Can this man save cricket?
Can’t bowl, can barely bat - but could he run world cricket? Former Prime Minister John Howard may be feeling a twinge of nostalgia for his time in office today after waking to a spectacular bucketing in the morning papers.
Cricket writer Peter Roebuck said nominating Howard for president of the International Cricket Council was “as pitiful as it is disrespectful”, the logic being that the ex-PM is really just an enthusiastic follower of cricket than a leader who can think creatively about the future of the game. “Plain and simple,” writes Roebuck, “he is not qualified for the job.”
Isn’t he? Given the laundry list of problems with internal bickering in cricket’s international governing body, maybe a pragmatic politician like Howard is just what the ICC needs.
The position is no stranger to politicians - the incoming president, Sharad Pawar, is a senior Indian minister. If appointed as his deputy Howard would be succeeding him in 2012.
Roebuck, a veteran cricket writer who two years ago called for Ricky Ponting to be sacked as Australian captain for “arrogance”, said:
The notion that an aged and conservative white politician with scant knowledge of the intricacies of the game can act as a counterbalance is far-fetched. Howard does not know enough about cricket or cricket business and, besides, is a divisive figure.
Now few topics can beat the politics of international cricket administration for tedium and you can’t see Howard changing that. But while his name’s in the mix it’s sure to be a bit of a talking point so let’s get on with it.
It’s a bit unfair to say that just because he’s “aged ... conservative [and] white” he can’t succeed in the job - not just because it’s discriminatory against Howard on a number of levels but also against a very large segment of cricket fans all over the world.
And while Howard might not know a lot about the details of cricket, he wasn’t exactly an expert in many things when he took office but acquitted himself well enough to stay in for four terms.
The basic argument though is that with cricket going through so much change and experimentation, a leader with conservative instincts might not be the best person for the job. Maybe it’s enough to leave it at that.
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