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Ten world leaders (and one rock star) and what they'd have brought to the ICC's top role

Nishi Narayanan

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Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin attends the Daytona 500, Florida, February 14, 2010
Hockey and cricket. Same difference to Ms Palin © Getty Images
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Former Australian prime minister John Howard will become the ICC president in 2012. Apart from being a cricket tragic, he has little experience administering the game. But politicians are jacks of all trades, so the ICC may not be all that badly off under him. Here are other world leaders who may or may not have done a good job running the game.

Napoleon The ECB may have grumbled a bit about having a Frenchman run cricket, but if General Bonaparte had been ICC president, most European countries would be playing cricket today instead of having their heads stuck up in that football thingy. And the Ashes would have had proper historical context, played between "real enemies", France and England, at Waterloo.

Saddam Hussein Speaking of expansionist policies, one man knew best how to make the USA - the Promised Land for the ICC- sit up and take notice. The Bushes will vouch for that. If Iraq had decided to develop indigenous cricket, the USA would have considered it a threat to its existence and tried to take it from them. Several years later they would be fighting on the field and off it, with England and Australia regretting they ever took USA's side, and India and Pakistan regretting losing their "bitter rivals" tag to these two countries.

Gandhi He could do all that non-cooperation stuff to keep the BCCI toeing the line and could convert the Australians into turn-the-other-cheek believers, but the best thing the Mahatma could have done for the game, as its head, would have been to introduce hand-woven fabrics. No more of those burn-my-eyes whites of the England team or the let's-not-leave-anything-to-the-imagination jerseys of Brendon McCullum. Instead, sensible and eco-friendly handspun uniforms that are cool in summer and warm in winter. Freedom that.

Genghis Khan Non-violence would not be his strength, but boy would players follow the Code of Conduct right down to its footnotes if this Mongolian dictator was in charge. Verbal assaults Messrs Johnson and Stryis? Get into the pot of boiling oil and look contrite while you're at it.

Pope Julius II When not crushing opposition ruthlessly with his War of the Holy League, "Il Papa Terribile" (The Terrible Pope) spent his time giving patronage to the art of Michelangelo, Raphael and Bramante and getting St Peter's Basilica rebuilt. Under him, you could be sure Eden Gardens, the SCG, Lord's and the MCG would be world heritage sites and VVS Laxman's wrists and Shane Warne text- and twitter-obsessed fingers would be preserved for eternity.

Sarah Palin You may quibble that she's not an international leader by any standard, but where Palin can help our sport is through her incredible ability to connect with people whether they like it or not. "Y'all know, I'm a hockey mom. Hockey is played with a stick and a ball. So is cricket. So are y'all cricket moms with me?" Hallelujah. And wouldn't we all love it if cricket made an appearance on Saturday Night Live?

Bill and Hillary Clinton As comedian and TV host Jay Leno put it, "Hillary can deliver the woman vote. And, of course, Bill can deliver the other-woman vote. So between the two of them, that's a lot of women." Cricket administrators, did you note that down?

Fidel Castro His communist notions of equality will ensure there's balance between bat and ball. Castro would fight for the marginalised, down-trodden community of bowlers - and bring in cigar sponsors while he's at it.

Bono The way he's going, it won't be long before he becomes the UN secretary general. But where cricket needs the U2 lead singer most is in getting a better playlist for opening and closing ceremonies and during Twenty20 matches. No more of that hard-to-differentiate pop music of the 80s and 90s. So much better to have hard-to-differentiate music by U2 and Bono's elite music-industry friends.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Nishi Narayanan
Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.

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Staff writer Nishi studied journalism because she didn't want to study at all. As she spent most of the time at j-school stationed in front of the TV watching cricket her placement officer had no choice but to send out a desperate plea to the editor of ESPNcricinfo to hire her. Though some of the senior staff was suspicious at that a diploma in journalism was the worst thing that could happen to ESPNcricinfo and she did nothing to allay them, she continues to log in everyday and do her two bits for cricket.
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