July 2, 2010

Have power, will manipulate

That's how the world and its leaders work. But it would be nice if India took the lead in governing the game well
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So cricket sits on the precipice again? Rabble rousers and respected cricket writers are sharpening their phrases, warning of the impact of a brown-white divide; there is talk of digging in heels and taking warlike positions. After a temporary lull, the peace flags are down. Is it us-and-them all over again? I fear we over-react, get blind to our failings and discover pure venom in differing ideologies and cultures. I suspect we need to be a little more realistic, a little more understanding of the decisive way the world is changing.

Remember, we are a very small sport, no more than 10 countries really, and with inequitable distribution of wealth and opportunity it is not very difficult for power blocs to emerge. The ICC is a very political organisation but so is every single sporting body from the IOC to FIFA. To believe otherwise is naive.

It might seem, therefore, that on the surface Zimbabwe and South Africa led the opposition to John Howard, but that his nomination would not have failed had India supported him. Ah, India again! That is where I believe the resentment lies. It is not surprising, for India is seen in some countries as a nouveau riche brat flexing his muscles at every opportunity.

India has stumbled onto leadership through a combination of demographics and an unshackled middle class. A country long seen to be tame and accepting is now being looked upon as devious and manipulative. That should surprise no one because leaders around the world use their power to manipulate and to subjugate. It is not a worthy trait to possess, but India is neither the first nor will it be the last.

When they controlled the ICC, England were both condescending and manipulative. Having lost two series to India in 1971, at home, and in 1972-73 away, they forced through temporary legislation restricting the number of fielders on the leg side to five, thus negating India's spinners. They regularly looked down at our part of the world, and I have personally been at the receiving end of three instances of offensive and insulting behaviour at Lord's. This is not to say the English are terrible and villainous, perish the thought, just that power makes certain people behave a certain way.

The closest similarity to the financial power India currently enjoys in cricket is that which the United States had over world politics after the Second World War. The US openly took sides, openly protected its allies, created discord among those who dared stand up, funded rebellion, and through such manipulation maintained its leadership position. Like with India, it was the financial muscle of their markets that was at the heart of it. We in India know that well through 1971 and the crippling financial sanctions that were imposed because we thought we were mature enough to possess nuclear power.

Conflict of interest and lack of transparency, though they are global features as we saw post-Iraq, almost define Indian cricket. While many leaders are manipulative, the truly great are statesmanlike and India have that opportunity; one they are currently squandering

The East India Company was manipulative, so were the Mughals who inflicted rather more gruesome ends on those who opposed them, and indeed so were the Rajputs and the other Indian princely states. Indian politicians are deeply manipulative, as were George Bush and Dick Cheney and Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and I would venture to say it is almost an inevitable outcome of possessing power. And so India's cricket officials are currently flexing their muscles, and should the cycle change again, as it delightfully does, Australia will flex their muscles too. Don't think otherwise. Power tends to create tyrants out of perfectly reasonable people. Mandela and Gandhi were exceptions.

And yet, I would love it if India was different, if it could indeed take the lead in governance and transparency, focus on making cricket a richer sport rather than dragging it through controversy. In recent times Indian cricket has been in the news for annulling signed contracts, for being in dispute with the income-tax authorities and other legal entities; every time the question of television rights comes up, it is accompanied by many battles in court. Conflict of interest and lack of transparency, though they are global features as we saw post-Iraq, almost define Indian cricket. While many leaders are manipulative, the truly great are statesmanlike and India have that opportunity; one they are currently squandering.

But the message for the erstwhile rulers is that the world is changing. This is not a catcall of joy, merely an economic fact, and I will be disappointed if it is misinterpreted. On Thursday the Group CEO of HSBC said, "… the shift from the West to the East is unstoppable... It starts in India and goes all the way down to Australia..." Cricket, a very tiny part of the world, merely mirrors that.

A group of 10 cannot afford to be at war with each other, cannot take up strident positions. There must be other ways. Acceptance and cooperation can open the doors to those.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Number_5 on July 5, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Gr8 article Harsah. Far too easily in this recent debate has the rasicm card been shown and emotions let loose to cloud what is a very important isssue. The ICC has an opp to be a gloabal leader in leadership and transparency and take cricket into the new age. But alas "with absolute power comes absolute corruption". As an Aussie I find it appaling Howard could be nom to such a post, given his cricketing qual, but looking at most boards around the world, including CA, that appears to be of little issue when selecting serving members. As a cricket fan there is nothing i enjoy more as the winter chill dissapears than the prospect of another summer of test cricket, the battle between bat and ball, the opportunity to see the class of a Tendulkar, Lara, Khan, Flower, Haddlee, Botham, Kallis, Muarali etc performing in their own backyard. Will cricket and its true fans be the winner out of all of this or will the game become a "product" and its fans a "market"? alas i think it already has.

  • IC_M on July 4, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    You hit the nail on the head Harsha, I'm a big fan of yours and after this article I have become an even bigger fan. About time some one reminded others "What goes around comes around". "TASTE OF THEIR OWN MEDICINE". With so much bad blood I wonder even if Johnny muscles through, it will be an awkward place for others to work around him. Just imagine what Murali would have gone through when he was in Australia, being called as a chucker by a "PM". "No respect". He didn't even hesitate to voice his opinion instead of handling it professionally. Had this happened in any sub-continent country, there would have been a furore. If it was any one else from Aus it wouldn't have mattered, but him for ICC top position, it's a definite "NO". If he does become the head of ICC, it will be a dark day for cricket. Good that you mentioned about 1971 and lot of the new generation cricket followers now know something more about the Hippocratic England.

  • manoftheseries on July 4, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Another boring article from Harsha. Trying to say what everyone knows. Pretty ordinary..

  • theswami on July 4, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    fairdinkum ... agreed I guess the immigration bit was wrong, I apologise .... but your calling India racist makes me laugh ... caste(ist) yeah, definitely ....... though this has blurred over the past few decades, racist, no ....... we've sheltered anyone who wants to make our country home ...

  • Re3UBCS on July 4, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    The balance of powers will keep shifting. England yesterday, India today (accept us as your leaders for now, or stop watching cricket), probably Australia tomorrow. Harsha makes a good point about how its only natural that India appears as a musclehead power flexing tyrant.

    ICC needs to be independent, like Fifa, not be influenced heavily by one country board like ECB or BCCI today. We'll probably never see this happen. Cricket will always have that taint of lethargic and disorganized management made up of corrupt old politicians. The sport itself is strong, but fans really don't see ICC in the same light as soccer fans see Fifa. ICC has no presentation. Just compare fifa.com to that ICC official website hosted on yahoo.com or somewhere. Thank God for cricinfo.

  • fairdinkum on July 4, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    theswami, you should temper your comments about John Howard. 2 facts about his record to consider: 1. Immigration increased during his government from 30,000 to 178,000 pa. 2. Demographic makeup of migrants for his last year in government was 60% african and asian. I accuse India of being one of the most racist/caste(ist) countries in the world, and fully in denial about it. Importantly, John Howard can devote himself full time to the job unlike the current President who has about half an hour per week.

  • knowledge_eater on July 3, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Can we all just shut up and move on ? I saw No Racism poster in football match today, more than 85000 attended match and millions watched on television, and Germany played as a team and they defeated one of the favorite team. Despite all the hypocrisy in Fifa they made billion $ in day or two. Can we learn something from this? And stop throwing stones at each other. Cricket TRP was going down thats why former president wasn't picked. It was pure business decision. Cricket is not suffering at the moment and its growing at very large rate. Let's not focus on this anymore. I don't even care who govern what. If our sport TRP is going down than it needs to be stopped. Well, every sports need controversy, why not cricket what do I know. I thought people who wanted Test Cricket controversy will come up with great article on SAvsWI or coming India vs Aus. but NO we all like to dig in. We are living on same planet always remember that, even a fart is responsible for change in whole planet peace

  • theswami on July 3, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    One can't foist a conservative WASP politician on a predominantly Afro-Asian grouping of countries & then cry wolf !!! ...... Gotcha CA ... no wonder the support only came from fellow WASP countries with Conservative - controlled boards. This person has a history of bad-mouthing Afro-Asian nations & nationals, whilst using a divisive protectionist policy alienating the ethnic Asian population & minimising immigration from Asia ....... His nomination would have brought a sense of deja vu in these countries reminscing of their past with Imperialism ... CA should have put up an earnest candidate ..like Sir Anderson or Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh or one of the Crowes (not Russell) .......

  • Tatwaanweshanam on July 3, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    @wanderer1, while thankfully not making an ad-hominem this time, yet again makes a straw man argument. Readers will note that I had only stated Howard calling Murali a chucker as being unbecoming not as being an ad-hominem, as wanderer1 has tried to portray.

  • Gandhi0101 on July 3, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    You have nailed it, Spot on, Well said.....

  • Number_5 on July 5, 2010, 22:41 GMT

    Gr8 article Harsah. Far too easily in this recent debate has the rasicm card been shown and emotions let loose to cloud what is a very important isssue. The ICC has an opp to be a gloabal leader in leadership and transparency and take cricket into the new age. But alas "with absolute power comes absolute corruption". As an Aussie I find it appaling Howard could be nom to such a post, given his cricketing qual, but looking at most boards around the world, including CA, that appears to be of little issue when selecting serving members. As a cricket fan there is nothing i enjoy more as the winter chill dissapears than the prospect of another summer of test cricket, the battle between bat and ball, the opportunity to see the class of a Tendulkar, Lara, Khan, Flower, Haddlee, Botham, Kallis, Muarali etc performing in their own backyard. Will cricket and its true fans be the winner out of all of this or will the game become a "product" and its fans a "market"? alas i think it already has.

  • IC_M on July 4, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    You hit the nail on the head Harsha, I'm a big fan of yours and after this article I have become an even bigger fan. About time some one reminded others "What goes around comes around". "TASTE OF THEIR OWN MEDICINE". With so much bad blood I wonder even if Johnny muscles through, it will be an awkward place for others to work around him. Just imagine what Murali would have gone through when he was in Australia, being called as a chucker by a "PM". "No respect". He didn't even hesitate to voice his opinion instead of handling it professionally. Had this happened in any sub-continent country, there would have been a furore. If it was any one else from Aus it wouldn't have mattered, but him for ICC top position, it's a definite "NO". If he does become the head of ICC, it will be a dark day for cricket. Good that you mentioned about 1971 and lot of the new generation cricket followers now know something more about the Hippocratic England.

  • manoftheseries on July 4, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Another boring article from Harsha. Trying to say what everyone knows. Pretty ordinary..

  • theswami on July 4, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    fairdinkum ... agreed I guess the immigration bit was wrong, I apologise .... but your calling India racist makes me laugh ... caste(ist) yeah, definitely ....... though this has blurred over the past few decades, racist, no ....... we've sheltered anyone who wants to make our country home ...

  • Re3UBCS on July 4, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    The balance of powers will keep shifting. England yesterday, India today (accept us as your leaders for now, or stop watching cricket), probably Australia tomorrow. Harsha makes a good point about how its only natural that India appears as a musclehead power flexing tyrant.

    ICC needs to be independent, like Fifa, not be influenced heavily by one country board like ECB or BCCI today. We'll probably never see this happen. Cricket will always have that taint of lethargic and disorganized management made up of corrupt old politicians. The sport itself is strong, but fans really don't see ICC in the same light as soccer fans see Fifa. ICC has no presentation. Just compare fifa.com to that ICC official website hosted on yahoo.com or somewhere. Thank God for cricinfo.

  • fairdinkum on July 4, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    theswami, you should temper your comments about John Howard. 2 facts about his record to consider: 1. Immigration increased during his government from 30,000 to 178,000 pa. 2. Demographic makeup of migrants for his last year in government was 60% african and asian. I accuse India of being one of the most racist/caste(ist) countries in the world, and fully in denial about it. Importantly, John Howard can devote himself full time to the job unlike the current President who has about half an hour per week.

  • knowledge_eater on July 3, 2010, 23:50 GMT

    Can we all just shut up and move on ? I saw No Racism poster in football match today, more than 85000 attended match and millions watched on television, and Germany played as a team and they defeated one of the favorite team. Despite all the hypocrisy in Fifa they made billion $ in day or two. Can we learn something from this? And stop throwing stones at each other. Cricket TRP was going down thats why former president wasn't picked. It was pure business decision. Cricket is not suffering at the moment and its growing at very large rate. Let's not focus on this anymore. I don't even care who govern what. If our sport TRP is going down than it needs to be stopped. Well, every sports need controversy, why not cricket what do I know. I thought people who wanted Test Cricket controversy will come up with great article on SAvsWI or coming India vs Aus. but NO we all like to dig in. We are living on same planet always remember that, even a fart is responsible for change in whole planet peace

  • theswami on July 3, 2010, 21:02 GMT

    One can't foist a conservative WASP politician on a predominantly Afro-Asian grouping of countries & then cry wolf !!! ...... Gotcha CA ... no wonder the support only came from fellow WASP countries with Conservative - controlled boards. This person has a history of bad-mouthing Afro-Asian nations & nationals, whilst using a divisive protectionist policy alienating the ethnic Asian population & minimising immigration from Asia ....... His nomination would have brought a sense of deja vu in these countries reminscing of their past with Imperialism ... CA should have put up an earnest candidate ..like Sir Anderson or Mark Taylor or Steve Waugh or one of the Crowes (not Russell) .......

  • Tatwaanweshanam on July 3, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    @wanderer1, while thankfully not making an ad-hominem this time, yet again makes a straw man argument. Readers will note that I had only stated Howard calling Murali a chucker as being unbecoming not as being an ad-hominem, as wanderer1 has tried to portray.

  • Gandhi0101 on July 3, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    You have nailed it, Spot on, Well said.....

  • on July 3, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    why the hell india is against howard if powar can become president of icc why not howard his deputy australia has supported india when they tour them frequently but what it got in return it is shameless to see india flexing its muscle by the way i m pakistan fan and can't know the logic why pakistan who was left behind by india in 2011 world cup support india malcolm speed is right in saying ti that pcb is crap and pcb chairman is clown and nothing else

  • xolphi on July 3, 2010, 13:42 GMT

    Harsha sorry but I find your article bit on negative side or reactive, I don't think we should put world politic and sport together just to prove a point and what point that may be, Have you ever wonder the suffering cause by those politicians around the world ppl like bush, channy, haword , there are millions of people are suffering from both side just because of the criminal decision which made by those and you are justifying India decision by mentioning it all right because they have done it before us but let me remind you that even American and Australian in majority never behind those politician cowardly and criminally decisions and recorded their objections.

  • on July 3, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    If Australians or english want something everybody must bow and agree to whatever it is. This is the colonial mentality which no longer works,get on with it. Howard got less votes so he lost it,It is as simple as that , aussies r simply making it a big hue and cry out of it.Howard may be a big leader in Aus,but nobody gives him a damn in Asian or african countries.

  • wanderer1 on July 3, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    @ Tatwaanweshanam: As much as I hate Howard, he did not ad hominem attack Murali, that is only a fallacy in arguing when negating the argument and attacking the person directly. In this case the argument was that Murali was perceived to be chucking, so the attack wasn't superficial. I do agree though that he was in no position to make such accusations and should have left to the CA board and players to carry out any disputes. Next!

  • vijaysun1 on July 3, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    I do not understand why India exercising it's vote freely is a "manipulation"...the opposition to Howard came from African countries and Sri Lanka first; if the non-white countries feel uneasy about putting Howard as the top official in the ICC then they have a right to express it. It's not like everyone has conspired to strip Australia/NZ of a candidate; the next ICC president is still going to come from from that part of the world and practically anyone else will be endorsed unanimously. Without knowing someone's record in cricket admin (Howard has no admin expeience at all), it is bound to be his past political record that's going to be the basis of voting; given that the past political record is one of a right winger, he should not be suprised that non-white nations are queasy about him running the game. Summary : stop moaning and nominate another Aus/NZ candidate and I am sure he will get all the votes easily.

  • jimgraham on July 3, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    If only they had proposed Taylor's name earlier this situation (of rejecting Howard) would have never arisen. Sorry, too late! Better accept India is a force in ICC now. Show some tolerance, Aussies and the rest who don't like India's dominance.

  • LoveTheGame on July 3, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    You have got it all wrong Hersha. Blocking Howard was not manipulating but it was to save cricket from any further manipulation at the hands of a person who can only see wrongs in players not having a fair skin. BTW I am not Indian rather I am from where a joker like Ijaz Butt rules.

  • Streetlamp on July 3, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    keyser_sozey, You are confusing manners with decency I'm afraid and decency is what Waruna and "the rest of the SL supporters" are referring to. Forget about JH's chucker comment, what about the lies he came up with about asylum seekers throwing their children overboard? JH may have manners enough to have been leader of a country but was he ever a gentleman possessed of common decency? Refer above, you decide.

  • on July 3, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    The only nation that was strongly behind Howard was Australia. NZ had their own candidate before they had to give him up and England just reluctantly supported Howard. On the other hand, his opponents were vociferous - SA, SL, Zimbabwae. Does Cricket needs such a divisive figure with no experience in sport, elevated to the highest spot just because he is an Australian? Why should India go against its closest buddies - SA & SL, and side with the English & Australians - who don't even give support to IPL?

  • catalyst213 on July 3, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    Great article Harsha, simple and true. Waruna Weerasekera you are spot on I think JH is anything but a gentleman. keyser_sozey if someone abuses you or makes stupid comments about you 10 years ago on National television, i certainly dont think that you will kiss his bottom and if u do then it shows ur CLASS.

  • sabeeh89 on July 3, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    I applaud India for exercising their power. It is not as if the English or the Aussies have been welcoming to South Asian teams.

    I bet the ECB and CA are kicking themselves for not having launched an IPL like league prior to BCCI to cash in. Now they are saying that is not real cricket, like watching 2 teams play 5 days without a result is.

  • SujithBabu on July 3, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    England and Australia had veto power in the ICC till the mid-80s. I do not see any of the Toms, Johns and Mucks ever mentioning this in any of the comments. Not too long ago, IS Bindra was not allowed to become the ICC CEO because couple of years down the track Shard Pawar was to be the ICC president and thus it would lead 2 Indians holdingthe 2 of the highest posts of ICC simultaneously . At the same time, it was okay for 2 Australians to be the CEO and President of the ICC simultaneously. Hypocrisy has no end.

  • the_blue_android on July 3, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    keyser_sozey - Your reasoning is in fact worse than the SL guy you mention in your post. Just because howard ran a country for 11 years does not make him a gentleman. It makes him a politician. There are some politicians who can be called a gentlemen, most cannot be. Based on the facts presented to people(true or untrue), which are howard calling Murali a chucker, Mandela a terrorist etc show that tact isn't howard's forte and hence people can make their own judgments. You calling him ridiculous is just plain.....ridiculous.

  • keyser_sozey on July 3, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Whether you think JH would be good as ICC president or not, I think a number of posters her should take a good look at themselves. The level of debate on this site has been appalling. For example, Waruna Weerasekera on (July 03 2010, 01:53 AM GMT), who states that JH is not a gentleman. What a ridiculous comment? Making such a comment belies ignorance and shows a lack of class. By all means argue why you think JH would be no good, but please use some decent reasoning. This guy managed a country for 11 years. He would be great for the ICC and would cut through some of the BS and start to give it some credibility. To the many pro-Sri Lankan posters here, it is childish to suggest that one negative comment toward a Sri Lankan spinner ten years ago is a basis for unsuitability. This guy is a politician and as head of the ICC would do everything in his power to not seem biased toward Australia. Otherwise he would be ineffective.

  • lucyferr on July 3, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    Good heavens. Harsha actually said something sensible and eloquent. (I'm more surprised by the former, he rarely has problems with the latter.) Well put, as I'm sure Lord Acton agrees. Alas, the people who need to read it are those with the power, and people in power have a poor track record of giving it up.

  • amieka on July 3, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    Thoughtful article.

    Manipulation, flexing power, etc comes with power. We all know it. And politicians use that to their advantage. There is Bush, Nixon, Chenny. But then there is people like Nelson Mendella. There is thing called visionary. There is thing like embracing everyone on board to do something.

    India has enough talent and management skill to take ICC to next level, rather than being like what Australia and New Zealand did when they are leading. Why we have to be like the old leaders who basically did more damage than good.

    These days, there is a slew of Indian columnists popping out from every corner (including the old ones, i.e Sunny Gavaskar) who projected just one vibe -- this is our turn to flex muscle. Not really needed. In fact pathetic. Again, Indian has enough visionaries, skills, and management clouts to make some good change with this fine game called cricket. Cricket world needs you. Your leaders need intention. Not flex of whatever...

  • tekcircmath on July 3, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    TruSport says "As a matter of fact, powerful people are generally well meaning and take decisions based on the information that they have at any given time.....". what BS!!!!!: George Bush & WMDs come to mind. I think more often powerful people generally try to manipulate the situation to suit themselves and their vested interests. Harsha is so right.

  • on July 3, 2010, 1:53 GMT

    Excellent article Harsha! Howard is no gentleman and we all know how he went against Sri Lankan, South African and Zimbabwian cricket. Even if India had supported Howard, he still would get rejected as SL, SA, Zim and WI would reject him thereby giving Howard only 6 votes even in a best-case scenario! CA, this is called democracy by the way :)

  • RogerC on July 3, 2010, 1:38 GMT

    Well done. Since most communication on Cricket happens in English language, the natural English speaking countries have an advantage of manipulating the message to their advantage. It has happened on this case too. Had Australia nominated a person with good cricket background, there would have bee no issue. The crux of the problem is they nominated a person who has no cricket administration record coupled with a dubious bias towards certain players and countries. Instead of accepting this nomination as a bad move, words are twisted to make it look like India's foulplay and power manipulation.

  • Tatwaanweshanam on July 3, 2010, 1:22 GMT

    @wanderer1, using ad-hominem and straw man arguments in a public forum is unbecoming. Quite like Howard calling Murali a chucker. Your observations beg the questions that did I accuse Harsha of a "blinkered view" and did I absolve all Rajputs of any perceived "corruption", which readers will note I didn't. You also make the faulty premise that political correctness always implies a blinkered or narrow point of view. You would wish to keep in mind what this forum is appropriate for and what it isn't. Thank You.

  • ratee on July 3, 2010, 1:03 GMT

    For your information Harsha India is over doing its role.By the way Australia, England were two countries not one. The other countries except West Indies in those times were never up to the standard. So how could they have manipulated cricket power as they were already a cricket power!!!

    While India is the only country that is trying to lead this war which does not have any good end and you have to accept that Australia and England are as good as any other team in the present stage. So power and manipulation would not help the Indians to maintain their number one standing, I mean to say that should be their main objective not empty power that would not help them to shine in the cricketing world as well.

  • on July 3, 2010, 0:43 GMT

    Out of small we are inclined to reinvent big history. Cricket is a game, but spirit is/was big. But here is a reflection: On a hill 7000 ft. above, I first held a cricket bat and taught to play by a white man. While Pakistan was touring England, every day cricket score was posted out side the morning assembly hall where few words were said by the majestic head master. This time it was a broad smile announcing Pakistan's victory at Oval. His own pleasure was noticeable and sooner cricket got romanticized with stories. Then there new terms added to vocabulary: Back to the wall, Glorious uncertainties, sportsman spirit akin to New Zealanders …….. Big English for school but what became symbolic with the real learning and what I came out with and hold. I try to remember what I got than what was taken and much of how many from South Asia have prospered here. Hopefully it is not patronizing.

  • on July 2, 2010, 23:52 GMT

    An objective and mature essay, Harsha, superb! Simple common-sense being presented - '...India is neither the first nor will it be the last.' As my dad says - 'Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

  • Ausgal24 on July 2, 2010, 23:30 GMT

    Harsha, this article is surprisingly well written:), some excellent points about keeping things united and harmonious. Wish there were some girls involved in the process, things would be so much simpler without all the bravado, macho men attitudes etc !!!

  • wanderer1 on July 2, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    @Tatwaanweshanam, the Rajputs didn't become corrupt now? I suppose next you'll tell me the Rule of the Dogra's across parts of the sub-continent was all tea parties as well. Now who's being politically correct. Looks tio me you've got the blinkered view and not Harsha.

  • on_the_level on July 2, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand have made statements condemning the ICC decision, and have backed Howard not to withdraw. They obviously elieve they are correct in bringing political pressure to bear on a sporting organization. I now look forward to see the leaders of the countries of the 7 boards opposed to Howard to issue statements suppporting the decision to reject him. What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

  • Tatwaanweshanam on July 2, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    True. Power is corrupting and it takes the finest of men and women to defy its ominous influence.

    Howard had once solemnly declared Murali to be a "chucker" even though he didn't have the technical competence and authority to make such statements. His being the PM of Australia at that time makes it even worse. Such indiscretion (or maybe it was arrogance) on his part was very unbecoming.

    Harsha B. Says, "The East India Company was manipulative, so were the Mughals who inflicted rather more gruesome ends on those who opposed them, and indeed so were the Rajputs and the other Indian princely states.". So were the Rajputs? The back-foot defense of political correctness (never mind its mendacity) to negate the "gruesome Mughals" and avoid being bowled by the dirty H-word. Or its assumed cousin, the dirty C-word. Well done. No pun intended.

  • AmritWij on July 2, 2010, 22:30 GMT

    Why on earth is our game allowed to be governed and administered by administrators who don't have cricket's best interests at heart. As much as it is a business it is still a game and it will die out if politics interferes too much. It is great that the Asian block now has the power in the game and it is no longer ruled by England and Australia, however we must now use that power that we have to make the game better. It seems now that India is just using the power they have to thumb their nose at the former colonial oppressors and show off. This is all well and good, but it is an utter waste of what could otherwise be used to sort out admin issues that are crying out for help. If India keep this up they will lose the respect and support of the other cricketing nation, lord knows they have already lost most of it.

  • dnarmstrong on July 2, 2010, 22:27 GMT

    so because the nature of power naturally corrupts those who come into those positions, the people being wronged are supposed to say 'fair enough, you guys have the power at the moment'???

    it certainly doesn't work that way, the people with the power need to justify their position before the entire organisation can move forward with any respect to a proper, due process. otherwise the cycle of naming and blaming each others' countries for changing the rules apparently because they lost to your country forty years ago will continue on forever..

  • devrandom on July 2, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    1) All this hoopla about reverse racism needn't have arisen if Aus-NZ nominated someone who was capable and had not gone on the record that Mandela was a terrorist or supported the apartheid regime. You go way over the speed limit, you get a ticket. You pick a bigot, you end up getting rejected. Simple.

    2) All this posturing about somehow Howard was the only one who could have run the organization in a clean way is juvenile. Find someone else who is as tough, but let's say is not a racist, and see if he'd still get rejected.

    3) When Aus-Eng ran world cricket, people elsewhere had to accept that this was pretty much a racist sport and had to put up with lots of garbage. Now, even when the non-whites have the power, they somehow have to bow down and accept a racist person as their leader? If ICC rejected John Anderson this way, reverse-racism argument would have had a meaning. John Howard on the other hand got what he truly deserved.

  • Umair_umair on July 2, 2010, 21:29 GMT

    am so overwhelmed by the over whelming response to all the articles on this topic. Over 100 comments in response to each of them and 90% of those support the rejection of Howard. Same goes with the Cricinfo poll on this topic.

  • TruSport on July 2, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    I think that the article is a bit factually flawed. To say that the 5 fielder limit on the leg side was an attempt by ICC to negate India is a bit far fetched. It's similar to saying the law against bodyline was introduced to negate England. I think that the ICC has tried to keep the game of cricket fair - i.e. to give each team the same or similar conditions or contrasting advantages and/or disadvantages. For eg. if the team batting first has to face hostile seam bowling on day 1, the team batting last has to face hostile spin bowling. Likewise, it's presumptious to say that people in power do what pleases them. As a matter of fact, powerful people are generally well meaning and take decisions based on the information that they have at any given time. But they are human and can make bad decisions and for which they get blamed, thanks to a billigerent media and the result - you have an incited, angry public who by the way need something to vent out their own frustrations. Sanity plz

  • on July 2, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    It is best article, I have read by Harsha ..............

  • on July 2, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    Brilliant article as usual. Very insightful and intelligent

  • iBilal on July 2, 2010, 20:33 GMT

    and you are making it worse Mr. Bhogle... The last thing we need in times like these is for someone to come up and paint this whole situation with color of imperialism.. No need to compare it to the East India Coy or the Rajputs or the Mughals.... Jeez!!! its just cricket and some ugly politics, thats it!

  • Mashq on July 2, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    This is the good example for the saying "Cheaters will bite the dust" same as ITALI in football WC. They wion the previous in ASUI style (By provoking and abusing)WC but this time...::) Good article.

  • on July 2, 2010, 19:58 GMT

    To a certain degree i do not agree...Howard nomination was rejected by 7 countries.. not just India... Why did WI rejected it?? Srilanka had good enough reason to reject after Howard calling their national tresure,Murli a "chucker".. so forget about India's power or supporting the nomonation... Howard would have never got the desired 7 votes.. IT WAS A POOR NOMINATION.. DON'T PUT THE BLAME ON INDIA'S POWER.. ACCPET IT CA/NZ

  • kool_Indian on July 2, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    @Richard Lavill ✯ - 'Two wrongs don't make a right' - you are right. So lets accept that all countries including CA n NZC have made a mistake by supporting the candidature of Ms. Pawar. SO lets not repeat the same mistake again - can't you think in those lines? Lets support the NZ first prefered choice!

  • on July 2, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    Have Power, will manipulate?

    or how pawar will manipulate cricket now? :p

  • Vikram_Rathore on July 2, 2010, 18:54 GMT

    Excellent article... almost mirrors my through process. Set the trend BCCI - Move on CA & ECB

  • on July 2, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    Its sad to see senior politicians after being elected by millions of people to show a light in their otherwise dark lives going after sports.Holding such a highly responsible post of "Minister of Agriculture", what is he doing amid sky-rocketing prices of food to improve our agricultural output. Hope our politicians set their priorities right.

  • pankajkumarsingh on July 2, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    I dont get it. The whole hula-hoop around Howard's defeat.

    For one - South Africa (a predominantly a white Cricket board) and Zimbabwe initiated the opposition. Reasons may be political, they opposed. India then joined the rally - mind you, did not initiate the opposition.

    Secondly - This opposition does not want a brown or a black guy there. All they are saying is - get someone else. I would love to see someone in the class of Allan Border or Richard Hadlee instead. That I think is a possibility.

    OK - so, it was political. So what. We can never take politics out of any election, even when we select our class monitors in 6th grade. India just happens to carry 4 votes (Ind/Pak/SL/BD), for better or worse. Mr. Howard comes from a poticial background, he (or any of his supporters) should not complain about pilitics.

    India does do arm bending once in a while. This was not an example for arm bending though.

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 2, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    No-one ever needed a retired poitician with nothing else to do in life except rule a sport as ICC President. Howard should give up now before we are all really clued into him. Never mind the white- brown divide-stop stirring up prejudices if you are. What about the commonsense vs nonsense divide-far more dangerous as so many idiots want power. As Plato said, those who seek power are the ones least suited to it.

  • on July 2, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    Sober assessment. What I liked was that Harsha has called for India to show a sense of balance and not get power drunk.

    I wholly disagree that India is flexing its muscles. It was Australia that did it by imposing its choice on its little neighbor New Zealand; then use the media to cry hoarse about India flexing its muscles - without providing substantial evidence. Why aren't these critics and moaners asking how a rank outsider - and just a politician even if the ex-Prime Minister - qualifies to head ICC when there are such stellar men like Richard Hadlee, Richie Benaud or Mark Taylor are available? This is a case of heads I win, tails you lose.

    England and Australia did not like their veto power being removed and have ever since been trying their best regain that power indirectly using innuendos, disinformation and specious arguments.

    Like Harsha says India can set an example in magnanimity and fairness hitherto missing in the ICC set up.

  • tri400 on July 2, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    No Harsha, it would be nice if India stopped fielding and bowling so badly. That is what matters.

    We really need a performance-based pay system, how many times will be tolerate players getting paid very well for a match they lost? They should only be paid for the matches they win. That's how it works in soccer!

  • Dibyo_Basu on July 2, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    It's hard to tell what really went on because of the opaque nature of ICC proceedings..... but looks like Howard had ruffled the wrong feathers earlier ....paying the price now .....

    BTW : Gandhi an exception !!!!! You must be joking ..... 1939 INC presidential elections ...remember .....

  • Rahulbose on July 2, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Way too much hyperbole on an issue that is already overblown. Maybe you were trying to be sarcastic with all the history.

    Aussies are all up in arms about the Howard nomination right now. But soon they will realize that picking fights with BCCI is not in their own interest.

  • on July 2, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    3 words - Harsha for PM!!! :)

  • on July 2, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    Well written article as always... However, as they say, if u befriend one, u would automatically make an enemy.. That's just the case here. Ultimately, it's about choices, choosing the right friend, OR an enemy. It's just that we Indians are more close to SA, SL, and Zim than AUS, supported our friends, made an enemy our of AUS. Plain and simple. I think we made a good choice, making one enemy not supporting AUS than making 3 or more supporting AUS. Damage control maybe? Anyways, Harsha, we won't have to defend ourselves for the choices we make. If it were for me, no choice is a good choice or a bad one, let forget about it and move on with our lives.

  • Mina_Anand on July 2, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Yes, power breeds manipulation - just look how the IPL was run. Which begs the question - why don't we let the great cricketers/commentators run the show ! Off with the politicians! But then, will power go to these heads as well ? Will they 'manipulate', with wristy hands ? Or, will they stand rock solid at the crease, with steady heads ?

  • _Oracle_ on July 2, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Good article.. I agree.. Every person it power abuses their power to some extent. Its given.. I think, CA doesn't like the idea of being second fiddle to India.... Mind you, as Harsha mentioned, back in a day they didn't have any problem abusing their power to squash subcontinental counties.

  • knowledge_eater on July 2, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    I am much more disappointed with Brazil loosing than Mr. Howard loosing whom I had no idea who he was until last month or so. Very angry and disappointed and even twitter is over capacity in situation like this.

  • Philip_Gnana on July 2, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    What an awesome article. To the point and no mincing of words here. Why try to hide the facts when all all have been able to see and judge for themselves what the other nations have had to put up with from the English Controlled ICC. The fact that they were able to grant test status to NZ way back when the could not get together a team that would stand up to some extent at least to the rest of the Nations even at a time when India and Pakistan were much better speaks for itself.

    Dont be vague... we do not want another political appointee. If John Howard was the best that the Oz/NZ could appoint, woe be unto to us. What is the state of these two nations or what is their motive and intentions?

    I still do not agee that India should have appointed a non cricketing politician either. Are there not able cricketers (who may be politicians) in India who will fit the bill? There are capable cricketing politicians who can bring much in to the game. Well done Harsha. PhilGnana Surrey

  • SSon_cric on July 2, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    Very rightly said....except for the spiritual Gurus, there has not been a single person or a group who has not used the power in a way that will be deemed inappropriate by others. The truth is, ICC represents all the cricket playing nations, and therefore, any candidate who does not have backing of the majority does not deserve the position. Isnt that a democratic way of running things?? I do not understand why so much fuss is being made!!

  • jeet19800 on July 2, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    Keep politicians away from cricket. We don't need them to bear our respective flags and save our interests in world cricket. both, Powar and Howard is a bad choice to lead ICC. Moreover, we need to bring BCCI out of the clutches of Politicians and regional biases. Let a corporate-style management take over the present administration. I dont understand why a lawyer from Nagpur has been made the BCCI cheif. what qualification he has for the post, except being close to Sharad powar? I mean, its so obviously - nepotism. Harsha, stated whats a known fact, which even US prez states every week. but i dont think a 75 years old obviously corrupt politician is the best representative of new emerging india or a rising Asia.

  • on July 2, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    A very good article Harsha. As an NRI settled in South Africa I find it idiotic that people like Gideon Haigh cannot think with far sighted vision such as you do. I completely agree with the sentiment that England used all their powers in their hey day at the ICC to benefit their team and their powers to be! Who can forget Bodyline as well, what stance did England take then? Let's not get into this whole East Vs West divide talk, people should grow up and realize the world is changing and the momentum is now with the East!

  • the_blue_android on July 2, 2010, 14:10 GMT

    To everyone who is saying two wrongs don't make a right, you guys missed the whole point of this article. Harsha is not saying what India is doing is correct, he is merely saying its an eventuality. Whatever has to happen will happen.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on July 2, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    I BLAME THE PCB! Ijaz Butt has much to answer for.

  • on July 2, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    well said harsha, right on the money

  • prashant1 on July 2, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    SACHIN for ICC president !.. :) Everyone's gonna be happy

  • wanderer1 on July 2, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    Harsha, this is the cycle of life is it not? That power corrupts and along with money corrupts even more. I am reminded of a documentary I saw on Gandhi recently, when an Indian was asked what India had learned from Gandhi, his reply was "absolutely nothing". Nobody learns and the mistakes are repeated.

  • spiritwithin on July 2, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    @redneck..its very easy to say that CA sud pull out of india tour in october but quite a tough thing to do it in reality,btw india had played very little against zim in da last 3-4 yrs and bcci can hav many other boards with whom to make arrangements for various series so dont worry about revenue instead worry about aus what will happen to them if they try a tit for tat against BCCI bcoz everyone knows where's the actual power lies,dreaming is soo different from actual events,is'nt it???...coming to main point its a good decision not to elect howard as VP of ICC bcoz he's not a popular figure among any country bar aus and eng,even nz had actually nominated anderson...CA is trying to bring in politics by nominating howard and is rightly slapped in their face,its no more a pre-1992 like era,remember this and it will b good for all especially ECB & CA

  • on July 2, 2010, 13:16 GMT

    Lets assume if Howard is elected from Australia/New Zealand then Musharaf will be from Pakistan/Bangladesh, next Tony Blair from England/West Indies. Cricket need politicians! lol

  • dacha on July 2, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    I didn't agree with the choice of Howard as the candidate, he was always going to be seen to be divisive, the thing that the rest of the cricket world doesn't seem to understand is that he's essentially a weak man, full of his own self importance. He would have been easy to manipulate as he was in Australian politics. His nomination in Aus just seems to be another job for an old boy. The rejection of his nomination can only be seen in the context of politics and power, it has nothing to do with the good of the game. Well done India, you've been manipulated by Zimbabwe and your own inferiority complex. The only result is that India loses face and proves that they don't care about cricket at all.

  • mark135 on July 2, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    it seems as though the icc is boycotting its own process. they are MAKING it political by rejecting howard, if for political sentiment reasons. that is a joke- shows how lame the body is. it refuses to follow its own process for individual country members' selfish (and political sentiment?) reasons... pathetic

  • ZEUS00 on July 2, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Harsha, you are right, history is replete with incidents of power being misused, and this issue is no different. Any country that supports the Mugabe regime has zero moral conscience, but I feel that the Australian media is bringing up the Zimbabwe issue in a cunning, manipulative sort of way. By constantly hammering that the subcontinent boards have taken this stance as a reaction to Howard's anti-zimbabwean policies etc, the Aussie media is portraying him as a Caucasian martyr that he is definitely not. This is an attempt to distract people (particularly the Westerners) from his glaring imperfections as a leader. Why does CA not make him the chairman? Why did he get booted out of the Australian political landscape? Because the people had come to realize his shallowness and ineffectiveness as an administrator. Guess what, cricket boards all over the world are going public with that realization, as well. We Kiwis (most of us anyway) have zero regard for John Howard.

  • on July 2, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    very enlightning...nice article harsha

  • eminem on July 2, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    Harsha, you suddenly become a saint. Why is it that Indians should be saints and martyrs when the world is having a fun go in this world. Write with some ba11s next time based on how the world is, and react to it rather than try to change it. You are no Gandhi and I dont expect you to be one. So keep it down or write after reading a Gideon Haig article. and enough of you bloody litanies.

  • knowledge_eater on July 2, 2010, 12:12 GMT

    HOLY mother .. first Emotional piece !!! Suddenly I am starting to miss India. Peace

  • z-kaleem on July 2, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    That's what happens when you bring in manipulative politicians into sport. It is even more unwise to try to thrust deeply unpopular ones into any position. Tony Blair's recent failed attempt in EU is an example. Howard and CA were extremely naive to think that his very provocative and nosy interventions about Iraq and Murli in particular will count for nothing. A panel of un-trusted and allegedly corrupt parliamentarians summon cricket officials in Pakistan regularly to talk about match fixing when political fixings are the order of the day. It is all about power going to the head and when it goes into empty heads, it is even more deadly. Aussies hardly do themselves any favours. Unleashing Hair on Asian players for years is also not forgotten. So all parties need to sit down and draw up a code of acceptable standards and norms. If not, division into camps is inevitable. The fact that a politician will have triggered it is not surprising at all.

  • amurleopard on July 2, 2010, 11:56 GMT

    Balanced article. Agree with you entirely. Now its India's turn to flex its muscles and flex it will. That is the way of the world. But the sad part is that the ICC chairman is a scam tainted politician. We Indians are very upset when Malcolm Speed says its Pawar's job to be feeding the billions. We know his abysmal track record as agricultural minister and how he handled the drought situation. Dont we have someone better to represent India in the ICC board as chairman?

  • indianpunter on July 2, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    If we do as "they" did to us in 1971, what Harsha then is the difference between us and them? With great power comes great responsibility and this is India s opportunity to stand up, be counted and lead the way. Good governance, transparency in decisions and avoiding nepotism would be a good start. Unfortunately, Indian cricket is trying to launder its own stable ( read IPL). I wonder what a semi comatose septugenerian like Pawar has to offer ICC? The time for dynamic, foresighted leadership is overdue. Indias complacency will cost itself dear.

  • on July 2, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    Power is the Ultimate weapon!!!

  • on July 2, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ...

  • on July 2, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    A very good article exposing the pathetic general knowledge of Australian media. Howard was not the right candidate for the position in the first place. The fact that Cricket Australia could not find a propert/better candidate shows the lack of cricket administrators in Australia.

  • ramanujam_ram on July 2, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Nice article. I have agreed with Harsha on a lot of issues earlier, but this one I would disagree. Given the background of the incumbent (opposing sanctions against SA during apartheid regime, zimbabwe matter, calling Murali a chucker), it was not right on the part of Aus to suggest his name. Further Malcom Speed's comment that even Sharad Pawar doesn't know cricket doesnot hold logic. He has atleast not made controversial remarks like the incumbent did in the past

  • Jim1207 on July 2, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Howard was selected over Anderson through a rigorous and orderly process. In their next turn, an aussie will be selected because this time NZ lost its chance. The time after that, an aussie will be selected over a Kiwi, obviously again through a rigorous and orderly process. Here you go.. Aussie... Aussie.... Aussie.....

  • jimgraham on July 2, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Very Balanced analysis by Harsha. Everyone does flex their muscle when they get into power. Howard himself is a perfect example. However, India must take this opportunity to make some positive changes. I doubt if a politician like Pawar would serve ICC any better, someone with a cricketing background, e.g. Wadekar might have been a better choice, but that wasn't to be. Let's hope Pawar can do some good bring all the cricketing nations closer rather than at war.

  • kabubaku on July 2, 2010, 9:36 GMT

    In so many words what Harsha is saying is, "We call the shots... get used to it!".

  • __PK on July 2, 2010, 9:31 GMT

    So many bigotted people saying CA should not have nominated Howard because he was divisive? Why was he divisive? What reasons were there to disapprove of him? It's simply not acceptable for men charged with the future of the game we all love simply to say they don't want him without cause. Why was he good enough to govern Australia for a long time, but not good enough to be 2IC to run cricket? No, by expecting CA and NZ to pick a candidate based on who the other nations find acceptable makes a mockery of the turn-based approach to nominations. And what is hattima talking about? In what way was Howard's political record checkered? Some people didn't like him? Of course not - he's a politician. He wouldn't have been doing his job if everyone loved him.

  • since7 on July 2, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    So,does that mean we have no respite from polarising politics?.I guess one thing seems to be true..Throughout the history,you almost never had a period when every nation looked upon the other as an equal ally but rather someone to bully or to be bullied.At times,Mr,harsha,I feel u have something in your mind and write something else..Atleast,this article was direct and straight out of your mind i suppose.

  • rkannancrown on July 2, 2010, 9:17 GMT

    On what basis does Harsha conclude India is throwing its weight around. Howard has generally been viewed as racist - for his various comments & acts - and the non white world decided they do not want to deal with him and asked for someone acceptable and given the Aus/NZ block 2 months to find somebody suitable. It is the Australians- lead by Malcolm Speed (without question ICC's worst CEO ever)- who are throwing their weight around.

  • natmastak_so-called on July 2, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    i dont want to comment about what aussies think of indians and bcci .the point is ,indians can have their peace with the current rankings in tests and odi. similarly aussies can take their peace with last 3 world cups. so i request all to not take these issues (and comments on cricinfo) as an attempt to insult on their nationality.MAHATMA GANDHI ZINDABAD.

  • dinosaurus on July 2, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    It's one thing to have power, it's another to have authority. Having established a system there was an implied contract, which has now been overthrown. Everyone needs some ability to negotiate, something made harder by demonstrated recklessness at keeping contracts.

  • natmastak_so-called on July 2, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    yes i agree with u harsha ( almost as always i do with most of your views).but i should mention here that what u r doing here is only mentioning the facts .u are not coming with any solution here. and, even if u come with one,the icc is not gonna pay attention to it.but at least it will give us readers and cricket fans ,some food for thought.and mate ,give mr.gideon a shoulder to cry.he badly needs one.

  • northumbriannomad on July 2, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    "India is seen in some countries as a nouveau riche brat flexing his muscles at every opportunity." I really don't think so, unless by "some countries" you mean India. The rest of the world is perfectly capable of comprehending that a proud and ancient country of one billion people which is completely in love with cricket is going to become the dominant force in the game. Great that the game has such a powerful country on its side. I am English, but the British Empire was dead and gone long before I was born and I couldn't give two hoots about the past in that way. I think that goes for about 99.5% of my countrymen. The view of India will be even less prejudiced in other cricketing countries. So stop defining yourselves as brats. Other than that, I thoroughly agree that you should also stand up and promote good governance in the game, not treat it as a venue for power politics and committee-itis.

  • jimm4376 on July 2, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    Nice article Harsha...So what happen if George Bush want to be a Fifa president to wipe out Fifa corruption... Bush has strong passion in soccer...surely most countries don't accept it except Australia...If Howard is nominated next time India, Pak, SA will send OUTSIDER like Howard in ICC and Cricket itself will suffer...I sincerely urge Power to stand firm, take the opinion of majority, opinion of cricket guru and block these Racist people...I expect columnist like you, Sambit or Osman to write the true motive of Aus to push for Howard despite the objection of 6 members...It is pity that some country dont like Indias rise as a cricket nation... they dont like tendulkars record...they dont want a Black boss...this sounds harsh but unfortunately hard true...

  • AnotherAussie on July 2, 2010, 8:17 GMT

    Cricket Australia made a silly decision choosing a divisive figure such as Howard, when a better choice in New Zealand's Sir John Anderson was there for the nominating. All they have done is stir up resentment and trouble and nothing good. A very poor nomination indeed.

  • kannanknair on July 2, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    This is very real article. However there is one factor that it needs to be assessed against.....The Passage of Time....and the saying..".with great power comes great responsibility". The nouveau riche brat with little consideration of others could have got by in the days of the past that accepted apartheid (or sati) ...but the present requires a balance, where Individuals are considered and respected without race being a question.This is because there is no country that rules all areas , India might do so in cricket but the response back could be in a different area. S Africa(forgiveness, gratefulness and inclusion) and Zimbabwe(hatred and black dominance), chose different paths regarding political integration and the results are there to see. I hope for India that values Mahatma Gandhi's values rather than its current corrupt crop of politicians who now rule India and sadly Cricket.

  • on July 2, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    In a nutshell: Two wrongs don't make a right, Harsha. Having India throw it's weight around now, just like others have in the past, doesn't make it OK for India to do so. The ICC should learn collectively instead of it following the same merry-go-round.

  • CricketIndiaFanatic on July 2, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    This is the first article with a neutral view on the subject. Rest other articles on cricinfo and other sites are totally biased and heavily skewed in favour of Mr. John Howard. I hope that other writers from cricinfo will take note and present a balanced picture of the event specially Mr. Gideon Haigh and Mr. Sambit Bal. Mr. Haigh even goes on to say that it is a new low for ICC. Please refrain from such statements in order to drive your point in support of Mr. Howard. ICC is a Bigger Institution and it is here to stay. People like Howard or any other personality will come and go. Please keep the sanctity of the Institution.

  • gabriellamontez on July 2, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    Lots of good analysis out there but this is superficial twaddle.

  • hattima on July 2, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    Harsha, I feel the Aussies are flexing their muscles regardless by pushing a candidate 8 out of ten countries would not like to see at the helm. (I also count NZ as Howard was not their first choice either.) I fail to see what is the reason behind backing a candidate whom most people do not like. With Howard's checkered political record he was undoubtedly a very unpopoular candidate, so what is it but flexing muscles to behave the way CA is behaving? India's money runs cricket, so they have the right to have a say in it; that's business. It is extremely unlikely, now even more so, that Howard would govern ICC impartially and with honour. We already see match referees and match officials practising double standards; I wonder what sort of agenda would be put forward when someone is trying to 'put things right', as it is claimed that Howard would have done.

  • on July 2, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    Good article that pretty much sums up the current situation. I agree that India should make better use of their position in world cricket. Instead of using their power to avenge themselves as it were against prior indiscretions from the old white powers, they should use their power to bridge differences and bring the member nations closer. No good has ever come out of division and I'm afraid none of the powers that be seem to learn from past mistakes.

  • Itsmekrish on July 2, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    Very precisely put Harsha... The ICC with all the issues of disinterest in ODI and Test Cricket would do well to keep away from these issues.. And the questions being thrown up and the answers to them are ridiculous... Apparently Mr. Howard's bid was rejected on grounds of him not having any previous experience of cricketing administration.. But as they say there always has to be a first... Mr. P(o)aw(e)ar too would have been a first time administrator some point during his cricket administration life cycle..Its one thing to say that, "With great power comes greater responsibility" ala SPIDERMAN, but to live up to the words is fairly difficult... Its high time the top boss(es) of the BCCI and now the ICC start acting with responsibility....

  • PeteB on July 2, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    This issue has become a stalking horse for sundry prejudices. As is often the case with cricinfo comments, there's a lot of tiresome and shrill comments and invenctive from all camps, often used to serve purposes other than that of who should be the ICC president. It all just makes everything less clear than it should be. It's very hard to find the truth amongst all this mess. All I'd like to to know, from the various voters themselves, are the precise reasons for how they voted. That's not asking much.

  • eyballfallenout on July 2, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    yes, thats right. the western countries did run the sport to benefit themselves. India now have the power and can do what they wish. Question is do they take the gutless revengeful route and be just as bad as the groups before them, or do they provide real leadership that is best for cricket and the world as a hole. They could look at the way Mandela did things, do you go out for pay back or do you show the world the way forward. We will see.

  • RowdyDave on July 2, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Harsha, I was disappointed to hear that Howard was rejected by the ICC. But I agree with you that India's dominance in the financial side of the game should be reflected in its influence over governance. There was no objection to this when England and Australia were dominant. Personally, as an Aussie, I love what the Indian cricket team brings to the sport. Their flair and competitiveness are brilliant. I also respect the great innovation of T20. This would not have been possible without India. So I for one am looking forward to what a period of Indian dominance brings to cricket.

  • on July 2, 2010, 7:01 GMT

    Wonderfully written article Harsha! Although, I must say that your desire that Indians, in their leadership positions, should be transparent, well, it will remain a pipe-dream!

  • Marcio on July 2, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    Yes, let's just love each other. Its drinks and hugs at my place after dinner. LOL

    Just taking the piss. It's a good point Harsha. These comments sections, like the game, are now dominated by sub-continent names. It would be nice if one was able to get in a rational perspective now and again. Not that those from Aust, NZ and Eng are being too rational, either.

    Some of this stuff is getting a little worrying though. There are elements of a developing deep and abiding prejudice here in comments from some sub-continent people. There is a real mob mentality developing. For a people concerned about fellow-countrymen being bashed up in a certain antipodean city, they sure seem to have settled nicely into the online lynch mob mentality.

  • g2311 on July 2, 2010, 6:37 GMT

    You overdid this time Harsha.. chauvinistic I might be feeling this time .. but all those lavish and outlandish comparison weren't called for.. nyways waiting for ur next !! In between.. from when did cricket become a small sport.. it's second most watched team sport after football.. again it has got big money involved.. IPL I guess would overtake EPL in monetory terms by 2020... nd though only 10 countries share the limelight around 100 countries play it too !! So which measure did you use to call cricket small ?? :)

  • Farce-Follower on July 2, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    I really hope Mr. Pawar does a better job as President of the ICC than he has done as India's agricultural minister. If he is even 50% as incompetent in his new job, then he will leave the ICC in the same shape as he has left Indian agriculture - in total shambles.

  • cric84life on July 2, 2010, 6:29 GMT

    Hi Harsha,

    As always very well written. With more power comes more responsiblility (Spiderman), but we dont see that often in India. We are immatured to be the powerhouse of world cricket. We are behaving like the past president of US. I think Morgan stated it rightly, if Howard is not the right guy, so is Powar. He has a full time job as a politician and he should be paying attention there.

    I hope somehow the right person is in charge irrespective of the nationality.. I know its a wishful thinking but somehow I'll continue to dream on :)

  • ndayannanda on July 2, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    As the English would say 'charity begins at home', the 'acceptance and cooperation' should start at home, and then, only then should extend across boundaries. There is no point in having a atrocious goverment and non government organisations in India whilst allowing calamitous intrusions across boundaries- Mr Bogle has announced a few important names in the Hisotry bookds to enunciate the same mistakes- but god forbit-not to be repeated. In a purely democratic process, it is plain to see why the 'coloured' should have more power- though the old world will not accept. To complicate matters BCCI has rich and become powerful. Who else but a rigid politician, with suspect racial tolerances ( refresh on apartheid and Aus/England till recent versions in Melbourne. and Mr Bogle it was more than 'insullts' I assure you), to be let into the party to ruddy up things? and nothing to lose (70 years and been PM). It was a inflammatory choice with a forboding agenda which needed nipped.

  • karthick87 on July 2, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Harsha,

    Are you out of your mind?? You are over reacting for a small issue.. what is the need to bring nuclear power in a cricket related article.. lol please wake up..

  • simon_w on July 2, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    This strikes me as a fair and decent piece. It's always easy to speak of fairness and noble and lofty virtues when on the wrong side of a power-differential like this. Let those of us who believe in "statesmanship," as you aptly term it, join together in encouraging high-mindedness in our /de facto/ leaders, while acknowledging that we will never see as much of it as we might wish. As an expatriated Englishman, I can accept a degree of tit-for-tat in terms of the power balances as inevitable and understandable, and harping on about how regrettable it is will perforce sound rather empty to those who were on the receiving end for so long. What I find harder to accept is the degrading of the game as a whole for (largely short-term) political, commercial, and other (in this context) unsavory ends. In speaking up against this, I hope that all cricket-lovers from all nations can come together.

  • bkraks21 on July 2, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    great words Harsha. Gadieon High should learn how to write like Harsha rather than vent out his anger like he did. He was totally biased.

  • on July 2, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    No wirter in world cricket makes more sense than Harsha. Her'es my suggestion. John Howard stand aside and Harsha gets the nomination. Nobody could do a better job than he, and in appointing an Indian (who has enormous respect on and off the sub-continent), you gulf the divide between the members.

  • on July 2, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Very well said Harsha. However as an Australian born Indian, I am disappointed that India have missed an opportunity to respect what would seem to be a fair an respectful process (giving all regions an opportunity to select a president). Instead it has in effect chosen to bully others. Supporters of India's (BCCI's) behaviour will point the finger at past wrongs and claim it to be evening up the score. That arguement barely works with children.

  • Bang_La on July 2, 2010, 6:04 GMT

    Wonder, as always Harsha. Thank YOU. I wonder why the HQ of cricket should not be in a tesy country and my options are either in India or SA. The HQ was moved on the ground of tax free environment in UAE but that must note a consideration to stash cricket HQ where the white bosses have a better beaches and night life for themselves and their family members.

  • NZ-Bonza on July 2, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    An interesting an well presented article Harsha. There is an old saying "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" Whilst is understandable and even human nature to crave power and the control that comes with it, it can be one of the most destructive forces to any so called "alliance". A 'balance of power' will never be achieved in Cricket. Inida's population and passion for cricket cannot be matched anywhere in the world, and in the modern world, money rules all. It matters not who is at the so called helm of the ICC, for Inidia will always be able to dictate terms to the other nations, purely on a financial basis. What India must be careful of as you so accutely describe, is creating a division. While the ohter nations cannot survive without Inidia, India itself will not survive wihtout the other nations as well. It is a delicate, co-dependant relationship and must be nutured to flourish. Otherwise we are witnessing the death of cricket right here and right now.

  • on July 2, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    excellent article .. i hope sharad pawar wud understand this and wont do politics as he has laways done in india... i hope people shud grow up and i belive anderson shud have been nominated neways in the first place which wud have avoided this "CA shud have realized this that this was going to happen ..." and even if india wud have supported howard ...it was inevitable for atleast Srilanka, SA, Zim and may be WI who wud have taken the stance as they have now .. unless india wud have forced them to do so .. (but thats wat they accuse india of .. forcing other countries against howard ..) my point is howard wudnt have got 2/3rd majority whether india supported him or not ...

  • mojojesus on July 2, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    Just Awesome !!! Man...... This article reaffirms my faith in Harsha , the man who speaks sense ...

  • braindead_rocker on July 2, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    Whatever but we can't have John Howard for Vice president...simple as that

  • on July 2, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    A more mature analysis than Gideon's shrill protestations!!

  • AshishKeshri on July 2, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    Bang on...finally some sense prevailing on cricinfo..Thank you harsha for getting to the root cause of the issue.. POLITICS and not racism, regionalism or anything else. Politics will be politics afterall. Its a rather wishful to expect Indian politicians on the ICC panel to behave in more responsible manner. No one has done so far Indian will continue to uphold the tradition. Its a bitter fact and we better learn to live with it..unless some revolutionary comes along...

  • M.Yamani on July 2, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Harsha, you said it!!! People are indeed over-reacting to what is merely a difference of ideology and creating conspiracy theories out of it!!! Well said, Harsha. Very well said.

  • on July 2, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    This is utterly flabbergasting, for a person with as much power as Howard had, which he used to publicly criticize Murali and further stir a nation against him, to be nominated for ICC presidency is RIDICULOUS. How obtuse can Cricket Australia be? I think they need a shake up, since they seem to be seriously out of touch with reality. I wish someone from CA would read this and understand that at least from my point of view, you might as well have nominated Shoaib Akhtar or Harbajan Singh. Nobody, be they president, nobel prize winner, rocket scientist, etc., who casts a negative shadow on the game should be nominated to govern it.

  • VipulPatki on July 2, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    I think this issue is given far more importance that it deserves. Harsha has managed to choose exact words a number of times in this article. One of them is "erstwhile rulers". For better or for worse, the world is changing and what we are seeing is a power shift. Behavior of English and Australian authorities was always autocratic and Indians are no different. The second sentence of the article should have instead read "Respected cricket writers-turned-rabble rousers..." even if that applied only to Gideon Haigh.

  • buggyboy on July 2, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    Your argument that "England was mean when they ran the game" as justification for India blocking Howard then there isn't much hope for cricket in the long term. But Cricket Australia is stupid and misguided if they're drawing a line in the sand against the BCCI over this incident. Howard is a such a decisive figure not only abroad but at home. CA need to pick their battles better. CA does need to stand up to the BCCI - but not on this issue. As a Labor supporter the mere fact that Cricket Australia is showing its partisan colours make me less interested in cricket. Considering cricket is seen a conservative, whites only sport in Australia supporting Howard only re-emphasises that. Immigrants from non-cricketing countries have ignored cricket in favour of Aussie Rules and Rugby League for decades and its set to continue.

  • on July 2, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    I like the article, however I don't entirely agree with some of your arguments. Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sri Lanka have their reasons (understandably too, no?) to reject Howard. I do not feel the decisions that have come about are racially motivated, and all the articles I have seen on cricinfo so far have been a bit insulting to the cricket world. I personally cannot see why a democratic country like Australia and its cricket board cannot accept a simple vote, and the swinging of race around is infuriating to me, since it reeks of hypocrisy...do we let Cricket Australia manipulate "the system" or (as they claim) allow the BCCI to? The ICC should fine CA for wasting our time with this childish tantrum, only a fool couldn't see Howard being rejected, while he definitely lacks the experience his conduct has come back to haunt him, and while that's a tough pill to swallow, most (atleast in SL, SA & Zim) would feel he deserves a massive suppository

  • Bhrams on July 2, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    A worthwhile piece from Harsha after a long time. Over the past few weeks/months, I got the impression that he was just mirroring other people's thoughts - by almost repeating other writers' works - and in the process, sending out contradicting messages in his articles. And where he did come up with something new, it was far from engagingas far as the reader was concerned.

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    and the incumbent has to be worthy.

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    I can't believe a cricket writer wrote this article. Thank you for some "real" journalism".

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    India's nuclear ambitions were known after a "peaceful" nuclear explosion in 1974.

    Apart from the bid to nobble India which Harsha cites, thrice there have been rule changes to try and restrain the West Indies: In the 1950s, when Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine were bamboozling the opposition, the front-foot lbw law was changed.

    In the 1960s when Wesley Hall and Charlie Griffith were causing havoc a campaign began to label Griffith a chucker (Richie Benaud was in the forefront); however, it did not daunt the fierce Barbadian. Then the front foot no-ball rule was introduced. The pair were reined in.

    In the 1980s, after Clive Lloyd's four-man pace battery had started its triumphant run, the question of bouncers was raised. World cricket's governing body had never been exercised about bouncers when England's John Snow and David Brown or Australia's Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson were running amuck. This time, bouncers were cut to one per over but that did not stop the Windies.

  • SJMSA on July 2, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    It's nice to see at least one article on the subject displaying a little intelligence and objectivity. It is ridiculous that Howard was nominated in the first place when his alternative, John Anderson appears to be far better suited for the job. Howard's past is checkered with displays of racial insensitivity and bias... so here is a man who would create discord, has no experience in the relevant field and was unceremoniously dumped out of the post he did hold.

    Precisely on what basis did this "rigorous" arbitration process decide that he had superior qualifications to John Anderson? Aside from Howard and the arbitrator both being Australian and NZ cricket being spineless, I see none. It is pathetic that all these administrators have the maturity level of your average schoolyard bully. and all this shameless "anger" is just the sad bleating of those who once held power and can't seem to understand that they are not the only ones willing to abuse it.

  • redneck on July 2, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    wise words mr bhogle! i dont however think the bcci share you view and its up to them to lead the way. in the meantime i think australia's owed an explenation for the absolute slap in the face we copped the other day!!! why the board of control, the very same board that cricket australias been brothers in arms with over the last decade can stab us in the back like that?? it is clearly apparent that the only power australia have in cricket is on the pitch! with that in mind australia should threaten to pull out of their october tour to india (just like the previous slap in the face they gave us by threatning to leave mid tour when they were down under last!) as its the only way australia can actually hit india where it hurts them most. their tv revenue! let india play with their beloved bum buddy zimbabwe instead! wonder how much tv would pay for that by compairson? india made their bed by voting against, now its up to cricket australia to make them lie in it!

  • parakum on July 2, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Very good analogy to world politics. You can see the manipulation happening right now - western powers wanting 'investigations' in to the war in Sri Lanka while 'the coalition of the willing' (including Australia) have a get out of jail free card for anything happening in their War Against Terror. So call it irony or karma or whatever.. I feel very little sympathy for John Howard and his supporters.

  • sheksyshot on July 2, 2010, 4:25 GMT

    harsha bhogle is always a kinda "nationalist commentator" than a cricket commentator. that can be clearly seen when he is commentating in a cricket match. when an indian batsman play a shot for 4 he jumps with joy and when the opponent play the same shot the sound of grief can be heard in his voice. he is impartial ultra-nationalist so called cricket commentator and had he has been a commentator not by his qualification in commentating but since he is the commentator of indian influence.

  • BhuvG on July 2, 2010, 4:22 GMT

    Sambit Bal must read this article, if he's not already. Good interpretation, Harsha. Though Sambit is a good writer, he over reacted to the ICC board's decision to reject John Howard. By historical evidence, English were always best at deceiving and art of cunning. They very well know when is the time to roll their dice. You mentioned a good reference of that when they changed Cricket rule after loosing two series against India. Good to know, but not surprised at all. Let's keep shift in balance of power aside for a moment. John Howard was no gentleman, and certainly not a type of a guy who people want to work with. But he was Oz's trump card. Rightly, he was rejected. Just move on. Lets talk about India's upcoming SL tour. Will they do it this time? How about resurgence of England ODI side? That's what I want to chat about...you know what I'm sayin..

  • Vivek7 on July 2, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    there is no sufficient proof that india has out muscled her neighbours. india and howard have nothing between them. i find it pathetic to criticise india and also to defend india with no need to defend.

    india is doing perfectly well for its clout. it has provided a good source of income for lot of foreign cricketers thru IPL. ask hayden and gilly they will say howard is not bigger than cricket, we gotta game to play and money to make.

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    I think FIFA exactly knows how to conduct business. No wonder these chest beating celts hate FIFA so much. Afterall it does not allow them to perpetrate their thuggery. ICC is finally now getting professional. The effets can also be seen in the penalties imposed on players. Just recently Steyn got fined 100% of his match fee for spitting. Remember nothing was done to that uncouth Mc Grath and the reason how can celts punish their own.

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    great article harsha,probably one of your best. indeed ICC cannot afford a feud within,because cricket is a small game...

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Mate,I am lost.What's the conclusion of this article and what's the message?

  • narrie007 on July 2, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    Well said Harsha!! But unfortunately, we don't have anymore "Mahatma"'s in the world!!

  • Test_Match_Fan on July 2, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    Harsha, Well written, but don't chicken out. While you are at it, how can you ignore the tyrants of current India? The mafia tainted politicians flexing their power and causing incalculable damage to the psyche of the polity while looting mother India? Jai Hind

  • brahmasmi on July 2, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    Very well said. I think you have hit the nail on the head Harsha!

    The point is that India is not super nice anymore. Its just like everyone else. Other countries should realize that and not expect India to play the fair dice all the time...

  • c.m. on July 2, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    When you give some, you've to be ready to take some.

  • on July 2, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Nicely "Power"ed article !

  • plsn on July 2, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Sensible buddy, Real Hyderabadi logic. Are the others listening? Speed and Gideon, and Clark, especially!!

  • jillpreston on July 2, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    It really is not John's fault. When he started school there were no civic lesson or Math. 3 was greater than 7 and democracy was poorly understood. You could say whatever you wanted and get away with it. Now everyone is blaming Johnny because the poor man can't gracefully accept the verdict. Poor Johnny. Poor Speed too. That guy is frothing. It will be the ICC's fault if Speed got a heart attack or some major health problem following this.

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  • jillpreston on July 2, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    It really is not John's fault. When he started school there were no civic lesson or Math. 3 was greater than 7 and democracy was poorly understood. You could say whatever you wanted and get away with it. Now everyone is blaming Johnny because the poor man can't gracefully accept the verdict. Poor Johnny. Poor Speed too. That guy is frothing. It will be the ICC's fault if Speed got a heart attack or some major health problem following this.

  • plsn on July 2, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    Sensible buddy, Real Hyderabadi logic. Are the others listening? Speed and Gideon, and Clark, especially!!

  • on July 2, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    Nicely "Power"ed article !

  • c.m. on July 2, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    When you give some, you've to be ready to take some.

  • brahmasmi on July 2, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    Very well said. I think you have hit the nail on the head Harsha!

    The point is that India is not super nice anymore. Its just like everyone else. Other countries should realize that and not expect India to play the fair dice all the time...

  • Test_Match_Fan on July 2, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    Harsha, Well written, but don't chicken out. While you are at it, how can you ignore the tyrants of current India? The mafia tainted politicians flexing their power and causing incalculable damage to the psyche of the polity while looting mother India? Jai Hind

  • narrie007 on July 2, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    Well said Harsha!! But unfortunately, we don't have anymore "Mahatma"'s in the world!!

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Mate,I am lost.What's the conclusion of this article and what's the message?

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    great article harsha,probably one of your best. indeed ICC cannot afford a feud within,because cricket is a small game...

  • on July 2, 2010, 4:20 GMT

    I think FIFA exactly knows how to conduct business. No wonder these chest beating celts hate FIFA so much. Afterall it does not allow them to perpetrate their thuggery. ICC is finally now getting professional. The effets can also be seen in the penalties imposed on players. Just recently Steyn got fined 100% of his match fee for spitting. Remember nothing was done to that uncouth Mc Grath and the reason how can celts punish their own.