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Percy Sonn promises ICC support for Zimbabwe after taking reins

Written by: Staff

London, July 7 (UNI) In his first speech after taking over as the new ICC President, Percy Sonn promised full support for Zimbabwe to overcome the series of crises which culminated with the African nation being suspended from Test cricket until next year.

The 56-year-old South African today became the sixth ICC chief, following in the footsteps of Lord (Colin) Cowdrey (1989-93), Sir Clyde Walcott (1993-97), Jagmohan Dalmiya (1997-2000), Malcolm Gray (2000-3) and Ehsan Mani (2003-6).

Addressing the ICC Business Forum at it's spiritual home Lord's, Mr Sonn also revealed that he was planning an early Zimbabwe visit to assess the situation there.

''Cricket is stronger than it has ever been. But at the same time it is not without its issues. Zimbabwe has seen many of its players walk away from the national side and Zimbabwe cricket is weaker,'' he said, referring to the plight of the game in the country which saw former skippers Heath Streak and Tatenda Taibu quitting the national team. Besides, allegations of financial bungling against top administrators have dealt a severe blow to the game in Zimbabwe.

Mr Sonn said he wanted to have a first hand knowledge of the situation.

''I will then report back to the ICC's executive board so we are in a better position to support Zimbabwe cricket at a time when support is clearly needed,'' he explained.

On his appointment, he said, ''Standing here as the first South African president of the ICC is a very humbling experience, especially as it is not something that could have happened a generation ago.'' Meanwhile, congratulatory messages flowed from all quarters after his appointment with South Africa President Thabo Mbeki leading the tribute.

''The ICC was the first international sports body to recognise a democratic South Africa through the membership of the United Cricket Board of South Africa in 1991,'' said Mr Mbeki.

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