Cricket South Africa officials were pulling in different directions on backing Sourav Ganguly for the ICC chairman's post with its President Chris Nenzani on Friday (22nd May) refusing to endorse Director Graeme Smith's open support to the BCCI president.
Former skipper Smith, who is now CSA's director of cricket, on Thursday supported Ganguly for the ICC top job, saying a "cricket man" like the ex-India captain would be ideal to lead the apex body at this juncture.
However, a day after, CSA president Nenzani said while he has the "highest regard" for Smith's view, there cannot be an official position unless candidates are clear for the post.
"We must respect both the ICC protocol and our own protocol in deciding which candidate to back," said CSA president Chris Nenzani in a statement.
"There have been no candidates nominated as yet and once such nominations have been made the Board of CSA will take its decision in terms of its own protocol and give the chairman the mandate to exercise his vote as an ICC Board Director accordingly."
Incumbent Shashank Manohar's term ends this month but due to the circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a case for his extension by two months.
A day before, Smith had said: "From our perspective, it would be great to see a cricket man like Sourav Ganguly maybe getting into the President's role of the ICC."
"I think that will be good for the game; I think it will be good for the modern game as well. He understands it; he has played it at the highest level; he is respected; and his leadership will be key to us going forward," he added.
Smith's comments were backed up by his CEO Jacques Faul, who said that they won't mind an Indian as head of the ICC.
But the top boss Nenzani was far from committing himself.
"We have the highest regard for the opinions of our Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, who is a well-respected figure in world cricket and has already made an immense contribution in fulfilling his mandate to make our cricket teams world leaders again," Nenzani said.
"At the moment we don't want to anticipate any candidates who may be nominated for this important position to lead the game we all love," the president concluded.
Smith, on his part, had said that Ganguly's knowledge of the game would be of immense help while dealing with the affairs of ICC.
"Having dealt with Sourav for a long time, I think that the President of the ICC now becomes a very key position going forward in terms of how the game can progress at the right level."