Melbourne, July 1 (ANI): Former ICC President Malcolm Speed has said the decision of the ICC governing board to reject the nomination of former prime minister John Howard is a disgrace and an insult to both Australia and New Zealand.
Speed said that Howard was not rejected because of his lack of experience as a cricket administrator, or for his strong opposition to Robert Mugabe's disastrous regime in Zimbabwe, or his outspoken views about Muttiah Muralitharan's controversial bowling action.
"There is more to it than that," he writes in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Howard did not seek this role. Cricket Australia approached him and asked him to agree to his name being put forward as the joint nominee from Australia and New Zealand under a system that provides for the top position in world cricket to be rotated around the major countries," Speed said.
He said that Howard was genuinely interested in doing this job, as cricket was his passion and he thought he could bring new attributes, wisdom and experience to the position and to the game.
"The rejection is a symptom of the wider malaise that afflicts world cricket and its dysfunctional governing body. The current system of rotating the ICC presidency is the fourth such system to have been introduced and failed since 1995," Speed said.
"Howard has been rejected because his appointment would provide ICC with strong leadership that would thwart the ambitions of several current administrators to downgrade and devalue the role of the ICC," Speed opined.
"Howard would have stood in their path. The role requires strength of character - a leader, diplomat, statesman and politician. The ICC board is as political as any political party. The countries that voted him down want a compliant figurehead who will do their bidding," he added.
Speed also criticized the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for not backing Howard's candidature.
He said that incoming ICC president, Sharad Pawar was a good and fair man, "but he knows little about cricket administration."
"I was present at several ICC board meetings he attended. ICC meetings generally last two days. Pawar attended for one hour and was then replaced by one of the Board of Control for Cricket in India apparatchiks. They were concerned that he was too busy and would be too reasonable," Speed added.
Speed said that Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket should refuse to put forward another nominee.
Under the rotation system, it is then the turn of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
He described Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, as a "buffoon" and cricket in Pakistan as "a basket case".
He said that the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board is a nominee of the prime minister, and added that two of the BCB cricket presidents during his time with the ICC, had ended up in jail when there was a change of government.
"The last BCB president I encountered was an army general. He did not know the name of the Bangladesh captain, the team's next opponents and the capacity of the new ground that had just been inaugurated in Dhaka. I was too polite to ask him whether he had ever been to a cricket match," Speed said.
"When these two countries (Pakistan and Bangladesh) come forward with their joint nominee, Australia and New Zealand should politely refrain from voting. (ANI)