Hours after its appointed director of cricket, Graeme Smith, publicly deemed BCCI president Sourav Ganguly as the ideal man to take over as the next ICC chairman, Cricket South Africa (CSA) distanced itself from Smith's personal opinion and issued a clarification regarding its position ahead of the upcoming ICC elections.
"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.
Current independent ICC chairman, Shashank Manohar, is about to complete his second two-year term in the office.
"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," added Nenzani.
"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."
With the sport reeling from its global shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith feels Ganguly is the best man to help the ICC ride through this phase.
"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. 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," Sport24 had quoted Smith as saying.
"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," added the former Proteas skipper on his ex Indian counterpart.
The next round of ICC elections are due to be held in July.
(Inputs from Sport24)