Melbourne:The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand on Friday said John Howard should not withdraw his candidacy for the ICC vice-President's post despite being rejected by the powerful Asian Bloc comprising India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Howard is the ideal candidate for the job and would be supported if he decides to give it another shot.
"John Howard, passionate, passionate cricket fan. I share some of the concerns he's voiced publicly about the kind of factors that are influencing this decision," Ms Gillard told 'Fairfax Radio today.
"I'd be very happy to offer full support for John Howard to get this role," he said.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the snub to Howard, a former Australian Prime Minister, was "shocking".
"I think it's a shocking decision," Key said on 'New Zealand radio'.
"I saw John on TV saying he's going to hold his ground and I think he should. He really could do the job and he could eat it up for breakfast," he added.
The 70-year-old Howard has refused to back out and said he was disappointed by the Asian bloc's refusal to specify reasons for not supporting him.
Key said the Howard would make a "fantastic" ICC President.
"I know John well; I met him on numerous occasions when I was leader of the opposition and as prime minister. I think he's been a tremendous leader of Australia. He's a great administrator and he loves his cricket ... even if he can't bowl very well from what I've seen on TV," Key joked.
New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan has also backed Howard.
"We were single-heartedly behind John Howard. NZC is held up as a model of good governance in terms of having independent directors who do what is best for cricket ... but that obviously doesn't apply to the ICC and that is shame," he fumed.