Who should be Australia’s ICC representative? July 27, 2010Posted by southasiamasala in : Revo, Rohit , trackback
Fears of an Australian Indian confrontation were reignited again last month after John Howard’s bid for Vice President of International Cricket Council, as an Oceania candidate, was rejected. Had John Howard been elected he would have become the President of ICC after two years, when the current President and a powerful Indian cabinet minister Sharad Pawar steps down. However the controversy did not snowball into a media and a diplomatic tug of war, which partly showed how much John Howard is disliked these days even in Australia.
The Australian cricket board erred in its judgment by nominating Howard in the first place over NZ Cricket chairman Sir John Anderson who should have been the first choice as the Australia-NZ nomination for ICC. Howard’s criticism of Sri Lankan spinner Murali was too harsh. Prime Ministers in Asian countries don’t go about berating the sports persons of other countries. The image of John Howard using tough language after the Indian nuclear tests is more etched in Indian minds than John Howard’s decision to sell uranium to India. Remember John Howard’s treatment of Indian doctor Muhamed Haneef to get cheap votes. Howard also adopted an extreme hard line on Zimbabwe. No wonder opposition to John Howard was overwhelming and came from 6 cricketing nations and not just India. His political past would have never allowed him to be consensual candidate. There are just 10 countries which are qualified to play test cricket and a split amongst them would be disastrous for the future of the game.
John Howard showed he is a thick skinned politician when he traveled secretly to Zimbabwe to garner votes for his ICC nomination, forgetting that he had been canvassing against Zimbabwe for most of his political life.
The issue has still not died down and Howard’s refusal to quit has muddied the waters. Due to his insistence to hold on to the job, he will block chances of other suitable candidates for the post. Holding on his job and refusing to see the tide of current is a trait that comes naturally to John Howard. Howard’s reluctance to withdraw his candidature for ICC Post is ridiculous. The more he stays put the more harm he does to cricket.
Critics have been blaming India and other countries for blocking Howard’s nomination. The question we need to ask is … What if Zimbabwe proposes Robert Mugabe as President of ICC, when it is their turn? Would he be acceptable to Australia? It is like Sheikh Taj Hilaly being proposed as Mufti of Australia. His people have a right to nominate him but he is not going to be accepted by the majority. Australia and New Zealand have a right but the candidate has to be acceptable and non controversial.
It is time for Cricket Australia to propose a new candidate for ICC top job. Australia has scores of better candidates to represent us in ICC and we need to put them forward instead.
Remember the hue and cry in the Indian media against Australia at the height of violence against Indian students in Australia last year. The appointment of Peter Varghese as Australian High Commissioner to India has helped in a big way and taken the edge out of the arguments of those people who said Australia was a racist nation. It was clear if Australia is a racist society it would not have been possible for a person of Indian descent to represent Australia in such a high position. There has been a significant reduction in the rhetoric and anger of Indian criticism of Australia since his appointment.
It is now time to duplicate the Peter Varghese diplomatic strategy in cricket. Dr Harry Harinath is a poster boy of the Australian Indian community and is one of the best examples of the professional acumen that people of Indian origin bring to the Australian community. He landed in Australia with 40 cents in 1971 and was recently awarded an Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and recognised for his services to cricket and the community. Harry Harinath is currently heading NSW Cricket Board and has a lot of administrative experience in cricket both at the State and the National Level. He brings with him superb administrative skills and should be the new choice for Australia and New Zealand for ICC top job. He will be acceptable to all and there is every chance that powerful Asian cricket boards will back him for the post, thereby placing Australia again as powerful cricketing entity.