd years. Learn to respect others if you expect some respect in return.

  • dlan88 on July 1, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    *sigh* Almost every comment here has been focused heavily around some form of racial division between whites and non-whites. This has nothing to do with being the head of ICC. In fact we intentionally limit possible bias by implementing the rotation system. Shouldn't we be looking at Howard's ability as a policy maker and leader, don't start to look into other things such as calling murali a chucker. I'm a strong sri lankan supporter, but who really cares if he called Murali a chucker. It has no relevance to his leadership skills. I love the game of cricket and I want it to prosper regardless of game politics. But here it seems most people are focused on revenge and racial division. The sport has often been divided on these grounds often, but by supporting the rejection of Howard on these flimsy reasons is at the detriment of YOUR GAME. Bad transparency, bad accountability costs us fans the most, because we don't lose in monetary terms, we get our hearts torn out.

  • zingzangspillip on July 1, 2010, 2:03 GMT

    The reasons given by Sri Lanka Cricket are pretty hopeless. The excuse that Howard is not fit to be ICC vice-president because he comes from outside the cricket establishment is presumptuous to the highest degree. Howard was the Prime Minister of Australia (one of the strongest economies in the world) for 11 years, so he clearly has some skill at leading complicated organisations. I don't agree with Howard's politics, but I respect him as a politician and as a person. He's a great cricket fan, and he would have been a terrific President. As far as I am aware, the presidency of the ICC is a figurehead role anyway, with the CEO actually being in charge of operations, so the reasons given by SLC are pretty poor. However, as Sambit has said, the other boards *are* allowed to say no. However, the lack of clarity is rather startling. Democracies are marvellous things, but they only work when the mechanism of government is transparent.

  • aharps on July 1, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    The facts are simple. Howard would present a questioning, uncorruptible leader who had cricket's best interests at heart (shock, horror). This is clearly a too big a threat for those whose agenda is far more political and financial. As soon as Malcolm Speed made any inquiries into Zim/Ind financial arrangements he found himself on the outer. Welcome to the new world of international cricket - big bucks, corruption, match fixing/gambling and the country with the most clout will get whatever decisions (on and off the field) it wants!

  • on July 1, 2010, 1:57 GMT

    Sometimes, the interests of world cricket are not the same as the interests of any one country. Usually, it's better NOT to take the opportunity to treat partners with contempt and disdain. Always it is the case that a course of action justified by anger and resentment will only fuel more anger and resentment creating an environment of mistrust and hostility rather than respect and cooperation. Bullying, boorishness, and extortion are the prerogative of the powerful, but it's an extraordinarily short-sighted view to take. What confounds me most is that the fans who are most scathing in their criticism of the BCCI for its mismanagement, inconsistency, and cronyism are at the same time the most strident in supporting its infantile tantrums and blatant coercion of other boards. If you're going to encourage this sort of misbehaviour in the international sphere, you're going to have to lump it on the domestic level too. They're not going to get any less megalomaniacal on a local level.

  • on July 1, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    I do not know where Sambit Bal has his head buried but he should read the comments to his ill conceived article to better understand the reasons why the majority of members saw the nomination of John Howard as a bad idea.

    The CricInfo crew, by and large, seem to be drinking the same brew but the overwhelming majority of cricket lovers worldwide support the rejection of John Howard by the majority of ICC member countries. Try to understand and accept that majority.

    The nomination of John Howard to this esteemed position was a stupid idea born of arrogance.

  • dlan88 on July 1, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    Democracy didn't prevail, most of you here don't even realise that you're arguing in favour of censorship. Ultimately you are transferring the future of your beloved game into the hands of your boards and ministers. Having lived most of my life in Australia, however of Sri Lankan origin (and supporter of Sri Lanka), I've gained a good understanding of Howard. He's not a likable character to most people. However his policy and decision making abilities are rivaled by very few. These are by far the most important skills when it comes to these positions. It is certainly a step backwards from a democratic process if boards don't have to account for their decisions. As followers of our game, we give boards the responsibility of acting in our best interest. Surely we all want to know exactly why Howard is NOT in our best interest because CA and CNZ have made it clear why he is. Otherwise the boards might do whatever the hell they want...at the expense of all the fans.

  • catalyst213 on July 1, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    Im a greater lover of Cricket than Johnny.......do i have a chance to be at the top level.

  • Adeel-Mathematician on July 1, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    Boards didn't articulate their stance because they feared back lash. That is why they choose the path of back-door diplomacy. Every signal was sent clearly but Australians choose to ignore it. Who is then responsible for this sorry incident?

    The board of small countries fear for the political maneuvering by Howard which they can not sustain due to lack of political links worldwide and expertise. Pakistan feared that Howard would successfully out the Pakistan cricket team from the world of cricket. Are these fear unfounded? I think there are evidence to support this fear, though not conclusive.

    Please Aussies, do not make it a matter of national pride; ignore what Malcom Speed has suggested.

    Last thing is that why Aussies are so pushy to Howard to be in the ICC?

  • bandy52 on July 1, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    This decision smacks of nothing more than racism as do most of the comments from the petty little "fans" of the nations that supported this decision. As they have been unable to consistently beat Australia on the cricket field for over twenty years it just feels so good to be able to put one over them at an administrative level. Have the balls to at least give the reasons for your decision - unfortunately as they are politically motivated they dare not speak their minds. Sri Lanka opposes Howard strictly because he dared to say their "god" Murali is a chucker - a thought most of the players and true fans of cricket know to be a fact but dare not say so publicly least they be accused of racism. I have no time for Howard's political views but as an administrator he possesses more abilities than any individual to have ever sat on the board of the ICC. Where do Pakistan and India appoint most of their cricket administrators from? Yeh that's right - Parliament appointments.

  • Mprezd on July 1, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    As a Kiwi my understanding was that the abitration process to break the deadlock done by NZ and Aus over the candidacy was done by an Australian. At the time most people seemed to be in agreement that Sir John Anderson was a better candidtae to fufill the role, and hopefully he is still interested.

    While NZ publicly support the nomination, I am sure in back offices they will be happy that John Howard failed. But they can't be seen to be in opposition to their own candidtae.

  • Vnott on July 1, 2010, 0:57 GMT

    Sambit, the reasons are pretty obvious. John Howard was a candidate who was just not suitable for the position and and was splitting the cricketing world into two camps. It is the typical arrogance of Aus to put up such a candidate. A guy with such a strong view against the games highest wicket taker of all time just does not deserve to have to do anything with the game. Let us find a candidate who insults Bradman or a Tendulkar and put him as a nominee. Let us see if this candidate gets the support of anyone. It would have been a insult to everyone if John Howard had still got through. cricket. Let John Anderson be proposed, then the cricketing world will be united again in supporting a balanced individual.

  • Lazys0d1990 on July 1, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    To ruchiraranga, Howard's reason for not sending Australia to Zimbabwe was it was too dangerous, the country was in a state of revolt and security could not be guaranteed. He was looking out for the citizens of his country. Murali.... Howard was voicing a private opinion that was accidently picked up, Gilly was caught the same way. The ICC is afraid Howard might do something for the game rather than just lining the pockets of the BCCI.

  • Looch on July 1, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    I would like to say that this piece of news has hardly registered at all in Australia, nobody actually cares what happens to Howard, if anything I congratulate the ICC on their democratic process! To Surlycynic, I hope the more jingoistic and biased commenters on this board read your post and realise what they are doing.

  • nishant022 on July 1, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    When 7 out of 10 nations are opposing bid of Howard, its inevitable that there is really something wrong with Howard's candidacy. Couldnt Aussie find a person with some cricketing skills and knowledge of cricket to nominate? Just because he loves cricket and fan of it ( just like us) doesnt make him suitable candidate for vice presidency of ICC. Infact its good for Howard also that he lost, had he won, he would have find very difficult to deal with Srilankan board and Zim borad because of his alleged issues with these two board.

  • CricFan78 on July 1, 2010, 0:16 GMT

    This is by far best thing ICC has done in ages. Who is CA to act in an insensitive manner against so many countries? Why did they block Anderson from job who was far more qualified? They tried to bully everyone thinking its old "veto" days but go put in the right place by rest. CA should be the one who should own up this farce and not anyone else

  • jamrith on July 1, 2010, 0:16 GMT

    People are being coy about it because it IS a racial issue. It was John Howard who dredeged up racial divisiveness in Australia, harking back to the infamous White Australia days. The spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia was a fall-out of Howard's racial policies. Unfortunately, it was his successor as PM, Kevin Rudd,who paid the price. Now, Howard wants a nice cushy job to travel, wine, and dine as a top ICC official while he pursues his political aims, once a politician always..... Sorry, mate, go get your own slush fund.

  • Someguy on July 1, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    Posted by ruchiraranga on (June 30 2010, 18:11 PM GMT)

    Howard was very clear about his reasons for stopping australia from going to Zimbabwe. There was massive safety concerns surrounding the political unrest in the country, and from memory there was the whole aspect of not wanting to be seen as supporting the mugabe dictatorship with it's ties to the Zimbabwe cricket board.

    As far as him calling Murali a chucker, his reasons for that are pretty obvious..... Murali chucks. This was proven by scientific tests, so the rules were changed to allow for a certain degree of bending to allow him to keep bowling "for the good of the game". He still chucks his doosra in games, it just doesn't get replicated in testing because he is more conscious of his action and probably puts less effort into it.

    Should these previous stands have a bearing on his current aim at vice presidency? Maybe, maybe not.

  • on July 1, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    I think Howards conduct over the years, especially towards Murali speaks volumes about his character. I suggest that Cricket Australia review his conduct, and realize that that kind of behavior would keep you from running a Mcdonalds here in North America, let alone governing a sport. His lack of tact, is a major reason for him being deemed unfit for candidacy. It is far from a flimsy argument (your shot at Sri Lanka) with regards to his lack of experience, as in the real world and not just in cricket, experience is an extremely important factor to consider in the hiring process. A former cricketer would be more adept to the task, merely being a fan of the sport isn't enough to convince a majority of the cricket world that one can make a positive contribution to the sport's future. I cannot understand how ANYONE thought that Howard's candidacy wouldn't be opposed, has Cricket Australia kept it's head in the ground for the last 10 years?

  • BD01 on June 30, 2010, 23:55 GMT

    John Howard not qualified to chair the ICC..? This is the same man who successfully ran a country for over 10 years and some actually believe he couldn't run the ICC..? To steal a phrase from the great John McEnroe "You can NOT be serious..!!" Cricket should be grateful that someone of his stature should put their hand up for such a job, after all the ICC is renowned as being the most dysfunctional and incompetent administration in sport. So what are these nations who have blocked his appointment so afraid of? Is it that he is above being corrupted, will speak his mind and won't fall asleep at the wheel? You see, it is not in the interests of those countries to have a leader who will be vigilant and strong, someone who won't be intimidated, someone who has the fortitude and intellect to take on the "alliances" and break them down. Once again cricket misses an opportunity to move forward. Once again self-interest prevails. When will we ever learn..?!! Never, I suspect...

  • BillyCC on June 30, 2010, 23:34 GMT

    I don't understand why the Murali incident is being brought up. At the time, Howard was not involved in cricket and as a passionate observer of the game, he is allowed to speak his mind, and if he thinks Murali is a chucker, then he is allowed to say so. The cricket world has always been divided on this issue. Many still thinks he chucks, while others think he doesn't chuck. It's a popular debate amongst cricket fans and Howard is definitely one. People who use this argument are not hitting the right areas of the issue.

  • redneck on June 30, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    i hope australia along with england and new zealand return the favor next time its india/sri lankas & south africa/zimbabwes turn! this is a new low for a body that has a history of lows! good to see racism still alive and well, just the shoes on the other foot these days!

  • bringbackleegermon on June 30, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Very good point SurlyCynic. This is a complicated issue that really brings much of the political intrigue and clique-ism of the ICC board to the fore. Some of the racism and suspicion abounding in the cricketing world right now is evidenced by postings in this very comment area! Racism and money is ruining cricket.

    The crazy thing is this conflict could have been avoided by just picking Anderson, the right man for the job, in the first place. Unfortunately, us Kiwis don't have the money or political power to do much of anything, and ultimately we have to support the CA or else the big boys would never tour here. Anybody remember the 2003 home series with India, where we gave them such a hiding they didn't return again for 6 years!? We have to align with stronger boards or be cast into the mire.

  • thenkabail on June 30, 2010, 22:53 GMT

    Racism and politics: First, the fact of the matter is that this is a racist world. Whether we admit it or not. Mr. Howard is a racist who was against Murali (because he was a Asian) and Zimbabwe. The Asia-Africa block vs. Australia-NZ-Engand blocks clearly indicate racist biases from both sides.

    Second, politicians dabble in cricket. If Mr. Howard is to be kept out because he is a politician, it is also apt to keep Mr. Pawar out because he is also a politician.

    Politicians should be kept out of cricket. This may be easier to do, if people oppose these self serving politicians (Powar or Howard; both should be kept out).

    Racism will be hard to keep away. It is everywhere and really sad. But racism is true. A board or a panel that is predominantely white, prefers and selects white candidates and people of other colors do the same. it is really sad, but that is happening everywhere.

  • hattima on June 30, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    I don't know what is your problem, Sambit! Even a cursory look at Wikipedia would tell us that Howard is anti-Asian and openly proclaimed the supremacy of caucasians. He is a representative of a bygone era who 'would have put things right', i.e. cut short the Asian dominance in cricket. I do not see why that is desirable from any rational point of view. Gideon Haigh claims that Sri Lanka's rejection of Howard is wrong, and Howard is entitled to his opnions about Murali (or Mandela, or the Asians). Sure, but with those 'opinions', what sort of a leader of ICC would he be? Would he be impartial? Would he look at the interest of cricket as a global sport? Somehow I do not believe so. You claim that the countries rejecting him on racial grounds is wrong. Why? It is not that the other boards are opposing any Australian candidate. It is not that they are opposing anyone from a particular race. They are rejecting a questionable ex-politician with questionable ex-opinions. Good for them.

  • popcorn on June 30, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    It is disgusting that politics has played a role in the selection.politics majkes strange bedfellows, as the saying goes, and the classic example is South Africa,who went through years of apartheid, supporting Zimbabwe,whose head - Robert Mugabe's regime,has been condemned by all. Malcolm Speed is right in advising that Australia and New Zealand SHOULD NOT NOMINATE A SECOND CANDIDATE.They should pass it on to the next in line, and abstain from voting.

  • trenta01 on June 30, 2010, 21:52 GMT

    To the majority of pro Indian people who commented here perhaps instead of rejoicing in the fact you have alot of power in the world of cricket. You should look at people in your country who live in the poverty they do and go hungry. Having pride in the amount of power that money buys a select few is quite shallow. By all means go ahead asert authority to the point of dictatorship. When this causes the ICC to fall apart Aus will still be playing England for the ashes with as much pride and history as they always do. I would also think that South Africa has forgotten how hypocritical its comments are, what a fine track record of equality this country has had in the past and even now with its qouta system, oops I forgot racism is fine in the reverse.

  • on June 30, 2010, 21:48 GMT

    I am Australian born of Indian desent. I have always supported India on and off the field. However it is apparent to the rest of the world that some of the things that happen off the field in India are 'a bit on the nose'. The shenanigans by Modi and other administrators during the last IPL stunk. India are using their coersive powers to dominate the game and fill the pockets of all those hundreds of 'presidents, and vice presidents' that cram onto podiums at the presentation ceremonys of meaningless ODI & T20 matches. Mugabe was an evil man (to both blacks and whites) and Howard stood up to him. Never mind bowling actions and views on minor on field squables that other cricinfo readers have mentioned, Howard was nominated to try and bring credibility to the administration of the game. India wants a puppet to dance to its tune as the other six nations already do. India would be all the better if they showed some leadership on the field. Maybe some decent fast bowlers?

  • Zat. on June 30, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    The rejection of Howard is an affront to the process, so was Cricket Australia nominating John Howard in the first place.

    Two wrongs, do not, however make a right.

    Cricket Australia should be ashamed of themselves for putting Howard up, but I suspect they don't know the meaning of the word 'ashamed'.

    Any country that opposed it, HAVING AGREED TO THE PROCESS AS IT STOOD should also be ashamed of itself.

    However, given Zimbabwean cricket is effectively run by the Mugabe regime, and given that Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies all seem to be subservient to India's wishes, despite complaining about the influence of other countries for aeons, I would guess none of those countries' cricket controllers know the meaning of the word 'ashamed'.

    It seems the only countries to come out of this with dignity in tact are NZ and England. Given that NZ were screwed over by CricAus in the nomination process, they deserve huge praise

  • Sethie on June 30, 2010, 21:19 GMT

    Thanks to Sambit Bai for his sensible article warning about the the scarcely concealed racism which underpins this decision. Moreover, his warning about racism is amply borne out by most of the comments which follow the article. It's scary -- one form of racism has been replaced by what is merely a new form of racism and some like CRS Murthy relish the prospect.

  • DesiSharab on June 30, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    Utterly pointless article, John Howard is one of the most racist prime ministers Australia ever had , he had a major hand in aleiniating Zimbabwe from world cricket even tho politics and sport should not mix, he went on record to call murali a chucker when he was PM , YET he shamelessly went cap in hand begging zimbabwe for their support, if there is any split amongst racist lines, then its howard who started it 10 years ago , good riddance to him i say .

  • ian_ghose on June 30, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    Its amazing to see the chest thumping from the Indians and their ilk posting their jingoistic comments here, who seem to see this as a triumph of the 'brown man' over the 'white man'. May be thats all they need to be satisfied in life. Like in the Roman times, when a battle between the gladiators and the animals was enough to keep the populace satisfied, no matter how miserable their actual lives were. But that was 2500 years ago. Perhaps the Indians and their ilk have reached that stage now... How is a Pawar any better than a Howard...beats sense of logic. But then logic isn't what these people commenting here seem to be famous for :-) Even cricinfo earns its bread from them...

  • thebrownie on June 30, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    What a load of crap! Nothing is gonna happen to cricket with this latest episode. ICC was useless anyways. If only they rejected Sharad Pawar (Agriculture MP) who has no business being the ICC president when farmers are dying in India, I would have jumped for joy.

  • Sudipbrata on June 30, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    I'm sorry but what cricket administration background did Sharad Pawar come from?? What about Narendra Modi (who is part of Gujrat Cricket Association)? What would have these people said had Howard been in an admin position at NSW (i'm sure he had enough power to do that within his country and state) for 6 months and then come to the ICC? This is ridicoulas....

  • r1m2 on June 30, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Okay, finally a decent article on this topic, devoid of prejudice. I agree that not all the boards were equally open about their decision regarding Howard. And one excellent new point I hadn't thought of myself, is the fact that it is really CA who introduced politics into the process by nominating a political figure with zero experience, and now they are crying fowl, how the decision to snub him is politically motivated! This is indeed a political game by CA. Malcolm Speed also does not seem to understand this. At any rate, I think CA did not consider this possibility of a snub, simply because it never happened before. Even though there were a lot of warning signs, due to CA's strong relationship with BCCI they did not think BCCI would remove their support. Actually BCCI originally stated they had no objection (I read in CI), so they either changed their mind, or they were in the game from start. Anyways this just goes to show the increasing political nature of the game's governance.

  • nairsuji on June 30, 2010, 20:08 GMT

    Sambit just wanted to draw your attention to the analogy with politics and democratic process;at least what I know of the election process when a candidate does not get the mandate the electorate is not liable to explain the reason, so what ever is his 'prejudice' or perception about the candidate will reflect in his decision on the ballot. I think it is the same that has happened here, so it's rather stupid on Oz and NZ board chairmen to ask for reasons; it sounds like the desperate pleas you hear around a teenage break up. Just one other point; it is the same lapsing onto the 'lap of naked capitalism' that keeps www.cricinfo.com going and enabling this interaction. Suggest that we all keep our prejudices out when we are criticizing apparently prejudiced actions as a result of a democratic process.

  • spiritwithin on June 30, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    just like australia did'nt accepted nz's john anderson who's far better as a cricket administrator and instead nominated JH and did'nt gave any reason,da same thing happened against JH as well..its australia who brought politics in ICC by nominating him for VP..its well known that countries like SL or Zim will never support him and his political stance will always goes against him so its a right decision by 7 other members

  • eamani_sun on June 30, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    @SurlyCynic

    No body here supporting the indian dominance on world cricket. They merely suggesting that India take a tough stand for right reasons, now that it has clout to do so.

  • on June 30, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    When it is all said and done, it is obvious that Howard's nomination was rejected because he by his core personality is a Racist. Sambit Bal has a written a "Politically Correct" article but it is in-accurate, it is not the facts, it is not being truthful. Who allows such shallow writers to write on CricInfo, who are afaraid of calling Spade a Spade and telling people what the truth is. It is a very dishonest and dishonorable article.

    Cricket commerce is a reality and nobody can alter that. Power and influence flows where money is. The only country that can challenge India's influence is either China or USA. England, Australia and NZ need USA as market.

    India is somewhat unfair when it comes to dealing with its new role. India remains an ardent Anti-Pakistan Cricket Playing country and it is sad that BCCI has dragged politics into the sport.

  • IntCricket on June 30, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Well, by all accounts Aus ran roughshod over NZ inspite of it being NZ's turn to nominate a candidate. And after arm-twisting NZ they come up with such a controversial figure as their nominee! A bloke who was happy to call Mandela a terrorist and support the old racist SA, but jumped willingly on Zim' case. Wonder if this had anything to do with his own race? Why have some foul mouthed, idiotic bozo who pokes his nose into other peoples business and calls a cricketer a chucker? I do not remember any SA cricketer berating Howard for calling Mandela a terrorist. Howard is basically unqualified for leading any organization which is multiracial based on his past conduct. Perhaps he would have been the right man in the pre-1992 days when Eng-Aus were happy to have veto powers. It is mind boggling to think that the ICC only turned democratic a mere 18 years ago; curiously enough coinciding with the overthrow of the racist SA regime: perhaps someone needs to inform the Aussies abt this!

  • kalyanbk on June 30, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Cricinfo's own article has mentioned the reason for the BCCI's rejection. That Howard has no experience as a cricket administrator. Sri lanka has also provided their reason to Cricinfo. So I don't understand the part about not knowing the reason. Also some of the board members may not discuss in the media but privately acknowledge that some boards felt strongly against his nomination and they voted along as we had no opinion of our own and they they did it to maintain strategic relationships. Welcome to politics and business.

  • on June 30, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Australia is the one that wanted to drag cricket into the datk ages and the other boards have done the best they can to stop such an outcome. Now as always biased media will act as instruments of the same board championing its cause even after a due formal process has been completed. The fact that convention was not followed in favour of the constitution is a fact that should be applauded. Accountability is whats need, gone are the days of rumber stamping candidates cause it is the norm rather than the rule. How quickly this same media forgets a Zim Cricket under fire from AUS and England to withdraw from the T20 World cup in England becuse the British Gorvnment had indicated that it would not give Zim players visas. Zim instead of spliting up the board and putting up a fight chose to stand down and they missed that World Cup. So should Australia for the sake of the game. They should eat their humble pie and chose a candidate acceptable to everyone. For the good of the game.

  • SurlyCynic on June 30, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    I find it interesting reading the comments from Indian supporters on Cricinfo. They often support Indian 'dominance' at the ICC, based on the money generated in India. Fair enough, but when England dominated the ICC (first as the originator of the game and then as the source of most of the money) wouldn't these same supporters have criticised 'English arrogance' or brought up all sorts of colonial history? Should England have a bigger say in FIFA than some other nations because of the money generated by football in England? (I'm not English btw) I can only imagine the criticism if this happened.

    I'm glad cricket is popular and successful in India as I am a cricket lover. But I think the board and fans are in danger or falling into the same attitudes they criticised so vociferously in others. Perhaps something to bear in mind as India becomes more of a global power?

  • Krishna2007 on June 30, 2010, 18:21 GMT

    Sambit, I find your writings extremely lucid and am impressed with your articulation of issues. However, in this case I think the right decision has been taken, viz. to exclude John Howard from ICC leadership. The Ozzies and the Poms may scream as much as they can but they need to understand that a not so subtle power shift has occurred which will keep them out of ICC administration for sometime to come. The so called 'advanced ' nations have had their fun but now it is payback time. We have got tired of the repeated Bwana is right approach of match referees such as Chris Broad, Mike Deness and all others of their ilk. The bias shows in the way the umpires in the last match started questioning Suleiman Benn when clearly Dale Steyn tried to provoke him. Not a peep out of the referees about Steyn's despicable behaviour. Please do not stand up for the Ozzies, Kiwis and the Brits. They will have to face their Karma!

  • ruchiraranga on June 30, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    Everone has there own reasons. Bal and Aussies are not the ones to decide whether they are shallow or deep. When JH stoped Aus going to Zim did he give any reasons? or in the cas of Murali, did he gave any reason when he called him a chucker?

  • KirGop on June 30, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Howards tirade against Murali was shameful.

    I'm glad he lost. The only riff-raff that belongs in the top is our riff-raff.

  • Reggaecricket on June 30, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Mr. Bal, can you tell us why John Anderson was deemed less suitable to the post in the first place? Isn't it true that it was Cricket Australia's strong arm tactics that lead to all this? You might argue that Howard is not as big a monster as he is perceived to be, but he sure carries enough baggage to cause a stir. Cricket would have been in turmoil if he was elected. Not all is lost, CA can still propose Kevin Rudd or Darryl Hair! Mr. Howard, enjoy your retirement….you now have all the time in the world to work on getting the ball to the other end of the pitch!

  • anmn on June 30, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    Disagree with author's comments. Howard is hoping to pass time with this job, to his otherwise purposeless post-PM career. Its better we get someone who is more serious. As such, his opinions about other race and culture is, at best deplorable. His ousting is the best thing happened to ICC. This is not a circus, for every tom, dick and harry to throw his hat and try his luck.

  • Nervewrecker on June 30, 2010, 17:26 GMT

    Don't worry, Cricket won't split. World cricket is actually too small to afford a split. How long will Australia, England and New Zealand keep playing against each other. Or how long will we tolerate India facing off with Sri Lanka. Cricket will continue with the same 10 nations for years to come.

  • on June 30, 2010, 17:22 GMT

    Now..l do not see it as a step backwards. Cricket NZ had a better candidate but were probably out muscled by big brother Australia. John Howard has neither charisma nor diplomacy. If I remember right he got into controversy over the Murali episode. He probably has tea with umpire Hair on a regular basis. I think the cricket world is better without him or his AL GORE like charisma. When England and Australia had ICC veto they bullied everybody. It is now their turn to eat humble pie. Reality bites. Payback is a %^^&* is'nt it? More power to SL, WI, SA, Pak, Ban and Indian boards. Zimbabwe very smart you stayed out as you are negotiating with NZ. Chartering of the plane during the Harbhajan episode with Symonds and now this..shows the world who the Master is..and who the puppets are.the CA president was more realistic when he said India makes the revenue but distributes it evenly so we have to accept this. NZ is angry in public but very HAPPY.

  • ram5160 on June 30, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    Nothing will stand in the way of commerce. The required outrage and the expected hue and cry will be raised but it will be back to business in a couple of months. Mark my words.

  • knowledge_eater on June 30, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Brilliant article. Nothing frustrated me more than Jack Clarke's response.

  • drhawk on June 30, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    I disagree with Sambit. There is undeniable evidence that Howard had racist tendencies and he was not diplomatic in dealing with other countries. If Murali is a chucker, let your board say that. Why get yourself involved in such a minor issue? Maybe he wanted Aussie votes or something but that is not the conduct you would expect from ICC president. Moreover, where was he when his players insulted and pushed Sharad Pawar off of the stage in India? This issue will not drag cricket to the dark ages because only people who seem to care are Australians. NewZealand wanted someone else anyway. England will go where the money is: Asia. Australia can say all what they want against BCCI, they will come around when they need to earn some money.

  • Homer2007 on June 30, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Cricket is not in the dark ages? denying I.S Bindra the post of Chief Executive of the ICC does speak of a very enlightened body, doesn't it? What rock have u been hiding under, Sambit?

  • plsn on June 30, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    Why should the reasons be made public, Bal?!! Do you go and tell the person for whom you did not vote in an election, the reason for not voting him in? Come on, let democracy, introduced by the Britishers & Co in the Indian sub-continent, reign supreme - inspite of its many ills. Let Gideon and co cop it.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on June 30, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    White man vs Brown man.... fight to the death.

  • nafzak on June 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Would any reason not to vote for Howard really be accepted as legitimate by CA? Fact is in a democracy people vote for or against a candidate for many reasons and many a times it has to do with just the candidate's personality or what their perception of that individual is. In the case of Howard, many of us outside of the White man's world (and I do not mean to offend anyone - just a statement of fact) perceive Howard to be anti-people of colour. Now, we may all be wrong, but that's just the way people see Howard. He supported the Iraq invasion, when Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and he openly called out Murali. Those images stick in the minds of those of us on the other side and cannot be discounted. There is also that feeling that a message needs to be sent that says loud and clear that the days of the Colonial Masters are over. I posit that Howard's image is that of a Colonial Master, hence he would be rejected everytime.

  • Chris_P on June 30, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    I wonder what the reaction would have been had Australia raised objections on some questionable nominations in the past? It seems like one way traffic from here, and this is coming from a pov whereby I was totally against Howard's political stance, many of his decisions and indeed his stance on being a constitutional monarchy. But at least we would have had someone who would have asked questions, been available full itme and sieze on waste and and provide leadership. And a genuine cricket lover! Howard has been rejected because his appointment would provide ICC with strong leadership that would thwart the ambitions of several current administrators to downgrade and devalue the role of the ICC. Howard would have stood in their path. The role requires strength of character - a leader, diplomat, statesman and politician. The ICC board is as political as any political party. The countries that voted him down want a compliant figurehead who will do their bidding.

  • on June 30, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Well if majority of boards think he is not fit for VC then there should be no crying over it. Mr. Howard should realize that the politics in ICC is way beyond his control like he had in his own political career. Australia should realize now that how they pissed every one when the Muralitharan episode came up and surprisingly Zimbabwe has supported him which in my case should be a rejection. Good job who rejected him.

  • realredbaron on June 30, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Well, I can't see George Bush or Ahmedinejad having the support of the ICC members. Then why Howard? The outcome was destined to be like this since Howard was first mentioned as a possible candidate in the Australian media. I do not know why CA did not see this coming. Also, if it is about rigorous ratification, then shouldn't there be a New Zea lander running this time? Why an Australian again? Sambit you are arguing the process by which the 6 members rejected Howard was not transparent enough. But was the process through which Howard was nominated over John Anderson transparent enough for the rest of the cricketing world? CA has said again and again that Howard has been chosen with careful consideration but we were never told what those considerations were, were we?! I believe India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe have taken the same way to reject Howard that CA and New Zea land had taken to nominate Howard. Finally I think democracy prevailed.

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  • realredbaron on June 30, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    Well, I can't see George Bush or Ahmedinejad having the support of the ICC members. Then why Howard? The outcome was destined to be like this since Howard was first mentioned as a possible candidate in the Australian media. I do not know why CA did not see this coming. Also, if it is about rigorous ratification, then shouldn't there be a New Zea lander running this time? Why an Australian again? Sambit you are arguing the process by which the 6 members rejected Howard was not transparent enough. But was the process through which Howard was nominated over John Anderson transparent enough for the rest of the cricketing world? CA has said again and again that Howard has been chosen with careful consideration but we were never told what those considerations were, were we?! I believe India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe have taken the same way to reject Howard that CA and New Zea land had taken to nominate Howard. Finally I think democracy prevailed.

  • on June 30, 2010, 15:57 GMT

    Well if majority of boards think he is not fit for VC then there should be no crying over it. Mr. Howard should realize that the politics in ICC is way beyond his control like he had in his own political career. Australia should realize now that how they pissed every one when the Muralitharan episode came up and surprisingly Zimbabwe has supported him which in my case should be a rejection. Good job who rejected him.

  • Chris_P on June 30, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    I wonder what the reaction would have been had Australia raised objections on some questionable nominations in the past? It seems like one way traffic from here, and this is coming from a pov whereby I was totally against Howard's political stance, many of his decisions and indeed his stance on being a constitutional monarchy. But at least we would have had someone who would have asked questions, been available full itme and sieze on waste and and provide leadership. And a genuine cricket lover! Howard has been rejected because his appointment would provide ICC with strong leadership that would thwart the ambitions of several current administrators to downgrade and devalue the role of the ICC. Howard would have stood in their path. The role requires strength of character - a leader, diplomat, statesman and politician. The ICC board is as political as any political party. The countries that voted him down want a compliant figurehead who will do their bidding.

  • nafzak on June 30, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    Would any reason not to vote for Howard really be accepted as legitimate by CA? Fact is in a democracy people vote for or against a candidate for many reasons and many a times it has to do with just the candidate's personality or what their perception of that individual is. In the case of Howard, many of us outside of the White man's world (and I do not mean to offend anyone - just a statement of fact) perceive Howard to be anti-people of colour. Now, we may all be wrong, but that's just the way people see Howard. He supported the Iraq invasion, when Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and he openly called out Murali. Those images stick in the minds of those of us on the other side and cannot be discounted. There is also that feeling that a message needs to be sent that says loud and clear that the days of the Colonial Masters are over. I posit that Howard's image is that of a Colonial Master, hence he would be rejected everytime.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on June 30, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    White man vs Brown man.... fight to the death.

  • plsn on June 30, 2010, 16:21 GMT

    Why should the reasons be made public, Bal?!! Do you go and tell the person for whom you did not vote in an election, the reason for not voting him in? Come on, let democracy, introduced by the Britishers & Co in the Indian sub-continent, reign supreme - inspite of its many ills. Let Gideon and co cop it.

  • Homer2007 on June 30, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Cricket is not in the dark ages? denying I.S Bindra the post of Chief Executive of the ICC does speak of a very enlightened body, doesn't it? What rock have u been hiding under, Sambit?

  • drhawk on June 30, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    I disagree with Sambit. There is undeniable evidence that Howard had racist tendencies and he was not diplomatic in dealing with other countries. If Murali is a chucker, let your board say that. Why get yourself involved in such a minor issue? Maybe he wanted Aussie votes or something but that is not the conduct you would expect from ICC president. Moreover, where was he when his players insulted and pushed Sharad Pawar off of the stage in India? This issue will not drag cricket to the dark ages because only people who seem to care are Australians. NewZealand wanted someone else anyway. England will go where the money is: Asia. Australia can say all what they want against BCCI, they will come around when they need to earn some money.

  • knowledge_eater on June 30, 2010, 16:26 GMT

    Brilliant article. Nothing frustrated me more than Jack Clarke's response.

  • ram5160 on June 30, 2010, 17:16 GMT

    Nothing will stand in the way of commerce. The required outrage and the expected hue and cry will be raised but it will be back to business in a couple of months. Mark my words.