Proteas boss Smith gets behind Ganguly for top ICC position

Sourav Ganguly (Getty Images)
Sourav Ganguly (Getty Images)

Proteas Director of Cricket Graeme Smith has publicly backed former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly as the next president of the International Cricket Council (ICC)

Ganguly is currently serving as the head of the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI), but with current ICC chairperson Shashank Manohar expected to step down in June, that role will need to be filled and Ganguly has caught Smith's eye. 

The ICC elections take place in July. 

The pair know each other well given their history on the field, but they have also worked in commentary together and, at the beginning of the year, discussed and confirmed a three-T20 series between India and South Africa, in South Africa, that is scheduled for August. 

Smith, himself new to cricket administration, believes that the benefit of having a former player in an influential ICC position makes Ganguly a prime candidate. 

"Now it is even more important to have someone in a role who can provide leadership who understands and can navigate the challenges in the game today," Smith said in a CSA video press conference on Thursday. 

"I think post-covid with the things that are going to come our way, to have strong leadership is important. I feel that someone like Sourav Ganguly is best positioned for that at the moment.

"I know him well, I played against him a number of times and worked with him as an administrator and in television. I feel that he has got the credibility, the leadership skills and is someone that can really take the game forward and I think that, more than anything, that is needed right now at an ICC level.

"We know that the elections are coming up and there are a few names in the hat, but my own opinion is that it's time that someone close to the modern game with the leadership credentials got into a key position."

CSA's acting CEO Jacques Faul acknowledged that the new CSA leadership had built a strong relationship with India. 

"We've always worked closely with India and I think India must play a leadership role when it comes to the FTP (Future Tours Programme) and a responsible one," said Faul. 

"Our engagement with Sourav has been very positive and there has been a willingness for him to help us.

"We have a checklist at CSA on whether we would support and Indian candidate, and at this stage we would.

"I don't think there are any nominations out there at this stage and they are still in a process, so from a CSA point of view we don't see any problems supporting an Indian candidate.

"We'll have to look at who is nominated and bring it back to the board."

Smith added that having a "cricket man" like Ganguly in charge would benefit the game moving forward.

"From our perspective, it would be great to see cricket man like Sourav Ganguly maybe get into the president role of the ICC. I think that will be good for the game; he understands it, he's played it," said Smith.

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard

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