Lorgat set for ICC role
Haron Lorgat, the South African accountant and former convenor of selectors of South African cricket, is now the frontrunner to become the next chief executive of the International Cricket Council in succession to Malcolm Speed.
This follows the decision of Imtiaz Patel, who heads the South African television station SuperSport, not to take up the job. He had been offered a three-year appointment paying slightly more than the $700,000 a year that Speed earns.
As already revealed in my blog, Lorgat was one of the six short-listed and the choice of David Morgan, the former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who takes over as ICC President in the summer.
When the appointments committee met in Dubai two weeks ago, Morgan was unable to persuade his colleague on Lorgat's merits. Now he should find it much easier.
Patel's decision not to accept cannot come as a surprise, given how nothing was heard after the ICC announced its job offer.
The offer was announced with much fanfare two weeks ago following an ICC Executive Board meeting. Normally after such a job offer you would expect the chosen one to be available and talk gushingly of how thrilled he is by his opportunity.
Instead, for almost a week after the offer nothing was heard from Patel, not even long-standing associates could get hold of him. He only surfaced on Sunday saying he had been on a family holiday outside South Africa. This clearly provided much time for reflection. I understand he rang Morgan on Sunday to say he could not accept. Friends say the reason given is that his heart is not in the job. I am told he was under pressure from his employers not to accept the job.
Morgan flies off to South Africa this week and it is expected that the ICC executive board will meet, probably via a telephone link, to decide on Lorgat's appointment.
It will be interesting to see how the Indians - the money men of world cricket - react.
Initially it had been thought that India was against Patel. But then they reconciled themselves to it after Inderjit Bindra, who currently represents India on the ICC, was appointed special adviser to the President. One of his tasks will be promoting cricket in China and the United States.
The Indians saw the double of Patel and Bindra as a winning ticket putting them in charge of ICC.
ICC sources have told me that while the Indians are not happy with Patel not taking up the job they may live with Lorgat.
Curiously, while both Lorgat and Patel are from South Africa, the appointment could have adverse effects on Norman Arendse, the head of South African cricket.
I have been told by well informed ICC sources that when the ICC appointment board came to the ICC Executive Committee meeting with their recommendation in favour of Patel, Arendse abstained arguing that it was wrong for them to come with only one name.
This matter has raised a storm in South African cricket with Arendse now writing letters to his board members denying that he did any such things.
Arendse already faced problems due to other issues and if he cannot convince them that he did not abstain on Patel's recommendation his position as head of South African cricket could be under threat.