Full name Percival Henry Frederick Sonn
Born September 25, 1949, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
Died May 27, 2007, Durbanville Medi-Clinic, Cape Town (aged 57 years 244 days)
Percy Sonn, the ICC's president from July 2006 until his untimely death in May 2007, was a straight-talking, hard-drinking bull elephant of a cricket politician, whose pronouncements and actions rarely strayed from the controversial. His most infamous antics occurred at Paarl during the 2003 World Cup, when he drank himself into such a state of inebriation while watching India take on Holland that he was reported to have "almost fallen out of his trousers". An experienced Senior Counsel, Sonn was in charge of the Scorpions - South Africa's equivalent of the FBI - and served as the deputy national director of public prosecutions before moving into cricket administration. In January 2002, as president of the UCB, he caused a public rumpus by overruling the selection of Jacques Rudolph for the New Year Test against Australia, opting instead for Rudolph's black room-mate, Justin Ontong. He had been due to take over as president of the ICC in June 2005, but Ehsan Mani was instead offered a third term in office. Whether this was entirely on Mani's merit, or a consequence of Sonn's intemperance, will remain a moot point. He did win back some kudos with his effective handling of the final days of Kenya's internal crisis, and then took office at the ICC the following year. But he struggled, utterly misreading the seriousness of the Darrell Hair crisis in August 2006, trying to make light-hearted comments when they were the last thing needed. He continued to bumble along, and he was a virtual absentee during the extended World Cup in 2007, appearing only at either end of the tournament. In March 2007 his two-year term was extended by a year, not recognition of his abilities so much as the ICC's inability to decide who should succeed him. He died after suffering complication following routine surgery.
Cricinfo staff May 2007