Mumbai: Sharad Pawar on Friday arrived from Singapore after formally taking over as the ICC president and rubbished suggestions that rejection of John Howard's candidacy for the vice-president's post would divide world cricket.
Pawar, who succeeded Englishman David Morgan, returned here this morning after taking charge as president during the ICC Executive Committee meeting in Singapore.
Upon arrival, the union agriculture minister was bombarded with questions about Asian bloc's refusal to back Howard but he rejected talk of any divide by insisting that the former Australian Prime Minister just didn't get enough support in a democratically-held election.
"The majority did not support him. Ultimately in any democratic organisation, there has to be support from the majority but that was not there in his case," he said.
Asked whether the rejection would divide world cricket, Pawar said, "I don't think so. We have discussed the matter individually and collectively with everybody including Australia, England and New Zealand. We took a collective decision."
The 69-year-old Pawar will now have to shoulder twin responsibilities of being a minister and ICC president but the veteran politician said would be able to handle with a little help from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Fortunately the ICC headquarter is in Dubai and Dubai works on Saturday and Sunday. So, it's a matter of two hours flight. So, I think there won't be any difficulty. Secondly I will discuss with Prime Minister about my responsibilities and will take appropriate decision so that my government work is not affected," he said.
"I may suggest for more hands. I had asked for three ministers but they have given only one. If I request to reduce some of my work, we may find some solution. I won't allow my work in government to suffer," he said.
Asked what he considers the biggest challenge of his new job, Pawar said, "We have to preserve all the formats of the game. Today we have 105 countries who are ICC members. But in true sense unless we expand the game to China, USA, some parts of Eastern Europe and some parts of Africa, the game would not reach every corner of the world."