Oz, Kiwi cricket boards 'gutted' by ICC's rejection of Howard candidacy

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Melbourne, July 1 (ANI): Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket have said that they are "gutted" by the Internatioanl Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to reject former Prime Minister John Howard's vice presidency bid.

Howard's bid for the coveted post was rejected after the ICC's African and Asian blocs dismissed it without a vote.

Cricket Australia chairman Jack Clarke said the ICC gave no reason for the decision after it met in Singapore.

Clarke said Australia's relationship with the ICC had suffered as a result of a decision which "was in the grand final" of ICC insults towards Australia.

Howard, who was Australian prime minister from March 1996 to December 2007, was "extremely disappointed and extremely upset" at the decision, Clarke said.

Clarke said from Singapore: "You hope it doesn't affect the relationship, but it obviously puts a block there for a while and makes you wary."

"Gutted and incredibly disappointed that a man of John Howard's stature has been knocked off for this job," he said.

"If you keep having processes that don't work, or are not allowed to work, I am not too sure where they go from there," he added.

New Zealand Cricket chairman Alan Isaac said he was angered at the ICC's refusal to detail their reasons for the rejection.

"We have been unable to get a reason for the lack of support for our nomination and it's just not acceptable," Isaac said.

Australia and New Zealand had jointly nominated Howard for the ICC vice presidency, a candidacy normally rubber-stamped by cricket's governing body.

Under ICC rules, the vice president becomes president after two years.

The ICC has invited Australia and New Zealand to nominate a new candidate by the end of August.

Under the ICC's rotational five-region electoral process, Howard's candidacy for vice president should have been ratified months ago.

But opposition to Howard delayed the decision.

The opposition was led by Zimbabwe and South Africa, who questioned Howard's suitability given his hardline stance against Zimbabwe's Mugabe regime when he was prime minister.

Howard also faced difficulties winning over the powerful Asian bloc after once labelling celebrated Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan a "chucker".

When India threw their considerable muscle behind the Asian bloc, Howard's bid was doomed.

Clarke said India's influence within the ICC was not ideal.

"In any business model where a company has 75 per cent of the income, it's not an ideal model. But that is not India's fault they do that ... it's a powerful bloc but it's a reality of life," he said.

Howard himself said he's disappointed because he still hasn't been told why he was rejected.

He said it was possible his political past could be the source of the controversy. (ANI)

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