Former Australia [ Images ] Prime Minister John Howard's dream of becoming ICC [ Images ] president in 2012 suffered a jolt on Thursday as Sri Lanka [ Images ] joined Zimbabwe and South Africa [ Images ] in resisting his nomination for the vice-president's post.
Howard, an Australia-New Zealand candidate under ICC's region-based nomination system, is in fact one negative vote away from losing his bid to become ICC vice-president.
Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee chairman Somachandra de Silva said SLC would not support anyone without a cricket background.
"On principle it is the wrong thing to do to bring someone from outside for the vice-presidency," de Silva said.
"We would support any of the directors from Australia and New Zealand [ Images ] who are representatives of the ICC, but not anyone from outside," he told Cricinfo.
"At the last ICC meeting in Dubai [ Images ] about two months ago, it was mentioned that Howard's name was being put forward for the vice-president's post, and I was of the opinion that it was wrong. Anyone coming forward for ICC posts should be currently involved in cricket and not be a total outsider. In that respect we would not be supporting the candidature of Howard for the vice-presidency," de Silva said.
ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar [ Images ] will assume the president's post next month when the incumbent David Morgan retires.
Howard will succeed Pawar in 2012 if his nomination bid succeeds.
The Australian needs seven votes from 10 Test-playing countries and four negative votes would put paid to all his hopes.
SLC's opposition to Howard stems from the former Prime Minister's "chucker" jibe at Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan [ Images ], who was so enraged that he skipped his side's 2004 tour of Australia.
Howard's cause was not helped either by the fact that he was a staunch critic of Zimbabwe during his Prime Ministerial days and Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) is now out to settle scores with him.
Cricket South Africa is also opposing Howard's nomination, claiming an overwhelming numbers of ICC directors don't want Howard.
CSA has, in fact, criticised Morgan for allegedly ignoring the sentiment of the majority and making it a personal matter.