ZC undecided over former Australian PM Howard


Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) sat on the fence during the International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board meeting in Singapore as former Australia Prime Minister John Howard failed in his bid to become vice-president.
Reports from Singapore yesterday suggested that Zimbabwe was not one of the countries which resisted Howard’s ascendency to the position which would have made him the president of the cricket governing body by 2012.
This follows a series of meetings between Howard and ZC top hierarchy in Harare two weeks ago. The former premier was seeking backing from ICC board member and ZC chairman Peter Chingoka and managing director Ozias Bvute.
Details of that meeting were not released, although ZC said the discussion was ‘frank’.
But at the ongoing ICC board meeting, an Afro-Asian bloc led by India blocked Howard and the ICC has instructed the Australian and New Zealand boards to nominate another candidate before August. The void may be filled by New Zealand’s former cricket board chairman Sir John Anderson, the man Howard beat to become the Australasian candidate.
The countries who signed a letter rejecting Howard were India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Howard’s only supporters are believed to be Australia, New Zealand and England, reinforcing the power of the Afro-Asia vote in world cricket. Sri Lankan cricket officials, meanwhile, are believed to have questioned his lack of a cricketing administrative background, and they may also have taken into account comments attributed to him about the controversial bowling action of Test wicket record-holder Muttiah Muralitharan.
In a statement ICC confirmed Howard’s demise. The statement read: “Following lengthy consideration put forward by Cricket Australia and New Zealand, Howard did not have sufficient support from within ICC board.”
A joint statement from Australian cricket chairman Jack Clarke and New Zealand counterpart Alan Isaac said they “had nominated the best possible candidate from the region under the ICC’s stipulated process”.
The statement continued: “John Howard is an eminent and well-credentialed international statesman, who Australia and New Zealand nominated after a comprehensive selection process.
“We believe cricket needs to continue to seek excellence and dispassionate independence in the game’s global governance.
“We were delighted that the most senior world figure ever considered for this role agreed to accept the nomination.”
Zimbabwe who were expected to be the protagonists in Howard’s downfall did not do so signaling a softening stance towards the Australian who was a harsh critic of President Robert Mugabe. Chingoka had his own ideas and did not pander to the whims of politics in Singapore where he sat on the fence on Howard. Chingoka’s stance rubbishes reports that ZC wanted to block Howard to be installed as vice-president.
Howard was critical of Mugabe’s regime accusing him of human rights abuses and was responsible for banning Australia’s tour of Zimbabwe in 2007 charging that the team would not have enough security in Zimbabwe.