BCCI holds the key to Howard`s cricket administration future

Sydney: The powerful and influential Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to have a final say on the cricket administration future of former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, though its officials are tight-lipped.

Two senior board members contacted by the Sydney Morning Herald - - Niranjan Shah and Ratnakar Shetty-said they were busy before quickly hanging up.

Incoming International Cricket Council (ICC) president Sharad Pawar is thought to have told Howard several weeks ago he had his support, but recent reports suggest he has been less equivocal behind the scenes.

But it is already clear that if the former prime minister becomes vice president of the International Cricket Council, he will be the first man not to have unanimous support from all Test-playing nations.

Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe have questioned Howard`s suitability for the post. Sri Lanka is understood to have privately informed Cricket Australia that it is prepared to fall into line with India if the financial superpower votes "yes".

Howard needs seven of the 10 available votes to become vice- president, a position from which he would take over from Sharad Pawar as president in two years.

There was a positive move for Howard yesterday when Pawar was convinced by the ICC chairman, David Morgan, to support the selection process that yielded Howard as candidate.

Morgan stood up to the influential Pawar during a meeting in London, and the pair announced the ICC`s backing.

Pawar, the president-designate, fell short of declaring India would vote for Howard at an ICC meeting in Singapore next month, and technically it is the Board of Control for Cricket in India, and not Pawar himself, which makes the decision.

But in a joint statement with Morgan, Pawar said he had no reason to object to the nominee put forward by Australia and New Zealand under the regional rotation.



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