Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith on Thursday expressed his support for BCCI president Sourav Ganguly to take over the ICC chairmanship after Shashank Manohar's term ends this month.
Smith's comments were backed up by his CEO Jacques Faul, who said that they won't mind an Indian as head of the ICC, although they need to get a mandate from their top bosses.
However, hours later, CSA clarified its stand regarding the elections of the ICC.
"We must respect both the ICC protocol and our own protocol in deciding which candidate to back. There have been no candidates nominated as yet and once such nominations have been made the Board of CSA will take its decision in terms of its own protocol and give the chairman the mandate to exercise his vote as an ICC Board Director accordingly," CSA President and Chairman of the Board, Chris Nenzani said in an official release.
"We have the highest regard for the opinions of our Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, who is a well-respected figure in world cricket and has already made an immense contribution in fulfilling his mandate to make our cricket teams world leaders again. At the moment we don't want to anticipate any candidates who may be nominated for this important position to lead the game we all love," he added.
What Graeme Smith said
- From our perspective, it would be great to see a cricketer like Sourav Ganguly may be getting into the President's role of the ICC.
- I think that will be good for the game; I think it will be good for the modern game as well. He understands it; he has played it at the highest level; he is respected; and his leadership will be key to us going forward.
- Smith on his part said that Ganguly's knowledge of the game would help in being the boss of the global body.
- I think leadership in our sport going forward is going to be key and I think having someone at a level that understands the modern game and the challenges we are going to face going forward emphasises more the people that get put into key positions.
- Having dealt with Sourav for a long time, I think that the President of the ICC now becomes a very key position going forward in terms of how the game can progress at the right level.
- So I think that is going to be an interesting time going forward in international cricket and I think that will be a great appointment.
Here’s CSA Chief executive Jacques Faul said
CSA Chief executive Jacques Faul said their board has always worked closely with India.
"I think India must play a leadership role when it comes to the Future Tours Programme and a responsible one. Our engagement with Saurav has been very positive in his willingness to help us."
Faul was referring to discussions that he and Smith had had in India with BCCI to host a three-match T20 series in South Africa in August to assist CSA in its declining revenue.
"I personally haven't played a lot of cricket with Sourav, so I don't know him as well as Graeme.
"As the Director of Cricket, and I think this is Graeme's style as well, that he comes out and he speaks openly, which is great and something that we encourage," Faul said as he attempted to tone down Smith's comments.
"We have also checked this with the leadership of CSA. We would support an Indian candidate at this stage. But we have also got to maybe look at the integrity of the whole process," Faul said.
"I don't think there are any nominations out there of any candidates that I know of, so they are still in the process, but from a CSA point of view, we have no problem supporting any Indian candidate," he added.
"But to be fair, we've got look at who has been nominated and bring it back to our Board and get a mandate for it,” he added further.