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Howard's rejection nothing to do with racism: Pawar

July 08, 2010 09:11 IST

ICC President Sharad Pawar on Thursday said that the rejection of the candidature of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard for the vice-president's post of the world cricket governing body had no racial overtones. 

"There is no white versus brown controversy... There is no racist angle at all," he said at a felicitation function organised by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal in Mumbai.

The same body had elected David Morgan from England, who led ICC for four years, two years as vice-president and then two years as president, he said. 

Pawar said though he supported Howard's candidature, other members of the ICC were not in favour of the ex-Australian premier.

"It was my concern to see that the process of election remains unopposed but unfortunately we could not persuade our other member colleagues," Pawar, also Union agriculture minister, said.

Pawar said the ICC vice-presidency issue would be resolved amicably.

"We are confident that we will be able to resolve this issue and convince some of our friends, especially Australia and New Zealand," he said.

Pawar said that the world was aware of the contribution of England and New Zealand in cricket, adding that, "We  respect that. Our efforts are to sit with them, talk to them and bring about a solution." 

Howard's nomination for ICC's vice-president post was rejected by Afro-Asian block, which included India, Pakistan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh in an ICC meeting in Singapore last week.

There is speculation that Howard's candidature was rejected for his vocal opposition to Robert Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe during his tenure as Australian Prime Minister, and also for his past comments that Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was a chucker. 

Despite the rejection, Howard refused to withdraw his candidature though the ICC has asked Australia and New Zealand, the two Boards which had proposed him, to find another person by August 31. 

Howard's name was proposed by Australia and New Zealand cricket board and was backed by England. 

Pawar said the immediate aim of ICC was to promote cricket across the world, especially in USA and China. 

"We are concentrating on two countries, China and the US," he said. 

He said that the Chinese government was taking tremendous interest in the game, adding that in the US also a seizable population is interested in cricket. 

Pawar said that all the three formats of cricket -- Test, ODI and Twenty20 -- would survive in the long-term.     

"The BCCI along with Sri Lankan Cricket Board is working hard to prove that these countries (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) can also organise the World Cup in a dignified manner," Pawar said.

Later, Pawar cut a cake with players from all the cricket playing countries featuring on it.

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