Assurance of not cutting corners over credibility
MUMBAI: Sourav Ganguly donned the dark-blue blazer that he wore as India captain, but there was no hint of him going soft as he officially took over as BCCI’s 39th president on Wednesday.“No compromise on credibility, (it’ll be) corruption-free and just as I led India,” said the 47-year-old after being formally elected at the BCCI’s annual general meeting. To begin with, he takes charge for 10 months, after which he has to take the cooling-off break. Elected unopposed like all other office-bearers, Ganguly is the first international cricketer in 65 years to become a full-time BCCI president.
Dada, as he is fondly known, had taken over as the captain in 2000 when Indian cricket was at one of its lowest moments following the match-fixing scandal. Now, as he takes charge of the BCCI after the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators ran office for the last 33 months, there is hope that Ganguly will provide new direction. “It’s an honour that I have been asked to take this role,” he said. “It’s a new start for the BCCI. I find myself in a position where I can make a change and it’s a challenge.”
One of the best man-managers, Ganguly was quick to point out that current captain Virat Kohli was the most important man in Indian cricket and the BCCI would heed his advice.“Our focus is to make cricketers’ life easier. When I was the captain and Jagmohan Dalmiya was the president, I don’t remember that we asked for something and were ever refused,” he said.
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“Virat has taken the Indian team to a new level. We have been with him and will be with him. Virat is the captain and we will have the same relations. Whatever he needs to help India play well, we will provide that to him. We are here to make things easier for them.”Ganguly also gave a vote of confidence to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. “I do not know what is on his (Dhoni’s) mind,” he said on the possibility of Dhoni retiring. “Champions don’t finish very quickly. When everybody counted me off, I came back and then played for four more years.”
While players and the health of India’s first-class cricket are on the top of the agenda for Ganguly, he is also looking at recovering dues from the International Cricket Council.“India is supposed to get $372m from the ICC in the five-year cycle. It is heavy at the backend as we have two World Cups then. We will make sure we get it,” he said.Even as Ganguly, who has scored 7,212 runs including 16 centuries in Test cricket, took over the top job, Jay Shah, son of Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, was elected as secretary. Arun Singh Dhumal will be the treasurer, Mahim Verma the vice-president and Jayesh George the joint-secretary.
These are the men new BCCI president Sourav Ganguly will share office with. A quick look at the other office-bearers...
Mahim Verma (vice-president)
Considering that he has made it to the BCCI representing Uttarakhand — a new entity in the board set-up — this appears to be a significant choice. Involved with administration at the local level for a long time. On paper, a good man to highlight the issues faced by new members of the board.
Jay Shah (secretary)
Known more as a famous father’s son. Been at the forefront of Gujarat Cricket Association as secretary and undertaken project to build world’s largest cricket stadium, in Ahmedabad. To be seen how he handles the differences of running a state body and BCCI. At 31, one of the youngest BCCI secretaries ever.
Arun Dhumal (treasurer)
Another one who shares close ties with a minister. The younger brother of Anurag Thakur has been vice-president of the Himachal unit. Not much is known about his administrative abilities since he is new to the job. Should have some experience of developing infrastructure in places that didn’t have those.
Jayesh George (joint secretary)
Kerala Cricket Association president before being offered this role, the 50-year-old is the most experienced administrator in the current bunch. Been associated with the Kerala body in various capacities and knows the difficulties faced by state associations where cricket is not the No 1 sport.