Sharad Pawar on Thursday assumed office as President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at its annual conference here. The Union Agriculture Minister and former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India succeeded David Morgan after serving as the ICC Vice-President since 2008.
Mr. Pawar is only the second Indian, after Jagmohan Dalmiya, to have become the highest executive of the world cricket body.
Soon after taking over as the seventh President of the ICC for a two-year term, Mr. Pawar said at a press conference here that he was “chosen” for this post during a “challenging” period.
On the ICC Executive Board’s rejection of John Howard for the post of next Vice-President, Mr. Pawar said Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket were asked to reconsider their nomination of the former Australian Prime Minister. “We will wait for their recommendation by August 31, 2010.”
Not a political decision
Fielding a volley of questions on the Howard issue, Mr. Pawar said: “What is the (imputed) political connotation? Where is the question of a political decision? No, no: not at all… I was a supporter of the process for electing the ICC vice-president. I remain a supporter of the process… The question is not that.”
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said “there was not sufficient support” for Mr. Howard’s candidature which was, therefore, not put to vote at the board meeting that preceded the annual conference.
Asked whether the ICC was in a very fragile state now because of the rejection of Mr. Howard’s candidature, Mr. Pawar said: “We do not see it that way. That is not the situation at all.” The Howard issue was decided in “a democratic set-up.”
Focus on expansion
On his defining agenda as the new president, Mr. Pawar said, “Basically, the three formats of the game are quite popular in different parts. Our total thinking is to see how the game will be expanded in other parts of the world.”
Citing China, the United States and some parts of Europe and Africa as places with “tremendous scope for cricket,” he said “our thrust area will be to see how we will be able to expand our base.”
It was decided “to shift the ICC headquarters to London, Lord’s, if possible,” and there “is no proposal to go to either Mumbai or Singapore,” said Mr. Pawar.
On whether there was a move to monitor the Indian Premier League, Mr. Haroon Lorgat said: “The ICC cannot oversee domestic events.”