India, S. Africa, Zimbabwe move to stop Howard's ICC bid just isn't cricket: Roebuck

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Sydney, May 28 (ANI): Noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has said the cricket boards of Australia and New Zealand should not succumb to what he calls a "reprehensible campaign under way behind the scenes at the International Cricket Council" to block former Australian Prime Minister John Howard's nomination as deputy president of the game's governing body.

In a syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald, Roebuck admits that while he preferred New Zealand's Sir John Anderson over Howard for the post, Howard's nomination was legitimately put forward by the boards of the two countries.

Squarely accusing the cricket boards of India, South Africa and Zimbabwe for leading the campaign to prevent Antipodean Howard from taking up his position, Roebuck says: "Their reasons are different and mostly false."

"India says that it does not want another politician to become involved in the game, let alone one as contentious as Howard. India's real reason is that they fear Howard's strength and skills and resent his high-handed conduct in the ongoing debate about uranium exports. After decades watching the West run the game, they intend to retain complete control. No less pertinently, they have always been backed by the Zimbabweans and now return the favour," he adds.

He says that under the customs of the ICC, the other directors are duty bound to accept Howard.

"Instead, they have worked themselves into a fluster of fake indignation. In reality they are scared of oward. After all, he might call them to account. There are plenty of reasons to object to the former prime minister, none to block his path," Roebuck adds.

"Make no mistake, the case against Howard is as dishonest, as it is inconsistent.

A board that welcomed Percy Sonn, who declared the 2003 Zimbabwe election free and fair though he knew it was a lie, thereby condemning Zimbabweans to years of torment; a board that accepted Ray Mali, whose co-operation with the apartheid government was exposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; a board that listens to Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bute, apologists for evil in Zimbabwe, is poorly placed to turn its back on Jack the Ripper, let alone a former PM and cricket fanatic," he says.

"The overriding fact is Howard was properly chosen by the responsible boards and the ICC is duty bound to accept him. Anything else flies in the face of the very rules introduced precisely to stop these sorts of disputes arising, let alone escalating. The conduct of the South African, Indian and Zimbabwe cricket boards shows them in the worst possible light," he concludes. (ANI)

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