Whatmore, Bangladesh board pay tributes to Percy Sonn

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali


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Dhaka : Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Mohammad Abdul Aziz and the country's outgoing coach Dave Whatmore paid tributes to International Cricket Council (ICC) president Percy Sonn, who passed away Sunday.

"We are very sorry to hear the news. Our sympathies are with Percy's family," Aziz told IANS here.

He said that he last met Sonn during the World Cup in the West Indies last month.

Whatmore said he did not have much to do with Sonn, but was sorry to hear his demise.

"I did not have much interaction with Percy, but it is not nice to hear when a cricket administrator passes away," he said.

Sonn, 57, died in Cape Town, where he was hospitalised a few days ago following complications arising from a minor colon surgery.

He left behind wife Sandra and three children – a daughter and two sons – as well as his mother, six brothers and a sister.

Sonn took over the ICC reins from Pakistan's Ehsan Mani in June last year. His tenure was to end in 2009, following a one-year extension to his two-year term.

ICC said in a statement that under the organisation's articles the board of directors would appoint an acting president until an election can be held.

Born on Sep 25, 1949, Percival Henry Frederick Sonn dedicated much of his life to cricket.

Sonn began his career in the game's administration while he was still a teenager in South Africa, in the midst of the Apartheid regime.

Leading figures throughout the world of cricket joined in paying tributes to Sonn.

"As a cricket administrator and a man, Percy Sonn was a giant. In all the circles in which he moved, he commanded a huge amount of respect and that was never more obvious than when he was in an ICC board meeting," said Mani.

"Percy never spoke for the sake of it but when he did speak people listened. He was one of the most intelligent men I have ever met and cricket will be much the poorer for his passing."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) president Ray Mali said: "This is a terrible shock and a devastating piece of news as I have lost a close personal friend.

"I know Percy was so proud to represent South Africa and the whole continent of Africa as the ICC's first president from this part of the world and he filled the role with great dignity and strength."

ICC CEO Malcolm Speed said: "Percy was utterly committed to the game at all levels and his mantras were that the game had to be inclusive rather than exclusive and that it had to be played the right way, to be true to the spirit of Cricket.

"He relished the fact that this year's cricket World Cup took place in the Caribbean because the nine countries that hosted the tournament mirrored the game's diversity on a worldwide level, something he saw as a real strength."

Australia's World Cup-winning captain Ricky Ponting said he was "shocked and saddened" to hear the news.

"I will always associate Percy with one of the happiest moments of my career as he was the man who handed over the World Cup trophy to the Australian team at the end of the tournament in Barbados last month," Ponting said speaking from Sydney.