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Politics surrounds Sonn's successor

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Mihir Bose | 18:24 UK time, Thursday, 31 May 2007

Percy Sonn, who died suddenly last week while chairman of the International Cricket Council, will be laid to rest in South Africa this weekend.

All week cricket's great and good have been flying into the country for his funeral but ,even as they do so, they are busy discussing who will succeed Sonn.

Various names have been canvassed, including Sonn's predecessor Ehsan Mani of Pakistan and Sir John Anderson from New Zealand.

But Mani does not want the job and India's cricket board - the economic powerhouse of the game as it generates around 70% of world cricket's income - do not like Anderson.

They are planning to propose Ray Mali, the current head of South African cricket, reasoning that, as Sonn was a South African and as his term was not due to end until June 2009, a South African should succeed him.

In the long term Indian officials want their man Sharad Pawar, a government minister and head of the cricket board, to take over as the head of the world game.

Earlier this year, Pawar tried to become president but failed to beat David Morgan, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board in elections.

The battle between Pawar and Morgan resulted in a messy draw and persuaded the ICC to extend Sonn's term for another year.

Now the Pawar camp are hoping that by backing Mali they will not only win over South Africa but also earn some time to make sure that when there are fresh elections their man will have enough votes to win.

The World Cup may have been dull on the field but off it cricket politics is becoming fascinating.

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