Chennai : The new acting chief of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Ray Mali promised Friday to unify the cricketing world and work as a team to achieve progress.
"I believe in leading the cricketing world as a team charting a way forward with all countries of the world," said 70-year-old Mali while addressing an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) seminar held here on the sidelines of the ongoing Afro-Asian Cup.
Mali emphasised that the game of cricket must be free from discrimination in an oblique reference to the apartheid era, which had stunted the growth of the game in Africa.
"Let us build bridges of peace by dovetailing the different backgrounds and cultures, without sacrificing the individual identity of any culture. Let us move forward by using cricket to heal the wounds of the past, the wounds of the terrible systems of apartheid," Mali said.
He sought to allay apprehensions that Asia and Africa were coming together to act as a pressure group.
"We are not to be seen as a pressure group but rather as a union trying to make cricket accessible to all," Mali pointed out.
Zimbabwe Cricket chief Peter Chingoka recalled that under the colonial yoke till 1980, about 250,000 people had restricted all the facilities in his country to themselves.
"Now we have spread the facilities to 12 million people in Zimbabwe and continue to improve infrastructure in 10 administrative regions in our nation," he said.
"We offer cricket as a leading employer and an empowerment tool. It helps us to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. Between the critic and the criticised, you can know who is being constructive," said Chingoka.