It may have passed you by that Percy Sonn, the former president of the United Board Board (UCB), has succeeded Ehsan Mani as president of the ICC, the game’s ruling body. So what? Well, quite a lot actually, for Sonn is no ordinary president. By all accounts, he’s a rather colourful character – although that particular adjective was a poor choice…
It was he, during his tenure with the South African board, who dropped Jacques Rudolph (a white player) for Justin Ontong (a black player) on racial grounds. Telford Vice, an excellent South African writer, has written a superb article at Cricinfo on the incoming president and his various benefits and attributes.
“Then he’ll walk out of the room and, often without having had a drink, start swearing and go mad. He offers so many excellent qualities, but there is the risk that he could blow at any time. He could make some comment or do something stupid, and then you have fires to put out.”
Infamously, Sonn “fell out of his trousers” at a 2003 World Cup match; he has used, publicly, language that would make footballers, their wives and their hooligans blush; he said Hansie Cronje “wouldn’t be allowed to play beach cricket”.
Another South African administrator remembers the Sonn years differently. “If I did one tenth of what he did I would have been hung, drawn and quartered. But he has an impish look and demeanour, and he can get away with a lot. He’s a classic curate’s egg.”
Scrambled, fried and hard-boiled, clearly.