Graeme Smith backs Sourav Ganguly for ICC top job
CAPE TOWN – Cricket SA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith has publically pledged his support for former India captain Sourav Ganguly to be the next International Cricket Council (ICC) president.
Speaking on a webinar media session on Thursday relating to CSA’s way forward with the Covid-19 strategy, the former Proteas Test captain believed Ganguly, who was the first former Indian player to be installed as BCCI President last year in 65 years, was the right man to lead cricket during these tumultuous times.
"Leadership in our sport is going to be key going forward and I think having someone at a level that understands the modern game, the challengers that will be faced going forward places even more emphasis on the people being put in key positions,” Smith said.
“I’ve dealt with Sourav for a long time. From my perspective, it would be great to see a cricket man like Sourav Ganguly maybe get into a president role of the ICC. I think it would be good for the game. It would be good for the modern-game. He understands it, he’s played it, he respects it.
“He has the credibility and leadership. The elections are coming, there are, of course, few other names in the hat, but in my opinion, someone with modern (perception) for the game should be the candidate. I think that would be a great appointment."
Although CSA acting director of cricket Jacques Faul stopped short of saying Smith’s bold backing of his former adversary Ganguly may just be a bit hasty at this time with current ICC chief Shashank Manohar’s term still running, Faul admitted South Africa would not be adverse to backing a nomination from India for the global top post.
"We have always closely worked with India and it must play a leadership role in the FTP and a responsible one. Our engagements with Sourav have been positive and his willingness to help us.
“We have checked with the leadership of CSA on if we would support an Indian candidate (as the ICC chief) and at this stage, we would. From CSA's point of view, we don't see problems in supporting an Indian candidate. But, we need to look who the others nominated," Faul said.
Cricket SA and the BCCI’s relations have improved greatly since the frosty relations when former chiefs Haroon Lorgat and Narayanaswami Srinivasan were in charge of their respective boards.
Both Smith and Faul disclosed they remain in constant communication with the BCCI regarding a proposed three-match T20I series here in South Africa in August. The series was not part of the original Future Tours Programme, but is being planned to go ahead pending COVID-19 government regulations in both countries.
Both teams would need to be placed in a “bio-bubble” with the visiting side having to self-isolate for 28 days – 14 days prior to the matches and 14 days afterwards.
"It will be a sanitised cricket biosphere with strict entry standards and limited movement out of this cordon, and this will require regular testing of all those in the bubble," Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA's chief medical officer, said. "We will create a cordon sanitaire, where people will not be allowed to leave or come in unless strict criteria are met."
CSA will be hopeful the three T20 Internationals can take place as it will provide a significant boost to CSA’s long-term financial stability.