Thursday took over the reins of the International Cricket Council (ICC), becoming the second Indian after Jagmohan Dalmiya to head the world cricket body.
The ICC president designate, who is former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, formally took charge at the ICC annual conference week here.
Dalmiya was the first Indian to be elected for the top post in 1997.
Pawar, 69, is the seventh ICC president, succeeding Englishman David Morgan, who concluded a two-year term.
Pawar thanked Morgan for his "impressive innings" as ICC president during the last two years.
"David Morgan has set the principles by which the ICC operates and now it is our responsibility to build on his legacy," Pawar said.
Morgan wished Pawar, who has served as his ICC vice president since 2008, the best of luck.
"In the past few days, many people have thanked me for my contribution to cricket. All I would say is that cricket has been kind to me it has given me much more than I have given back," Morgan said in a statement.
Pawar, a political heavyweight, has taken over the top post at a crucial time with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh scheduled to host the 2011 cricket World Cup.
Pawar and Morgan had agreed to take over the ICC president’s post by turn after both garnered an equal number of votes from 10 ICC full members for the top job in 2006.
The ICC referred the matter to its governance committee, which recommended that the world body restore the rotation system for the top post and suggested India and England be given the option of the first two terms.
According to the consensus reached in 2007, Morgan, the former chairman of England and Wales Cricket Board, took over as ICC president when the English board hosted the Twenty20 World Championship in 2009.
Maratha strongman Pawar began his career in cricket administration when in 2001 he defeated Ajit Wadekar, the former India Test captain, in a fractious election to take over the reins of the Mumbai Cricket Association. He soon drew up plans for the expansion of Mumbai cricket that made him popular in the cricketing circles.
But his big innings began when he was pitched against former BCCI chief Dalmiya. In 2004, Dalmiya’s candidate Ranbir Singh Mahendra beat Pawar by one vote. The next year, though, Pawar beat Dalmiya by a whopping margin, marking the beginning of his rise in the BCCI.
Before that, Pawar’s only connection to cricket was through his father-in-law, Sadu Shinde, a test legspinner, who toured England in 1946.
The overwhelming support that Pawar enjoyed in BCCI waned a bit when he backed Lalit Modi during the Indian Premier League controversy. Modi had got a free hand to implement his ambitious plans for Indian cricket during the Pawar-era.
Pawar and Morgan also openly backed former Australian prime minister John Howard’s nomination as ICC vice president which was rejected by the ICC board Wednesday as the strong Asian block opposed the move.
Earlier, Lord Colin Cowdrey (1989-93) and Clyde Walcott (1993-97), headed the ICC as chairman. Dalmiya (1997-2000) was the first ICC president followed by Malcolm Gray (2000-2003), Ehsan Mani (2003-2006), Percy Sonn (2006-2007) Ray Mali (2007-08) and Morgan (2008-10).(IANS)