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Rediff.com  » Sports » ICC president Percy Sonn dead

ICC president Percy Sonn dead

Last updated on: May 27, 2007 16:25 IST

International Cricket Council president Percy Sonn died at the age of 57 on Sunday. He had been seriously ill in a Cape Town hospital after a colon operation last Monday.

He leaves behind his wife Sandra and three children -- a daughter and two sons.

Under the Articles of the ICC Board, an acting president will be appointed until an election is held.

Born on September 25, 1949, Percival Henry Frederick Sonn, universally known as Percy, dedicated much of his life to cricket.

A former president of the United Cricket Board of South Africa for three years until 2003, he succeeded Ehsan Mani at the helm of the ICC in June 2006. In March, he was invited to extend the standard two-year term by a year after a deadlock at a Board meeting over the two potential successors, David Morgan of England and India's Sharad Pawar.

Sonn's playing career as an off-spinner and lower-order batsman spanned over 15 years, starting in 1964 at Belgravia High School in Athlone, Cape Town. He represented the Maitland and Parow Cricket Union as player and administrator until he went into legal partnership with Dullah Omar.

He also served as a vice-president of the South African Cricket Board before the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) was formed, played a crucial role in the unity process in 1991, and served as a Management Committee Member of the UCBSA (now CSA) from its inauguration until 2003.

Tributes:

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani: '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.

'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.

'It is a tragedy that he was only able to fill the role of ICC president for one year. I have lost a great personal friend and my thoughts are with his wife Sandra, his brothers and sisters and his three children.'

Cricket South Africa president Ray Mali: '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.

'Percy was a great administrator who played a key role in the integration process the game underwent in South Africa either side of the end of Apartheid and his legacy in his homeland is of a strong sport with role models from all sections of society.

'Percy never saw problems, just challenges, and usually he rose to those challenges, never more so than when he helped resolve the problems that existed within the administration of Kenyan cricket in the early years of this decade.

'Our prayers are with Sandra and his family at this desperate time.'

ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed: 'Percy was never afraid to speak his mind but his great skill, especially in meetings where discord was possible, was to do so in such a way that he got everyone together and pulling in the same direction.

'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 ICC 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.

'He was immensely popular among the ICC's staff, a friend to me and he could brighten the darkest day because, invariably, he had a smile on his face.

'He will be sorely missed and his wife Sandra and family are in all our prayers.'

Ricky Ponting: 'I am shocked and saddened to hear this news and first and foremost my thoughts are with Percy's family and friends.

'I will always associate Percy with one of the happiest moments of my career as he was the man who handed over the Cricket World Cup trophy to the Australia team at the end of the tournament in Barbados last month.

'He and his wife then flew with us back from Barbados to London where we went our separate ways and to think he is no longer with us less than a month later is a huge shock.

'I have been told of his lifetime of service to the game in what, for many years, must have been difficult circumstances in South Africa. Cricket obviously owes him a huge debt of thanks.'