Singapore-style sports administration got a huge endorsement on Friday when Imran Hamid was appointed deputy chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The 61-year-old lawyer, a senior partner at Tan Rajah & Cheah, was unanimously approved for the post by the 15-member board of directors, including chairman Shashank Manohar, at the ICC's annual conference in London.
The former president of the Singapore Cricket Association was nominated by Cricket Australia and received full backing, despite a reported attempt by the England and Wales board to get their man hoisted to the position instead.
Significantly, Imran, who was already the chairman of the associate nations and the development committee of the ICC, became the first man from a non-Test playing nation to occupy such a high position in cricket's governing body.
The Singapore team are ranked 23rd in the world and only the top 12 sides have been given Test status. Cricket is seriously played in 105 countries.
Imran, who has a two-year term, will deputise for Manohar when the Indian is unable to fulfil his duties.
"I have been involved with formalising one of the most significant paradigm-shifting amendments to the ICC constitution," said Imran. "It is revolutionary in nature and testimony to such a best-practices governance structure as the nomination of a person from a non-Test playing nation to one of the highest posts in world cricket. It shows the ICC board members have considerable faith in the abilities of a Singaporean."
MOVING UP THE ORDER
(The unanimous vote) shows the ICC board members have considerable faith in the abilities of a Singaporean.
IMRAN HAMID, the new deputy chairman of the International Cricket Council.
Imran, in fact, was the overwhelming favourite to be appointed ICC chairman when Manohar resigned from the post in March.
Manohar, a former president of the Indian board, was just 10 months into his two-year tenure when he suddenly decided to quit, after starting the process of bringing the game's governing body back to its old revenue model where the big three - India, Australia and England - would no longer have the maximum share of the ICC earnings and total clout.
But, eight days after he stepped down, Manohar agreed to defer his decision following a resolution by the ICC board - initiated by Imran - requesting him to remain in the post until, at the very least, the process relating to governance and financial restructuring is completed.
Already, smaller nations are benefiting from the reforms being put in place, spearheaded by Manohar and Imran.
On Thursday, the ICC Council voted to make Afghanistan and Ireland full members of the organisation, in the process granting them Test status.
"Ireland and Afghanistan were promoted on merit and moving forward other associate nations will get the chance to become full members of the ICC," said Imran. "I have been tasked with making the necessary changes to the constitution and looking after the welfare of the associate (nations) world."