It’s been a big few days for former Australian prime ministers.
Firstly Kevin Rudd. And now, in breaking news this morning, The Australian reports John Howard has been rejected as vice president of the International Cricket Council by a “gang of six” — six Test-playing nations who co-wrote a letter opposing Howard’s appointment.
It’s understood the countries opposing Howard are from the African and Asian ‘bloc’ and that Howard’s supporters were New Zealand, England and Australia — driving home the commonly held belief that the power base of cricket has shifted away from England and Australia to the subcontinent.
Howard was due to address the ICC in Singapore, however it’s reported the “gang of six” even opposed this.
Under ICC rules the vice president would serve a two-year term before becoming the president for a further two years. But Howard, a well-known cricket tragic, appears to have been run out without facing a ball.
The fact that a majority of Test nations (and powerful ones at that) are lining up against him may mean the ICC will ask Australia and New Zealand to put forward a new candidate, with Sir John Anderson, who was beaten to the appointment by Howard in March, the likely replacement.
In March, Charles Happell wrote in Crikey that the pessimism surrounding Howard’s candidacy was misguided:
The point is, you don’t need to have played 100 Tests or been a county cricket club secretary since Colin Cowdrey was in his prime to successfully run cricket’s governing body.
You just need an abiding love of the game, a proven record of administration and, in a sport increasingly dominated from the sub-continent, a talent for diplomacy.
In the end it was Howard’s political experience that had him nominated but, ironically, it was perhaps his politics that ultimately cost him the appointment. What cannot be argued is that his relevancy for the ICC role was not based on his cricketing ability… cue gratuitous excuse to run that clip again: