The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Impasse a setback for Sharad Pawar
- No recommendation from panel

Calcutta: Less than two months after Team India got thrashed by Graeme Smith’s men in the deciding Test at Newlands, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sharad Pawar failed to get the Nominations Committee’s recommendation as the one best suited to succeed Percy Sonn as the world body’s president.

Cape Town may be more than picture postcard perfect, but it’s not quite a happy hunting ground for Indians. It’s little consolation that England & Wales Cricket Board chief David Morgan, the other contender, also didn’t get a recommendation in his favour.

On the face of it, this “impasse” affects both candidates, but it’s a bigger setback for Pawar as the Committee is headed by former BCCI president Dr A.C. Muthiah, who’d backed him in his two-year fight against Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Dalmiya, incidentally, is the first Asian to sit in the International Cricket Council (ICC) supremo’s chair.

As first reported by The Telegraph on Wednesday, each contender had the support of three Committee members: Muthiah (representing India and Sri Lanka), Mueen Afzal (Pakistan and Bangladesh) and Imran Khwaja (Associates and Affiliates) backed Pawar, while Morgan had the support of Bob Merriman (Australia and New Zealand), Steve Camacho (England and West Indies) and John Blair (South Africa and Zimbabwe).

Clearly, off the field, England and Australia act in unison. There’s no Ashes to fight for.

According to well-placed sources in Cape Town, where the ICC’s Executive Board began two-day deliberations on Thursday, the Committee’s request for another meeting to resolve the “impasse” was turned down.

The principal reason, of course, being that the Board wouldn’t meet again before the annual conference (or annual general meeting) in June. While an official announcement is awaited, one understands the successor-issue will now be placed before the general body.

For a candidate to be successful, he must at least have the backing of seven of the ten Full (Test-playing) Members. Pawar has the assured support of five (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) and there are whispers that South Africa is actually close to being ‘pocketed’.

Even if that’s the current scenario, Pawar (who is in Cape Town) has to get the West Indies’ vote if he wants to become the second Indian to hold cricket’s No.1 position. “We’re really in no hurry... We’re working hard to get the West Indies on our side,” pointed out somebody close to the BCCI chief.

Sonn’s term is to end in June 2008, but he could be granted a one-year extension.

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