Asian bloc backs Pawar for ICC leadership

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The powerful Asian bloc in world cricket will nominate Sharad Pawar of India for the presidency of the sport's governing body, a top official has said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will vote on a successor to current chief Percy Sonn of South Africa for a two-year period from 2008 at its annual meeting in July next year.

English cricket chief David Morgan has reportedly thrown his hat in the ring following backing from Australia and New Zealand, but the Asian bloc also wants to put up a candidate.

"It has been decided that Sharad Pawar will be our candidate," said Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah on Wednesday.

"Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are in favour of Mr. Pawar and we hope to elicit the support of the West Indies too."

Nominations for the elections will close on Jan 1, 2007 at the ICC's world headquarters in Dubai.

The decision to support Pawar was taken at a meeting of officials from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in New Delhi last week to finalise plans for the 2011 World Cup, which the four countries will be co-hosting.

Pawar, 66, a powerful Indian politician who is also the Union agriculture minister, took over the reins of the Indian cricket board last year after a bitter election against the Jagmohan Dalmiya faction.

Dalmiya, a former ICC president, was thrown out of the Indian board last week after being accused of fudging accounts related to the 1996 World Cup that India hosted jointly with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The ICC elections could tilt heavily in Pawar's favour if the Asian bloc keeps its promise to support his candidature.

Asia, the financial powerhouse of world cricket, flexed its muscles in November and succeeded in removing controversial Australian Darrell Hair from the elite international panel of umpires.

The four sub-continent nations also won the right to stage the 2011 World Cup after defeating a combined bid by Australia and New Zealand.


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