"Don’t mix politics with cricket" is a popular phrase amongst cricket fans in Sri Lanka. That’s because Sri Lankan cricket fans have had their fare share of politicians meddling with cricket administration.
Australia and New Zealand’s nomination for ICC presidency is a slimy politician in every sense of the word. Although Muttiah Muralitharan was eventually able to forgive Howard, the rest of us have not; Howard, during his time as Aussie PM, climbed on the anti-Murali bandwagon to gain political mileage in Australia.
Despite the ICC clearing Muralitharan, John Howard went on record to defame Muralitharan calling him a chucker. Howard’s public portrayal of such ignorance should be a red flag to anyone thinking of giving him a post of authority at the ICC.
A quote from The Age,
Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is a chucker, Prime Minister John Howard confirmed yesterday.
"Yes" he answered when asked if the Sri Lankan chucked the ball.
"They proved it in Perth too, with that thing," he added, miming a video screen with his hands while visiting Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast yesterday.
In response to Howard’s comment the highest wicket taker in ODIs and Test cricket – the man considered by Wisden to be the ‘best bowler ever’ – refused to set foot in Australia.
A quote from Cricinfo,
To those outside Australia Howard is most famous for calling Muttiah Muralitharan a chucker in 2004 on the basis that "they proved it in Perth with that thing". "That thing" was testing Murali’s action at a biomechanics lab. The result was Murali not touring Australia for the Top End Test series in 2004. "I thought of coming to Australia but now I will think three times before I come," Murali said before ending his travel ban for the tsunami fund-raising match early in 2005.
Ask yourself if a right-wing conservative politician from Australia with no experience in sports administration should be the next ICC president. If New Zealand feel that Howard would represent their best interests at the ICC when they backed his nomination they have another thing coming. If Howard’s past is anything to go by, only the interests of some Australians matter to him.
Howard’s relationship with the aboriginal people in Australia should stand as enough of a reason to ensure that he plays no part in this great game as a decision maker. As Prime Minister he refused to make a national apology to the indigenous people of Australia despite a reconciliation commission recommending him to do so.
Howard refused to attend the Bridge Walks for reconciliation, which was supported across Australia. He asserted, "We don’t think it’s appropriate for the current generation of Australians to apologise for the injustices committed by past generations."
Today karma has come back to bite Howard in the rear. His hopes of becoming the next ICC president has met a roadblock.
World cricket is set for a serious political rift over the nomination of John Howard, the former Australian prime minister, as the president-designate of the ICC. The cricket boards of South Africa and Zimbabwe are leading an initiative to block Howard’s nomination, while Australia and New Zealand, who jointly nominated him, stand behind their man. Four votes are needed to block Howard’s nomination and it is believed that, barring some dramatic late changes, his candidature will not be a formality.
According to The Australian India is unhappy with Howard as well,
Sources quoted in the Indian media claim incoming ICC president Sharad Pawar does not want Mr Howard as his deputy in the interim. The president-delegate must serve a term as deputy before assuming the top job.
Mr Pawar and Mr Morgan are expected to meet this weekend to discuss the problem over the nomination, but there are suggestions a fresh candidate might be called for to end the impasse.