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PCB remains mum on Howard`s nomination

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board continues to remain tight-lipped regarding its stance on former Australian Prime Minister John Howard nomination for the post of ICC vice president with PCB chairman Ejaz Butt terming the matter as "sensitive".

"This is a confidential matter and I don`t want to make public comments on it," Butt said.

"Whatever we have decided we will discuss at the ICC meeting but this is something the ICC only can give a public statement. All I can say is we are aware of the situation and we know it is an important and sensitive matter," he stated.

Butt`s comments came after PCB approached the government for advice on the matter and reliable sources said the government had told the board chief that they are in a better position to take a call on the issue.

Australia and New Zealand have nominated Howard for the vice-president`s post and under the ICC regulations if four countries do not accept the nomination, Howard cannot get into the world body.

If the former Australian PM does get appointed as vice-president he will be in line to take over as ICC president after four years.

Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe have already publicly voiced their refusal to accept Howard`s nomination whom they see as a controversial figure.

With India and other countries, apparently, set to support Howard`s nomination, Pakistan`s vote could prove to be crucial in deciding the Australian`s fate which will be discussed next week at the ICC chief executives meeting.

There is growing pressure on Butt from the public and media to resist the nomination of Howard who is not seen as a friend of Pakistan cricket.

"In 2002 our former President Pervez Musharraf assured Howard that if the Australian team toured Pakistan they would be provided Presidential level security. But Howard left the matter for the Australian board to decide and was not in favor of the tour going ahead," former Test player Basit Ali said.

"The Australians have been in the lead of shunning tours to Pakistan and Howard made no effort to help out Pakistan cricket in its difficult times. He is also controversial because of his comments about Muttiah Muralitharan and Zimbabwe," Basit noted.

Another former player said this was a golden opportunity for Butt to improve his public image and popularity ratings.

"Pakistan should join Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa in shunning Howard`s nomination," he added.

PTI

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