Joe Hendren

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Its the wrong ICC - Howard as President of the International Cricket Council is a joke

In a move that stinks of pure cronyism and 'jobs for the boys', Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have nominated former Australian Prime Minister John Howard to become President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2012.

The only ICC John Howard should be sent to is the International Criminal Court for sending troops to the illegal war on Iraq.

As Peter Roebuck says, the International Cricket Council is "no place for this inexpert right arm slow" and the actions of Cricket Australia in promoting Howard as their candidate is "as pitiful as it is disrespectful". "Plain and simple, he is not qualified for the job".

To be fair to New Zealand Cricket they resisted backing the Howard appointment for some months, but the Australians just would not let it go. New Zealand Cricket put forward former banker and cricket administrator Sir John Anderson for the job, and by all accounts he is a constructive and credible candidate, as well as being an existing ICC board member. That said, even the appointment of Anderson would not be free of the stench of cronyism. Anderson is the former CEO of the National Bank, which just so happened to be New Zealand Cricket's major sponsor for many years.

Under a protocol adopted by all cricketing nations a few years ago, it is Australasia's turn to choose the next President of the ICC, and Australia and New Zealand were expected to chose a candidate by the end of 2009. "Instead they kept arguing and were obliged to ask the ICC to extend the deadline by two months. Inevitably the other nations chuckled. Administrative bickering was supposed to be a subcontinental custom."

Cricket Australia appears to believe Howard can act to curb on the growing Indian dominance in the administration of the game, something Roebuck says is "much resented" in Australia. But how can such a divisive figure, and at times a divisive figure on race issues at that be an effective leader when cultural understanding. credibility and diplomacy are key parts of the job? While Howard did recant on his infamous 1988 remarks about curbing Asian immigration, modern South Africa may be interested to know Howard did everything he could to undermine the anti-apartheid movement, even going as far as to tell then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser he had it wrong when Fraser told the 1981 Springbok rugby team, on route to New Zealand, that they could not refuel their plane in Australia. Afghanistan also plays cricket - not only did Howard invade their country he endangered the lives of the Tampa boat people in a cynical election motivated stunt.

Watch this and weep - the same man had the gall to accuse of Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan of being a chucker.

So while the Australian cricketers are here I hope there might be a few homemade banners* around the ground highlighting what a joke the Howard appointment is. There is a facebook group opposed to Howard's appointment here.

If John Howard does go to the ICC, there may be grounds for a plea bargain if he testifies against George Bush and Tony Blair. What a shame both ICCs are unlikely to function as they should.

* I mean banners with some wit, like those seen before the banner competition become sponsored by corporates and became all about pretty pictures and bland messages. There was a particularly good example spotted at the 20/20 this week, "Tsunami covers more of New Zealand than XT"

Edit: Fixed broken link.

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