July 5, 2010

Stop canonising Howard

Those who think John Howard would have solved cricket's ills, and ignore just why he was a divisive candidate, have got the wrong end of the stick
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Enough has been said - including in this column - about the manner in which the Asian and African boards stopped John Howard from assuming the vice-presidency of the ICC. Some members, either publicly or through official channels, opposed Howard's candidature well in advance, but the role of some others has seemed sly and underhand. Cricket Australia's indignation at what they see as betrayal by some perceived allies, primarily the Indian board, is understandable.

But what's beginning to grate is an appalling lack of understanding of the nuances of the issue among the leading voices in the Australian media and their cricket fraternity as a whole. It is as if they lack either the inclination or the capacity, or both, to view the issue with a broader lens. Peter Roebuck, who possesses a world view, has touched on the importance of sensitivity. Indeed, it's almost as important as integrity, he wrote. Otherwise the tone has been derisive, shrill and wholly oblivious to sentiment in the parts of the world that view Howard as a poor choice for a global job.

Even more unfathomable is how Australian commentators have suddenly become precious about Howard's eminence. He has been variously held up as a potential saviour of the ICC; a seasoned diplomat who'd have brought peace and unity to the global game; a crusader for justice and fair play, who'd have rooted out corrupt practices from the ICC; and a champion of Test cricket, who'd have restored its dignity and rightful place in the world.

For the sake of informed debate, both these issues need to be confronted.

The day after Howard was turned down, Malcolm Speed, the former chief executive of the ICC, wrote a strong, bylined piece in two of Australia's leading newspapers. He said Howard had been rejected because his appointment would provide ICC with strong leadership that would thwart the ambitions of several current administrators who were looking to downgrade and devalue the role of the ICC. This seems a point of view that is shared among many opinion leaders in Australia. Speed then went on to shed light on some of the characters from the Asian boards he had had the misfortune of sharing space with, and ended by calling Ijaz Butt, the current head of the PCB, a buffoon.

Speed is, of course, entitled to his view of Butt; some of Butt's own countrymen may even concur. But in cold print - and in this age, anything that appears on the internet is instantly available for global consumption - and coming from someone who has headed the ICC's administration, it appeared shockingly crass. Not many Australians would see it that way, because directness is a cherished ingredient of the Australian way of life, but it is reasonable to expect Speed to be world-aware enough to know that calling Butt a buffoon publicly was likely to cause offence.

In the light of Speed's indignation, it is not unnatural to be reminded that it took a newspaper story for him, as the chief executive of the Australian Cricket Board, to come clean about the Mark Waugh-Shane Warne bribe affair, and that as the ICC chief executive he ran the worst World Cup ever, in 2007.

The broader point is sensitivity, and the lack of allowance from Australian thought leaders for why Howard raises hackles in a significant part of the cricket world.

Why indeed?

It is safe to say that, even among Australians, Howard has had a uncomfortable reputation when it comes to race relations. His election campaign in 2001, which milked Australian xenophobia, was widely condemned as racist, and his government policy on asylum seekers was labelled by the United Nations as racist. As the opposition leader in the 80s, he argued against imposing economic sanctions on white supremacist South Africa, but was - rightly - at the forefront of sanctions against Robert Mugabe's despotic regime in Zimbabwe. At best, it can be described as inconsistent.

Worst of all was his treatment of Australia's original people, the Aborigines. He steadfastly refused to apologise for the "stolen children" - an abhorrent practice in which coloured children were forcibly removed from their families and assimilated into white society. And his government's mandatory sentencing law, which required repeat offenders to be jailed for trivial crimes, was widely regarded as targeting Aborigines.

On my previous trips to Australia, during Howard's reign, I have had journalist friends apologise on behalf of the country for Howard. I am a bit incredulous that some of them are now the most vocal champions for appointing Howard as the top man of global cricket

"I find it extraordinary that a key Indian government official is endorsing Mr John Howard's candidature to the ICC." This came not from a member of Zimbabwe Cricket. It came from a man whose surname cricket lovers will be familiar with. Neil Gillespie is the father of Jason Gillespie, and more crucially, chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement of Australia (ALRM). He said this in an interview to an Indian newspaper after it was revealed that Sharad Pawar, the ICC president elect, was backing Howard. Among other things, Gillespie accused Howard of institutionalising "discrimination against Black Australians so that racism is now entrenched within our society".

It is no one's case that the opposition to Howard from within the ICC board rose out of adherence to principle, or a sense of moral grievance. In fact, it would not be surprising if many who stood against Howard were not even aware of this background; some of these people bear questionable credentials for holding high office themselves. But it needs to be acknowledged that there can be a moral case against Howard, just as there has been one against Zimbabwe. There is a difference of degree, of course, but on my previous trips to Australia, during Howard's reign, I have had journalist friends apologise on behalf of the country for Howard. I am a bit incredulous that some of them are now the most vocal champions for appointing Howard the top man of global cricket.

Certainly, calling Muttiah Muralitharan a chucker doesn't make Howard a racist - Bishan Singh Bedi does it all the time - but to those aware, even vaguely, of Howard's politics, it is part a broader pattern. Given cricket's fraught past with race, why bring in a hardline conservative whose presence is certain to be divisive?

The other big argument is that the ICC has lost a great opportunity by spurning Howard. That Howard would have brought rigour and accountability to the global governance of the game. This is so hopelessly naïve, it is almost willful.

To start with, the ICC president is a figurehead. He has no executive powers; he doesn't have a vote; and the CEO reports to the board, not to the president. The ICC itself is an increasingly powerless body, hostage to the wills of powerful boards. There is a perception that the BCCI runs the ICC. Nothing is likely to change by merely appointing a "tough" president. The real reason for the imbalance in cricket's power structure is the imbalance in the cricket economy. As long as India generates three-fourths of global cricket's revenues, the BCCI will continue to dominate the global cricket agenda. It is undesirable but inevitable.

It is so simple that it is amazing so many can't see it. The same ICC board that rejected Howard's appointment would have rendered him inconsequential had he been made president. And how independent would he have been of Cricket Australia, which fought his battle, and of the BCCI, had the Indian board used its weight to swing the case?

If anything, the role of the ICC president is that of a diplomat. What kind of diplomacy would Howard have brought to the table when his nomination itself divided the board?

The sight of Pawar at the head table of the ICC isn't thrilling; there is nothing he has contributed to the game, his political career has been chequered, and his role in the IPL has been questionable. But can we please stop canonising John Howard? He is a man who had no qualms about going to Zimbabwe to lobby for a vote. To argue that he deserves the job because others have been less worthy is like justifying the action of his opponents on the grounds that England and Australia did their worst to stop Jagmohan Dalmiya from becoming ICC president in 1996.

The process might have been gross, but the outcome isn't necessarily a disaster. Bring on Mark Taylor. Now that's what you'd call a worthy candidate.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ZEUS00 on July 6, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    @The_Wog, stop talking up Howard's uncharismatic personality, will ya! Get real mate, you probably recently acquired a bachelor's degree in political science, and are just rattling off statistics which don't mean anything (not even to most Australians). No one ever said that Howard didn't want good for Australia (of course he did), but that shouldn't distract from his blatant lack of regard/sensitivity towards non-Australians. People like Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne etc are still very popular in the subcontinent (I was there recently), so this doesn't seem to be a case of Aussie bashing either. If Howard is perceived as a useless person internationally, it's his own fault, had he been such a fantastic politician he would've managed his reputation better. Just because no one else in Australia wants to employ him anymore, doesn't mean the ICC should! We in NZ wouldn't have tolerated him for 11 months let alone 11 years, notwithstanding John Key's recent paper support to CA.

  • Stevron on July 6, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    It is disappointing that CI has not provided a concise analysis of how ICC nominations are addressed. Governance systems are often subject to dictates of custom - a point not often made in the columns. Mr Haigh's opine for instance that the refusal to approve Mr Howard's nomination isn't democratic is foolish; that a vote must be exercised in a particular way is not democratic. Mr Haigh also ignored the murky manner of Mr Howard's own nomination. By custom though there is a valid expectation from A/NZ that based on previous nominations their candidate will be accepted. The corollary- nominated candidates must have the respect of all the board members. The vote therefore acts to prevent the abuse of custom; it is obvious some people should never be appointed if nominated. In this case, Mr Howard's history was likely to cause issues for other countries and it was inappropriate for Aus to insist on him when it was NZ's turn and NZ's candidate didn't have these issues (I am a Kiwi).

  • jillpreston on July 6, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Future new items in Cricinfo

    Jan 2014-Bangladesh PM labels Bradman a cheat..... March 2014-Bangladesh cricket nominates Bangladesh PM for ICC vicepresidency. .....June 2014-Cricket Australia, and Gideon Haigh wholeheartedly approve BanglaDesh PM for ICC vicepresidency.;;;; There is only one action to be undertaken in view of such chronic magnanimity by CA and GH. ICC should immediately apologize to John Howard and CA, and ask for forgiveness. John Howard should be approved immediately, preferably for an eight year term.

  • The_Wog on July 6, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    We'll stop canonising our most successful PM in history* when you people stop demonising him. The current left-left-left-wing government has finally admitted there was nothing racist about his policies and has adopted them, exposing the Great Lie about Howard.

    He opposed economic sanctions - so? They hurt the poor!

    Nothing racist about saying Murali chucks - so does Botha, and he's whiter than I am. The "Stolen" generation were actually removed from their parents as victims of child abuse, and everyone outside the lobby knows it - this policy applies in all countries today.

    And Australia is the least xenophobic country in the world - India would do well to copy us. (I'm talking to the Mumbai CA, who openly tolerate racial abuse.)

    *saved us from 3 recessions in 1997, 2001 and 2008, halved unemployment, reduced interest rates and inflation, got our borders under control, and the highest real wage growth and biggest tax cuts for Working Families in the country's history

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

    Democracy in Iraq at all cost. Democracy in the ICC only if it is convenient.

  • deucelow on July 6, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    I stopped reading when I got to ".. some of these people bear questionable credentials for holding high office themselves". So your boards - or someone elses - unfit person is acceptable but the Australian and NZ candidate isn't? You're a stooge Sambit.

  • bridget01 on July 6, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    dear oh dear.... and the little sheep come out to play....... As a westerner that until redcently lived in India for a number of years, corruption and bribery were a daily part of life, so much so that it was budgeted for in business plans..... As a'firangi'(foreiner), great lengths were taken to limit my exposure to these common practices.....It seems very clear to me that certain heavy hitters do not want their 'golden goose' tampered with in any way.....moreover it appears the noose is tightening, with the control and 'opportunities' that come with it are being protected, defended and built upon. Sadly, this is not about John Howard or cricket at all.

  • Kumar_NJ_USA on July 6, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

    The gall of the Asian/African cricket boards to turn down the candidacy of a White person! What is this world coming to??? Where are the days when Australia and England ruled the cricketing world and all seemed to be going well (at least for the two now pushed into oblivion). Where are those days when Australia told the minions of cricket (not because of a lack of skill, by the way) exactly where they got off. To now be on the other end of the stick is not the most enjoyable, is it Mr. Prime Miinister. Instead of complaining of how the Indian Nexus has cornered the market, maybe it's time to see it for what it is - the people who pay for most of the circketing events obviously have a bigger say in who they want as their leader. Unfortunately for you, it wasn't meant to be! So, Mr. Prime Minister, take the decision gracefully (I know that is difficult for a person of your stature) and bow out of the cricketing arena, because you are yesterday's news!

  • OZHIND on July 6, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    Sambit missed the point here, he needs to rethink WHY.. "there is an appalling lack of understanding …of the issue among the leading voices in the Australian media and their cricket fraternity.." I am a proud Indian (dark skinned) living in Australia. But I am also an equally prouder Australian. Sambit has not lived in Australia or understood our life, politics or policies during the Howard years. How would an Indian feel, if I argue that former Indian PM Indira Gandhi was a religious fanatic, who massacred hundreds of Sikhs during the Golden Temple raid or that her son -a subsequent Indian PM- was an epitome of corruption evidenced by the 'Bofors Scandal'? Imagine if either of these former Indian PM were alive, and stood for the top spot of ICC. Will any reasonable Indian accept the western world's arguments that they were murderers or highly corrupt individuals? So pls. understand that Australians - from any race or side of politics - cannot accept Howard being labelled a racist.

  • jillpreston on July 6, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    A long time ago I happened to thumb through a book authored by John Howard. It was in 2 parts. Part 1 was titled 'Apartheid in SA, a disgrace to mankind'. Part 2 was titled 'the abhorrent use of drugs in Cricket-the case against Shane Warne'. The foreword was by Speed. Editing was by Gideon Haigh. I would love to read that book again. I was told that the good book is out of print.

  • ZEUS00 on July 6, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    @The_Wog, stop talking up Howard's uncharismatic personality, will ya! Get real mate, you probably recently acquired a bachelor's degree in political science, and are just rattling off statistics which don't mean anything (not even to most Australians). No one ever said that Howard didn't want good for Australia (of course he did), but that shouldn't distract from his blatant lack of regard/sensitivity towards non-Australians. People like Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Shane Warne etc are still very popular in the subcontinent (I was there recently), so this doesn't seem to be a case of Aussie bashing either. If Howard is perceived as a useless person internationally, it's his own fault, had he been such a fantastic politician he would've managed his reputation better. Just because no one else in Australia wants to employ him anymore, doesn't mean the ICC should! We in NZ wouldn't have tolerated him for 11 months let alone 11 years, notwithstanding John Key's recent paper support to CA.

  • Stevron on July 6, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    It is disappointing that CI has not provided a concise analysis of how ICC nominations are addressed. Governance systems are often subject to dictates of custom - a point not often made in the columns. Mr Haigh's opine for instance that the refusal to approve Mr Howard's nomination isn't democratic is foolish; that a vote must be exercised in a particular way is not democratic. Mr Haigh also ignored the murky manner of Mr Howard's own nomination. By custom though there is a valid expectation from A/NZ that based on previous nominations their candidate will be accepted. The corollary- nominated candidates must have the respect of all the board members. The vote therefore acts to prevent the abuse of custom; it is obvious some people should never be appointed if nominated. In this case, Mr Howard's history was likely to cause issues for other countries and it was inappropriate for Aus to insist on him when it was NZ's turn and NZ's candidate didn't have these issues (I am a Kiwi).

  • jillpreston on July 6, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Future new items in Cricinfo

    Jan 2014-Bangladesh PM labels Bradman a cheat..... March 2014-Bangladesh cricket nominates Bangladesh PM for ICC vicepresidency. .....June 2014-Cricket Australia, and Gideon Haigh wholeheartedly approve BanglaDesh PM for ICC vicepresidency.;;;; There is only one action to be undertaken in view of such chronic magnanimity by CA and GH. ICC should immediately apologize to John Howard and CA, and ask for forgiveness. John Howard should be approved immediately, preferably for an eight year term.

  • The_Wog on July 6, 2010, 2:26 GMT

    We'll stop canonising our most successful PM in history* when you people stop demonising him. The current left-left-left-wing government has finally admitted there was nothing racist about his policies and has adopted them, exposing the Great Lie about Howard.

    He opposed economic sanctions - so? They hurt the poor!

    Nothing racist about saying Murali chucks - so does Botha, and he's whiter than I am. The "Stolen" generation were actually removed from their parents as victims of child abuse, and everyone outside the lobby knows it - this policy applies in all countries today.

    And Australia is the least xenophobic country in the world - India would do well to copy us. (I'm talking to the Mumbai CA, who openly tolerate racial abuse.)

    *saved us from 3 recessions in 1997, 2001 and 2008, halved unemployment, reduced interest rates and inflation, got our borders under control, and the highest real wage growth and biggest tax cuts for Working Families in the country's history

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

    Democracy in Iraq at all cost. Democracy in the ICC only if it is convenient.

  • deucelow on July 6, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    I stopped reading when I got to ".. some of these people bear questionable credentials for holding high office themselves". So your boards - or someone elses - unfit person is acceptable but the Australian and NZ candidate isn't? You're a stooge Sambit.

  • bridget01 on July 6, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    dear oh dear.... and the little sheep come out to play....... As a westerner that until redcently lived in India for a number of years, corruption and bribery were a daily part of life, so much so that it was budgeted for in business plans..... As a'firangi'(foreiner), great lengths were taken to limit my exposure to these common practices.....It seems very clear to me that certain heavy hitters do not want their 'golden goose' tampered with in any way.....moreover it appears the noose is tightening, with the control and 'opportunities' that come with it are being protected, defended and built upon. Sadly, this is not about John Howard or cricket at all.

  • Kumar_NJ_USA on July 6, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

    The gall of the Asian/African cricket boards to turn down the candidacy of a White person! What is this world coming to??? Where are the days when Australia and England ruled the cricketing world and all seemed to be going well (at least for the two now pushed into oblivion). Where are those days when Australia told the minions of cricket (not because of a lack of skill, by the way) exactly where they got off. To now be on the other end of the stick is not the most enjoyable, is it Mr. Prime Miinister. Instead of complaining of how the Indian Nexus has cornered the market, maybe it's time to see it for what it is - the people who pay for most of the circketing events obviously have a bigger say in who they want as their leader. Unfortunately for you, it wasn't meant to be! So, Mr. Prime Minister, take the decision gracefully (I know that is difficult for a person of your stature) and bow out of the cricketing arena, because you are yesterday's news!

  • OZHIND on July 6, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    Sambit missed the point here, he needs to rethink WHY.. "there is an appalling lack of understanding …of the issue among the leading voices in the Australian media and their cricket fraternity.." I am a proud Indian (dark skinned) living in Australia. But I am also an equally prouder Australian. Sambit has not lived in Australia or understood our life, politics or policies during the Howard years. How would an Indian feel, if I argue that former Indian PM Indira Gandhi was a religious fanatic, who massacred hundreds of Sikhs during the Golden Temple raid or that her son -a subsequent Indian PM- was an epitome of corruption evidenced by the 'Bofors Scandal'? Imagine if either of these former Indian PM were alive, and stood for the top spot of ICC. Will any reasonable Indian accept the western world's arguments that they were murderers or highly corrupt individuals? So pls. understand that Australians - from any race or side of politics - cannot accept Howard being labelled a racist.

  • jillpreston on July 6, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    A long time ago I happened to thumb through a book authored by John Howard. It was in 2 parts. Part 1 was titled 'Apartheid in SA, a disgrace to mankind'. Part 2 was titled 'the abhorrent use of drugs in Cricket-the case against Shane Warne'. The foreword was by Speed. Editing was by Gideon Haigh. I would love to read that book again. I was told that the good book is out of print.

  • offchances on July 6, 2010, 1:32 GMT

    I am Australian and fully agree with Sambit Bal's analysis- Howard presided over a government which practiced racist policies, and promoted fear distrust in the Australian community for its own political purposes. This was particularly evident in the treatment of asylum seekers and indigenous Australians. I also agree that Howard's remarks about Muralitharan, whilst not in themselves racist, are worrying in the context of his politics. Cricket has the potential to bring nations together and foster friendship among them- there is no place for the politics Howard would bring to the post. I am glad his nomination has failed.

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

    @Rahulbose, Thank you. You hit the nail on the head

  • bobagorof on July 6, 2010, 1:14 GMT

    As I read these comments I laugh - people saying that bringing in politicians will only create problems (as if the current heads of cricket boards from all countries are not politicians), yet again calling for Sir John Anderson despite his coming second out of two during the selection process, somehow finding a way to mention Tendulkar (again)... I'm not a fan of John Howard, but I am a fan of following the procedures set-up and agreed upon by all parties. New Zealand and Australia put forward a candidate, which was originally supported and then massively turned down (before reaching a vote) by the ICC members. So a new candidate should be nominated... but who should be nominated when the members won't say what was wrong with the previous candidate? (Keeping in mind that all of the comments are people's own feelings and not representative of the boards of control).

  • goatlover on July 6, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Sambit Bal...you are the real dude! Succinctly put, indeed!! As for the little Johnny, he should go to the other ICC (International Criminal Court)

  • JonnoMc on July 6, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    "But it needs to be acknowledged that there can be a moral case against Howard, just as there has been one against Zimbabwe."

    To speak of Australia under Howard and Zimbabwe in the same breath encapsulates the offence that an Australian takes to this article. Rather than trying to introduce the shades of grey, which, doubtless, everyone appreciates on the issue of Howard as a candidate, you've merely denigrated him - and Australia as an adjunct. You've oversimplified and overstated issues of huge political sensitivity in Australia under Howard; failed to contextualise issues on immigration; and most horrendously of all, gone so far as to imply that mandatory sentencing was a racially motivated - which I would challenge you to provide compelling evidence for. It simply is different to saying that it affects aborigines the most. Your role is not to smear - but demonstrate a balance. It's this selective and insensitive reporting that breeds enmity. Stick to cricket, or be quiet

  • dhurandhar007 on July 6, 2010, 0:34 GMT

    @Chris_P: Sorry no one so far detailed to you the reason for Howard's rejection. Sorry for the long wait. Here it is finally - Howard had only 3 votes out of the 10 and therefore he lost the election to the post. I hope this detail will finally calm you down as well all other Australians and non-Australians who have been wating for it. Phew....finally, the end of the matter! By the way, Howard must have been bombarded with millions of letters from all Australians who did not vote for him when he was contesting the office of PM, providing him with reasons why they did not vote for him.

    The ICC STILL have not detailed to Cricket Australia the reason for the rejection. That is all CA want at the moment, so where is their courage to give the reason? They and all Australians are still waiting.

  • NeilCameron on July 5, 2010, 23:44 GMT

    After thinking about it for a while I have decided that Howard would not be a good choice. If Tony Blair were being presented as well, I would knock it back too. Both Blair and Howard were complicit in the invasion of a nation that was not threatening anyone and, while this was a divisive issue at the time, the cricket world is made up of many nations who opposed the invasion. Moreover Howard did turn Australia "rightward" and appealed to the xenophobia of racists while in power - hardly the sort of quality to expect from a potential leader of the ICC. I am Australian.

  • Stevo_ on July 5, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    It is basically a nomination, and it always has been. Very rude and disrespectful of the other boards to shun it. I would be annoyed if I was the Australian and New Zealand board. It was their turn to choose a candidate, they went along with the other boards nominations in previous years and now their nomination is voted out. Terrible form by the other boards, but I suppose thats what you have to expect in the IPL era.

    Roebuck puts it best http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/howard-dismissed-by-a-low-full-toss-20100630-zmtk.html "though realising his nomination was risky, CA believed Howard was bound to be accepted because of a recently adopted rotational system. It was this region's turn to choose a candidate. Previous nominations had been rubber stamped by the other countries. Once he secured the antipodean nomination, by the casting vote of an Australian businessman, Howard was supposed to be a shoo-in. But the devious are not so easily rolled. Perhaps, too, CA overplayed its hand"

  • andrewm on July 5, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    Sambit, I just thought I would point out a factual error in your article. You can blame Howard for a lot of things, however mandatory sentencing isn't among them. Under our constitution sentencing of criminal offenders is a matter for the states, so the Western Australian and Northern Territory governments need to take the blame for these laws.

  • EddyM on July 5, 2010, 22:49 GMT

    People genuinely do not like Howard. Why accept someone that you dislike? I hate these moral Aussies and the like. Just accept your place at the table and take your money.

  • bumbagpoida on July 5, 2010, 22:36 GMT

    I've never felt obliged to post any comments before but I have to agree with Sambit Bal's observations 100%. The former Coalition Government's policy on asylum seekers was "cringeable" at the very least to many people in Australia. John Howard lost touch with the electorate on this and other issues to the point where he was voted out of his own seat. CA and NZC were incredibly naive to nominate him and I believe the correct decision was made to reject his nomination, although the way the other boards went about it was clumsy to say the least. I can guarantee you that there are plenty of other Australians out there who are (even quietly) glad that this never happened.

  • daandaan on July 5, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    Hi all, Just wanted to say that as an openly non racist born and bred Aussie, i simply dont care at all about Howards non election/selection, he was a conservative liberal prime minister and good for economic growth. He stayed too long and went too far with ridiculous work place reforms and was hammered in 2007, losing his own seat in the process. John Alexander, a former top Tennis Pro and now commentator is ruuning for the same seat as a liberal candidate, tells you something of Aus, Politicians running for sporting office and vice versa. We are a naive and young nation after all. The point is, NO ONE in the real world, the man on the street I mean, even cares about the Howard thing, I doubt most hard working Aussies even know about it. So stop making out that Ausies are racist and that we even care about this childish episode. 1 racist policy a country does not make.

  • TACS on July 5, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    If CA and NZC think, Howard is the best candidate to lead ICC, first make him CA/NZC president then bring him to ICC. See how his political prowess he uses to take CA/NZC to next level. Questioning why other countries rejected Howard is not democratic, it is more of political. Under democracy, everyone holds equal rights, opportunities and significance. No one can question other countries why Howard was rejected rather they should accept he was not selected democratically.

  • Manoj1234 on July 5, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Great article. I am very surprised at how upset the Australians are because of Howard's rejection. I think it is more because of the loss of prestige and power this rejection implies, rather than their belief in any of Howard's supposed virtues. The ICC board chief is more of a diplomatic position and because of that Howard, being such a divisive and disliked figure is not suitable for it. The ACB should have realized this simple fact before setting out to get itself humiliated. A person who is perceived to be a 'racist by reputation' cannot hope to lead a multiracial organization like the ICC. If he was rejected for those reasons then I wholeheartedly support the decision. The reaction of the Australian cricket writers has been very revealing indeed as to the structure of contemporary Aussie society. Manoj

  • Grimmett_C_V on July 5, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    Unfortunately, the way the media have covered the selection process has not done any favours to NZ. Many of us in NZ are outraged that Howard was chosen. In theory, a NZ administrator should head the ICC next, if this rotating policy is for real. However, Cricket Australia did not want a NZ head and therefore bullied us into the Howard decision. It was NOT an independent committee that selected Howard, rather it was 3 Aussies vs 2 Kiwis. And even Aussie commentators like Peter English agreed that Anderson would have been a better candidate. If the ICC is truly committed to rotating the presidency, then we should have our chance here in NZ. I fear that the next few years are going to see smaller, less well off cricket associations such as ours marginalised as the heavyweights, India, Australia and England try to take over the game. NZ Cricket runs rings around Cricket Australia as far as administration goes, our body is very professional and has excellent schedules, overseas players etc

  • m0se on July 5, 2010, 21:14 GMT

    Anyone who carries a racist tag should not be in any position that involves Asian and African countries. Since Howard was the top honcho in Australia, I assume his philosophy wasn't that abrasive to the Australian general populace but would be devastating to non-Australian non-white populace. His political experience is a plus but his lack of experience in cricket administration is a big negative. He will not be remembered for his role in the ICC as he has done bigger things than this so he has no reason to take it as seriously as someone else who lives and breathes cricket and is hungry for this position.

  • realredbaron on July 5, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    I think it's a shame for Australia that Howard was nominated in the first place

  • realredbaron on July 5, 2010, 21:01 GMT

    The very best constructive argument I have ever read in cricinfo. I was kind of confused reading Sambit's last article on Howard's rejection but surely Sambit has hit back at the nonsense debate over Howard's nomination or rather the consequent rejection. I, as an ardent cricket fan breathed a sigh of relief when the racist and hypocrite Howard was ultimately rejected by the ICC board. As I live in Canada, I may not be a part of the hardcore cricket culture, but still it would have been the biggest shame in cricket's history if Howard passed the vice presidency election. And talking about the process, I think democracy prevailed over the bully of couple of member boards. Something preposterous but not entirely surprising is the manner in which the Aussie and English media are backing up Howard even after the overwhelming rejection of him by the Test playing nations.

  • samirhajarnis on July 5, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    I kinda like the western concept of democracy ..." yes you must have democracy ... but i'll tell you who to choose".

    Get real guys ... you either have democracy or call it a nomination and be done with that .. may not be pretty, but that's what you signed on for isnt it?

  • topspeed55 on July 5, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Autralians were just trying to oblidge their EX-PM and it really back fired. There was just no thought process in choosing someone like Howard. The most surprising part is the country so good at choosing right players and captains can be so stupid at choosing Howard. I mean they have some one like Richie Benaud, Allan Border, Mark Taylor, Ian Chappel and list goes on and on. How can some one like Howard deserve a place in ICC if he cannot respect a simple and a most respected cricketer Murlitharan.

  • Scgboy on July 5, 2010, 20:44 GMT

    you have it . lets start a new ICC with India as the head .then it will be pure utopia here on earth. no more bickering or pandering to others.The BBCI is the perfect model for how a well organised unbiased professional sporting administration should be run.Its clear open & honest dealings are a true light unto the nations. Australia , England ,NZ or SA, WI we don't need you, we can survive without you. Then it can be called true International cricket. lo and behold , India will be number one in all three forms of the game. the perfect solution.great for ratings , great for the players great for the 70 million fans yet sad for the death of anything that represents the true 'spirit of cricket" in the means and manner of how its meant to be played.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on July 5, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Mr. McGorium by the way why did you mention that You are an Indian. Nothing wrong in thowing your veiws but no need to mention your country. Plz dont think that you will be praised of doing this (criticizing BCCI or backing CA) despite being Indian (if you are really). Dont worry, if Howard is really a true leader he will win.

  • jr2012 on July 5, 2010, 19:49 GMT

    "As the opposition leader in the 80s, he argued against imposing economic sanctions on white supremacist South Africa, but was - rightly - at the forefront of sanctions against Robert Mugabe's despotic regime in Zimbabwe. At best, it can be described as inconsistent. "

    This is proof alone for not only rascism but what a hyprocrite Howard is, and what a bunch of hypocrites the people who voted for him. Any governement or its' people that endorsed to not sanction the White Supremacist SA government are a DISGRACE and should for moment stop think of the SHAME, instead of wallowing in your pretentious arguments, just think!

  • indicricket on July 5, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Chris_P Sure I have not been to Australia (thank god). But I have a close friend who was at the Adelaide Oval so I know how it feels to be non-white in an australian stadium especially when your team is winning. Of course you ignored my veto comment. You are the last person in this planet I should learn relevance from. It is very interesting to note that the aussie cricketers who had the most say about the Indian team, Symonds, Hayden, Gilchrist..are the ones first in the line queuing to play in the IPL. Sorry mate we are doing the talking you guys are doing the listening. Like it or lump it.

  • Rahulbose on July 5, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Thanks for putting out the mirror for Aussies to see. We have previously endured the Speed precidency and a stint of Howard would have been unfortunate.

    The only point I have is that you wrongly disamiss the Murali incident. Bishan Bedi has a reputation as a loud mouth and no one is ever going to nominate him for ICC president. When Howard insulted Murali he was the Prime minister and there was no reason for him to inject himself into the Murali controversy. Would CA ever support the nomination of any politician who has publicly insulted Bradman without any provocation?

  • bonaku on July 5, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    nice one sambit.... hope this will put end to this topic atleast on cricinfo. If you realy want it pls move it to page 2

  • inswing on July 5, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    Openly racist, biased, and divisive candidate for a diplomatic post defeated by a democratic process called voting. What exactly is the problem with that, again?

  • bolthaa on July 5, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    I agree with Srnins......In these troubled times around the world this is the only solution...DO NOT CREATE PROBLEMS by bringing politicians..

  • spiritwithin on July 5, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    @ Chris_P..analyse da situation before blindly hurling abuses and mocking other boards/countries here...six countries were already opposed to howard even before election plus zimbabwe was abstaining so ICC did'nt deemed it fit it necessary to elect howard as vice president,as simple as that,dont twist the obvious fact,a nominated candidate is supposed to be supported by majority as per the rules which was written much before this incidents ghappened so no point in showing ur frustration here and calling us 70% as wrong,nominate a better person and u will see him getting elected easily,will u temme y anderson was not chosen??may i call it arm twisting since NZ board is not influencial??just like anderson was not chosen i will say howard was also rejected and rightly so..and also as per ICC rules,reason need be given for an election process,u dont like it??that means u dont believe in democracy either and dont respect laws..get over it...

  • kdcricket on July 5, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Chris_P: The fact remains Nominal GDP of India is higher than Australia....

  • raghavmadan on July 5, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    @Chris_P I tend to have a patronising tone rather than a brash and arrogant tone. Sue me. And yes, "We" is the other 7 nations. That's 70% of the ICC. That's around 2 billion people against 30 million people. THAT'S global representation. Get with the times. Third, I repeat, no one needs to explain anything to anyone. CA has no right, and indeed, is in no position to ask an explanation. The fact that you have read 100 people's version of their personal reasons of opposing JH does not mean that you have the right to an explanation. BTW in your reply to kdcricket, where exactly were the rules of democracy breached? Did you want your former PM to be embarrassed on a world stage? Fact remains that the other 6 (7) nations tried to do the decent thing by informing CA of the unacceptability of JH. How exactly were the rules of ICC/Democracy breached?

  • ToTellUTheTruth on July 5, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Aarrrghhh!!! Just stop it alreaady. All this vitriole about whether JH is a racist (now this argument is de-generating into whether AUS is racist or whether India is bad). Who cares? It doesn't look like ICC can survive if these fatty old politicians doon't run it. Who cares about a prez role anyway? Abolish the darned practice and have all full test member boards send one ex Test player as rep of their board. Let the board hire out side help for CEO etc. Let the board preside over the matters such as scheduling, umpires and betterment of cricket and promotion of cricket. Let the admin stuff be run by outsiders, who are accountable for the board. Each member gets to be a director of something for two years (only two directors), followed by a promotion to VP for two years and then finally retire as head of ICC after two years. This way every country and every board will be happy and Cricket will be much better orgranized. Damn these politiicians and this process.

  • McGorium on July 5, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    (continued)... So yes, Howard isn't a martyr nor should he be canonised. I think his problems stem from sanctioning the Mugabe regime, and calling Murali a chucker. The former was the right thing to do, the latter an opinion many share. As I understand it, Howard's argument against sanctioning SAF was that it would be counterproductive (they had already been under sanctions. The counter-productivity argument has been made in many cases, such as Saddam's iraq, Iran and North Korea). As Sambit mentioned the ICC chairman is a toothless tiger, so he can't really do any damage. It's like this: "I don't care if my brother is horrid, I will support him to the hilt. Don't you dare mess with him". BCCI followed this principle, supporting Zim and SRL. Perhaps the Aussie media is following the same principle in expressing outrage over Howard. Old boys network, both. BCCI needs the asian and african countries to be on its side. It can't rely on CA and ECB. Howard just got caught in the crossfire

  • McGorium on July 5, 2010, 16:31 GMT

    (continued from earlier)... Sambit's second point is perhaps a little better, that a person whose job is to build consensus can't operate when most of the constituents disapprove of him. Of course, the exact cause of said disapprobation is unclear, which is CA's point. Secondly, your arguments contradict each other: if you think the President is so toothless that he cannot change anything, then why does it matter if a racist Aussie (your words) does ascend the throne? Why should anyone oppose a toothless tiger, simply to antagonize CA? It's realpolitik, IMHO. The white vs. non-white divide. BCCI and others will need each other to lobby against CA, ECB and NZC if necessary. I suspect BCCI doesn't trust CA and ECB (the other two powerhouses) to agree with them consistently, and hence has gone back to the old coloured block. Thus you have veritable nobodies in the ICC (Zim and SRL) calling the shots. It's got nothing to do with Howard. It's whom India perceives as friends, and sticks to.

  • bovs7 on July 5, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    When referring to the indigenous people of Australia, the correct term is "Aborigines" with a capital letter. I have to say, I find your ignorance on the matter very culturally insensitive.

  • McGorium on July 5, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    I'm Indian, and I disagree with Sambit. Howard's political opinions vis-a-vis Australia's internal affairs, regardless of your opinions on it, has nothing to do with his ability to run the game. Not unless he was the spearhead of a mass genocide or something of that gravity. Politicians are by nature divisive. Even Obama wasn't a poster-child of the religious right or the social conservatives. Someone isn't good or bad for an admin job just because you disagree with their political views. Australia's immigration policy and race relations is its own problem to sort out, and Howard's opinion on it has nothing to do with it. Sharad Pawar has the more serious allegations of corruption leveled against him and yet nobody thinks his integrity as the chief of ICC is compromised? I suspect there is some truth to the Aussie claim that Howard would prove to be a "Thomas Beckett". He would turn against the hands that voted him into power, and that would rock the boat. (continued)...

  • Chris_P on July 5, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    @kdcricket. Again, statements without facts. 1.1 Billion people divided by the nominal GDP as against 20 million divided by the GDP sees a difference of over 1000%. You have to be kidding me quoting that, surely? India is not even on the radar per person. Everyone is talking about a vote, but there was no vote. There was a supposed process set up and agreed by ALL member bodies and just because it didn't suit some because of yet to be released reasons, all of a sudden the rules change? This is democracy? Surely you jest. This is antiquated thinking at the worst example. @raghavmadan, Your patronizing post isn't lost on me, either practice what you preach or don't make illogical statements. "We" is who, the other 7 nations? This is supposed to be a global representation, get with the times. I have read so many reasons as to why Howard wasn't picked, about the only one not yet mentioned was the Kennedy conspiracy. That, my friend, is the exact question why a reason needs to be provided.

  • Clyde on July 5, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    Cricket-lovers expect cricket administrators to be people who have been very good at the game - particularly in the sportsmanship department. Very few would want it run like the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It would not be cricket-loving thought: there would be a vacuum in a whole area of cricket that is of great interest. Cricket columnists would go out of business. The game would move to the financial pages. Choosing someone like Howord or Rudd would be the madness of a March hare running up and down the commodities desk.

  • rickyk6 on July 5, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    I don't understand one thing, why India still continues as a member of ICC, which is started by England, Australia? Why doesn't India start its own International cricket body? In such case 90% of world countries join Indian side, and the existing ICC will be vanished. We are generating 75% of cricket revenue; I don't see any point to even to waste our time to make these arguments. After all it's just an organization, any one can manage it not only just England and Australia.

    Speed, Howard… I would like to be the best friend of you on this earth to help you understand, your time is GONE…!!! There was a time when Australia and England controlled world cricket. It's just thing of past, now you need to understand the reality

  • Leg_Theory on July 5, 2010, 15:20 GMT

    Sambit, you seem to denounce howard based on his political history yet you back Mark Taylor. Do you realise Mark Taylor was/is a liberal and therefore a Howard supporter? Also, calling murali a chucker is not racist its more like having a sound knowledge of the cricketing basics.

  • bolthaa on July 5, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    Scrap the policy of honorary post in ICC. A post like ICC presidency needs a full time administrator to run the business. A post that requires a person who is passionate about cricket. I urge everyone to understand what "passion" means. It is neither with JH nor with SharadPawar. If they were passionate, they wouldnot be in politics. Both are unfit for ICC President post.. Any body who says ex-cricketing legends cant be ICC presidect if they dont have business mind cannot enter, I would like to differ. It is passion which cannot be created or replaced. ICC president can always have excellent business minds around him to take intelligent decisions.

    SO IT IS SO SIMPLE... NO POLITICIANS...NO CONTROVERSY...ESPECIALLY NO HATRED AMONG CRICKET FOLLOWERS...BETTER ADMINISTRATION....gud things goes on.. BAN POLITICIANS. THEY ARE BUGS EVERYWHERE. ....

    I would like to say that a political mind is always corrupted, because such is the nature of politics...

  • theswami on July 5, 2010, 14:40 GMT

    attaboy ....... exactly what the world thinks

  • mccaddy on July 5, 2010, 14:39 GMT

    Wow. An article, written by an Indian, who is now an expert on Australian politics and social opinions - working for a cricketing website. Extraordinary journalism...(please note the extreme sarcasm!)

  • darecric on July 5, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    Nice article Sambit ! It takes courage to take a stance against the crowd and write a fact based article showing that the crowd could be wrong in it's opinion...keep up the good work !

  • knowledge_eater on July 5, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    "Stop Canonising Howard" but hey I think you just did. Or was I reading an article wrong way ? hahaha Personally if I was him, I would have been sitting somewhere in Caribbean or Hawaii or somewhere in Europe enjoying my retirement. At age of 70, come on. He has done enough job. Enjoy retirement. I don't even feel like insulting old people as often as I want to. Its just wrong. Leave this Earth with dignity, why is he axing himself. I don't think its John Howard's fault, people who are surrounded by him are forcing and pampering him to push for the job. Its just wrong and insulting for elder man. Young administrators/businessmen around him want to hop on the pony ride and rule. Hey he is 70 years old, how much more work do you want from him. And its so easy to manipulate person who have been prime minister for 11 years, their wish to become king will never go away. Stop taking advantage. Pick another better person who will listen to himself and others as well.

  • S_Sen on July 5, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    "Speed is, of course, entitled to his view of Butt." As are we all, I've always thought.

    Career politicians like Howard and Pawar ought to be kept far, far away from cricket administration. But perhaps Pawar can take a job in Kabul promoting the development of Afghan cricket. He's done so much for the Afghans already, after all.

    Anyway, at a time when such wonderful football is on display, who cares about the dirty bits of a dying sport. When Sachin Tendulkar retires, international cricket might as well be retired as well.

  • raghavmadan on July 5, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    @Chris_P Sorry buddy. Too many adjectives, not enough substance. If you have nothing to hide, it doesn't mean that you go explaining yourself to every tom, dick and harry. I don't know which democracy you are coming from, but we never have to explain to losing candidates why we didn't vote for him/them.

  • Foghorn_Lebhorn on July 5, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    As an Aussie, I'm amazed how well you've researched John Howard's murky past. He has done many deals with many devils to "achieve" what he has. This humiliation on the world stage has been a long time coming, and is well deserved.

  • kdcricket on July 5, 2010, 14:05 GMT

    Mr Chris_P sir....err slight correction...the "developing nation" in your quote happens to have a higher nominal GDP than the "developed nation"(and with half the land resources...talk about efficiency). Further, let me know of a democracy which says that the decision making authority lies with 30% populace when 70% oppose it..please don't take my ignorance of not knowing such a democratic rule as a typical developing country ignorance. Transparency...yeah Howard is as transparent as a polythene sheet and thus was described by UN as racist(not my words). @ youjustlostTheGame...a certain Mr Speed had the audacity to call a board president "buffon" in media...talk of being uncivilized. @ MarkBrown...sir..JH or no JH the decision to go with the Asian bloc for hosting CWC 2011 has already been taken and cannot be changed. Further even if JH would have been present during voting, he could have done nothing as there are no veto powers and he would just have to convene the majority's decision

  • pom_basher on July 5, 2010, 14:03 GMT

    Jon Harwad is better off doing his business in Vienna. Maybe his countryman Arnie would have been a better choice. So when he called Murali a chucker, was he simple misinformed, an idiot or a racist?

  • SagirParkar on July 5, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    you have nailed it right on the head, Sambit. a very well written article and well composed arguments. i support the candidature for Mark Taylor or even Steve Waugh. What cricket needs is sensible people at the helm who accept that money is essential in the game but need not be its ultimate goal. it is sad to see politics interfering in sport to the extent it does at present and i would give anything to see former sportsmen in important administrative positions - the type of people who know, love and care about the sport rather than petty political issues and coffers of money. what grieves me most is that it was the BCCI started to use financial clout to exert its influence within the ICC. the introduction of the IPL and the defiance of the BCCI to follow the FTP might yet prove to be even more divisive than the current Howard issue. i fear that cricket might yet see worse things than match-fixing...

  • Chris_P on July 5, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    @FarhanZ . Obvious reason? What is it? When you state you don't have to give a reason it's mainly due to the fact you are trying to hide something you yourself are guilty of. And yes, you basically have confirmed what I said about the BCCI. You don't like the ref's decision, you spit the dummy and stamp your feet till you get your way. That is the way of the bully. There was a process that was followed and just because they didn't like the decision, they over-rode the process. Sound familar? This was the old wayof doing things. We have barely advanced. One more thing, please don't believe me to be a John Howard supporter. I have NEVER voted for him nor his party and found most of his political stances disgraceful. But we are not talking about the politician here, we are talking about someone who shares the same thing as all of us. Passion about cricket. He certainly doesn't want this for power, money or prestige but for the love of the game he obviously has.

  • catalyst213 on July 5, 2010, 14:00 GMT

    Good job Aussies, whinged at soccer now its cricket, get over it boys take it or leave. If not for India and IPl all your players would be doing Underwear Ads like Pat Rafter.

  • Vasi-Koosi on July 5, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Speed was one of the worst ICC administrators. He was a bigger buffoon than Ijaz Butt. Butt had compulsions which lead to contradictions. Speed was outright incompetent. The point is not if Howard is a racist or not, he is a controversial figure and it does not auger well for such a person to hold the office of an ICC chief. Regarding BCCI wielding power; Economics will definitely play a part, grow your share in the money you bring and the power will be shared automatically.

  • Chris_P on July 5, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    @ indicricket I am not either. Have you attended any games in Australia? Just for your little mind, the South African cricketers were abused in Perth by a small section of crowd who were expat South Africans. Some 120,000 South Africans have relocated there and, unfortunatley, brought their racial issues with them. They were abused in Afrikaan so tell me how anyone except South Africans could even speak it? As I have stated, I have never attended a test match ground where this carried on, so how does make me anything else except informed? By no means am I saying it doesn't exist, but there have never been outspoken emotoins or abuse that were picked up as most Australians would not have stood for it. For god's sake, please make relevent statements in future rather than uninformed opinions.

  • JT0511 on July 5, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Mr Bal, why has India taken so long to show its anti-Howard hand? It had opportunities to do so in both 1999 and 2004 when your team played the Prime Minister's XI during John Howard's term as Australian PM. The matches, which Mr H invariably attended, could have been rebadged or even cancelled. If they had been CA would surely have got the message about his acceptability to India and some other ICC members.

    As for your question about whether Australia would vote for Robert Mugabe as ICC VP, I'd say that if Mr M stood down as ruler of Zimbabwe he would could be a suitable board member for an organisation whose power and influence is waning.

  • 78aj on July 5, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    This article is such a joke, you've lost my respect now sambit bal, your just on this bandwagon of hate to win more fans.

  • pom_basher on July 5, 2010, 13:33 GMT

    well done ICC to keep a racist candidate away from the post. It should also be kept in mind that this candidate was FORCED on NZ. I hope they nominate Anderson now.

  • darren-oz on July 5, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    Thank you mickdid & Chris_P for casting light & exposing the double standards.

  • lakx on July 5, 2010, 13:26 GMT

    @Chris_P, Strange that you mention Bhaji issue to show there is no "bipartisan decision making". Bhaji said "Maa-ki" which means "mother's" the beginning of a common abuse in Hindi. Now why did the Aussies think that it was racist? Because they were racist and when Bhaji said "Maa-ki" they interpreted it as "monkey", It is like you shout chief and a thief hears it as "thief". A biased person can see only bias. To prove it, Tendulkar swore that Bhaji did not say "Monkey" but the word of a honest person like Tendulkar was ignored and Bhaji was punished. Australia was biased and ICC's bipartisan decision making match referees and umpires were and still are biased.The referee accepted the statement of an Aussie player fielding far away from the scene but ignored Tendulkar's statement even though he near Bhaji and literally called Tendulkar a liar. Now did ICC give reasons for not accepting honest and clean Tendulkar's statement. Then why do it now for rejecting a dubious racist Politician.

  • gusgemba on July 5, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    No body is like you Mr.Howard.You better mind your own buissness.

  • indicricket on July 5, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Chris_p must be dumb or ignorant or both. The australian crowds are one of the most racist of all cricket spectators. It has always been. Just ask the South African players who were at receiving end of racist taunts not so long ago. Not so long ago the autralian and the english boards institutionalised racism by having veto powers.

  • Chris_P on July 5, 2010, 12:59 GMT

    @raghavmadan. Of course not, let them just go of the usual way the developing countries respond. As I stated, this is not the way of democracy. We wouldn't want to expose ourselves as hypocrites now, would we? You have to understand, if you got nothing to hide, you be transparent and open, but these words are not practised a great deal in some parts, are they?

  • bustermove on July 5, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    There is plenty of food for thought in this article Sambit but if you think it's a whole lot more "balanced" than Gideon's recent efforts then you are seriously misguided. You suggest that "what's beginning to grate is an appalling lack of understanding of the nuances of the issue among the leading voices in the Australian media...". From an Australian perspective what grates far more than this is being constantly painted as a racist nation every time someone from Oz questions the actions of the BCCI and really that's what this whole bunfight is about. The standard defence when all logical argument fails is to cry, "Racist". Well here's a tip for you. I am white anglo-saxon. Among my dearest friends I count an aboriginal, a Vietnamese ex-"boat person" and a Chinese student. My boss is an Indian and many of my workmates are asian immigrants. I am a pretty typical Aussie. So are they. When a life such as mine is possible in India then you can call me and my countrymen "xenophobic".

  • Paulk on July 5, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    What a clearly laid out article. Thank you Sambit Bal. It was a pleasure to read it. And I think they should make you the ICC President.

  • FarhanZ on July 5, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    But Chris_P, what other reason does CA want apart from the simple obvious reason that John Howard lost 6 out of 10 votes in a process that was governed by a democratic process - which candidate does the electorate wishes to choose? As far as I can see, it's got nothing to do with 'courage'! Btw, as far as I know - and being a Pakistani, defending the Indian Board doesn't come instinctively to me - the BCCI reacted against punishing Harbhajan because it was convinced that racism wasn't involved in H's reaction, something that was not fully understood by the Australians. And 'youjustlostTheGame': what is a 'fair process?' I never knew that humans were ever able to define 'fairness'...you might have your conception of 'fairness', but who says anybody ought to agree with your definition? The last time I know Mr John Rawls attempted to define fairness and justice, but after 40 years the extent of how successful he was could be guaged by the number of people who have even heard of his name!

  • KingOwl on July 5, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    Chris_P, in typical Anglo-Saxon fashion tries to divert the topic. So, Chris_P, if you can counter the arguments of Sambit Bal, please do so. This is not about Bhajji or crowds in India. This is about Howard's fit for a job. So, if you can, show that Howard is not divisive, that he is not a racist, that he is not a lousy great diplomat, that overall, he is not a self serving low-life. If you do, some people will be convinced.

  • FarhanZ on July 5, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    I'm not sure if canonising is the right word, but I'm actually quite intrigued by Howard's comment of yesterday...here it is: "No nation should dominate [cricket, presumably]"! Mr Howard is a seasoned politicians and I'd like to ask him about what his views were, when his country, Australia held a veto in the ICC. That wasn't very long ago and I'd like to know what Mr Howard did about that domination that his country enjoyed over international cricket for over a century...or if he wasn't able to do anything about it, then did he atleast have anything to say about the situation when two countries - Australia & England - actually formally, almost enforced a domination of cricket! Or is it the same old pathetic story of dominating when you can, but when you can't anymore, then you start preaching moralizing sermons...and you suddenly start disliking the whole idea of domination? That's just your pipe dream, Mr Howard, and you just need to study Human History 101 to understand that point.

  • Samar_Singh on July 5, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    It had to happen and indeed happened just due to Howard's disrespect to subcontinent's sentiment and political over thoughts.... no comments on this but Indian's as a powerhouse of ICC will destroy all cricket...symptoms already seen in Bhajji and symonds case... IPL being played against the international rule of cricket..is there any rule of strategic time out in ICC rules for T20?? Is it not against the viewers right to watch full over of cricket without ads(IPL shows ads in between balls not only overs) ?? Pawar is heading ICC just coz of BCCI's muscle game which i should say will not do any good for the game... Desi's are more racist than the Aussies or the English...India's internal crisis are enough examples on this.. ICC should be headed by cricketing brain not political... Selection of ICC supremo should be on voting basis with 1 vote per cricketing country(all) not only some bunch of test playing nations if it wants to be a real international sport ...

  • MarkBrown on July 5, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    not totally off Topic,..but let's remember that the hosting rights CWC2011 was rightfully Aust / NZ's turn. The Asian block selfishly vetoed it. When is Australia or New Zealand going to host a decent ICC event ? 70% of cricket's income globally comes from India, so having JH involved is an obvious threat to xenophobic Indians

  • My2c on July 5, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    The fact that he was prepared to suck up to Zimbabwe in a search for votes shows me enough of what kind of candidate Howard would make. Good riddance, it seems ...

  • nervousnineties on July 5, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    Thanks for a well-written article. People asking for a reason for Howard's rejection are being at best disingenuous. CA has scored a stunning and frankly incredibly clumsy own-goal. I think it is quite sad that CA put forward a candidate that only 3 countries- all of which have the Union Jack in their flag- could support. By doing so they stoked up divisions within the game in a most stubborn and childish way. They called the bluff of the cricket world but unfortunately they got trumped. By not going through with the vote it could be argued that the ICC spared Howard complete humiliation.

  • Amit68 on July 5, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    I think all the back story and intrigues are irrelevant. To do a job.....any job, you first have to have the capability to get the job. No matter what the job is. It seems that Howard did not have the capability to get this job. End of story.

  • EddyM on July 5, 2010, 11:40 GMT

    Gideon Haigh should be made to read this article every day before he puts pen to paper.To ChrisP - CA bent over backwards to sort out the bhaji issue for what? money.

    Why don't Aussies get their own house in order before starting to criticise others?

  • raghavmadan on July 5, 2010, 11:08 GMT

    @Chris_P Just for your viewing pleasure: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080203/jsp/sports/story_8857393.jsp and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7058556.stm . Oh, and the ICC is NOT REQUIRED TO GIVE A REASON TO ACB. Is that so hard to understand?

  • SathyaPeraboina on July 5, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    I agree... average cricket fan is least bothered who's heading ICC (or any other position for that matter). But, WELL SAID SAMBIT, finally some common sense prevailed. Phew...

  • nafzak on July 5, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    Well written article. I agree 100%.

    As we say in the West Indies - Free at last! Massa day done gone, Massa day done gone!

  • Chris_P on July 5, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Yeah. Well done Sambit, cater to the peanut gallery and you'll get the bobbing heads. It makes me laugh the way you guys toss the race card around when it suits you. At no time ever in the last 30 years have I seen cricket games in Australia have stadiums reacted and racially taunt players the way Andrew Symonds was taunted by the Indian crowds and what did the BCCI do? And when Bhaji raically abused Symonds and was consequently banned what did the BCCI do? They threatened to end the tour unless the ban was overturned. So much for consistent thought processes and bipartisan decision making. The ICC STILL have not detailed to Cricket Australia the reason for the rejection. That is all CA want at the moment, so where is their courage to give the reason? They and all Australians are still waiting. This is the way modern democracies work you know. Come on Sambit, this article was a poor reflection on what has been, to date, some outstanding editorials. Leave the sucking up to others

  • youjustlostTheGame on July 5, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    @bkraks21, to qualify the hockey statement, I was referring to what we could refer to as 'modern' hockey, not the basic game. Furthermore, "when did calling someone Aussie/Kiwi a idiot make one a an 'uneducated hick'" - If the shoe was on the other foot, and I had labelled all people from South Asia as idiots, I'd be labelled as racist ... oh wait, you already labelled me a 'white supremacist' and you have never even met me. I just wish that the apparent pervasive negative identity cycle affecting too many people [on both sides of the argument] that post here would end [note: this term refers to negative classroom behaviours such as the constant feeling of being a victim]. But yes, it is "us" who are "jealous" of "you" because one side can not even abide by the rules that they helped put in place! "If you so-called educated ones can generate that much of revenue, you are welcome to rule the Cricet World again" - No one other than India wants to rule, fair process is all anyone asks for

  • hattima on July 5, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    It seems some people are forgetting that just two days ago Mr. Bal wrote an article supporting Mr. Haigh. In fact I am quite surprised, albeit pleasently, that Mr. Bal has chosen to write this article.

    In support of lodger67, I'd also request cricinfo to correct the grammar and syntax errors of the comments they decide to publish. It should not be very tough since the comments are moderated anyway. I hate it when I find typos in my comments that I can not correct any more.

  • axdvg on July 5, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    Get over this issue and give it a rest will ya Cricinfo... For cricket followers this is a non-issue. Everyone is excited at the prospect of Aus v Pak, Ashes, Ind v SL, NZ v SL. Barely few cricket followers worry on a regular basis the admin side of things. Cricket will take care of itself, Howard or Pawar or whomever. Even the regular Aussies don't care a bit other than the media men that need controversies to sell papers. Week long deliberation on administration matters is churlish.

  • mickdid on July 5, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Sambit, well done, defend the indefensible. Plays well with the many subcontinemtal trash that dominate these posts (and I have Indian and Sri Lankan mates). I do apologise to those with more balanced views of how cricket is being poorly administered at the top. Malcolm Speed's views on these issues were a breath of fresh air....he saw a lot of incompetence and corruption from the inside. Remember when he sought to have that audit report of Zimbabwe released publicly...oh, yes, we he was given gardening leave and those corrupt practices of Zimbabwe were hidden. As to racism...there is a terrible lot of hypocrisy displayed on this website by many posters from the subcontinent. Married to a Chilean, like my brother, I just want to see cricket well governed, as do the majority of those supporters who live in Australia, New Zealand and England. Also, as many overseas posters may not know, those knocking Howard from within Australia are mostly biased and deluded political leftists.

  • KingKallis on July 5, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    I dont understand these silly arguments from people around the globe!

    First of all, there was a VOTE reserved for members and they DID NOT want Howard right there - its as simple as that!

    He is not a wanted man...period!

  • lucyferr on July 5, 2010, 9:17 GMT

    I don't believe it. A Cricinfo piece I can actually agree with!

  • plsn on July 5, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Oh beez ! you don't want Bal to write about Oz politics but read Gidiot's sermons to the largest democracy on the planet! You might discover the irony in your advice.

  • kdcricket on July 5, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Here you have a prime example of good journalism versus sensationalism. Take for instance Mr Haigh, whose hatred for detractors of Mr Howard is bordering on madness(as is apparent from his vengeful writing) and his thoughts are not backed by facts but his own rationale(which nobody cares or appreciates). Sambit has done an excellent job of providing readers with facts hitherto unknown and leaving it upto the reader to decide on this subjective topic, unlike Mr. Haigh who tries to force his views. Fact of the matter still remains that Howard has been rejected and life must move on. That he is a good/bad choice is subjective and the fact that whatever CA/NZC do, they cannot get Howard elected because 7 nations are against him and whatever logic I use, 30% remains a minority. So as sum1 in this thread had said, bring on Mark Taylor, or for that matter anyone with apt credentials and history.

  • bulla on July 5, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    Surprisig that the author has not dwealt a bit more on the most significant piece of evidence that shows Howard's loose cannon character viz. the support for the War in Iraq. Despite being democratically elected Howard didn't pay heed to the overwhelming majority opinion in Australia that vigorously opposed to send troops into an invasion without a UN mandate. In that sense, Howard supported an illegal military operation and that alone should disbar him from a position in the ICC.

  • Tayles_100 on July 5, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    I think it's wrong to criticise John Howard for his failure to apologise for Australia's 'stolen children'. Whatever your view on that episode in Australian history, only those who were directly responsible are able to apologise for it.

    For someone who was not directly involved to apologise would be a gesture devoid of genuine meaning or sentiment. Even worse, such a person is actually using the exploitation and suffering of others as a means of making themselves look contrite and compassionate, and winning the approval of the public.

    All that said, we should be wary of any former politician who wishes to take over the ICC. Professional bureaucrats like to flex their muscles and leave an imprint. They invariably become petty tyrants and will accept no divergence of opinion from their own. Consequently, they pull things in radical new directions that harm the game, and tie it up with pointless red tape. The best ICC president would be one who is most keen to leave things be.

  • Rag-Aaron on July 5, 2010, 7:54 GMT

    What I like about this issue is that the articles are becoming more and more informed and balanced as time goes on - and this, the latest article, is the best. What I don't like about this issue are the things these balanced articles are telling me. Basically it appears that the ICC is dominated by a bunch of self serving scoundrels and so CA decided they'd send their own self serving scoundrel in there to take the fight to them. What they didn't take into account was the fact that Howard is a throwback to the bad old days (not so long ago) when England and Austalia ruled the ICC with their famous colonial sneer. It appears that it never occurred to the Aussies that Howard would rub everyone up the wrong way or even that it would provide the other scoundrels with the perfect excuse to oppose him. The only people to have come out of this with any integrity are the New Zealanders - but then when you're the most power-less board in the ICC integrity is all you've got.

  • Gizza on July 5, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    Exactly the rejection was towards Howard, not Australia or New Zealand. Even Peter Costello, who is from the same conservative party and spearheaded Australia's economy when Howard was PM would have been a better choice (as long as he's interested in the game). All the Australian and NZ cricket boards had to do was vote for someone UNCONTROVERSIAL. Uncontroversial doesn't mean bad. Lots of people think that Howard was a good prime minister but those who didn't like him HATED him. That makes him divisive.

    OTOH someone like Mark Taylor is loved by everyone in Australia and everyone in the rest of the world. And he loves cricket. His commentary on Channel Nine isn't very exciting but he's passionate and intelligent. Diplomacy requires maintaing good relations with everyone and Taylor can do that. If everyone is happy (From the giants like India to the tiny cricket countries like New Zealand) then cricket will move forward in all of its three forms.

  • NISH67 on July 5, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    Bravo Sambit ! The most factual and unbiased article on this controversy - You have covered all the points aptly and sent a reminder to those crying foul because of " little John's " rejection that for once the ICC have taken a far thinking decision !!!

  • bkraks21 on July 5, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    @youjustlostTheGame - Hockey was first played in Eygpt. This fact shows how well educated you are. You still have that white supremacy in ur head it seems. Being Educated does not make u Non-Racist by default. As for the comments of mkhan1965. when did calling someone Aussie/Kiwi a idiot make one a an 'uneducated hick'? Aussies are just jealous that Asia is the powerhouse of cricket now. Get over it and stop mauning. If you so-called educated ones can generate that much of revenue, you are welcome to rule the Cricet World again. Everyone know what Eng/Aus did when they were the boss. If Asia stops playing Cricket where will your cricketers earn money from. Does IPL money rings any bells? You guys may have invented cricket but Asians are the ones who play passionately nowdays. Just check how many Asians play in ur counties.

  • Ajay42 on July 5, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    For the first time, someone has articulated the fact that the mandate is agaisnt Howard the individual and NOT against Aus/ NZ. Why is the BCCI chary ofnaming the numerous reasons for which Howard is disliked when Malcolm Speed can be so appallingly intemperate in print? I agree that the subcontinent sometimes has an unnecessary chip on it's shoulder vis a vis the Australians but the Aussie media's deification of Howard post this affray has been unbelievable.

  • VipulPatki on July 5, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    Sambit, I hope that you have sent a copy of this article to Gideon as well! Excellent article. In fact by hyper-exaggerating the effects of the rejection of JH's nomination, Australian media themselves are guilty of splitting the ICC along racial lines. Gideon Haigh's articles, with their Cricinfo presence, represent an ugly face of the gang of such demagogues to the sub-continent readers. I hope Haigh's good senses return soon from their extended sick-leave.

  • lodger67 on July 5, 2010, 7:16 GMT

    Sambit, I absolutely agree with just about everything you have written here, except the part where you descend into the generalisation that not many Australians would see Speed's comments about Butt as crass. That generalisation risks falling into the same category of non-world-awareness to which you are referring here. As an Australian, I am deeply ashamed of what Speed and Howard, as others, have said and written in the name of this country in years gone by, and I do see Speed's comment as crass. Given that I do agree with your article, I also think it is a pity that as an Editor yourself, you have allowed so many errors in grammar and syntax to litter the item. I only make this comment as a request that whoever does edit these articles be better equipped to ensure that valid comment is not undermined by poor editing.

  • rustygates on July 5, 2010, 7:16 GMT

    Everyone has had a say in this and I have found it interesting but it is starting to become a bit boring. Now lets move on to what this game is all about and let the players do their talking on the field.The game will always be bigger, regardless of format, than any administrator. Who really cares who is running the game? The game has been instrumental in breaking down all manner of barriers in many different countries long before any of us were born. All nations are aware that there are many threats to the game from other sports as well as internal divisions, but that is just the reality of the 21st century. All politicians are born liars wheresa most test cricketers have a respect and a reputation to uphold. That is why they are selected after years of toil regardless of race, creed, religion etc.We as cricket supporters have a lot to be grateful for. Bring on the game....

  • catalyst213 on July 5, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    Homer Simpson can do a better job than Howard and Speed put together. Its Lions territory whether its Asiatic or African and pride comes from it not Kangaroos or foxes.

  • Reggaecricket on July 5, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    All employers these days look for "team players" because lets face it; it is of paramount importance to be one. If these 6 or 7 boards ignored their concerns and Howard got the job unopposed, what good would it have done World cricket to have a President who lacks diplomacy and is viewed with suspicion by a majority of the members of the ICC? These boards have to be hailed for nipping a problem in the bud and for taking a brave decision in the interest of the game. Don't forget that Howard once said that Asian immigration needs to be slowed down. I can understand if he said that immigration needs to be slowed down, but why target Asians? Four of the 10 Test playing nations are Asian and then there is colored Zima, SA and the WI! How can anybody be anti Asian and run the ICC suiccesssfully! Howard's goose was cooked a decade before he applied for the ICC job!

  • popcorn on July 5, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    What else can you expect from a typical Indian writer? What would you and your clan have said if the nomination of Sharad Pawar had been opposed? As you have accepted,he possesses no qualifications whatsover to head the ICC. I believe he is doing a lousy job of holding down prices of food, which is his full -time job. Any comparison between Mark Taylor and Sharad Pawar, Mr.Sambit Bal? Why didn't you nominate Sunil Gavaskar or MAK Pataudi instead of Sharad Pawar? You make me sick.

  • Rooboy on July 5, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    Typical Bal article ... Australians bad, indians good rah rah rah. I'm sure such articles and unbalanced analysis are well received by much of Mr. Bal's target audience, but such lack of balance and even lack of understanding portrayed by this article do the author no credit at all. No one is canonising Howard, what a ridiculous statement. Typical attitude ... it's OK for the author to demonise someone with little basis, while at the same time attacking others who dare to express an opposing opinion.

  • Nihontone on July 5, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    Well said! I'm an Australian and I am embarrassed that Howard was put forward as a candidate. He was always going to be divisive.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rahul_78's comments about "sanity prevailling"! I think EVERYONE needs to get a grip. I also think the media needs to take some responsibility for this situation. Unfortunately, the instantaneous nature of reporting these days means people don't always have the full story and are very, very reactive. This goes for media in Australia and India.

    I also agree with calls for Mark Taylor to put forward as a candidate. He is very astute man with an extremely deep knowledge of the game of cricket.

    Just my 'two cent worth'.

    Cheers TONY

  • del_ on July 5, 2010, 6:41 GMT

    Sambit, your articles are usually well written and come from a place of good knowledge - unfortunately you are lacking in the latter this time.

  • moosa_sweeper on July 5, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    i for one being from new zealand was not so aware of howard's policies but am certainly aware of the divisive nature of his candidacy. it is my opinion that the austrialian board should recognise this and accept the opinion of all the other boards because if they do not, they will only come across as arrogant and ignorant which would not be helpful to the image of themselves and their country in the eyes of the rest. the reputation of australia, particularly in the indian media, is chequered anyways and it will only damage this further. businesses that do not include any research are bound to fail. similarly, a stubborn stance if adopted by australia will only cause further damage to themselves. racism, anyways, is a very sensitive topic particularly for people who have been subjected to it, particularly by ethnic whites; and it doesn't take too long for people to play this card. millennia-old wounds will take a long time to heal. hope the australian board can see from this perspective

  • Priyam-Sanjeev on July 5, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Sambit,

    An insightful & thought-provoking article. It is ridiculous that CA singles out Indian cricket board as the culprit. India may have the muscle power to flex ICC but it isn't always the muscle power. Is it? A better candidate would've fixed the mess.

    - Sanjeev

  • catalyst213 on July 5, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    Bring on Richie Benaud or Sir Richard Hidley. We don't need any Howards or Hairs. CA lacked commonsense, others responded, had their say which was very fair and just in all rights. Its no point now in calling Howard a racist or defending it, just get the Right guy and dust will settle. Gideon Haigh take a lesson from this article.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on July 5, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    You see guys even a writer has come out an echoed what I've been trying to get across. I pretty much ignored the rest of the article once he wrote along the lines that the ICC president is merely a figure head without much say. How can u have a presidency turn over without proper campaigning, manifestos and some sort of SENSIBLE elections?! I repeat...the ICC NEEDS REFORM. If they cont. to play these little kiddy games, they will become the laughing stock of the world!

  • boooonnie on July 5, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    I always thought Howard was an unusual choice by the Aust/ NZ boards. It is generally recongnised, even by his supporters, that international relations and cultural sensitivity was not a strong point of his leadership. His closest international ally was George W because he shared the same problem! However there is sniff of dodginess surrounding this whole affair that just doesnt seem to sit right for a lot of people. I certainly hope Howards rejection wasnt for his stance against Mugabe.

  • Sekhar_S on July 5, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    Very insightful,Sambit.That line about Gillespie was very informative. The case of Sri Lanka opposing Howard has vengeful motives behind it.They could not get back at him when he called Murali a chucker.Now when an opportunity for revenge presents itself,they have taken to it like ducks to water.Of course,they cannot officially say that they are opposing him because he called Murali a chucker.That would sound childish,wouldn't it ? I hope that Mark Taylor makes it.

  • Bang_La on July 5, 2010, 5:45 GMT

    @youjustlostTheGame, indeed, you are highly educated and your writing style shows the glitters of well education. Thank you. Now, would you please put a few lines about your countrymen, EdwardTLogan and redneck, just as you spoke about that uneducated hick mkhan1965? Thank You.

  • eminem on July 5, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    Great article Sambit. Where is my dead brother Gideon. Rise up o thee and read this article. Sit down in the corner and compare yours to this one. This article is just great, spot on, on the head, and no cleshes or subtleness. Pity Gideon cant read or write like this.

  • Bang_La on July 5, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    Thank you Sambit. Very informative artcile to enlighten us all. Two points that, I think, you did not mention in your article, one, ACB claimed that Howard's selection process was rigoroous but it was reported instantly online that NZ had a better candidate and he was dished out shocking him and many others. Second, Paward did not enter into a selection process but became ICC President, an ornamented position. Now, as you described, ICC President has no executive power so the issue raised by white media of Powar's paucity of time becomes null and void. And I have to point out one word in a sentence you used " He is a man who had NO QUALMS about going to Zimbabwe to lobby for a vote". I read it as he is a man without shame and self-dignity to travel Mugabe's country to lick Zimbabwe cricket executives' boots for a vote :).

  • amit1807kuwait on July 5, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    High time that someone called a spade a spade. Well done, Sambit! Wish more articles like these were published at Cricinfo.

  • jollyjumbuck on July 5, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    Mandatory sentencing is a state law, not controlled by the Federal government and nothing to do with Howard. Sporting sanctions were in place against South Africa during Howard's government. Racism is an ugly charge merely to defend India's ungentlemanly breaking of an agreement.Indian cricket is the boy who owns the bat but wants to go home when he gets out.If Indian cricket keeps isolating itself, it will have noone to play with but itself. Then it can be World Champion of India.

  • Rahul_78 on July 5, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    I fell to understand one thing, australians are known for their no nonsense aproch and straight talk then why majority of its media and administrators have failed to understand that the remaining members have only turned down their selected candidate and it is not the case that no one else from australia or newzealand will be allowed to be elected to the post. If for eg name of mark taylor had been forwarded instead of howard wld we have been debating on the isssue currently? Pls..lets allow some sanity to prevail..

  • ilovesachin10dulkar on July 5, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Please do not use these articles to increase the distance between the boards. Try to think neutrally over the issue and learn something from Harsha bhogle's last article about this matter. All the cricket fans know that this all is rubbish. No pollitician is good for the ICC job. I even don't like Sharad Pawar in that manner too. He may even doesn't know the minimum distance of the boundary from the wickets. So please write something useful and think who can do the job better. Mark Taylor, John Anderson are couple of good candidates who can really think about the game, and about the game only. CRICINFO administrators are requested to ban articles who spread such nonsense.... Mr Samir, it was a good article, but still a little bit biased. But u have definitely made the point.

  • Zimbabwean on July 5, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    As a born and bred Zimbabwean, I would like to thank Mr Howard for speaking out about about the shocking goings on perpetrated by the despotic patron of Zimbabwe Cricket. Unfortunately,speaking out about African murderous dictators is clearly unfashionable as most are plain ignorant about the goings on or prefer to keep their blinkers on to shield themselves.

    If you look at the history of Zimbabwe Cricket, there is no doubt that corruption and zanufucation is complete. The writing was on the wall years ago and people of integrity like Henry Olonga and Flowers tried to warnl the world what was going on. They were ignored and evil prospers. Zimbabwe's alies are South Africa and India. No way did Mr Howard have a chance. If it was another Australian, or even a New Zealander, the very same would apply.

    To Mr Howard, I say go well. You are friend of the people of Zimbabwe and we salute you for your efforts.

    As for world cricket, let the inmates rule the asylum like zanupf rules Zimbabwe

  • ilovesachin10dulkar on July 5, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Well said Samit. Writers on cricinfo are writing anything they think of, without really thinking the wider impact of it. They are going hard on it becoz they cant bear the fact that their former PM is axed from ICC nomination. First thing, if u loved ur PM so much, why did ur country kicked him out from politics. From the history i have read about Mr Howard, I think he deserved it and well done by the aussie mates. Poiliticians are all same wherever u go. I also o not admire Mr Pawar as an ICC president and he is a shame too. But the argue that India made other boards to vote against JH is completely rubbish. The relations b/w BCCI & PCB are not healthy enough to get on the same boat. And if that happens, there must be some good reason for it. For the sake of the game & for the harmony of the aussies and asians shared in australia, please stop spreading such offensive articles and increase the hateredness. Use ur pen to solve the matter, not to put oil in the fire..

  • Foxtrot210789 on July 5, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    @ Beez

    Couldn't say it any better myself.. Someone who led a country for that long did obviously A LOT more right that wrong, and yes you can pick out certain bad points, but can't you do that with any politician? especially a leader of a Nation? Does anyone mention that our economy was strongest under him? unemployment at its lowest? No.. Im not a massive Howard fan, but the bloke knows how to govern and make good decisions.. This is a very stinky situation for world cricket

    The current ICC president is the agriculture minister in India, doesn't even have 100% of his time dedicated to the job, i would be more annoyed as an Indian person that ministers are giving 100% to their most important job..

    Also, people say its a democracy system, well not really, its a rotational system. slightly different.. and the vote was established as a formality so that someone like Mugabe doesn't get elected..

  • TheOnlyEmperor on July 5, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    I think Kylie Minogue would be a great substitute for Howard. She would know how to bring, fashion, glamor and entertainment and more importantly money into the game. She would be able to promote the game a lot better in the ME, Americas and Europe and isn't that one of the key roles of the "leadership" in ICC? She could be ICCs face to the world, representing a trim image instead of all those other pot bellied administrators. I say, give Lalit Modi a role too in the ICC, now that his fallout with the BCCI is complete! He would not only know how to keep the BCCI in place but how to make them fume when required. And what an organiser to have! He could host the cricket WC in Brazil and make a success of it! :P

  • CricFin on July 5, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe should be Zim's choice when it is due.

  • youjustlostTheGame on July 5, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    As an Australian, and an educated one at that I can say that I never voted for 'little Johnny' and that many of his policies were distasteful to put it nicely. His job was that of a politician, his job was to play on the media, the public hopes, fears etc. to get elected, and as I mentioned that included the implementation of various distasteful policies, in a whole range of portfolios, not just in immigration and 'border security'.

    Of course, I can not say that he is definitely a racist any more than I can say that he was just doing his job. What I CAN say is that reverse racism is just as bad as 'regular' racism. World Cricket really needs to take a long hard look at itself: Look at poster 'mkhan1965' and his comment calling Australians and 'Kiwis' stupid. This is a example of an 'uneducated hick' who does not know better in this day and age. If you don't like people of British descent, don't play Cricket or Hockey. They brought you those games.

    Cricket's problems are obvious....

  • NeilCameron on July 5, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Cricket players should run cricket. International Cricketers should run the ICC board.

  • D.V.C. on July 5, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    I really hate defending John Howard. I voted against him at 4 elections. However, I find the assertion that he is an out-and-out racist to be misleading. That seems to be the line many are taking, but it's not quite right. It is fair to say that his policies on asylum seekers were xenophobic and defensive. That is somewhat different to being a racist though. Furthermore, though it is true that he once supported the "One Australia" policy he recanted that position as opposition leader 15 years ago, instead championing Australia as a uniquely multi-cultural country. It is fair to say that his policies on South Africa and Zimbabwe were inconsistent. Though it could easily be argued that he saw the error of his ways on SA, and that Zim simply saw the consequence of that changed stance. Howard lacked sympathy on occasion (sorry), he saw the technicality of things before the symbolism of them, to me that made him a bad PM, but that wouldn't necessarily make him a bad cricket administrator.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on July 5, 2010, 4:32 GMT

    Making ex players administrators simply because they are ex-players is as disastrous as bringing in career politicians into cricket. While the ex-players have no management skills, the politicians are simply lying opportunists. I think this system of a pair of countries putting up candidates for the top jobs ought to be scrapped. Let there be collegium which votes people in. The Howard supporting media have lost their marbles when they suddently say that ICC is all bad simply because Howard lost. Speed showed lack of etiquette when he spoke poorly of his incoming successor. I say keep Howard out, for the same reason why Tony Blair and Musharraf need to be kept out. The game can do without such people. And since when did Aus muster the credibility to lecture others on democracy? Even Eng has lost that right! Leadership is not about being a political heavy weight. It's not about muscling in the media and making a board room defeat seem as if national pride has been snubbed.

  • Percy_Fender on July 5, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    I am glad that this Howard story has finally been put in the right perspective by cricinfo. I do not wish to add to this sordid chapter of the ICC except to say that no matter what the fallout of this in terms of relations, the ICC is going to come out second best against the BCCI unless of course someone like Mark Taylor or John Wright steps in. To most people,John Howard does seem like he is fielding at first slip for Australia with Gideon Haigh at forward short leg.

  • EdwardTLogan on July 5, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    You are a muppet of the highest order. Get off your high horse, stop having a go at any Australian who makes a semi-controversial comment and crawl back into your corner. Howard a racist? I don;t think so. And as for not saying sorry to aborigines - look what good it did Kevin Rudd. Howard as PM was looking out for Australia, as the role requires. As president of the ICC he would do the same. I sincerely hope he does get the posiiton in the future, if so little rodents like you will all be scurrying for the corner....

  • Aubmic on July 5, 2010, 4:27 GMT

    Nice article Sambit. Even if Howard isn't a racist, the fact that everyone else percieves him to be one is reason enough for him to be not suitable for the job.

  • IJustLoveCricket on July 5, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    Gideon wanted answers... and here they are... Plenty of reasons why Howard was rejected.

  • redneck on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    sambit, i dont think bringing up the stolen generation is irrelevent. no aussie PM appoligised before howard either so its not exactly howards perogative to not do it! besides howards govt. was no more responsable for that black spot in our history than what the current german govt. is for holocaust (which was going on at the same time as this)! hardly fair to bring that in as a point against howard. i think the main beef from australias point of view is that cricket australia chose to not veto pawar, mali and manning when it was their nomination dispite reservations at the time. they saw diplomatic relations with the other boards as more important, than who the puppet for the next 2 years was going to be. i think that not having the favor returned when it was australia and new zealands turn is what has put noses out of joint!

  • NY-NY on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    What are the credentials of John Howard? What benefit to cricket did Aus saw when they kicked down John Anderson's nomination? Comparing John Howard to John Anderson is like comparing Bush to Obama. To be on the record Anderson is more like Obama in his experience in cricket administration. Howard was brash, arrogant and ignorant. He made sure he ticked off everyone who is not white and was a key ally to Bush when he invaded Iraq to implement "Democracy". The same democracy now Howard and his fellow country hate so much.

  • fairdinkum on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    Your article presents a depressing view of the ICC. Agreed due process is actually not agreed, the ICC Presidential position is powerless, and who cares if previous nominees to the board are political appointees (ie by their national governments) and dunderheads. In mounting arguments against John Howard, "your worst of all" reasons included mandatory sentencing being introduced by his government. Petty crimes sentences (which affect most aboriginals) are set by State and Territory governments not Federal which means Howard had nothing to do implementing them. As for the zenophobia, bear in mind that in his last year in office, 60% of migrants to Australia were African or Asian. A divisive figure he was, and I didn't vote for him, but he is not a criminal, not subject to vested interests and has the time and commitment for the job.

  • ian_robinson on July 5, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    spot on Sambit - the tone from the Australian press is near nonsensical. the general gist is that "none of us really like Howard, but he should be there because its undemocratic to go against the rotational system". this is arrant idiocy. democracy is all about the right of choice. world cricket does not want Howard. enough said. if Howard really cares about cricket, as he proclaims, he should just withdraw his candidacy.

  • JijiJacob on July 5, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Well said.Howard definetely don't deserve any position in ICC.I donno why Cricket Australia is supporting this guy who don't know what is cricket and as far as I know he's one of the biggest racists Australia had even seen.In last March Howard praised Indian board and its contribution to World cricket but now he blames them for his defeat at the ICC elections.

  • mkhan1965 on July 5, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    "Bring on Mark Taylor. Now that's what you'd call a worthy candidate."

    Just I said earlier, we know better than you stupid Auzzies/Kiwis, who is better suited for the job.

  • jillpreston on July 5, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    Now this is a better and balanced article. To expect anything that is sane or balanced from gideon haigh has become wishful thinking. Thank you Sambit Bal

  • Beez on July 5, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    What absolute tripe. And take offence at that if you will.

    John Howard is not a racist - suggesting that he was turned down for the job on the basis that he is are just inaccurate and display a lack of understanding of the cases mentioned at length above.

    If Howard's rejection of sanctions against apartheid South Africa are racist then Helen Suzman and the parliamentary PFP must have been racist too - anybody who has the slightest knowledge of South African politics and issues would know that suggestion to be laughable. His approach to boat people asylum seekers is simply pragmatic and seen as protecting Australia's borders and applies to white Afghans as well as darker Sri Lankans and others. The use of aboriginal examples can be applied to politicians of any hue in Australia and simply indicate a total lack of knowledge of Australian politics.

    I would suggest that Mr Bal gets another, more knowledgable, writer to give opinion pieces on issues of which he clearly knows naught.

  • evenflow_1990 on July 5, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    very good article. sums the situation up perfectly.

  • prashnottz on July 5, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Yay, Sambit vs Gideon continues. I suggest you two rent a room and talk things out there. Cricinfo deserves better debates and articles.

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  • prashnottz on July 5, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    Yay, Sambit vs Gideon continues. I suggest you two rent a room and talk things out there. Cricinfo deserves better debates and articles.

  • evenflow_1990 on July 5, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    very good article. sums the situation up perfectly.

  • Beez on July 5, 2010, 3:35 GMT

    What absolute tripe. And take offence at that if you will.

    John Howard is not a racist - suggesting that he was turned down for the job on the basis that he is are just inaccurate and display a lack of understanding of the cases mentioned at length above.

    If Howard's rejection of sanctions against apartheid South Africa are racist then Helen Suzman and the parliamentary PFP must have been racist too - anybody who has the slightest knowledge of South African politics and issues would know that suggestion to be laughable. His approach to boat people asylum seekers is simply pragmatic and seen as protecting Australia's borders and applies to white Afghans as well as darker Sri Lankans and others. The use of aboriginal examples can be applied to politicians of any hue in Australia and simply indicate a total lack of knowledge of Australian politics.

    I would suggest that Mr Bal gets another, more knowledgable, writer to give opinion pieces on issues of which he clearly knows naught.

  • jillpreston on July 5, 2010, 3:38 GMT

    Now this is a better and balanced article. To expect anything that is sane or balanced from gideon haigh has become wishful thinking. Thank you Sambit Bal

  • mkhan1965 on July 5, 2010, 3:39 GMT

    "Bring on Mark Taylor. Now that's what you'd call a worthy candidate."

    Just I said earlier, we know better than you stupid Auzzies/Kiwis, who is better suited for the job.

  • JijiJacob on July 5, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Well said.Howard definetely don't deserve any position in ICC.I donno why Cricket Australia is supporting this guy who don't know what is cricket and as far as I know he's one of the biggest racists Australia had even seen.In last March Howard praised Indian board and its contribution to World cricket but now he blames them for his defeat at the ICC elections.

  • ian_robinson on July 5, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    spot on Sambit - the tone from the Australian press is near nonsensical. the general gist is that "none of us really like Howard, but he should be there because its undemocratic to go against the rotational system". this is arrant idiocy. democracy is all about the right of choice. world cricket does not want Howard. enough said. if Howard really cares about cricket, as he proclaims, he should just withdraw his candidacy.

  • fairdinkum on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    Your article presents a depressing view of the ICC. Agreed due process is actually not agreed, the ICC Presidential position is powerless, and who cares if previous nominees to the board are political appointees (ie by their national governments) and dunderheads. In mounting arguments against John Howard, "your worst of all" reasons included mandatory sentencing being introduced by his government. Petty crimes sentences (which affect most aboriginals) are set by State and Territory governments not Federal which means Howard had nothing to do implementing them. As for the zenophobia, bear in mind that in his last year in office, 60% of migrants to Australia were African or Asian. A divisive figure he was, and I didn't vote for him, but he is not a criminal, not subject to vested interests and has the time and commitment for the job.

  • NY-NY on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    What are the credentials of John Howard? What benefit to cricket did Aus saw when they kicked down John Anderson's nomination? Comparing John Howard to John Anderson is like comparing Bush to Obama. To be on the record Anderson is more like Obama in his experience in cricket administration. Howard was brash, arrogant and ignorant. He made sure he ticked off everyone who is not white and was a key ally to Bush when he invaded Iraq to implement "Democracy". The same democracy now Howard and his fellow country hate so much.

  • redneck on July 5, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    sambit, i dont think bringing up the stolen generation is irrelevent. no aussie PM appoligised before howard either so its not exactly howards perogative to not do it! besides howards govt. was no more responsable for that black spot in our history than what the current german govt. is for holocaust (which was going on at the same time as this)! hardly fair to bring that in as a point against howard. i think the main beef from australias point of view is that cricket australia chose to not veto pawar, mali and manning when it was their nomination dispite reservations at the time. they saw diplomatic relations with the other boards as more important, than who the puppet for the next 2 years was going to be. i think that not having the favor returned when it was australia and new zealands turn is what has put noses out of joint!